Map of cities competing for Amazon's HQ Photo source: https://www.amazon.com/b?ie=UTF8&node=17044620011

Map of cities competing for Amazon’s HQ Photo source: https://www.amazon.com/b?ie=UTF8&node=17044620011

Since Fall 2017, Chicago has been competing to be the location of Amazon’s second headquarters. Chicago, one of 20 cities still in consideration as a location for the HQ, hosted Amazon executives for a tour of potential sites on March 21 and 22. Subsequently, the city’s economic and political elite have launched a campaign called “Chicago Is All In”, which is self-described as “an all-star, bipartisan committee of political and government stakeholders, dozens of business leaders.” This is not a surprise as one thing that both the Democrats and Republicans can agree on is exploiting people for profit.

Chicago’s bid for the headquarters is being sold to Chicagoans as an opportunity to bring jobs, revenue, and innovation into the city; however, it is highly unlikely that these opportunities will benefit the workers and oppressed who need jobs and money. “The ability to attract well-educated employees” is among the qualities sought by Amazon. Chicago was said to be the best educated major city in America; however, this is merely the result of policies that have driven
nationally oppressed and working class families out of the city.

Besides, Amazon is in no way concerned with creating jobs. Amazon, a mega-wealthy tech giant is, in fact, waging a systematic war on jobs through automation and monopolization.

Part of the Chicago Is All In campaign consists of a video narrated by actor William Shatner in hopes of appealing to the Amazon CEO’s appreciation for Star Trek. As money is being poured into videos featuring famous actors and other campaign expenses, Chicagoans are told that there is not money for schools and transportation. Earlier this year, public transit fares were increased, which disproportionately affects workers. In February, the closing of four high schools in Englewood, a predominantly Black neighborhood with more than 45 percent of its households below the federal poverty line, was announced. This not only violates the labor contracts of Chicago teachers, but perhaps even more distressingly, affects the ability of these students to get to school. Instead of working feverishly at attracting Jeff Bezos with billions of dollars he does not need, the city should fund programs and services that people do need.

This same video emphasizes that Chicago was a city burned down by fire, yet rebuilt itself and prospered. However, the video does not explain that the city was rebuilt by Chicago’s diverse working class. Whether or not Chicago’s bid for the headquarters is strong, we—the working class that built and rebuilt this city—will continue to organize against racist gentrification and resist these bipartisan attacks on our communities.