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How to Reclaim Antitrust for Working People and Small Business

STACY MITCHELL  |   DEC. 12, 2019

Photo: PaulOn the podcast, Stacy Mitchell is joined by law scholar Sanjukta Paul for an eye-opening look at how, in recent years, our antitrust laws have often been used to weaken the power of workers and small businesses, while granting large corporations expansive rights to control economic activity.

Paul explains how this approach turns antitrust policy on its head, violating its original goals. She and Stacy discuss how we can reclaim antitrust. “The new edifice has to be built by many hands and not by a few hands,” Paul says. “That’s what antitrust law originally came from… a mass movement and a popular movement.” LISTEN TO THE PODCAST HERE.


Featured Highlights of 2019

SUSAN R. HOLMBERG  |   JAN. 9, 2020

Here’s a brief recap of a few of our wins and highlights from last year, including great content you might have missed! 
  • If you’re still trying to wrap your mind around Amazon’s sweeping aims — or know someone who is — check out Stacy Mitchell’s conversation with Chris Hayes on his popular podcast. A great listen.
  • Amazon relented to pressure and dropped its plans for “HQ2” in Queens. Our analysis of Amazon’s monopoly power figured in the debate.
  • The Federal Trade Commission came under growing scrutiny for failing to check monopoly power. We fanned the flame. ILSR’s Zach Freed put out a call-to-action about a pending merger designed to crush indie office supply businesses. Together with allies, we generated a record 1,870 public comments.
  • For The Atlantic, Stacy wrote about how the Democratic Party long ago abandoned small businesses, and how Elizabeth Warren’s efforts to reclaim this constituency could revive what was once a core tenet of the party: In a democracy, a primary purpose of government is to disperse economic power.
  • We published an eye-opening map illustrating Walmart’s utter dominance of hundreds of local grocery markets.
  • Stacy testified before the House Judiciary Committee at a hearing on the monopoly power of Big Tech.
  • Galvanized by our research on the devastating impact of dollar stores, at least a dozen cities passed laws to block these chains and support the creation of new local grocery stores.
  • We told the story of How a Rebirth of Independent Pharmacies Could Cure Rural Ills, and provided policy guidance to state lawmakers on how to make that happen.
  • ILSR helped found Athena, the first national coalition organized to fight Amazon’s growing grip over our economy.

While the holiday season is over, you can still give to ILSR! Our mission remains steadfast and relevant. Your contribution at will help us unleash the power that communities have to build a more democratic, equitable, and sustainable future.


  • We welcomed Ron Knox to our team as Senior Researcher and Writer. Ron has written about antitrust and monopoly power for more than a decade, holding various senior editorial roles at Global Competition Review, and writing for The Washington Post, Slate, The American Prospect, and elsewhere.
  • Stacy talked with Texas Public Radio and Vermont Public Radio about the spread of dollar stores (metro Fort Worth has over 100). Stacy explained that “By opening at that level of density they really crowd out the possibility of other local businesses coming in, and particularly other grocery stores from getting a foothold in the market.”
  • Axios quoted Stacy on how Amazon is “essentially operating as a regulator of shipping companies." The Durango Herald cited our 2018 report about Amazon’s quiet moves to take over city purchasing. And Computer Weekly featured our insights in a long story about the competition concerns around Amazon’s giant web services division.



  • Amazon has become its own mailman, shipping almost half of its own packages and handling nearly as many parcels in 2019 as FedEx did.
  • Among those packages are deliveries from dumpster divers who sell trash, including food, on Amazon’s site. In fact, Amazon is facing more lawsuits about dangerous and counterfeit goods.
  • Meanwhile, ProPublica reports that Amazon has made deliberate decisions to prioritize delivery speed over traffic safety.
  • Software developers report that Amazon Web Services is “strip mining” their innovations by steering cloud customers to its own copycat versions of their popular apps.
  • As it pushes into healthcare, Amazon has launched a new service that transcribes and analyzes conversations between doctors and patients.
  • Pharmacy benefit managers — the same predatory corporations that are menacing independent pharmacies — have been implicated in sharply rising costs for insulin
  • Rising rents threaten New York City’s small theaters, which are integral to the city’s arts and culture industry.
  • In heartfelt letters, New York Times readers applaud their beloved local hardware and appliance stores. "Stores like [this] are a local treasure that are becoming harder and harder to find.” 
  • Finally, in Kansas City, an Amazon backlash is spurring new growth of independent bookstores.

Learn more about ILSR and our initiatives by reading our annual report.
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