Sparta Report

Amazon’s “HQ2” Sweepstakes Facing a Backlash From Both Left and Right

It’s good to see Amazon finally getting some public blowback for its increasingly blatant bad behavior:

That proposition has united an ideologically diverse group of dissenters to Amazon’s grand HQ2 competition, ranging from rightwing organizations linked to the Koch brothers to the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA). Groups and individuals that would normally agree only to mutual disdain and distrust have somehow come around to the same conclusion: that Amazon’s decision to pit 20 cities against each other in a fight to host a future hub is a bad deal for everyone except Amazon.

In Atlanta, an anonymous group of activists with roots in the Occupy movement has set up AtlantaAgainstAmazon.org, a website that compares the HQ2 process to “something like a televised Hunger Games death-match”, and has designed anti-Amazon flyers that have been plastered around town.

Generation Opportunity, a conservative advocacy group for millennials associated with the Koch brothers, has launched a targeted digital ad campaign with a slickly produced, ominously soundtracked video that compares the HQ2 competition to – wait for it – the Hunger Games.

And a petition launched by the prominent urbanist Richard Florida and dozens of other academics calling for the finalist cities to unite in a “mutual non-aggression pact” on tax incentives has garnered more than 15,000 signatures.

The idea behind the pact is that rather than engage in a tax-break arms race, everyone should agree not to offer incentives. That would force Amazon to simply choose its new home by the merits of the locations, which Florida told the Guardian he suspects they will do anyway, and free up local governments to invest their tax dollars in the kind of improvements that make a city attractive to a corporation in the first place.

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