Corporate Safe Spaces: How Racial Affinity Groups Radicalize Companies
Corporations are the new college campuses.
Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism.
Workplace chat software like Slack is probably the single most effective tool for making companies go woke. Organizing workers was a difficult challenge in companies that did not have unions. But while companies closely monitored union organizing, they actively encouraged the use of workplace chat software that made it all too easy for leftists to network, identify opponents, get them fired, and use those incidents to radicalize the company.
The second most effective tool is the identity politics affinity group.
Affinity groups or ERGs have become a popular tool by HR departments to organize internal woke caucuses. Corporate affinity groups are a counterpart of campus student groups and were promoted as a way to enable the same kind of experience in the workplace. Identity politics student groups, usually dominated by students and faculty from identity politics studies departments, were the biggest players in campus radicalization and protests. Affinity groups replicated black, Latino, and gay student groups in corporations with executives as their faculty sponsors. The executives were often picked based on their own student activist backgrounds.
During the campus wars, some conservatives had dismissed the student protests as an unreal university bubble. “Just wait until they get into the real world and have to find jobs,” they said.
But campus radicalism had always been meant as a training ground for institutional radicalization. The student activists were being taught how to take over government agencies, companies, and any organization they become part of using internal networking and political pressure. The students didn’t change to accommodate the workplace, instead workplaces changed to accommodate them, making the activist culture a part of corporate culture.
The same system that had ousted conservative faculty, intimidated conservative speakers, and transformed courses had been copied and pasted into the corporate workplace. On college campuses, students were the customers, but workplace affinity group members were employees. Except that corporations began treating the affinity groups as stakeholders who became more important than the actual customers. Affinity groups applied internal pressure that ousted conservative employees and dropped conservative customers and businesses.
Much as student groups had advocated defunding investments in oil companies or Israel on college campuses, affinity groups pressured banks to drop firearms manufacturers and Republicans. Companies that refused faced internal revolts, staged resignations, and pressure on key investors and shareholders that would claim the jobs of CEOs and principled leaders.
The conquest of corporations was swift and effective because it utilized existing leftist revolutionary organizational principles that exploited new technologies while their victims, often liberal and conservative, failed to understand that the discontent, the demands, and the new entities and language invading the workplace were not some odd millennial trend, but part of a plan. Even now the backlash against wokeness has hardly come to terms with the infrastructure behind it, touching mainly on the stories of individuals who were purged for political offenses.
What the testimony of the victims neglects is an understanding of the machinery of the purges.
The affinity groups were not truly new, but their spread and pervasiveness has been breathtaking. Black, Latino, gay, and other identity politics affinity groups not only exist in most corporations but, as revealed in the Freedom Center’s recent booklet, Disloyal, in the military. They’ve become ubiquitous in the non-profit sector and across all levels of the government.
Officially, racial and sexual affinity groups are meant to make minorities more comfortable in the workplace, provide mentoring, and the favorable treatment that enables “diversity”. In practice affinity groups are widely used to advocate for political issues in the same way as minority leaders. Essentially, affinity groups embedded a Sharpton in every company and institution.
Affinity groups claim that they are structurally disadvantaged and that certain corporate moves make them feel “unsafe” or “threatened”. A key affinity group tactic is pressuring executives to state that the company suffers from “systemic racism” and that minorities are at risk. This is the familiar campus safe space ethos transplanted to some of the biggest Fortune 500 companies.
Once the affinity groups have established the need for corporate safe spaces, they begin pressuring companies to impose political tests on all employees and fire those who disagree. Affinity groups begin by establishing their oppressed credentials before pivoting to become the oppressors. Once executives begin surrendering to them, they’ve established that the company is a dangerous environment for an identity politics group and the leadership “needs to do better.”
While affinity groups typically tend to claim that they represent black, female, or gay employees, they’re just another embedded leftist front group which silences or suppresses those employees who are there for mentorship or work instead of politics. Where unions at least had democratic vestiges, affinity groups have little to none. Like the NAACP, the HRC, or any number of advocacy groups that claim to represent the voices of a group, which has no way of ratifying or removing their representation, affinity groups claim to represent a people as a political group.
And since affinity groups typically have the support of HR and executives, few employees are willing to dissent or speak out against them. Fortune 500 companies now routinely pressure their employees to join affinity groups, including pushing white employees into “white allies” groups for maximum political indoctrination in the workplace. This setup, not at all coincidentally, resembles the old “soviets” which the Bolsheviks began to use as their political power base.
