Amazon Changing New Headquarter Plans: What’s Right

Max Goldenberg, Maroon-News Staff

Isn’t it funny how national conversations about Jeff Bezos never seem to last?

The man is as close to a mustache-twirling comic book villain as you can get in reality. Every year, there’s another scandal related to Amazon; how it pays its workers such starvation wages through skimming and cheating that most of them are on government assistance, how managers are trained to overwork employees to the point of exhaustion and injury without overtime pay, how it aggressively bullies and steals from smaller corporations in order to acquire behemoth monopolies in every direction or how it cheats the U.S. government into pouring millions upon millions of taxpayer dollars into programs that never show returns for anything except Bezos’ pockets and Amazon’s bottom line.

All of these scandals show up, linger for a few days and then vanish, never to be spoken of again. No national debate ever seems to spark, and the media is always frighteningly eager to move on when anything at all crops up. It seems like such a jarring thing to simply accept that corruption and overbearing corporate influence is a simple part of daily life in America, but it is increasingly difficult to deny that that is the state of our affairs.

And so Amazon, the poster-child of ugly, neo-industrialist megacorporations, has once more reared its head in the latest of its short-lived corporate scandals, as it “searches for a second headquarters” across the United States. The entire idea is, of course, a gargantuan farce; what Amazon means when they say they will create a “second headquarters” is simply that they will build a new office complex in whichever U.S. state offers them the largest tax breaks and corporate welfare. It shouldn’t be much of a surprise that our own New York was at the front of the running, with Governor Cuomo and New York City Mayor de Blasio both showering Amazon with somewhere around $300 million in taxpayer money for the privilege of hosting an Amazon center in the city.

Eventually, grassroots resistance against such blatant corporate pandering led by figures like N.Y. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez pushed Amazon away from following through—and instead they are planning to build their new HQ in Virginia, which was more than happy to offer Amazon the welfare it wanted.

Morally, there can be no question that AOC’s side was absolutely correct; Amazon is a viciously exploitative megacorporation and the amount of leverage they hold as such over our political system is revolting. But Cuomo and de Blasio, both ardent progressive Democrats like AOC, understand something she doesn’t here: the entire American economy runs off our Amazons, Walmarts and McDonalds. It should be enough of a tip that the mainstream media is terrified of criticizing megacorporate practices while pulling no punches against distasteful elected officials. And what did New York’s refusal to grant Amazon corporate welfare really get? The company continues to expand and it got all the welfare it wanted in another state, draining just as much American taxpayer money with no political ramifications. The fact of the matter is that Cuomo, de Blasio and even AOC are nothing more than bobble-heads in our system, put up to feel good about our elective practices. But real power clearly lies with the corporate giants that bring officials to heel like well-trained puppies.

As Americans, we are nothing more than cogs in the machine. What does it matter if we protest against Amazon’s practices? They’ll just settle in another state. And boycotting them? Good luck finding another online retailer. When are we going to stop pulling our punches and start acting against the unvoted boards of trustees who determine the shape of every American decision? When will we stop meekly accepting Amazon and Walmart whipping global hegemonies into place off the backs of brutalized slave labor? When is enough enough?

Contact Max Goldenberg at [email protected].