Why This Long Island City Resident Opposes the Amazon Deal

Photo Source Sergei Gussev | CC BY 2.0

In Mel Brook’s 1976 film Silent Movie, the villain is a corporation, “Engulf and Devour,” that is seeking to affect a hostile takeover of the independent studio Brook’s character, Mel Funn, is trying to convince to produce the first silent movie since the 1920s. When I first learned that Amazon had concluded a deal to locate part of its so-called HQ 2 in Long Island City, where I’ve lived for four years, I was inclined to oppose it. Like a lot of my fellow LICers, I feared Amazon’s presence would accelerate the already fast pace of gentrification, increase the area’s already sky-high rents and create more crowding on our already overcrowded subways. I also didn’t like what I was reading about how Amazon treats its employees, overworking them, encouraging cut throat competition between them, refusing bathroom breaks and indoctrinating them as if the company was some kind of cult. As I began to research more about Amazon and the deal, I found that both are worse than I could have ever imagined. Amazon is Engulf and Devour for real.

Before I go further, I need to confess that as a confirmed compulsive reader, I’ve done a fair amount of business with Amazon in the past. Its website is one of several browser tabs (including CounterPunch) I open daily. Though I’m usually just looking at books referenced in articles, which I can almost always find and reserve through the magnificent Queens and New York Public Library…

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