Is it possible that we are seeing the beginning of the end of woke corporatism? It might sound a bit farfetched, but it is entirely possible. Over the past couple of weeks, conservatives have won several victories against companies that kowtowed to the hard left to avoid the wrath of the Cancel Culture Community.
The Washington Times reported:
Conservatives have claimed a series of victories as they escalated their assault on “woke” corporate culture with a campaign of letters, boycotts and shareholder activism.
They pointed to wins with the closure of the CNN+ streaming service, Florida stripping Disney of preferential tax benefits over its LGBTQ political lobbying, and Tesla billionaire Elon Musk purchasing Twitter to loosen its censorship of conservatives.
These are some significant developments. But the battle is continuing.
Three different, right-leaning organizations sent a letter to American Express CEO Steve Squeri, urging him to do away with several different woke policies. “The letter highlights internal company documents about staff training in ‘microaggressions’ and support for Black Lives Matter,” according to the Washington Times. “It also cites documents showing that American Express ties 15% of executive bonuses to a colleague diversity policy that incentivizes managers to hire and fire employees based on their race and sex.”
Amex said in a statement to the Times that the claims are “absolutely false,” and that the company “has a longstanding commitment to living our company values, which include fostering a diverse and inclusive culture where all colleagues can thrive.”
The Times also reported that “nine Republican senators asked the Senate Sergeant at Arms to remove Citibank as the chamber’s credit card provider because it finances ‘abortion tourism’ by paying for employees in states with pro-life laws to travel out of state to terminate pregnancies.”
American Conservative Values (ACVF) ETF investment group is one of the organizations taking action against woke corporations. William Flaig, the CEO, indicated that he intends “to boycott as many companies hostile to conservative values as possible,” and that the group has “created a growing community of politically conservative investors whose insights and concerns are eagerly sought out by ACVF’s management team.”
However, some corporations are resisting efforts to de-wokify their policies. “Goldman Sachs, Pfizer, and Johnson and Johnson shareholders on Thursday voted against proposed audits of their companies’ political stances on transgender and race issues,” according to the Times.
Goldman Sachs’ board pushed shareholders to also vote against a proposal to conduct an audit of the company’s political and charitable contributions. Pfizer rejected a similar measure. Johnson & Johnson’s board also shot down the idea of auditing its anti-racism training and hiring policies. “Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) is built into Our Credo and has long been a core value of the Company,” it said in a proxy statement.
National Public Policy Research Center, another conservative group, purchased stock in these companies so it could introduce the proposals. “Most of them fail because of how BlackRock, Vanguard, State Street, ISS and Glass Lewis dominate proxy voting. It’s rigged,” said Ethan Peck, an associate with the center’s Free Enterprise.
Ed Rensi, a former CEO of McDonalds, leads The Boardroom Initiative, which promotes the proposals. He declared they would continue pushing the proposals even after being rejected. “Americans are tired of corporations going ‘woke,’ and they’re starting to realize they have to power to change that,” he said.
It is certainly encouraging to see conservatives fighting these battles. It is a welcome development that could affect positive change. At some point, consumers will grow weary of being lectured to by the companies they patronize. There is only so much finger-wagging that people can take. Nobody wants to buy from a business that despises them.
This will not be an easy fight to win. But it can be done. We only need to look at Disney, CNN, and other companies to see that wokeism is not an invincible leviathan. If enough people are willing to stand against attempts to compel compliance with the tenets of wokeism, then companies will realize that catering to this crowd isn’t as profitable as they originally thought.
This is where the phrase “the squeaky wheel gets the grease” is applicable. Woke progressives typically get what they want because they screech the loudest. They love employing cancel culture to frighten companies into going along with their folderol. When conservatives get louder, they have a better chance of winning. Hopefully, this is a lesson they take to heart.