What is it?
It’s a six-week film club for about 10-16 people people from around the world who are working for Amazon or have worked for the company in the past (but not for managers, sorry!).
Every week we’ll all watch a film or TV episode (or sometimes play a game) then gather on Zoom for 90-minutes to discuss it.
If you come to five of the six sessions, you’ll be eligible for a gift card worth $100.
This is in no way associated with the Amazon corporation, it’s being run by university researchers (more information below).
Who can participate?
Anyone who works, directly or indirectly for Amazon, but is not a manager.
That includes warehouse workers, delivery drivers, people with office jobs or even folks who make money on Amazon’s MTurk platform or people who work for companies that do most or all of their business with Amazon.
As long as your income depends on Amazon and you’re not in management, this is for you.
Even if you used to work for Amazon, you are welcome to join.
You can come from anywhere in the world, although we will have meetings during the day or evening in North American time zones.
When will this club meet?
If you are interested, fill in the survey below.
One of the questions asks you when you can meet, and we’ll pick a weekly time that’s good for most people.
We plan to start meetings around early November
the end of October, 2021.
What films will we be watching? And how will you watch them?
If you register using the form below, we will ask you if there are particular films (or episodes of shows) you’d love to discuss. The only thing is that they should have something to do with what it feels like to work at Amazon, or about the kind of future you imagine Amazon might create (good or bad or just different), or alternative futures!
To kick things off, however, we’ll be watching the film Snowpiercer for our first meeting and then an episode of Black Mirror for our second.
After that, the group will decide.
If you don’t have access to the right streaming services, we’ll find a way to help you out.
What will happen at a meeting?
Before each meeting everyone will find and watch that week’s film (or sometimes a TV show or a game).
We’ll make sure these are easy to access though you may need to pay a rental or subscription fee, depending on your country (we can pay you back for the cost).
Then, when we meet, one of our team will facilitate a discussion so that everyone gets a chance to share their opinions and discuss. We might also have smaller breakout rooms for folks who don’t like to talk in a big group.
Some people are concerned about privacy. Club members are also welcome to use a codename instead of their real name, and you have to promise not to share information about other participants with people outside of the group. You can also keep your camera off, if you want.
Who is behind this and why are you doing it?
We are a team of academic researchers from Canada working at RiVAL: The ReImagining Value Action Lab, which is entirely publicly funded (it doesn’t accept money from corporations) and is at arms length from the government. We have nothing to do with Amazon at all.
We are Max Haiven, Graeme Webb and Xenia Benivolski
We’re doing this for a couple of reasons.
First, RiVAL is dedicated to fostering “the radical imagination,” which is basically the ability to think that the world could be different and fairer, and it organizes a lot of events like this to bring people together to talk about important topics and about the future.
Second, we’re doing a research project about the kind of future Amazon is creating for its workers and we want to learn about what workers themselves think about the future.
So it’s research? Will this be recorded? Am I a lab rat?
No, we won’t record the club meetings, but our research team will take notes.
And this research project isn’t about studying participants like lab rats: it’s a way of doing research that is mostly about having an interesting conversation.
Our research is based on the idea that it’s not just for experts and professors to try and understand the world. Everyday people and workers can and should come together to try and figure out what’s happening and where things are going.
Our team will be learning from the participants, and we’ll be making personal reflections on what we learned and sharing those with other researchers.
And a reminder: you can always use a codename. We will never reveal your identity.
I’m sold! where do I sign up?
Great! We need you to do two things
- Read the invitation letter below (or download here)
- Use the form below to register (or complete here)
If everything works out, we will be in touch within a week or so to let you know more details.
You can complete the form below, or here: https://forms.gle/xxH5h4x4E3pdpDTq5
I’m not convinced…
Naturally! You’ve probably seen enough dystopian films to be suspicious…
Maybe the FAQ below will convince you. If not, please don’t hesitate to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get back to you ASAP.
So wait, who are you guys again?
Here’s a little about each of us and our pictures. We all work for RiVAL: The ReImagining Value Action Lab, which is part of Lakehead University, a public university (funded at arms-length by the Canadian government) located in Thunder Bay and Orillia, in the Canadian province of Ontario.
Are you guys against Amazon?
Personally, all three of us are quite worried about the kind of world Amazon is creating, especially for workers, although we also realize lots of people like working at Amazon for a lot of reasons.
In general, we feel that big corporations have too much power in society and are using it to shape the future and we prefer democracy. But in the end, this project isn’t really about our opinions, it’s about creating a space for dialogue and discussion.
What if I can’t make all the meetings of the club?
That’s fine. Come to as many as you can. To be eligible for the $100 gift you need to attend 5/6, but we’re not really that strict.
Can I bring a friend or family member?
Potentially. We really want to make sure the conversation is mostly among Amazon workers and former workers, but your friend or family member is welcome to attend as long as they don’t take up too much of the conversation.
Should I be worried about Amazon getting mad or firing me for participating?
We don’t think so. We’re not doing anything to threaten them, it’s just a film club. But also, you can always use a codename and choose not to have your camera on if you want to remain anonymous.