Equality and corporate opportunism in US debate over rights | What's Left

by Editors (What's Left) last modified 2015-04-06T09:44:28-04:00
There were some pretty scary laws on their way to being passed in Arkansas and Indiana last week. The good news is that the broad coalition pushing back against these regressive and hateful laws have won a minor victory. Both republican state legislators have been forced to amend the laws which would have legalized discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community.

In fact, resistance across the US was so strong that in left-leaning states, groups, primarily led by youth, were able to push their governors to actively oppose the legislation. Even corporate executives from monopoly US corporations like Apple and Walmart came out against the legislation as being bad for business.

While the liberal corporate media heaped praise on corporate heads from Apple to General Electric to Walmart for speaking out against the hateful laws, they conveniently forgot recent historical facts. Many of these republican state administrations are only in power because these corporations continue to support Republican and right-wing Democrats who push a pro-corporate agenda along with their socially conservative “anti-everyone not like you” populism.

Whenever heads of massive monopolies are in the media adding their name to a progressive cause, let's not forget that taking a public stand on these polarizing issues is part of a public relations campaign for their companies. The real reason these folks have spoken up on this issue is that corporations are figuring-out how to market to a new generation.

The younger generations have moved substantially to the left of their parents' generation on issues of social and economic rights. But, this is not a path set by corporate titans, it is trail blazed by the work of socialist activists on the front-lines of the struggle.

If you need some inspiration and to remember the strength of meaningful mobilization in the face of power, settle in comfortably and to re-watch movies like Milk and Pride.

More: Companies are preaching to a new consumer audience: gay rights-conscious youth | FT.com (registration wall)

More: Arkansas, Indiana enact fixes to measures seen as targeting gays

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