Large companies are beginning to awaken from the “woke” dream and are encountering the nightmare of a more disorderly, insecure and polarized country. However, the destruction they themselves exalted will not be easy to reverse.
Let’s take it one step at a time. Last year’s presidential election saw the consolidation of what Time called (and celebrated) a “behind-the-scenes conspiracy” between corporate America and left-wing activists to “oppose Trump’s assault on democracy.” That is, to tip the scales in favor of Joe Biden.
As part of that manipulative frenzy, the unhealthy alliance of progressivism and the leftist media ecosystem took a couple of local cases of questionable police practices and turned them into a nationwide crisis. From traditional media and social networks; businesses, artists and influencers turned the resulting demonstrations into a supposed anti-racist crusade.
When activism turned into riots and generalized violence, that same alliance of media, companies, activists and leftist politicians chose to defend the violent and fell into absurd extremes. An example of this was that CNN chyron about the “fiery, but mostly peaceful” protests in Kenosha, while their own cameras showed vehicles in flames.
The big sign of that wave of demonstrations was the repudiation of police departments, which were turned into symbols of “systemic racism” to be fought by defunding them. The “defund the police” movement—which emerged from the fringes of the extreme left—became a “respectable” demand and even financed by big corporations, in their obsession to look “anti-racist” and fashionable.
Well, a year and a half later, they are waking up from the woke dream, to the nightmare of reality.
American companies wake up to a nightmare
The other major effect of the demonstrations driven by the alliance of companies and leftist activists was to legitimize the theft. In the eyes of millions of people, looting stores became a respectable act of “resistance” to the “economic violence of big business.” Thus, another argument that for decades had been confined to the margins of the radical left suddenly became a “mainstream” certainty and an ideal pretext for crooks to renew their closets.
Now, when the legitimization of theft is coupled with the delegitimization of policing, the inevitable result is a dramatic increase in crime, and specifically in retail theft. The mobs of thieves who organize to empty entire stores in California are the most dramatic example of this phenomenon, but they are not the only ones. Nationally, 69% of retailers saw increases in theft.
This problem is coming to a head for an industry that is already facing a race against the tide in its competition with Amazon and the online retail giants. The entire retail industry is reeling, and shaking the 42 million jobs directly or indirectly related to it.
So, already smacking of desperation, on December 9 the Retail Industry Leaders Association sent a letter to House and Senate leaders expressing concern “about thee growing impact organized retail crime is having on the communities we proudly serve.”
Specifically, they are concerned that thieves are using the Internet to sell what they take from stores. It’s no longer the old scheme based on small-scale scavenging of stolen goods from pawnshops. Now criminals are stealing in mass, and selling on a large scale.
To stem the tide, retailers are backing the Integrity, Notification and Fairness in Online Retail Marketplaces (INFORM) for Consumers Act, a bipartisan initiative that seeks to “protect families and communities from the sale of illicit goods” by boosting transparency in digital marketplaces to stop the sale of counterfeit and stolen goods.
Ironically, many of the companies that signed this letter, including Nordstrom, Target and Levi Strauss, have directly supported groups like Black Lives Matter, National Urban League, the Equal Justice Initiative and the ACLU, which fueled the climate of discrediting cops, undermining law enforcement and legitimizing rioting and theft.
It was all fun and games when that circus of riots and radical slogans served to support the “conspiracy” (in the words of Time) against Trump. Well, now Trump is very much at home at Mar-a-Lago, preparing his 2024 presidential campaign, while big business faces the reality of an increasingly complicated scenario that they themselves financed in order to look good.
The moral of the story
The lesson of the case, which corporate America and moderate Democrats will slowly have to understand, is that the woke “dream” is a nightmare of disorder, resentment and violence, which is not only against Republicans and conservatives, but also hurled against companies and the “liberal” media.
To give a couple of examples, the attack on CNN‘s offices in Atlanta or the robberies of Nordstrom‘s stores in California were not just a coincidence. On the contrary, they are the normal and inevitable consequence of the narrative of hate and resentment encouraged by the radical left, now disguised as postmodernist diversity. Sneaking in the little colored flags, the discourse of “deconstruction” continues to imply the same consequences of violence, destruction and disorder, which devours in the first place the useful fools who supported them from the bourgeois progressivism.
Will they understand in time? The change of course announced by the Mayor of San Francisco on public safety and the victory of Eric Adams in the New York mayoral elections seem to indicate that at least one block of the Democratic Party is coming out of the rut of madness and American companies will have to do the same. Otherwise they will be increasingly constrained by the progressive mobs among their employees and by the consequences of woke disorder in the streets, a nightmare to which they themselves made their bed.