Resist the Corporate Hive-Mind—Boycott Duane Reade!

2010 April 29
by Ando Arike

In two previous posts to this site I’ve briefed readers on the latest assault against Williamsburg’s health and integrity as a community—the upcoming opening of a Duane Reade mega-drugmart on Bedford Avenue and North 3rd. Not only will this be the second Duane Reade outlet within six blocks, but its opening is clearly a hostile, aggressive move—corporate strategists have sited the new megamart opposite the locally-owned King’s Pharmacy and Millennium Health Food store, a direct threat to the health of these long-time fixtures of Bedford Avenue, and a signal by this giant drugstore chain, now owned by retail mammoth Walgreens, that it has little regard for neighborhood institutions. Growing numbers of residents are realizing that if this initial invasion is successful, an onslaught of corporate parasites will soon follow. This threat to Williamsburg’s uniqueness and friendly scale must be resisted.

My last post included an email I’d sent to the international public relations firm Financial Dynamics (FD), which manages Duane Reade’s media spin, and I promised WBO readers some answers to the pressing questions we all have about Duane Reade’s intentions. Unfortunately, FD’s media rep, Samantha Cohen, did not feel that our questions deserved an answer—she has not bothered to respond to my email. Perhaps readers would like to try to reach her themselves: Cohen’s phone number at FD’s Wall Street office is 212-850-5737; her email is It seems to me that Duane Reade has some explaining to do; but maybe the corporate hive-mind thinks that it can merely roll over any opposition. As Star Trek’s Borg often droned, “Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated…”

This week the plywood barrier was removed from the Duane Reade construction site, and we got a first look at the new architectural addition to Bedford Avenue—a storefront that might have landed from Mars, for all the relation it bears to its surroundings. Indeed, the facade is an indication of how corporate architects and execs view the neighborhoods they target for invasion—that is, as potential locations for strip malls. The overarching theme is one of sterility, homogenization, and rootless consumption, the ethos of a culture of disposability—throwaway things, throwaway people, throwaway places. Contrast the grim scene on the left with that on the right and one can see why places like Williamsburg attract the Corporate Hive-Mind, which like leeches or tapeworms or crab-lice or deer-ticks must attach to sources of cultural vitality in order to live. Vacuous and sterile on its own, the Hive-Mind requires fresh cultural blood to reproduce itself and spread its pernicious influence deeper into world’s marrow. And once it has gained a foothold,  the corporate parasite eventually sickens and kills its host by robbing the community of essential nutrients and poisoning the complex web of  relationships that give a neighborhood life.

As the day draws near for the opening assault of this new Corporate Blight on Williamsburg, we need to resist the seductions of Hive-Mind and begin persuading others that the life of a Corporate Zombie is no life at all. Below are PDFs of three Boycott Duane Reade flyers that you’ll begin seeing around the neighborhood; we suggest downloading these, copying them, and posting them freely—or creating your own methods of resistance. Help us Stop Corporate Creep now, before it spreads further!

Boycott Duane Reade/Stop Corporate Creep I

Boycott Duane Reade/Stop Corporate Creep II

Boycott Duane Reade/Resist the Corporate Hive-Mind

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.