Adam - I knew you had a progressive background and it sounds similar to mine. I have no privilege except for my white skin (which surely is alot of privilege in itself). Many, many people without privilege, including white skin, see Starbucks as a legitimate threat to small business, partly by way of their tactics in setting up and forcing small business out. They had to be bullied into respecting and paying half decent prices to small suppliers, blah, blah, blah. And being delicious is a great seduction. So are low prices at Walmart. Right along with cigarettes and liquor, coffee is one of these beloved, legal, expensive addictions. Personally, I see Starbucks as having led the way to the resurgence of mass consumption of a drug that screws with our adrenal system among other things. I cannot imagine why anyone wants to defend it and belittle the politics of those who point out any number of issues about it. Your arguments don't make sense to me. They'r'e not even arguments, Adam. Whether mom & pop businesses had unions or decent wages or health insurance isn't a defense of Starbucks. Its no defense even if 600,000 demonstrators loved it. Neither is the fact that lots of privileged white people love it and are willing to pay for it. How many working class latino people do you see mobbing starbucks - and have you noticed that it is only in upscale and predominantly white neighborhoods? I just don't see any defense on any level.
All that being said - I use the coffee grinds and am glad to get them. But if I had to give up the coffee grinds to protect the neighborhood coffee shop struggling down the street from our local Starbucks - the one that gets students and the working class of my neighborhood - I'd give it up in a heart beat. I try to separate my addictions from my politics.
And that being said - I can't tell you how much I've enjoyed how well you make links between the whole slew off good issues and community gardeners. You've been great in openly supporting people raising issues that some try to shut off in the name of this being a community garden only discussion group. In friendly combat - Laurie - Chicago