Walkouts at Wal*Mart and the Radical Spirit of 'Buy Nothing Day' Turn a Black Day Brighter

Today is the best day ever for not watching the news. For one thing it looks the same as last year's footage. For another, Black Friday is the nadir of western culture. For those of us prone to bridge jumping, WAIT, there is hope, a couple of 'em.

'Buy Nothing Day' is one. To quote their website- "Until we challenge the entrenched values of capitalism – that the economy must always keep growing, that consumer wants must always be satisfied, that immediate gratification is imperative – we’re not going able to fix the gigantic psycho-financial-eco crisis of our times." They get it.

This year, driven in part by the Thanksgiving eve opening, Walmart workers are planning to strike or conduct some other form of protest outside at least 1,000 locations across the United States today. These friends and neighbors of ours are demanding 'respect'. They are demanding a living wage and a decent future. Good on 'em. They're fighting for everybody really, including the retailers.

A new study by the think tank Demos says raising the salary of all full-time workers at large retailers to $25,000 per year would lift more than 700,000 people out of poverty, at a cost of only a 1 percent price increase for customers. And, in the end, retailers would benefit. According to the study, the cost of the wage increases to major retailers would be $20.8 billion — about one percent of the sector’s $2.17 trillion in total annual sales. But the study also estimates the increased purchasing power of lower-wage workers as a result of the pay raises would generate $4 billion to $5 billion in additional retail sales.

Seems like a no brainer. Even the government, who now foots the bill for the medical and social services, would instead be collecting more income tax. And the Food Banks, who now often feeds the underpaid retail workers, would instead be receiving donations from their recent x-customers. Even the bigshots and bankers [yuck] would make more dough. And the real winner long-term could be the US labor movement, maybe that's the rub, or maybe not enough politicians have received their envelope yet, or? who knows? But for today it's plenty just knowing it's a brighter 'Black Friday' in this little corner of the empire.