Wal-Mart movie: a must-see film!

Team AlterNet East (minus one staff writer) met up last night to attend the screening of Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price. (Full disclosure: Robert Greenwald is on the board of the IMI, AlterNet's parent organization.) I won't speak for my colleagues, of course, but I can't say enough good things about this film. I wasn't entirely sure what to expect when I sat down in the packed theater; many of us who work in the field came in with an army of knowledge about the evil of Wal-Mart.

That knowledge quickly faded to the background as I became sucked into the stories that were being told, from the mom-and-pop store owners run out of their own towns, to the Chinese factory workers toiling away in sweatshops, to the unlikely anti-Wal-Mart activist with pictures of Bush on her wall.

Interlaced with the stories are clips of CEO Lee Scott telling the corporate "side" of the story through news clips, inside Wal-Mart rally videos and more. The juxtaposition is at times obscene. Example: Wal-Mart workers contribute voluntarily to a fund to help fellow workers in times of crisis; last year, they collectively contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars. How much did the Walton family -- the richest family in America, thanks to those workers -- contribute to the fund? $6,000.

If you're in San Francisco tonight, catch the West Coast premiere (link opens a PDF) of the film sponsored by AlterNet, Equal Rights Advocates, and Brave New Films. Screenings will be held nationwide in homes and churches near you in a couple more weeks.

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