Thursday is the final day for cities to submit their bids to Amazon for the company’s competition to find a place to house their new headquarters. Over 100 cities have submitted a bid. As my colleague Hamilton Nolan has pointed out, this basically amounts to a super wealthy corporation extorting local governments by forcing them to promise public resources and grovel at Amazon’s feet just for a chance to bring jobs to their cities.
And this is exactly what has happened—cities all across the country have gone to great lengths to capture the attention of Bezos and company. As Nathan Robinson pointed out at Current Affairs, it’s especially depressing to watch the spectacle of economically abandoned post-industrial cities vie for the spot, even in the face of almost-certain failure. But under techno-capitalism, bid they must! So here is a running list of the thirstiest, most dismal acts that Bezos has forced cities across America to perform.
Act of thirst: Would create a new city and instate Jeff Bezos as its unelected mayor.
Actually, Amazon’s headquarters wouldn’t actually be in Stonecrest since what the city council is offering Lord Bezos is his very own city. The council voted earlier this month to de-annex 345 acres of land to create a shining city on a hill that will be known as Amazon, GA. Not only that, Jason Lary, the mayor of Stonecrest, has offered to make Bezos unelected mayor of Amazon, GA, by writing it into state law. But Bezos wouldn’t have to deal with any actual mayoral duties since Stonecrest is also offering to handle the municipal services for Amazon, GA.
According to the The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, this was Lary’s pitch:
“Think about this: You can get your package shipped from Amazon, Ga., from their own post office, and have the corporate CEO as the mayor of that town, forever if he likes. What that does is give him the eternal brand that he’s looking for.”
Pick Stonecrest, Jeff, and your name will be stamped on all of our packages as we burn in eternal hell.
Kansas City, Missouri
Act of thirst: Mayor Sly James bought 1,000 Amazon products and gave them all five star reviews.
To be clear, James didn’t just click five stars. He (or more likely some poor staffer of his) literally wrote a review for every single product. Here’s a sample one for “AmazonBasics Microfiber Sheet Set - Twin, Dark Grey”:
Don’t let this twin sheet set fool you — these twin sheets are in fact a single set of sheets, not twins. And that’s just fine by me because as the proud mayor of Kansas City, Missouri, I know that a confusing name can actually be a sign of tremendous quality. And tremendous quality they are! In fact, I’d go so far as to say that the combination of affordability and quality on display in this confusingly named microfiber sheet set is matched only by the affordability and quality of my confusingly named city.
New York, New York
Act of thirst: Bill de Blasio humiliated himself.
As my colleague Libby Watson wrote yesterday, De Blasio’s bid is to demean the greatest city on earth by lighting up a number of iconic buildings in “Amazon Orange.”
This, of course, is not to be confused with “MTA Delays Orange.”
Act of thirst: Sent Amazon a 21-foot saguaro cactus, which was subsequently rejected by Amazon.
Not only did Tuscon’s economic development group send a giant cactus to Amazon, Amazon didn’t even want it:
Act of thirst: Made a video talking to Alexa.
In a video that very accurately portrays how we are living under our Amazon robot overlords, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser gives all the reasons why Bezos’s headquarters should be in D.C., including the fact that Jeff owns both a house and a newspaper in the city. In the video, Bowser speaks to a suspiciously silent Alexa and it’s not until the end that she asks, “Where is the most interesting company in the world going to locate?” to which Alexa responds, “Obviously, Washington, D.C.” in the cold, cold voice of capitalism.
Newark, New Jersey
Act of thirst: Offering a fuckload of money.
New Jersey is going the traditional route by offering straight up money—that is, $7 billion in state and city tax breaks if Amazon locates itself in the city of Newark. This announcement united Chris Christie, Cory Booker, and Newark Mayor Ras Baraka across partisan lines in their mission to grovel.
Act of thirst: Make Noise for Amazon!
Sucks to suck Calgary.
Act of thirst: Constructed gigantic Amazon boxes for display
Inside the boxes are any remains of dignity.