January 10, 2005

Defending the Urban Core

The New York State Progressives summarize numerous efforts by local governments and activist groups to delay, reform, and quash Wal-Mart's entry into the Urban core:

As Wal-Mart arrives at its last unconquered market � urban America � city residents are fighting back to protect their communities by blocking or modifying big-box developments, sometimes through reforming economic development subsidies.

Reforms won or proposed by grassroots groups in Los Angeles, Chicago, Austin, San Francisco, Hartford and smaller cities make it clear that Wal-Mart vs. urban America is a big new chapter in the fight for accountable development.

Question: I do not want to denigrate the serious efforts of sincere people, but I must as how many, and what percent of, "city residents" actually "fought back"? Their efforts are real and important, but it is a dramatic oversimplification to imply that they are spearheaded by truly grassroots groups. Those opposing Wal-Mart form a network exhibiting both weak and strong ties, encompassing formal organizations and ad-hoc assemblies. Money, power, information, activist tactics, press contacts, and legal help can and do flow between nodes of this network...

Posted by Kevin on January, 10 2005 at 11:48 AM