Virtue signaling in corporate America has become as much of a marketing strategy as television commercials and magazine ads. Most recently, the “Black Lives Matter” (BLM) demonstrations have provided ample opportunity for corporations to demonstrate how “woke” they are, by donating money to BLM and issuing self-serving tweets trumpeting their generosity and “wokeness.”
The ease with which groups like BLM are able to successfully pressure corporate leaders to bow to their demands may surprise some observers, but it is in fact nothing new. Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton honed the strategy to near perfection years ago.
At its core, such corporate capitulation reflects a deep, if unexplainable corporate sense of racial guilt that can be triggered by outside groups pressing the right buttons. The strategy appears often to work even though the true goals of those exerting the pressure may have little, if anything to do with racial justice, and everything to do with funding an anti-capitalist movement designed to destroy these very corporations in the name of “social progress.”
BLM’s leaders do not even feel the need to hide their true goals from their corporate victims. In a recent interview, BLM founder Patrisse Cullors identifies herself and fellow co-founder Alicia Garza as “trained Marxists.” This is no slip of the tongue. Such language reflects the Movement’s philosophical underpinnings and goals -- the dismantling of America’s capitalist economic system as a “racist tool.”
As with so many other contemporary “progressive” movements, such as “Fight for 15,” “Extinction Rebellion,” and “Occupy,” BLM starts with a superficially worthy niche to gain quick publicity and support. Many of the protestors who came out to support BLM in the immediate aftermath of George Floyd’s murder, for example, may very well have been marching for genuine justice reform issues; unaware they were pawns in a much larger game orchestrated by Cullors and Garza. This is precisely how these movements have become so effective.
Leaders of these movements build strength of numbers around their particular public “causes,” then use the resulting influence to stealthily move the conversation to the real goal. This is how the Floyd protests morphed quickly from demands for reasoned reforms to violence, looting, and capturing a multi-block section of a major American city. Corporate CEOs who are more afraid of tarnishing their image than standing for principle, are then ripe for groups like BLM to demand ransom in the form of dollars; lots of dollars.
This also helps explain why BLM and other protestors have shown no discretion or logic in toppling public statues and monuments; lumping those of Confederate generals together with their Union adversaries, former presidents of the United States, abolitionists like Matthias Baldwin, and many more.
It gets worse.
Just as Karl Marx recognized the need to dismantle organized religion in order for his collectivist and statist movement to succeed, the current movement engineered by BLM and its cohorts has taken on a decidedly anti-religion tone. Shaun King, a high profile “justice” commentator, called for the destruction of “white” Christian artifacts including statues of Jesus and stained glass windows, declaring them tools of “white supremacy.” As it was for Marx one-and-a-half centuries ago, the goal today is the destruction of Western culture.
Those who believe this movement will stop with statues and monuments are hopelessly naive. The Marxist radicals directing BLM and the broader anti-capitalist movement are targeting the institutional underpinnings of American society. Their efforts to destroy institutions of higher learning have become disturbingly commonplace, with repeated purges of faculty, administrators, and even students who refuse or simply fail to bow to the demands of the mob.
In the political arena things are playing out according to script. Democrats willingly allow themselves to be led by the mob, and most GOP leaders are too meek to stand up to it; perhaps believing that if they bow just a bit they will not be consumed by the movement.
With such spineless leadership at the top corporate and political echelons of American society, it is becoming increasingly difficult to view the future with any degree of optimism.
Bob Barr represented Georgia’s 7 District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2003 and was the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia from 1986 to 1990. He now serves as President of the Law Enforcement Education Foundation based in Atlanta, Georgia.