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News ::
Central Square Gap Store Defaced
18 Jun 2001
Modified: 22 Jun 2001
The Gap store in Central Square in Cambridge has been defaced with an anticapitalist slogan and accompanying anarchist symbols. (article 1)
a.jpg
The Gap store in Central Square in Cambridge has been defaced with an anticapitalist slogan and accompanying anarchist symbols. (article 2)
mustcrush.jpg
The Gap store in Central Square in Cambridge has been defaced with an anticapitalist slogan and accompanying anarchist symbols. (article 1)
The Gap, a clothing store chain whose name is used, in North America, as a synonym to Nike and sweatshop, has had one of its stores in Cambridge, Massachusetts, (Central Square) defaced with anti-capitalist slogans.

The politicization of the Gap store occured before midday Friday, June 15th, and is rumoured to have been done in daylight. For at least four days now, and despite a few attempts at erasing the political message, the windowed store front on the busy street reads "Must crush capitalism" with accompanying anarchist symbols. But this is only the latest development in the string of protests against the Gap in the Boston area, and with reason.

The Gap is one of the big beneficiaries of sweatshop labour. Around the world, yes, but also made in the "USA". USA is in quotation marks because the corporation makes use of dastardly marketing practices to avoid the accusations of "made in Sweatshop Thailand," by labelling some of its garment made by young women in the US territory of Saipan as made in the USA. But there is little more to the meaning of "USA" on that label because those workers are certainly not protected by labour rights. They work for less than minimum wage, work up to 12 hours a day, seven days a week with irregular overtime pay. When it's not working, they're living in sleeping quarters surrounded by barbed wire.

And pedestrians on Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge often have the chance to learn these facts near this particular store by reading a number of small posters placed throughout the area. When it's not a factsheet stating the extravagant hourly salary of its CEO compared to the hourly salary of its garment workers, it's a poster inviting the people of Cambridge to take part in May Day, anti-capitalist or anti-Bush actions.

But the windowed store front, which allows uninformed customers inside the store to see events occuring outside the confined area, has also been welcoming to activists. Many times anti-sweatshop and anti-capitalist demonstrations have taken this location as their center of action. And these actions have lasting effects. Next to the spraypainted anticapitalist slogans was a sticker from a previous action stating: "Throw brick here."

One might suspect that the workers don't feel committed enough in their relationship with the Gap to remove the sticker..
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gap's new image
22 Jun 2001
I don't represent a-infos, but thought i'd paste the following comment to illuminate:


A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E
http://www.ainfos.ca/
________________________________________________

Gap's New Image

On Monday, June 18th Gap unveiled a new promotional
display at stores nationwide.

Faded black jeans hanging in front of an anarchist-red
banner, the words "INDEPENDENCE," "FREEDOM," and "WE
THE PEOPLE" scrawled across display windows in fake
black spray paint.

Despite the fact that Gap makes their clothes in
sweatshops, and have been subject to many
demonstrations across the nation, they believe that
the growing movement against corporate power is now
large enough to begin marketing on. Now the protest
itself can be essentially sold to consumers as an
image.

However ridiculous this new marketing scheme seems at
first, due to the tremendous power of corporate
advertising over consumers, Gap just might pull it
off, trivializing the movement against free trade, and
selling jeans at the same time.

The effect that this new marketing could have on the
movement is tremendous. If Gap succeeds, it will mean
that every protest that is staged will be building on
their new image, in effect turning protestors and
activists into living, walking ads for Gap. Further,
if Gap succeeds it may become a trendsetter, and other
corporations might follow.

Currently, the majority of consumers are unaware of
how Gap stands on "independence" and "freedom."

Gap inc. is the corporation under which Gap, Old Navy,
and Banana Republic exist. All three companies have
been notorious for paying sweatshop workers as little
as 11 cents per hour in the third world, denying them
basic health care and the right to form unions, as
well as harassing, beating and forcing contraceptives
on them. Sweatshop workers generally work 12-14 hour
days (although sometimes 24) and can be as young as 12
years old.

Although many of Gap's clothes say "Made in USA" they
are actually produced in Saipan, a US territory where
normal US labor laws do not exist.

The Fisher Family that owns Gap also owns Mendicino
Redwood Company, an active logging company that is
deforesting the valuable redwood forests in Mendicino
County, California. The Fisher family also has a
notorious reputation for lobbying for privatizion of
education and other public works in their home state
of California.

It appears that to Gap inc., "Freedom" and
"Independence" only applies to the market, not the
people.

For more info visit: gapsucks.org, globalexchange.org,
and sweatwatch.org
See also:
http://www.ainfos.ca/