How long will the era of woke corporatism persist? Over the past decade, a trend has materialized in which large corporations pander to the far left by openly supporting its causes and policies. There has been a fierce backlash against this development – especially from the right. Many have lambasted these companies for placing activism over profits. Nevertheless, the issue continues in large part because corporate leaders are unwilling to oppose the practice. But perhaps change is on the horizon.
Whole Foods Boss Takes on Socialism
Whole Foods CEO John Mackey recently participated in an interview on Reason Magazine’s podcast in which he decried the spread of socialism into various facets of American society – including the corporate world. “My concern is that I feel like socialists are taking over,” Mackey said and then elaborated:
“They’re marching through the institutions. They’re…taking over education. It looks like they’ve taken over a lot of the corporations. It looks like they’ve taken over the military. And it’s just continuing. You know, I’m a capitalist at heart, and I believe in liberty and capitalism. Those are my twin values. And I feel like, you know, with the way freedom of speech is today, the movement on gun control, a lot of the liberties that I’ve taken for granted most of my life, I think, are under threat.”
The Whole Foods founder also explained that he was discouraged from speaking out against the growth of Marxism in business and elsewhere. He said he was “intimidated enough to shut up.” Now that he is stepping down, Mackey indicated he would be more vocal in his opposition to socialism. “Pretty soon, you’re gonna hear about ‘Crazy John’ who’s no longer muzzled,” he laughed.
Will More Leaders Oppose Marxism?
The term “woke corporatism” was coined by New York Times columnist Ross Douthat in 2015. He was referring to a growing tendency on the part of corporations to publicly signal their support for woke causes to curry favor with the progressive crowd as a way of earning more business and avoiding cancel culture.
There have been several instances in which major companies have engaged in this form of wokeism. The most recent high-profile example was the Walt Disney Company’s feud with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis over the Parental Rights in Education bill, which resulted in the organization losing its favored tax status in the state.
In response to the overturning of Roe v. Wade, several companies have begun offering reimbursement to employees who would be forced to travel outside of their state to obtain an abortion. This move elicited criticism from people on both the left and the right who pointed out that these corporations were only instituting these policies to avoid having their female employees take more time off work to have their children.
In response to election integrity laws passed in Georgia, companies like Coca-Cola, Delta Air Lines, and Major League Baseball (MLB) publicly condemned the legislation, parroting the progressive line that they would lead to the suppression of minority votes. MLB made waves by moving its all-star game from Atlanta to Denver, CO, in protest of the laws. The move created controversy due to the fact that it would harm black-owned businesses in the city who would miss out on the millions of dollars in revenue that the event would have brought.
Will this trend ever end? If business leaders opposing the practice remain silent, it does not seem likely. Mackey has spoken out – and will likely continue in the future after he resigns. But if more individuals like him do not push back it will be even more of a challenge to persuade other leaders to go back to focusing on business instead of activism.