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We are devastated by the racist treatment and senseless killing of George Floyd. Along with our neighbors in Minneapolis, we mourn his tragic death, and recognize the profound harm that decades of unjust, anti-Black, and oppressive policies have inflicted on people of color. Read ILSR's initial statement. We'll be sharing more in the coming days about how we are responding in our work.
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FEATURES

Canadian National Radio: Why It’s Crucial to Wrest Power From Amazon

SUSAN R. HOLMBERG  |   JUNE 11, 2020

While Covid-19 has meant huge revenues for Amazon, it has also magnified the consequences of its monopoly power and galvanized calls for antitrust reforms. In this 30-minute interview on Canadian national radio, Stacy Mitchell talks about how to understand Amazon’s structural power and its consequences, and about the growing momentum in Congress to do something.

As Stacy explains, “This is a company that dominates online shopping, that provides the backbone for much of the world's internet and data storage, that is now shipping more packages than the U.S. Postal Service … We can talk about the importance of competition and the bullying in the marketplace. But, ultimately, the fear that I have is that we're losing democracy...That Amazon has a lot more power than the rest of us do combined, in shaping the future of the country.” READ EXCERPTS & LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW.

FEATURES

Biting Back: Delivery Apps are Gobbling Up Restaurant Revenues, and Cities Have Had Enough

KENNEDY SMITH   |   MAY 29, 2020

As restaurants shift to home-delivery, they are at the mercy of delivery apps, such as Grubhub and Uber Eats, which dominate the market and routinely charge restaurants fees of 30 percent or more. As a result, many restaurants offering takeout during the pandemic are losing money. To prevent this milking, some cities have capped the fees the apps can charge. (And restaurants are urging customers to order directly.) READ MORE

EVENTS

  • Join Stacy Wednesday June 24th at 12pm ET for “Big Tech’s Increasing Power,” a webinar hosted by NetGain Partnership. Stacy will talk with Brandi Collins-Dexter from Color Of Change and David Segal of Demand Progress. Media Democracy Fund’s Amber French is moderating. Register here.  
  • ILSR Senior Researcher and Writer Ron Knox will be moderating a panel on consolidation in the music industry at the American Association of Independent Music’s Indie Week. The event is on June 17 at 3pm ET. Register here.

WHAT WE'VE BEEN UP TO


ON THE PODCAST

On our latest episode of Building Local Power, host Jess Del Fiacco talks with Kennedy Smith, who has been closely tracking how states and cities have been supporting small businesses affected by the pandemic. Listen here. And check out ILSR’s Big List of Covid Assistance Programs.

ICYMI 

In the American Prospect, ILSR Senior Researcher Ron Knox explains how a regulatory system that is supposed to protect the food supply has instead undermined small, local slaughterhouses and consolidated production in a few giant meatpacking plants that are now rampant with Covid-19. READ MORE.

 

NEWS STORIES WE'RE FOLLOWING

  • Amazon issued a statement in support of Black lives, but the corporation’s surveillance contracts with police departments tell another story.

  • At least 11 local television stations aired Amazon propaganda pieces as though they were legitimate news stories.

  • Amazon, Facebook, and Google are gathering their forces to fight enforcement of our antitrust laws.

  • Amazon has always had companies bid for premier placement on its site, but during the pandemic, it began putting its own brands at the front of the line, raising additional antitrust concerns.
  • Amazon refuses to release data on the number of coronavirus cases in its warehouses.

  • While all small businesses are taking a hit during the pandemic, the number of working Black business owners has fallen a staggering 40 percent.
  • "There needs to be a serious reckoning" about how the government’s PPP relief program for small businesses is “driving racial inequality in our country.”

  • On top of that, it’s becoming abundantly clear that the PPP loans are not sufficient to save many small businesses.
  • Blackstone, and private equity at large, is licking its chops as distressed retailers, restaurants, and hotel owners struggle with the pandemic.

  • In Philadelphia, and across the country, Black and immigrant business districts, already fragile from a lack of capital investment, suffered major losses from looters.
  • After the megabanks denied PPP relief to Black-owned businesses in Charlotte, North Carolina, a rural community bank situated east of the city stepped in to help.

  • A New York bookstore owner says staggeringly high rents are a bigger threat than Amazon or coronavirus and explains the perverse market realities that drive rents up even as vacancies surge.

  • One large Detroit landlord is offering its retail tenants a variable rate for rent, pegged at seven percent of gross sales, through the end of 2020.
  • After Minneapolis-based Lloyd’s Pharmacy was destroyed by arsonists, the local community is helping it rebuild.

  • Toronto plans to digitize 3,000 independent stores by the end of August.

From informing policymakers to shaping media coverage, ILSR's research is
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