Extinction Rebellion (XR) blocked Amazon distribution centres on “Black Friday”—a day of sales and big profits for the business.
The group occupied Amazon sites across Britain, in Germany and in the Netherlands in protest at its “exploitative and environmentally destructive business practices”. Climate activists are planning to continue the blockade for the next couple of days.
Rosie, a student supporter of XR, spoke to Socialist Worker from the blockade at the company’s distribution centre in Doncaster in South Yorkshire. She said Amazon is exploiting “people and planet”.
She said activists arrived at the depot at 4 am, with rebels locking onto concrete blocks and erecting a bamboo structure at one entrance.
The group blocked the entrances that HGV lorries use to travel in and out of the centre, effectively halting distribution. “I started taking part in direct action like this two years ago,” said Rosie.
“I was very frustrated with our political system and how it continues to function while we destroy the planet. I felt like direct action was better than sitting at home, maybe signing a petition occasionally.”
She added, “We are targeting Amazon because it symbolises everything wrong with the system. It symbolises everything exploitative and destructive.
“Jeff Bezos can go to space, but he can’t pay his workers properly.”
Bezos has promised that Amazon will be carbon neutral by 2040, but the company continues to pump our emissions on a massive scale.
Amazon contributed 51.17 million metric tonnes of CO2 to the atmosphere, it was revealed last year. It produced more emissions than Hong Kong, Denmark and Switzerland. And it is also one of the companies that lobbied against new US climate legislation.
Rosie added that XR members were also out in solidarity with the GMB union and others who have organised the “Make Amazon Pay” campaign.
Protests came after the GMB revealed that ambulance call-outs to Amazon distribution centres go up 50 percent on Black Friday. Protesters are right to target Amazon and Bezos—more should join the XR blockades.
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