By Rupert Darwall for RealClearBooks

A review of “The Dictatorship of Capital Awakened” by Stephen R. Soukup

During the 2019 shareholder season, Justin Danhof, general counsel for the National Center for Public Policy Research, filed a shareholder proposal at Amazon’s annual meeting.

“Diversity in the composition of the board is best achieved through highly qualified candidates with a wide range of skills, experience, beliefs and board independence from management,” it read.

Without controversy, you might think, but Danhof was booed and heckled throughout his presentation. Then, a representative of Arjuna Capital (who “works with high net worth individuals”, website dit) told Danhof he was just trying to “protect white men.”

A representative of the Nathan Cummings Foundation (with $ 424 million in cash and investments, on his last balance sheet) made it clear that Danhof was not welcome and had to hurry, lest he be late for his next Klan meeting or to burn a book.

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The incident is recounted in Stephen R. Soukup’s The dictatorship of Woke Capital (Dating books). What explains the greening of Wall Street and the corporate CEOs who woke up and destroyed the system that made them rich?

Part of it is a cheap way to buy protection – especially when shareholders pay, as is the case with Marc Benioff, Salesforce’s multi-billionaire CEO.

“Capitalism, as we know it, is dead,” Benioff said in the New York Times.

Described as “one of the modern thief barons,” Benioff has made his billions through a series of acquisitions of nonprofit software companies and constant sales of shares. Benioff’s schtick is “a game of trust in the truest sense of the word,” says market analyst Ben Hunt.

Wokeness is not a system of morality with universal applicability. “With every breath we breathe,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said following the death of George Floyd, “we must commit to making this change and creating a better and more just world for all. . “

Well, not for everyone – not for the tens of thousands of Chinese workers at Apple’s Foxconn iPhone factory in Longhua. In 2010, a wave of suicides led Foxconn to set up nets outside many buildings to catch falling bodies.

Soukup notes that an advantage of Apple’s arrangement with Foxconn and its Longhua plant is “plausible denial”. When this denial is threatened with removal, Apple acts ruthlessly.

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In November, its lobbyists worked on Capitol Hill to water down the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, which would require US companies to ensure they do not use jailed or coerced workers from the Muslim-majority region of Xinjiang.

“What Apple would like is that we all just sit down and talk without having any real consequences,” said Cathy Feingold of the AFL-CIO.

Soukup also documents the bullying by Disney CEO Bob Iger of states like Georgia and North Carolina for passing laws he doesn’t like – even as Iger has disappeared from minority actors in advertising for the Chinese market of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

There is indeed something nauseating about people who claim to be virtuous when they are not, but to accuse Apple and Disney of hypocrisy would be missing out.

Wokeness aims to transform America, using Wall Street and American businesses to help.

The dictatorship of Woke Capital provides the best account yet of how finance capital found itself on the waking side of culture wars. The great strength of the book is to trace the lineages of the awakened to their sources.

Soukup identifies two main flows. The first, an all-American affair associated with progressives such as Richard Ely, Woodrow Wilson, and John Dewey, gave rise to the Administrative State and the creation of a class of professional administrators who have no accounts to to give back to voters and ‘science-trained’ administration to run society more rationally and more prudently than the masses would, if left to fend for themselves.

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The second has its origins in Europe, with an assortment of Marxists and post-Marxists such as Antonio Gramsci, György Lukacs and the Frankfurt School.

He then proceeded, in the words of 1968 German-er Rudi Dutschke, on “the long march through institutions”, with the new left successfully colonizing virtually the entire American higher education system.

If anything, Soukup underestimates the impact of Herbert Marcuse and the New Left.

They had repudiated vulgar Marxism because the American working class refused to play the revolutionary role that Marx had assigned to it, paving the way for the rejection of industrialization by the new left and for what a great critic of the school of Frankfurt called it an “aesthetic loathing for industrial society.” “

As willing customers of the “kitsch merchants,” the American working class has maintained the system of oppression in business. The New Left has transformed the American working class from the oppressed into the oppressors.

Culture wars are in reality a class war waged against the working class and all those whose livelihoods depend on their labor – in manufacturing, transportation and agriculture and, most importantly, in the energy sector.

This war will only end when one side or another is beaten and knows it. The presidential election of November 3 did not produce this result.

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Despite President Biden’s calls for unity in his inaugural address, his actions since indicate the start of a new aggressive phase in this class war. For this effort, the Biden administration will have enthusiastic allies on Wall Street and among the awakened CEOs of Silicon Valley and Hollywood.

For those looking to understand how we got here, The dictatorship of Woke Capital is the best place to start. Along the way, Soukup brutally eviscerates many ESG myths and stakeholders deployed to justify the awakened capital.

It is a book for our time.

Syndicated with permission from RealClearWire.

Rupert Darwall is a senior member of the RealClear Foundation and author of “Green Tyranny: Exposing the Totalitarian Roots of the Industrial Climate Complex ”.

The opinions expressed by contributors and / or content partners are theirs and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Political Insider.