April 23, 2023

Did Walmart engage in a capital strike?

I wrote a letter to the editor to the Sun-Times which was not published, so I publish the letter here below.

It sure seems like Walmart engaged in a capital strike in response to Chicago electing Brandon Johnson as the next mayor.

A capital strike, to remind everyone, is what it sounds like: a retaliatory action to cease or reduce investment. But instead of people on the bottom who withhold their labor in what many think of when they hear the word "strike", it's people on the top who withhold their money, their resources, their "capital".

Walmart may claim low profitability for its Chicago stores, despite anecdotal evidence to the contrary. Without seeing Walmart's ledgers and Walmart's internal correspondence, we the people can only speculate. But the timing is curious: Five days after Chicago had the temerity to elect a former union organizer as mayor and expanded its progressive caucus on the city council, the militantly anti-union Walmart closed four Chicago stores with just a week's advance notice.

I fear this may be the first of many capital strikes to come in a forthcoming Johnson administration. We the people need to be aware and be prepared.