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Nov 24

Singing at Walmart on Black Friday

Occupella at the lower entrance to Walmart in Richmond 11/23/12

My favorite singing group Occupella was at it again on Black Friday, singing up a storm in support of Walmart workers at the retail giant’s store at the Hilltop Mall in Richmond.

We had a healthy turnout of about 30 at the lower level side entrance.  I took a side trip up to the main entrance, where a crowd maybe ten times as large had gathered.

The NPR news report said that, nationwide, “several hundred” protesters participated.  Heck, there were that many at the Richmond store alone.

More coverage nationwide here.

During the two hours of our serenade, Walmart security and Richmond police stood by but did not try to interfere.  That was smart of them, since news of pitched battles and tear gas at stores wouldn’t help Black Friday sales figures.

We sang Solidarity Forever, Union Maid, We Are the Many, Bella Ciao, and more than a dozen others from the Occupella songbook.  You can download all of them at http://occupella.org.  We had a good sized contingent of supporters, including at least one family of shoppers, joining in with the familiar melodies.

A young man came by with a stack of postcards dedicated to Walmart. I quote:

“There is perhaps no U.S. corporation that exploits its workers as brutally and effectively as Walmart. Paid on average on $8.81 per hour, hundreds of thousands of Walmart employees — including many full-time workers — live below the poverty line.”  There’s much more.

The postcard is said to be No. 16 in the Occucard series: “Exposing and Opposing the Corporate State.”   As one who used to do power structure research back in the sixties, in collaboration with a group of students and faculty at Stanford, I was thrilled to see this publication.  Go check them out at http://occucards.com.