Whether it’s Caitlin Moran, Maajid Nawaaz or the CEOs of Amazon and Apple, the rich and powerful are rattled. 181 CEOs have decided that stakeholders putting profit over people is no longer the capitalist way (even though that is essentially what capitalism is).
For years they have sat by idly and ignored our pleas to take a stand against policy that in some cases actively promotes division, whether that is related to the environment or communities, instead filling their coffers off the blood sweat and tears of the global south and minorities within western nations.
Take Amazon for eg, at a time when Trump was kicking out Mexicans and banning Muslims from entering the country, Amazon allowed the sale of nazi paraphernalia via its 3rd party sellers. The pressure group Sleeping Giants, with its trailblazing campaign to #bankruptfascism, managed to convince thousands of advertisers to shun Breitbart, a far right nazi news service that has been instrumental in the dissemination of nazi propaganda, most notably teaming up with Steve Bannon and employing Milo Yiannopoulis to grow their white supremacist network, yet Amazon in all its wisdom, refused. Amazon have been known to remove advertising if it violates their terms of service but in this instance, it failed to act. Amazon refused to engage on the matter, ignoring journalist requests for comment on their position, choosing to say nothing even when Sleeping Giants hired a billboard truck to drive around Seattle asking them to ‘stop funding bigotry’. They have been beyond reproach.
This announcement is no doubt a reaction to the growing resistance to the 1% who’ve had the power to quell conflict yet instead fanned its flames with their indifference and seeming inability to observe their own company policies but ultimately it is profit that drives these people. That profit has been on the wane, I personally haven’t used Amazon since the Sleeping Giants campaign, where previously I relied on it for almost all of my shopping needs. Yes, it was a pain in the arse trying to locate new retailers who weren’t just as bad, and it hit my pocket (because who can price match Amazon?) but once I’d consciously made the choice to stop funding these enablers of fascism, I stuck to it. Never taken an Uber either, specifically because they scabbed the New York Taxi picket line. I haven’t shopped with Amazon in over two years and I never will again and I wouldn’t be surprised if a sizeable chunk of Amazon’s customers have followed suit, prompting this bizarre and completely disingenuous pledge to put people first over their own pockets.
I wonder what might have happened if generations past had taken a stand against household names like Mercedes and Hugo Boss after they were complicit in the atrocities of world war 2. These huge corporations put profit first then and continue to do so with little or no reaction from the majority. Hugo Boss dressed the Nazis and Daimler-Benz used forced labour from civilians, prisoners of war and concentration camps victims to make up half of its 63,610 strong workforce. It admitted its part in the Nazi regime after the war and joined a German initiative ‘Remembrance, Responsibility and Future’ whose work included providing humanitarian aid to former forced labourers. How many of their forced workers died before they could be recompensed? Similarly, how many of Amazon’s, and indeed any of the other companies signing this Roundtable agreement, victims – whether direct or indirect – will never see a penny or even a word recognising the violence that has blighted their lives this past decade? Are we to forgive and forget and earnestly accept Amazon has not been directly complicit in the execution of white supremacy? We should never mention again the links between Amazon and the Chans/Kiwi Farms, without whom the latter would simply not have had the funding to spread its tentacles all over the globe, infecting every continent with its single minded quest for white domination?
Never forget Amazon gave ICE facial recognition tech capable of recognising fear. Activists warned it would mean an increase in family separation and other miscarriages of justice. Will Amazon acknowledge every last victim? Or is this just a cynical ploy as I suspect, to dazzle the increasingly hostile public into a false sense of security, after all it is such a revolutionary move, never before conceived as a possibility, to actually put people, human beings, before the very thing that made these ghouls business owners in the first place, the cold hard cash that bought them the power to act with impunity for near on a decade?
Putting people first, the environment, communities, that’s socialism. It can and never will be Capitalism 2.0. Perhaps CEOs would be better suited to admitting the end stages of capitalism are proving hard for them and the fear of an impending class war is the inspiration for this confusing declaration than trying to convince us the far right would be any good at socialist values.
People who truly value humanity would never have sought to destroy it.