The Fascist Four: Taking on the Corporations that Enabled the Capitol Riots
By Tia Oso — Director of Communications, ACRE
We all watched in horror last week as a group of armed insurrectionists stormed the United States Capitol and attempted a coup in support of Donald Trump. As the story unfolds, it is becoming clear that many in the mob were prepared to kidnap and even execute members of Congress and the Vice President, in a harrowing attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 Presidential Election. This deadly insurrectionist violence was incited by Donald Trump, numerous members of Congress, and networks of white supremacist and far-right organizations who spread misinformation and conspiracy theories about the election, stoked racial division, and even encouraged violence. Their actions were enabled by corporations like Amazon, the Blackstone Group, Fidelity, and Google that have provided fascist politicians and organizations money and a platform.
Today, with just one week left in Trump’s Administration, ACRE has joined with more than 40 partners to issue letters to the CEOs of four of these Fascist Four corporations. These corporations enable and profit from the hateful rhetoric that helped fueled the actions of the fascist mob that desecrated the Capitol last week. While some of them have pledged to suspend campaign contributions, that is not nearly enough.
Amazon and Google have given white supremacist organizations and fascist politicians platforms to spread misinformation, recruit followers, and raise money. In addition to donating tens of millions to Republicans, Blackstone CEO Steve Schwarzman has lent legitimacy and credibility to Trump as one of his strongest supporters and advisors on Wall Street. Fidelity allows wealthy investors to make millions in anonymous donations to hate groups, including a group that reportedly sent 80 buses to Washington, DC last week during the failed coup attempt. The corporate platforming and resourcing of right wing and white supremacist organizations and politicians helped create the environment that made last week’s insurrection possible.
Efforts to publicly distance themselves and disavow the violence belie the fact that these same corporations’ business practices have been enabling rising white supremacist and fascist movements over the past four years. They also have profited from the patronage and traffic driven to their companies’ services and products. That makes them complicit in the insurrection. Issuing statements and cutting off donations in the name of accountability is too little too late. Racial capitalism has made white supremacy profitable and only dismantling these structures will allow our country to move forward.
As Crescendo’s Fanning the Flames report explains, Trump is but one cog in a large international machine that includes public officials, think tanks, and major corporations with global reach in the tech, finance, and media sectors. This far-reaching infrastructure reliably resources, funds and platforms white supremacist individuals and groups enables them to grow and thrive. It’s time to take corporate influence out of our politics. Corporate actors have long-held undue influence in our society. Letting profit driven entities engage in policy-making and fund candidates and political parties in elections is a huge threat to American democracy. The election of Trump and the events of last week show the real threat corporate actors pose to our health and safety.
To demonstrate that their press statements and actions are not just lip service, we need more than words and stopgap measures. We need swift and decisive action to deplatform and defund white supremacist groups, individuals and content, commit to engage in anti-racist practices, and pay reparations to the communities at the forefront of the struggle against white supremacy and fascism in the US and globally.
Read the letters to the CEOs of Amazon, Blackstone, Fidelity and Google on our website: stopfundingfascism.org. Advocates can follow @ACRECampaigns on Twitter and join ACRE’s email list to support this very important campaign.
Thank you to organization partners who signed on to at least one of the letters in support of these demands:
Action Center on Race and the Economy
350 Butte County
Americans for Financial Reform
Asian American Resource Workshop
Call to Action CO
Catholic Network US
Center For Popular Democracy
Color Of Change
Communications Workers of America
Community Labor United
Jobs With Justice
Make the Road Action
Make the Road New York
Muslim Justice League
New York Communities for Change
Partnership for Working Families
Private Equity Stakeholder Action
Rapid Shift Network
Resource Generation Action
Sagner Family Foundation
Science for the People — Twin Cities
Solidaire Action Fund
Strong Economy For All Coalition
Summer Fund II
Take on Wall Street
United for Respect
United People Project
Unmasking Fidelity Coalition