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Charleston, SC- Activists brought Uncle Samity Clause to King Street on Sunday, December 9 to challenge Walmart’s corrosive dominance of the holiday economy.

Dressed in a rented Santa Jacket and Uncle Sam hat, human rights activist Larry Carter Center, who stands well over six feet tall and over seven with the hat on made an imposing, but jolly figure on the historic street, surrounded by a group of holiday singers handing out song sheets.

-Video of Street Theater Demonstration on right.
The Demonstration took place during the holiday version of the monthly 2nd Sunday on King festival, when the historic shopping street is closed to traffic.  There was a huge crowd present which allowed person to person contact which had been impossible at the Black Friday protest against Walmart in N. Charleston held last month where demonstrators had to stay on the sidewalk and most people were in their cars.

Organizers of the Festival indicated they would prefer that the demonstration not be held and the festival be maintained as zone free of politics, but they did not attempt to interfere with the demonstrator’s access to the event, which is held on a public street.  Relations with law enforcement were cordial.

The song sheet contained a few basic facts about Walmart and three original Christmas Carol Parodies: God Rest Ye Walmart Stockholders (Words in the extended part of this post), Samty Claus is Coming to Town and By Local This Christmas (Set to the tune of We Wish You a Merry Christmas).  Passers by were invited to join in the singing and several did.  The public was encourage to drop the song sheet by their local Walmart’s Customer Service desk when they were done with it.

The Demonstration was covered by two local television stations and received pre event coverage on WTMA radio, a local conservative radio station.  Local media tended to transmit the buy local and American message, while filtering out the worker’s justice and better pay issues.

-Promo Video at Left.
However the over 1000 people contacted downtown and on a later tour of the staging area for the nearby Mount Pleasant Christmas Parade got the full message direct from the activists.  A few people indicated support for Walmart.  One tea party member loved the songs and message until they were told we weren't associated with the local 9-12 group, at which point she handed the song sheet back.  We avoided lengthy engagements with people who were oppositional and focused on keeping the group together and moving so we could reach as many people as possible.

About 80 King Street businesses were contacted prior to the demonstration with an in store visit and given an informational flyer (Downloadable PDF Flyer) as well.  This same flyer was used to recruit participants at the Southern Human Rights Organizers Conference in Charleston earlier that weekend.  Many of the businesses contacted indicated they appreciated the expression of support for small, local business though this conservative community struggles with the reality that Walmart is a dangerous, globalized competitor.  Many business owners and members of the public were very supportive on the entire message however and its clear that public awareness about off shoring American jobs and unfair big box store competition is penetrating even the red South.

A lot was learned in this first effort and organizers how to improve on the Street theater effort next year with rehearsal, better costumes and some instrumental support for the singing.  More manageable signs, printed on the back of a laminated 11x17 version of the song sheet would work better for the participants, allowing them to read off one side while holding up the other.  If a strong unit of performers can be brought together, the effort might turn up at multiple holiday events in the Lowcountry next year, including a possible parade float.

Many people wanted to have their picture taken with Uncle Samity Claus and put those images on social media.  Next year, the costume should include a Political type button or sash which helps transmit the demonstrations message when Uncle Samity Claus is photographed.

We’ll respond to questions and feedback in the comment section to this post.  The full Lyrics to God Rest Ye Walmart Stockholders are after the jump at the bottom of this post.  Click the "Continue Reading Panel" to see the lyrics.

God rest ye WalMart Stockholders
New words by Dave Crossley

God rest ye WalMart Stockholders
not losing any sleep
you're lowballing your payroll
while giving discounts deep

but no one dares to quit their jobs
in this economy
oh, tithings of food stamps and bills (utility bills)
oh, tithings of food stamps and bills

God rest WalMart executives
how can you even sleep
from slave labor in China
to hometown poverty

and taxpayers to foot the bill
for your frivolity
oh, tithings of food stamps and bills (utility bills)
oh, tithings of food stamps and bills

And now our old Sam Walton's
turned over in his grave
who built himself a discount chain
that treats it's folks like slaves

From Bangladesh to Apple we
exploit this supply chain
oh, tithings of food stamps and bills (utility bills)
oh, tithings of food stamps and bills

Originally posted to wjhamilton29464 on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 08:55 AM PST.

Also republished by National Parody Administration.


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