The Washington Socialist <> March 2019
By Hunter T
MDC DSA has been fighting Amazon’s plans to bring its second headquarters to the area since the region was first named as a finalist in Bezos’s bidding war. When Northern Virginia was announced as a chosen site – and especially once it became the only HQ2 site after Amazon dropped plans to set up shop in Queens – the struggle has only intensified.
The NoVA branch joined forces with a who’s who of the area Left organizations, including Our Revolution Arlington, Tenants & Workers United, Grassroots Alexandria, La ColectiVA, SURJ NoVA and Tech Workers Coalition to form the For Us, Not Amazon coalition. Our demands: no subsidies for the world’s richest corporation, an end to Amazon’s collaboration with ICE, and dedicated funding for affordable housing to offset the displacement the move will inevitably usher in.
Coalition members have spent their weekends canvassing the Arlington neighborhoods that are likely to be hardest hit, bringing information about the HQ2 project to communities that were left in the dark by local politicians in their drive for “economic development” at any cost. After attending the County Board’s “listening sessions” and seeing the concerns of the community dismissed or minimized, the coalition organized its own community forum, sharing information about the deal and collecting impact statements from residents.
We delivered those statements to the Arlington County Board at their February 23 meeting, along with a new demand: no vote on the Arlington incentive package until Amazon sends a representative to address the community directly. The corporation has been conspicuously absent from all public meetings so far, only deigning to appear at two real estate-focused events aimed at the region’s moneyed interests. One, sponsored by the Metro Washington Council of Governments, was an invitation-only affair the coalition refused to attend. The other, a February 28 session for which tickets cost as much as $1,000, was crashed by coalition protesters, who chanted “Pay-to-play is not okay, we the people want to stay!”
With only two weeks to go before the Arlington County Board is set to vote on its $23 million incentive package, the fight is more important than ever, and there are plenty of opportunities for comrades to get involved. There are community canvassing events every Saturday morning – check the coalition’s Facebook page for details. Coalition members at the Tech Workers Coalition are organizing a town hall March 4 on the impact HQ2 would have on the region. And mark your calendars for the Board’s March 16 meeting, when the Arlington incentive package is set to go to a vote.