Big Corporations Now Deploying Woke Ideology the Way Intelligence Agencies Do: As a Disguise
By draping itself in the finery of political activism, the corporatist class consolidates political power, corrupts democracy and distracts from its real functions.
By, Glenn Greenwald, (excerpt)
Corporations have always sought to control the legislative process and executive branch, usually with much success. They purchase politicians and their power aides by hiring them as lobbyists and consultants when they leave government, and those bought-and-paid-for influence-peddlers then proceed to exploit their connections in Washington or state capitals to ensure that laws are written and regulations enforced (or not enforced) to benefit the corporations’ profit interests. These large corporations achieve the same goal by filling the campaign coffers of politicians from both parties. This is standard, age-old K Street sleaze that allows large corporations to control American democracy at the expense of those who cannot afford to buy this influence.
But they are now going far beyond clandestine corporatist control of the government for their own interests. They are now becoming increasingly powerful participants in highly polarizing and democratic debates. In the wake of the George Floyd killing last summer, it became virtually obligatory for every large corporation to proclaim support for the #BlackLivesMatter agenda even though many, if not most, had never previously evinced the slightest interest in questions of racial justice or policing.
One of the very few companies that refused to do so was the Silicon Valley-based cryptocurrency exchange platform called Coinbase — which announced that it would remain apolitical and not involve itself in partisan debates or causes of social justice unrelated to its core business mission. When announcing that policy of political neutrality, the company’s co-founder Brian Armstrong explained that “the reason is that while I think these efforts are well intentioned, they have the potential to destroy a lot of value at most companies, both by being a distraction, and by creating internal division.” That once-anodyne announcement — to stay out of politics as a corporate entity — produced instant backlash. And exactly two months after, the notoriously censorious and politicized “tech reporters” of The New York Times punished the company for its heresy of neutrality with a lengthy article depicting Coinbase as a bastion of racism and toxic bigotry (the company was also savaged by journalists because of its audacity to reveal and respond to the NYT’s allegations in advance of the paper’s decision to publish).
Ever since, large corporations are diving into numerous other political debates with great vigor and force — provided that their views are in alignment with affluent liberal culture and prevailing social justice pieties (though, like NBA officials and stars, they confine themselves to easy domestic causes and scripted liberal platitudes while they steadfastly avoid commenting on any injustices that may implicate their business interests, such as debates over repression in China or Amazon’s abuse of its workers). The Wall Street Journal on Sunday reported that “dozens of chief executives and other senior leaders gathered on Zoom this weekend to plot what several said big businesses should do next about new voting laws under way in Texas and other states.” The campaign against these laws includes not just corporate giants but also the nation’s largest and richest corporate law firms.
Part of the motive may be self-serving strategy. With Democrats controlling both houses of Congress as well as the Executive Branch — all of the instruments that can legislate and regulate their businesses — they may be calculating that using their massive weight to serve the Democratic Party’s political agenda is wise. Doing so could curry favor with powerful lawmakers and regulators and result in rewards or, conversely, allow them to avoid punishment and recrimination for the crime of refusing to engage in activism. That motive at least partially explains why they have been so generous with their donations to Democratic candidates. “Wall Street is putting its money behind Democrat Barack Obama for president,” reported Reuters in 2008, while they did the same overwhelmingly in 2020 to support Biden over Trump (just as Democrats have increasingly become the party of affluent suburbanites, they are also increasingly supported by the wealthiest corporate and tech power centers)…