No 7-Eleven’s Nativism

Two recent tweets from an organization dedicated to preventing the “whitewash[ing of] our community.”

Localism adopts the premise that people have free choice to structure a capitalist economy. But when people make the wrong choices, then localism can become right-wing and anti-immigrant. It critiques globalization for strengthening multinational corporations at the expense of communities.

A distrust of foreign people creeps in. Being rooted in a place enhances relationships, whereas “(m)obility erodes community.” Migration brings displacement and alienation. This parochialism extends to non-local workers, who don’t contribute to local economies and spend what they earn elsewhere. Since value for localists is created only through exchange, foreign workers bring no benefit.

N7E Blocks Quilas!

I’ve been pretty busy at work lately, so I haven’t been able to check my Twitter account as often as I’ve done in the past, so I don’t know if what I’m about to report happened recently or a little while ago, but today I was scrolling down my feed and I noticed a distinct absence of tweets from No 7‑Eleven NYC. “That’s odd,” I thought. “Have there been no robberies at 7‑Elevens in the Southwest lately?”

So I went to their home page, and the Follow button twitter-follow-buttonwas active, instead of the Following button twitter-following-buttonthat I was accustomed to seeing. That’s odd, I thought, so I clicked it.

twitter-quilas-blocked

Well, blow me down! They’re blocking Quilas from receiving their tweets!

OK, no big deal. I can always go to their home page. I saw one thread I was interested in, and clicked twitter-view-conversation, and got this:

twitter-quilas-not-authorized

Apparently they’ve never heard the adage “Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.” They’re not my enemies, but if you follow this blog, you know we don’t agree on some things. Still, you would think that they’d want to know what I was saying on Twitter, if it had anything to do with them, no? Presumably, they won’t receive tweets of mine with their address in it twitter-n7e-address. How do you run damage control when you don’t know what’s going on?

Silly people!

The Kiss of Death

A little over a week ago — April 25, to be precise — I was checking my stats, out of idle curiosity mostly, when I noticed a spike in connections. I looked at the referring links, and they were from The Local East Village, a supplementary blog of the New York Times. I had to see what was leading them to me, so I clicked on the link.

thelocal-plods-on

Plods? I suppose that’s accurate. The responses I’ve been getting from N7E have been laborious!

It’s not the first time The Local mentioned Quilas. Earlier in the month they linked to No 7-Eleven on Avenue A in their daily wrap-up, called The Day:

thelocal-mentions-quilas-0404

But this time, the link garnered more connections. I was waiting for them to tweet the story so I could re-tweet it, since they always tweeted every story of theirs, but it never came. They must not have wanted to promote it. Who can say? I was too busy at work to write my own tweet, so I just let it go.

And then it happened, and on May Day, no less:

thelocal-eastvillage-logo
thelocal-final-post

The Local is no more! They linked to Quilas, and they bit the dust.

They’re keeping the site on-line, though, at least for now. After all, N7E is still posting to their Comments section!

Postscript

While writing this piece, I checked The Local‘s twitter page, to see if they ever did tweet the link to “…Plods On”. Here is what I found:

thelocal-eastvillage-twitter-link

Their twitter page is gone! Vanished! As if it had never existed. So, unlike the blog itself, if you want a reference to past The Local tweets, for whatever historical research you might be conducting, it’s not there. Not on Twitter, anyway. You might be able to get it from the NSA, if you file a FOIA request, but I suspect any reference to Quilas will be redacted!

Follow the Money

I’m not ready yet with my next installment in the gentrification series, so I’ll return to one of my other recurring topics, a small-business association whose stated goal is preventing 7‑Eleven stores from opening in the East Village. I am referring, of course, to No 7‑Eleven NYC. They posted a flurry of tweets two days before the law was to go into effect banning the sale of sugary drinks in cups or containers larger than 16 ounces. Here is one of them:

In another tweet No 7‑Eleven NYC posted, they advance the idea that once in place, the law will be ineffective, because people will go into 7‑Elevens and bodegas to buy their sodas (which they seem to think they will then be permitted to take into restaurants and movie theaters), but in the one above they claim that the ban will hurt bodegas. The fact is that, while the ban would not have affected 7‑Eleven, neither would it have affected bodegas. Bodegas don’t sell sugary drinks in cups, and bottles and cans would not have been affected by the law.

But there are bigger issues than this. Back in January they tweeted:

The day after Judge Milton Tingling blocked the ban from going into effect, the NY Times ran an article detailing the relationship between the soft-drink industry and community groups around the country:

    Dozens of Hispanic and African-American civil rights groups, health advocacy organizations and business associations have joined the beverage industry in opposing soda regulation around the country in recent years, arguing that such measures — perhaps the greatest regulatory threat the soft-drink industry has ever faced — are discriminatory, paternalistic or ineffective.

