Trivia Question

Who said this?

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Dancing on the Grave of No-7-Eleven-NYC

Back in June, I wrote that the anti-worker group No 7-Eleven NYC had “packed it in”. They had gone from meeting weekly in front of the 7-Eleven store on Avenue A and East 11th Street, to meeting only on the first Sunday of every month.

Well, at most, that amounted to two meetings. I wasn’t around to see, but I’d bet anything they didn’t meet the first Sunday of September, which was Labor Day weekend. And this was the scene in front of 7-Eleven at 1:30pm yesterday:

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Unfortunately, the sentiments that gave rise to them in the first place have not disappeared. No doubt they will reform in some other guise to fight efforts by DeBlasio to raise the minimum wage in New York City.

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Spoiler alert!

Back in November of 2013, I wrote something that I scheduled to post automatically in October of this year. That’s all I’ll say about it, other than that it pertains to the 7-Eleven in question.

The Hazards of Shopping Locally

Recently, these signs went up in the neighborhood, warning of ATM Skimming:


Click the image to enlarge

They’re on just about every lamppost, in some areas.

When EV Grieve posted something today (7/19) about the signs, in a short time commenters were complaining about this happening to them, at local stores!

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Mom! Pop! What about the community?!

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Back in May:

    Governor Andrew M. Cuomo … announced the initial results of the State Liquor Authority’s (SLA) effort to combat underage drinking in New York City utilizing a part-time investigative unit. Starting on April 17, 2014, the unit made 74 visits to licensed grocery and liquor stores in all five boroughs of NYC, with 32 sales to minors.

The Manhattan stores were all in the “East Village”:

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Click the image to read the press release

Mom and Pop strike again!

No-7Eleven-NYC Packs It In

I can’t remember when the last time was that I wrote about N7E. When their founding member quit? Maybe. I unsubscribed from their blog and stopped visiting their Twitter page because it was just a lot of nonsense.

Well, things have been getting steadily worse for them, it seems. I was wondering recently how long they were going to keep up their “boycott” when I saw this:

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It’s the beginning of the end. They’ve reduced their weekly leafletting to once per month. Soon they’ll be gone completely. They won’t announce it — one first-Sunday they just won’t be there, then another, then it will be over.

Back in August of 2013, their founder wrote:

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I think a better reason it was doomed was that it had no social base. No one rallies for the small business owner — it’s antithetical to the class itself. If they had been fighting for the rights of the workers, they could have developed something — look at what just happened in Seattle! — but the only time they mentioned the workers was to attack them. They accused them of vandalizing other businesses in the neighborhood, smoking pot behind the store, menacing the leafletters… This was never a cause that deserved support. The sooner they wither away, the better.

Hyper-Gentrification Revisited

In Hyper-Gentrification, I wrote about a blogger called Jeremiah Moss. Specifically, about something he wrote called On Spike Lee & Hyper-Gentrification.

Since that time, he was invited to rewrite that piece for the New York Times, as part of their overview of gentrification. So his position, distilled, is:

    The old-school gentrification of the 20th century, while harmful, wasn’t all bad. It made streets safer, created jobs and brought fresh vegetables to the corner store. … Unlike gentrification, in which the agents of change were middle-class settlers moving into working-class and poor neighborhoods…

    …hyper-gentrification in New York was implemented via strategically planned mass rezonings, eminent domain and billions in tax breaks to corporations…

    So before gentrification became “hyper”, it wasn’t all bad, according to Moss. When the process of removing the working class from their neighborhood was happening, using all of the tools at the disposal of both real estate developers and the city, from illegal evictions, to arson, to filling vacant apartments with drug dealers to drive out tenants, to turning over in rem buildings to “developers” for pennies on the dollar, to programs like AHOP, this wasn’t all bad. The same private/public interests (themselves, bourgeois legalisms) were at play as today, at the then-existing level of development.

Moss sees gentrification starting when people and small businesses start to move into an area where they weren’t before. He fails to understand the processes that led to that, despite his many references to Neil Smith. He doesn’t see the “flipping” of buildings (buildings bought and then sold at a profit, sometimes without any renovations being made) as part of the process, or even the transition from a healthy building stock to a decrepit one. For him, as for so many like him, it starts when the outward signs become noticeable.

So what is his solution?

