“Walmart’s selling the Slingshot organizer?!” – Addressing Rumors

Right now if you Google “Slingshot Organizer” the first thing you get is a sponsored link to purchase the 2012 Slingshot Organizer from the Walmart website. A few weeks ago a link to this search result went viral on the internet and Slingshot got lots of emails from horrified people wondering why we would sell the organizer to Walmart.

Slingshot collective does not sell the Slingshot organizer to Walmart and there is no reason to think that anyone can walk into a brick–and–mortar Walmart and purchase a Slingshot organizer. We think the Walmart website lists the organizer for sale because their computer automatically lists every book that is available through the book distribution network on its website.

The experience of having numerous heartless corporate websites like Walmart, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and even Sears (!) list our volunteer–published radical organizer — without any of them asking us or our collective ever mailing any of them a copy — demonstrates how capitalism run on auto–pilot by computers works. The process of homogenization and alienation of products from the people and communities that produce them is powerful and disorientating.

We are certainly annoyed and embarrassed that these websites list the organizer, and we suspect that most of them would be annoyed and embarrassed too, if they knew about it, given the scandalous anti–corporate contents of the organizer. There were protests nationwide on Black Friday against the appallingly low wages and poor working conditions at Walmart and we’re pretty sure Walmart wouldn’t enjoy the organizer’s suggestions on occupying banks or resisting police repression.

Slingshot collective distributes most of the organizers we print directly to a network of infoshops, food co–ops, and small independent bookstores that we’ve built relationships with over the last 20 years. We also distribute about 20% of the organizers through the following small, independent distributors: AK Press, Buy Olympia, Small Changes, Microcosm, Pioneers Press, Vision Works, Last Gasp, Active Distro (London) and Kersplebedeb (Canada).

All of these distributors are collectives or small mom–and–pop operations that have long traditions in the alternative / counterculture scene. Some of these distributors have relationships with larger book distribution companies which is how we think the Slingshot ended up on the Walmart and other corporate websites. It is hard to know if making the organizer available to independent bookstores beyond our own network through distributors is worth the price of also making the organizer available to the big corporate players who are systematically destroying independent stores. Capitalism and dehumanizing high technology present countless lose–lose propositions like this — most of them a lot more oppressive and environmentally destructive than listing Slingshot on a website.

A few years ago, a Borders bookstore sent Slingshot collective an order for some Slingshot organizers. We decided at a meeting that we would refuse to fill orders from big business fucks — because we want to support independent bookstores and alternatives to the capitalist machine. While we have never sent organizers to any big corporate entity, it is hard to keep their computers from sweeping us up along with every other product out there.

We hope folks who use the organizer will ignore the corporate websites and get an organizer from a small collective near you. Doing so supports that collective as well as our collective.