John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods, recently wrote an essay for the Wall Street Journal in which he argued against any real health-care reform of the sort that would lift the burden of expensive health care off the backs of the working class. Instead, he argued for easing competition restrictions on health insurers as well as making it harder for victims of malpractice to sue their health care providers. (Source: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/08/17/whole-foods-fight/) This is an interesting statement coming from the CEO of an upscale, “health-oriented” grocery chain that tries hard to pretend to be “progressive.”
Some might take such Mackey's deed as an awful event, but increasingly, I see it as a blessing in disguise. For too long, those who oppose our corporatist state and its masters have seemed to lack a proper target for their opposition. John Mackey has just provided such a target. By this I mean that responding to corporatism by targeting lawmakers is ineffective, since they only listen to people with money. On the other hand, targeting the people with the money is likely to get much swifter and more decisive results.
Many people have responded to Mr. Mackey by calling for a boycott of Whole Foods stores. I agree entirely. I think Whole Foods should be boycotted until one of three things happen: either Whole Foods removes John Mackey, or Whole Foods publishes a statement supporting health care reform including single-payer health care, or Whole Foods goes out of business. I would also suggest something further.
There are several Whole Foods stores in the Portland metro area, including one store on Burnside, on the east side of the river, next to the Laurelhurst Theater. If a number of picketers showed up on a Saturday or Sunday, and I was passing by, I'd be most happy to take pictures, do interviews and write a “citizen journalism” post for this blog. All I'd ask is that the picketers maintain a good testimony of politeness and abide by the law, and that they have a plan for outing and staying clear of any agents provocateurs who might try to discredit them. In this, it might be helpful to study the G20 protests in London that took place earlier this year. If there is any sort of protest or picketing, I'd also encourage other bloggers and citizen journalists to cover such events.