    Let’s drastically reduce tax breaks to corporations and redirect that money to mom-and-pops. Protect the city’s oldest small businesses by providing selective retail rent control, and implement the Small Business Survival Act to create fair rent negotiations. Pass a citywide ordinance to control the spread of chain stores. … Shop local and protest the corporate invasion of neighborhoods.

Increase taxes on corporations? OK. Direct the money to small businesses? To what end? If the Small Business Survival Act creates fair rent negotiations (Moss’s contention), small business rents will be lower. So what will they do with the money? Raise their employees’ wages? Ha! Pocket the money? Probably. Use the money to expand? Probably. So the small businesses will become big businesses, in time. Maybe even chains. Regarding shopping locally, I’ve already addresses that.

Moss’s changes will only benefit small business owners. That is his starting and ending point.

    This … is the transformation of society in a democratic way, but a transformation within the bounds of the petty bourgeoisie. … [I]t believes that the special conditions of its emancipation are the general conditions within whose frame alone modern society can be saved and the class struggle avoided.*

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* The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, accessed April 27, 2014.

Pearl Paint Illegally Fired 39 Workers

There’s been some hubbub recently about Pearl Paint, a five-story art supply store on Canal Street, closing.

It was first reported (as far as I know) by Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York, the small-business-lamentation blog.

On Tuesday, DNAInfo reported that Pearl Paint illegally fired 39 of their workers! In his piece, Jeremiah reported, regarding the closing: “The information has not been confirmed with Pearl…” but there’s no mention of his speaking with any of the workers. He did report it on his Facebook page, but there’s no follow-up on his blog.

This is why it’s important not to be pie-eyed about small businesses. Glitter and paint cannot cover up class relations.

Filler

Yes, this is filler, mostly.

I bought some clothes yesterday. I haven’t bought clothes in years! Most of what I have is either very old, and/or bought by others as gifts, and/or given to me (new) because it didn’t fit its intended recipient. I’ve been able to make it for years with this limited wardrobe, but recently it’s become unsustainable. With the end of Winter, but not yet the beginning of Summer, I was down to two pairs of pants. At the same time, I developed a hole in the sleeve of one of my black turtlenecks, and in the sleeve of my black, button shirt. (What do you call those? A shirt with buttons.) I’m down to wearing t-shirts to work, which I don’t really like to do, even though the ones I wear are decent enough, but I just couldn’t keep alternating between the same two pairs of pants every day. So I bit the bullet, took my wife’s advice, and put the purchase on the credit card. (I don’t like using the card because it’s high and I’m trying to pay it off.)

I went to a store somewhat near where I live. I’m not mentioning the name because: 1) it’s not important; and 2) Quilas doesn’t advertise! This store has a permanent Sale section, so I knew there was a good chance I’d find something less than the original price, if not downright cheap. When I got there, I saw they were having a 40%-off sale on nearly everything. Getting to the point, I bought two pairs of pants and three shirts. I figured I could make it on four pairs of pants for now; when Summer gets here, it’ll be five.

Now I get to the purpose of this piece. When I got to the register, the total, non-sale price was $236. When I asked the woman if I got a further discount for using the credit card of another store owned by the same company (that’s probably a give-away!) she said No, but if I opened an account there, I would get an additional 30% off. Well, sign me up, I said! When she checked, she found it was only 15%, but I wasn’t going to say no to 15%. That brought my total down to $135 (I bought some socks too, which were not on sale).

But wait, there’s more! For spending over $150 (the pre-store-card amount), I received store credit of $75! Unfortunately, I couldn’t apply it to that purchase — I have to wait until mid-May to use it. I also got a 10%-off coupon that I can use any time in the next 60 days.

So, here’s my plan: I go into the store in mid-May, go to the Sale section, where 20% discounts are not uncommon, get $104 worth of stuff, minus 20%, minus 10% equals $75, making the total savings $205 — a 60% discount! You can’t beat that with a stick.

Show me a “mom-and-pop” store that can do that!

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The only drawback is that I now have a new bill. Putting the purchase on my regular credit card would not have affected my monthly payment, since I would have just paid the elevated amount due, as usual. Now I will have an additional bill of $135. As luck would have it, I recently reduced my bi-monthly expenses by that very amount, so there will be no difference in the pittance I have left after paying bills, but I was hoping to have that extra money to fix the Wii, which has needed repairing for as long as I’ve needed clothes.

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