    Many of these groups have something else in common: They are among the recipients of tens of millions of dollars from the beverage industry that has flowed to nonprofit and educational organizations serving blacks and Hispanics over the last decade, according to a review by The New York Times of charity records and other documents.

These activities echo those of the tobacco industry, that for decades contributed to minority and women’s organizations, encouraging them to focus on concerns other than smoking. Leaders faced a real conflict: either accept the money, or speak out about the disproportionate toll of tobacco on the health of minority populations. Women’s groups, heavily supported and buoyed by support for events like the Virginia Slims Tennis Tour, were silent on the rapidly escalating epidemic of lung cancer in women, focusing instead on breast cancer and other problems. (Advocacy Institute 1998).

When speaking publicly about their products, the beverage industry uses a playbook similar to that used by the tobacco industry, that focusses on “personal responsibility,” raises fears of government action destroying personal freedom and civil liberties, criticizes studies that hurt the industry as “junk science,” and promotes physical activity over diet.

Both industries’ tactics rely heavily on “personal responsibility” arguments that claim regulation isn’t necessary because it’s up to consumers to make healthy choices, yet they spend hundreds of millions of dollars annually to undermine personal responsibility. On February 24, the NY Times published an article describing the efforts food companies have made over the years to addict people to their products:

    As the sensory intensity (say, of sweetness) increases, consumers first say that they like the product more, but eventually, with a middle level of sweetness, consumers like the product the most (this is their optimum, or “bliss,” point). …

    “[M]outh feel.” This is the way a product interacts with the mouth, as defined more specifically by a host of related sensations, from dryness to gumminess to moisture release. … [T]he mouth feel of soda and many other food items, especially those high in fat, is second only to the bliss point in its ability to predict how much craving a product will induce. …

    “[S]ensory-specific satiety.” In lay terms, it is the tendency for big, distinct flavors to overwhelm the brain, which responds by depressing your desire to have more. … The biggest hits — be they Coca-Cola or Doritos — owe their success to complex formulas that pique the taste buds enough to be alluring but don’t have a distinct, overriding single flavor that tells the brain to stop eating.

Efforts to encourage these industries to self-regulate are failing. Instead, the companies are consolidating power by building financial connections with health agencies and non-governmental organizations — and using that power to lobby politicians to oppose health reforms. In the February 23 issue of the English medical journal The Lancet, a team of researchers from around the world wrote:

    [T]hrough the sale and promotion of tobacco, alcohol, and ultra-processed food and drink (unhealthy commodities), transnational corporations are major drivers of global epidemics of [non-communicable diseases] NCDs. … Despite the common reliance on industry self-regulation and public—private partnerships, there is no evidence of their effectiveness or safety. Public regulation and market intervention are the only evidence-based mechanisms to prevent harm caused by the unhealthy commodity industries.

On the day the ban was halted, No 7‑Eleven NYC retweeted:

That’s where they stand.

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Further reading:

Neil Smith Walking Tour

I was just about to post the next in my gentrification series when… Take a look at this! It was retweeted by David Harvey. I got it at 2:27pm:

(I don’t know how to explain what happened. The time I got this was 2:27pm. The walking tour began at 2:30pm. Now, however, when I embed the tweet, the time shows as 2:45pm.)

I replied: “When? Today? In three minutes?” Right away, though, I deleted it. I thought “David Harvey isn’t responsible for this tour. And he doesn’t even know me!”

So I went to the source tweet, and responded to them something like: “You really need to give people more notice of these things.” Then I thought “Maybe they did. I don’t follow them, I follow David Harvey,” so I deleted that one too.

Apparently, Neil Smith led walking tours in New York. I never knew this. I’m really surprised I never knew this. In all the years I’ve lived in New York, this is the kind of thing I would know. Maybe they were CUNY-Grad events? I don’t know. I’m sorry I missed these though.

NYC’s “Soda Ban” and “No 7-Eleven”

This morning I saw that the No 7-Eleven tweeter tweeted a link to an article in today’s New York Times that explains the “soda ban,” with comment:

Who is it unfair to? Are they saying that deli/bodega owners made their money selling >16-ounce fountain sodas, until the ban? Are they saying 7-Eleven competes with local restaurants and movie theaters? I wonder how much thought they put into their pronouncements?

Health efforts such as the “soda ban,” to be effective, must target the source. Everyone knows this. The profits of producers/retailers cannot be what drives health policy. (Naturally, this includes insurance!)

Since Bloomberg took office, New York has become the first city to require chain restaurants to post calorie counts on their menus (prompting a federal law compelling all fast food retailers to do the same), to ban trans fats from restaurant foods, to ban public smoking from most corners of the city, and pushed hospitals to keep baby formula locked up in order to encourage breast-feeding in new mothers.

But then these are primarily shopkeepers — by definition, not a very progressive bunch.