New Op-ed: The Corporatist Cartel and Its ‘Social Justice’ Hypocrisy
General Motors CEO Mary Barra tells us her company will be focused on social injustice as well as the bottom line following the murder of George Floyd.
"I am both impatient and disgusted by the fact that as a nation, we seem to be placated by the passive discussion of 'why.' Why does this happen? Why can't we get to a different place?" she wrote in a letter to employees.
Barra went on, "Let's stop asking 'why' and start asking 'what.' What are we going to do? In this moment, we each must decide what we can do – individually and collectively – to drive change … meaningful, deliberate change."
Well, Mary, here's something you can do to drive "meaningful, deliberate change": Stop sending Mexico and China jobs that black American once held. As Donald J. Trump said on a visit to Michigan in 2016, "It used to be cars were made in Flint and you couldn't drink the water in Mexico. Now, cars are made in Mexico and you can't drink the water in Flint."
Flint, Michigan, used to be Buick City. No more. Now, the Buick Envision SUV that GM sells in the U.S. is 100% made in China. Kamala Harris and Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez point to Flint as an example of environmental racism. I suppose they should point to Mary as the racist.
Mary Barra says she is disgusted. Is it by her own hypocrisy? While she lectures us about the "unconscionable list of black Americans who have lost their lives" she ignores the unconscionable list of black Americans who have lost their livelihoods thanks to her "global supply chains."
Barra strikes a courageous pose, writing, "We stand up against injustice – that means taking the risk of expressing an unpopular or polarizing point of view, because complacency and complicity sit in the shadow of silence."
We are waiting for her letter to Chinese Communist dictator Xi Xinping.
Sitting in the shadow of her silence is GM's complicity in the slave labor used to make its vehicles. A report from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, "Uyghurs for sale," found GM suppliers O-Film Technology and Dongguan Yidong Electronic Co. Ltd fill their factories with slave labor from the Chinese Communist Party's concentration camps in Western China.
GM joins a long list of mega-corporations decrying "systemic racism." We saw JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon kneeling in front of a bank vault, likely filled with cash earned by outsourcing jobs once held by black American to China.
These corporations issue their phony social justice statements to divert attention from their responsibility in creating social injustice. Were they serious, they would stop importing goods from China and other low-wage countries and resume manufacturing in the United States. That would immediately solve the problems of income inequality, lack of opportunity and other inequities they claim to be so concerned about.
They know as long as we are talking about racism and bigotry we aren't talking about the concentration of wealth and power in the hands of global corporations.
The Democrats are more than happy to play along. They would like nothing better than to eliminate small businesses (whose owners tend to be conservative) and consolidate all economic activity into the hands of a few giant corporations, a system known as corporatism.
Such an arrangement facilitates the profitable triangle trade Washington politicians enjoy: Politicians regulate big business; big business hires lobbyists to shape the regulations; the lobbyists pay politicians for favorable regulatory treatment of big business. Left out of the picture are you, me and small, independent businesses.
The Democratic elites' enduring love of corporatism is pure mid-century classic.
Economist John Kenneth Galbraith, a darling of the liberal smart set in the '50s and '60s, envisioned a triumvirate of big business, big labor and big government managing society. In the utopian global order he called "The New Industrial State," the bureaucracies of Soviet communism and Western corporatism would converge.
Popular post-war historian Richard Hofstadter put a cultural finish on it. He sneeringly dismissed small businessmen, farmers, populists and any critics of concentrated financial and corporate power as backward, mentally ill racists and proto-fascists yearning for a past when WASPs were supreme. When Nancy Pelosi and her ilk say Make America Great Again really means "make America white again" they are echoing Hofstadter.
To the modern liberal, corporatism is the natural order. They focus exclusively on issues of race, gender, multiculturalism and ecology because that's all that's left once you turn the economy over to Wall Street and giant corporations.
Corporations eagerly join the chorus. Time/Warner/CNN, NBC/Universal/Comcast or Disney/ABC don't want to talk about concentrated ownership of media. Neither do tech giants Facebook/Apple/Amazon/Google. Wall Street doesn't want to discuss its control of just about everything.
The liberal-corporate cartel 'heroically' fights for diversity, inclusion, whatever, to keep us from fighting its power.
Curtis Ellis is the Senior Policy Director for America First Policies.