The True Politics of Whole Foods

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I usually shop for supplies at the corner bodega, rarely making it to an actual grocery store. But, when imagining a more responsible me, I picture myself with a steady girlfriend shopping at the local Whole Foods. Whole Foods seems like the sort of welcoming, liberal, eco-conscious shop imagined-me would be into.

Turns out I need to find a new store to fantasize about. While Whole Foods has “done a damn good job of publicly portraying itself as a lefty-friendly company” the owner, John Mackey, is a libertarian whose politics, “when stripped of a hippie veneer calculated to attract progressives, look far more like Ayn Rand’s than Barack Obama’s.”

Mackey is fighting against the Employee Free Choice Act, messing with health care reform, and absolutely hates unions, once stating: “The union is like having herpes. It doesn’t kill you, but it’s unpleasant and inconvenient, and it stops a lot of people from becoming your lover.”

Comparing unions to STDs is just the beginning. Discover the true politics of Whole Foods.


Isaac Fitzgerald has been a firefighter, worked on a boat, and was once given a sword by a king, thereby accomplishing three out of five of his childhood goals. Formerly of The Rumpus and McSweeney’s and most recently the founding editor of BuzzFeed Books, Isaac is now the co-host of BuzzFeed News’ Twitter Morning Show, #AMtoDM. He also appears frequently on The Today Show to talk books, and is co-author of Pen & Ink: Tattoos and the Stories Behind Them and Knives & Ink: Chefs and the Stories Behind Their Tattoos (with Recipes) (winner of an IACP award), and the author of a YA novel and picture book forthcoming from Bloomsbury. He uses Twitter. More from this author →