Saturday, January 12, 2008

Wal-Mart Nation

On CBC Newsworld they showed a documentary called Wal-Mart Nation. Here is what it is about:


The highest-rated LENS documentary ever! Wal-Mart Nation is an hour long, documentary journey through the complex and fascinating world of the international anti-Wal-Mart movement.

Wal-Mart's emergence as a global corporate force has triggered an unprecedented political backlash. Wal-Mart has single-handedly galvanized a progressive, grass roots and labour coalition of activists determined to roll back the tide of corporate power and domination. This is a generation baptized by the anti-globalization protests. This is the Wal-Mart Nation. These are their stories.

Carolyn is an unlikely anti-Wal-Mart activist. The former Miss America (1992) is a beauty queen turned feminist activist. She's also a Reagan Republican and anti-abortion crusader. Sapp founded Wal-Mart Versus Women as a vehicle to pu blicize the largest civil rights class action suit in US history.

Anna Liu is a 23 year old, Chinese Canadian union activist determined to unionize Canadian Wal-Mart workers. Despite her militancy, Anna tells us that before attending university she scarcely knew what a union was. We follow Anna and her cadres as they "gate crash" Wal-Mart stores in a desperate attempt to sign up members.

Forbes magazine calls Al Norman, Wal-Mart's number one enemy. Norman, also known as the "Sprawlbuster" is the dean of anti-Wal-Mart activists. Ten years ago the well-connected Democratic Party activist successfully prevented Wal-Mart from building a store in his Massachusetts hometown. His surprising victory spawned the anti-Wal-Mart movement.

Environmentalist Ben Bennett is the leader of a ten-year long battle to keep Wal-Mart out of Guelph, Ontario. But Bennett is now facing his final battle in this decade long war.

Chris Kofinis is a political science professor from Kingston, Ontario. But Kofinis has found himself on the front lines of the anti-Wal-Mart battle, along with presidential hopefuls John Edwards and Barack Obama. As Communications Director for the Washington D.C. based Wake-Up Wal-Mart, Kofinis is spending millions of dollars for on a sophisticated media campaign against America's biggest employer.

These stories are set against the colourful backdrop of the Wal-Mart annual general meeting. Here, Wal-Mart executives, employees, and shareholders gather for a weeklong celebration of the world's most successful company.

Through interviews, animation and actuality sequences, the filmmakers explore the Wal-Mart Effect and how the company has transformed the economy of the United States and the world.

Wal-Mart Nation is a first person journey through a year in life of the anti-Wal-Mart movement. The filmmakers blend actuality footage, interviews, archival film and photos, text and graphics in a provocative, engaging and often-humourous point of view documentary.

Wal-Mart Nation was produced by Ultramagnetic Productions and directed by Andrew Munger in association with CBC Newsworld.
I watched this thinking that so many tried to get in the face of Wal-Mart. I was thinking that people are trying way too hard at being anti-Wal-Mart or trying to unionize Wal-Mart. But the anti-Wal-Mart groups and individuals ultimately fail at doing what they set out to do. What's even sadder is that some of the people who were with their respective organizations are no longer with them. For instance Anna Liu is no longer trying to unionize Wal-Marts. There are two unionized Wal-Marts in Quebec. They attempted to unionize the North Battleford Wal-Mart but feel flat on their ass and got nowhere. But in the documentary, they were spreading their literature all throughout the store. They even gave some to employees.

Ben Bennett has been fighting Wal-Mart for ten years and well it's not looking like he has succeeded. I do give him credit for not stopping in his crusade. He even goes as far as to take it to the court. But he ultimately fails, even with his appeal attempts.

Chris Kofinis, a Canadian, used to work for Wake Up Wal-Mart and this is a well funded agency that is anti-Wal-Mart. It doesn't hurt that they are backed by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union. Even he left his job with them to go and for a candidate in 2008 presidential election. I guess he realized sooner than later that you can't beat them all.

I just wanted to touch on these three people, but I could on and on. I cBut overall, the documentary spent the bulk of time giving facts and portraying Wal-Mart in a negative light. Is Wal-Mart really that bad? I mean my mom works for Wal-Mart and has worked her way up to a department managers position. The only time she had a problem was when she didn't get the assistant manager position based on some guy going to be assistant manager so they gave it to him to train him or something like that.

Here is the link to the official site:

Wal-Mart Nation

Again I ask, is Wal-Mart so bad?

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