I woke up this morning and my mind was focused on checking my fantasy football results for Week 3. That turned out to be very short-lived when I checked my email and saw a report called The Walmartization of New York City, I started feeling like Rip Van Winkle and worried what I had missed in my absence from the front lines. When I think of Walmart, all that comes to mind is that this is one of those “evil corporations” I am always trashing. Walmart is the epitome of all that is wrong  with so called “free trade”  and capitalism in America. According to financial analysts, “Walmart is the largest retailer in the world, with almost 50% higher sales than it’s seven closest competitors combined.” Now I realize that my Red State, Right Wing friends will say that I need to suck it up and stop picking on the “job creators” and tell me how many people have jobs thanks to Walmart’s success. Fortunately (and I hope all of you Governor Perry groupies are reading this), we won’t be  fooled by the mere number of jobs created, we need to focus on the quality of the jobs. In the long term Walmart is bad for the communities that it moves into, how many jobs and small businesses are lost when Walmart sinks their fangs in and starts sucking the life blood out of our local economy?

As one of many who has spent almost 15 years trying to redevelop the Kingsbridge Armory, into an asset for the Northwest Bronx. An asset that would turn this 575,000 square foot behemoth into a responsible development that will help, not exploit; the poorest urban county in the United States. Much of the report is what we have been saying over and over again. Let’s take a look at the breakdowns (for this I will focus on the Bronx numbers from the report), Walmart is going all out to get into the NYC market, spending $2.1 million on lobbying expenses in the first half of 2011. Whenever you see an influx of money like this it means it is time to really start organizing your people, I know that the Gateway Center Mall in Brooklyn has been targeted to get the first Walmart Supercenter but that is just the opening salvo and we are going to have to pull all 5 boroughs together to save our communities. The Bronx (according to the report), could possibly get 27 stores of varying size built with an impact of…

  • 2 Supercenter s (Approx. 100,000 sq. feet each)
  • 6 Walmart Markets (Approx. 35,000 sq. feet each)
  • 19 Walmart Express stores (Approx. 15,000 sq. feet each)
  • Net job loss pf 696 retail workers
  • $21 million per year lost in total retail wages for the Supercenter s alone
  • 748 Bronx Walmart workers eligible for state subsidized health care at a cost of $708,000 to taxpayers

Now I feel pretty confident in saying that the Armory would be targeted in this scenario, and our neighborhood economy would be decimated. Fordham Road’s strip of retail stores (which is the 3rd highest grossing area in the state) would become a ghost town. I am urging everyone from NYC to call your elected officials in the City Council and State Legislature to demand that Walmart stay out of New York City.

On Saturday October 22nd, the Northwest Bronx Community & Clergy Coalition (NWBCCC) will be hosting a meeting to discuss creating a vision for a better Bronx at St. Nicholas of Tolentine Church at Noon. Project Reclamation is putting together ways to keep Bronx dollars in the Bronx while creating a vibrant workforce to move the Bronx out of poverty. These are just 2 of the many ways we are getting involved in our community, but this shouldn’t just be a Bronx initiative, this should be a mandate for America. If you are serious about taking back our country back from the Wall Street crooks and evil corporations and putting the people first then you need to start today.

Remember if you are not among the richest 1% of this country, you need to join the “New American Revolution.” Ronnagade Radio will be back October 3rd.

Peace, Love & Justice for All