How Do We Solve a Problem Like Amazon

The Most Revolutionary Act

An Amazon picker between stacks.
Photo: Ben Birchall, PA/Reuters. Design: Bronte Dow.

by Craig Gent

On a cool morning in April 2013 over a thousand workers outside the small town of Bad Hersfeld in central Germany took an action of global significance. Armed with whistles and high-visibility vests, members of the general union Ver.di set up a picket line outside an Amazon fulfilment centre – company nomenclature for its massive processing and distribution hubs – marking the first strike in Amazon’s history.

Today, that most confected and bemusing of late capitalism’s holidays – “Black Friday” – yet again draws attention to Amazon and its labour practices. Whilst US workers in Alabama make a bold attempt to unionise, Progressive International has launched a global campaign to #MakeAmazonPay. Yet for two decades numerous unions and campaigns across the globe have scratched their heads wondering how to curb the ever-expanding might of what has become one…

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