Modern wokes are using the same basic methodology as 19th century revolutionaries but with the added benefit of the internet and smart devices to provide them with far superior coordination. The underlying objective though remains the familiar process of horizontal consolidation of power within an organization, a group of organizations, and then an entire industry, and vertical consolidation across different organizations and industries.
Horizontal consolidation is how leftists took over specific university departments, entire fields of study, academic organizations, and then entire universities, and much of academia. The same process was also used to consolidate the field of education, and is being replicated everywhere from Big Tech to medicine. And, as discussed in Disloyal: the United States military.
Vertical consolidation might use the media, medical experts, and government officials to advance a particular program, or academia, Wall Street, and the clergy for another.
The basis for the mass censorship of conservatives was coordinated between the Justice Department, the media, and Big Tech. Such improbable alliances only seem unlikely until you understand that vertical consolidation transforms culturally incompatible organizations and industries into the components of a single machine whose true mission is that of the Left.
Leftists create cells within each organization. The members of those cells see themselves as members of the “resistance”, the term they embraced during the Trump administration, “working within the system” to achieve a total takeover of society. The old dream, the one advanced by Communist organizations, got a shot in the arm from the new possibilities for organizing and coordinating operatives. Before the internet, communications were a problem requiring in-person meetings, magazines and newsletters, but the rise of the internet, and then social media, and finally workplace chat enabled this brave new world and its social credit system.
The affinity groups merge traditional identity politics organizing with corporate workplaces. The Left has abandoned its old working class politics to focus on the upper middle class and it has accompanied its new base through student identity politics to their workplaces. The stereotypes of dysfunctional millennials unable to cope with adulthood led corporations to create frictionless workplaces that made the transition from college to corporate life as smooth as possible.
It’s also no coincidence that Big Tech, the arena where the top talent was guided into corporate campuses meant to replicate their old college campuses, is also the epicenter of safe spaces, radical politics, and affinity groups. The college dropouts who built Silicon Valley aimed to extend the college experience to the workplace with a casual atmosphere, free food, and all-night working hours. It’s no wonder Big Tech became the first corporate casualty of the Left.
But not the last. Corporate America, eager to jump on a new trend, is succumbing to the virus.
Conservatives were behind the curve on campus organizing. They’ve made up a great deal of ground on college campuses even as the generation that was organized is taking over the corporate workplace. And conservatives are once again behind on organizing the opposition.
Making matters more difficult is the insistence that identity politics affinity groups are apolitical, that their messages, whether Black Lives Matter or Trans Inclusion, are “above politics”, and that implementing these groups is Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion which many organizations, from Kellogg’s cereal to the United States Space Force, have defined as central to their mission.
And so it will take a good deal more to crack workplace organizing than calls for equal time.
Workplace civil rights is about more than the right of employees to be free of political tests and indoctrination, it’s about more than denying the Left a space to organize and recruit. These initial considerations have to give way to the realization that an organization hijacked by the Left will horizontally and vertically consolidate to conquer organizations, industries, and the country.
A company will funnel money to leftist causes and deny services to conservatives. It will coordinate with other companies and create industry-wide standards that act as cartels. That means firearms manufacturers and gun stores will be denied loans and payment options, conservative candidates will be prevented from being heard on social media and accepting donations. Vocal conservatives won’t be able to buy or sell, have a bank account or a credit card, not to mention a job, or access any services that are mediated by major corporations.
The variety of companies that appear to be making independent decisions to deplatform, fire, and break ties with conservatives are actually acting as one nationwide woke cartel.
That’s not an alarmist prediction, but a growing everyday reality.
Corporations have adopted critical race theory, anti-racism, equity, and inclusion which, despite its name, insists that it is not enough to include if you do not also exclude. Exclusion, from the marketplace of ideas, from public and private spaces, from employment and finally life, has been equated to safety for the “oppressed” who cannot be safe without the power to oppress.
That is how the social credit system comes to America.
It took conservatives a while to embrace student free speech rights. The shift came with the delayed realization that campuses were no longer in a struggle between moderate administrations and student radicals, but radical administrations and student conservatives. Making that same shift with woke corporations purging conservative employees and customers may be a more painful process. And yet it is an absolutely necessary existential matter.
Conservatives could survive woke academia, but not a woke economy.