Empire Logistics is an interactive mapping project begun in 2009. As a collaborative initiative, Empire Logistics maps the global supply chain through research that articulates the infrastructure and ‘externalized costs’—human, economic, social and environmental—of the international flow of things.
Capitalism relies on an integrated infrastructure of production clusters and transportation networks—comprised of ports, warehouses, rail lines, highways, pipelines, information grids and investment vehicles—in order to produce and circulate commodities. The physical nodes are arrayed in clusters of factories, warehouses, refineries, logistics services, and retail, all tied together by maritime, rail, trucking, pipeline and telecom networks. This global “factory without walls” allows capitalists to scour the planet for the cheapest and most compliant labor, externalizing costs of its maintenance onto the working class. These networks generate flows of commodities and information with ever-increasing speed, as the system strives for just-in-time production and inventory-less distribution for a unified global market. Empire Logistics is a mapping project that demonstrates how these nodes, clusters, networks, corridors and flows are interconnected within an integrated system of production, distribution and consumption.
Supply chains are vulnerable and Empire Logistics’ goal is to identify where working-class solidarity has the greatest possibility to spread up and down the chain, across sectors, borders–and even oceans. We envision a world beyond supply chains. In providing useful and accessible mapping, data, and media documenting the nature and effects of the global supply chain, we aim to facilitate direct response to immediate social/economic problems through collective actions that bypass official media channels, and to help forge connections and solidarity among related struggles.
If you are interested in joining the project as a researcher, contributor, collaborator, or worker, please contact us.