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The newly "woke" corporations now support activist groups and social movements, while adding their voices to political debates.

Yale Law Journal Volume 125 Number 5 March 2016

How can we understand woke capitalism, is it effective, and if so, why? Analyzing woke capitalism tells us a great deal about contemporary corporate capitalism, the contemporary political left, and the relationship between the two. It also recalls an earlier corporate leftism. It does not consist merely of rhetorical placebos, symbolic over economic concessions, or even the mere placating of liberal political elites. Woke capitalism or corporate leftism actually represents the corporate interests of the would-be monopolist, the corporate socialist, and the corporate leftist in general.

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Some major corporations now intervene in social and political issues and controversies, partaking in a new corporate activism. As it turns out, analyzing woke capitalism tells us a great deal about contemporary corporate capitalism, the contemporary political left, and the relationship between the two. As for social justice, some will recall twentieth-century social justice movements.

The Civil Rights movement comes to mind. But due to the influence of postmodern theoretical ideas and Soviet and Sino-communist disciplinary techniques, social justice has taken on new, distinct features.

Amici Curiae in Civil Law Jurisdictions

Whereas the campus free speech movement was a hallmark of social justice in the s, violent skirmishes waged against free speech and academic freedom are now associated with the term. Under social and linguistic constructivism, language is considered a material agent—its uses, as tantamount to physical acts. The terms proliferate almost as rapidly as the gender identities. In struggle sessions, the guilty party—accused of selfishness, ignorance, and the embrace of bourgeois ideology—was pilloried with verbal and often physical assaults by her comrades, until she broke down and confessed her characterological and ideological flaws.

Today, the confessions involve privilege, or the unearned advantage enjoyed by members of a dominant group based on appearance. Meanwhile, in the Chinese Cultural Revolution, autocritique began with the guilty party, who subjected herself to brutal verbal self-inspection and denigration before the jury of her comrades. Autocritique and struggle sessions could lead to imprisonment or death as the comrade was often found to be insufficiently pure.

They then infiltrated universities and other social spaces. It is no less than a scale for weighing oppression. It then inverts the supposedly existing hierarchy on the basis of this intersectional oppression ranking, moving those on the bottom to the top, and vice versa.

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This is not a temporary feature of social justice but represents a hierarchical inversion that must be maintained to engender the animus and ressentiment necessary to continue fueling the movement. But the proletarian has a peculiar relationship to objective reality.

The objective world strikes the proletarian differently than it does the capitalist. Like the capitalist, the proletarian is a self-conscious subject. However, unlike the capitalist, the proletarian is also a commodity, an object for sale on the market. While the proletariat fully grasps the contradiction of its self-conscious commodification, the class can only come to terms with the contradiction by upending and abolishing existing conditions.

Feminists and postmodern theorists later appropriated standpoint epistemology and siphoned it through various identity filters. It is the root of the contemporary social justice belief in the connection between identity and knowledge. Social justice holds that membership in a subordinated identity group grants members exclusive access to particular knowledge, their own knowledge. Members of dominant identity groups cannot access or understand the knowledge of subordinated others. Individuals within subordinated identity groups also have their own individual knowledge.

For social justice believers, knowledge is personal, individual, and impenetrable to others. Therefore, social justice ideology does not foster egalitarianism. Rank is maintained, only the bottom becomes the top when the totem pole of identity is inevitably flipped upside-down and stood on its head. Both its epistemology and ontology—its assumptions about how one acquires knowledge, who can know, and the nature of the objects of knowledge—are enforced with authoritarianism.

Claims made on behalf of correct beliefs, correct wording, and proper naming—that is, language itself—trump empirical evidence and nullify scientific findings and methods in advance.

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Thus, social justice represents an entirely new understanding, quite distinct from previous versions. It also involves entirely different practices and methods for implementing it. The social and linguistic constructivist claims of social justice ideologues amount to a form of philosophical and social idealism that is enforced with a moral absolutism.


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Once beliefs are unconstrained by the object world and people can believe anything they like with impunity, the possibility for assuming a pretense of infallibility becomes almost irresistible, especially when the requisite power is available to support such a pretense. In fact, given its willy-nilly determination of truth and reality on the basis of beliefs alone, philosophical and social idealism necessarily becomes dogmatic, authoritarian, anti-rational, and effectively religious.


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  • Since it sanctions no push-back from the object world and regards it with indifference or disdain, it necessarily encounters push-back from the object world and must double-down. Because it usually contains so much nonsense, the social and philosophical idealism of the social justice creed must be established by force, or the threat of force.

    The Google Archipelago is not merely an amalgam of digital business interests. Given their perceived political disenfranchisement in the political sphere, woke capitalism offers representation in the public sphere. With wokeness, Ross Douthat of the New York Times argues, corporations offer workers and customers rhetorical placebos in lieu of costlier economic concessions, such as higher wages and better benefits, or lower prices. The same gestures of wokeness may also appease the liberal political elite, promoting their agendas of identity politics, gender pluralism, transgenderism, lax immigration standards, sanctuary cities, and so on.

    In return, the woke corporations hope to be spared higher taxes, increased regulations, and antitrust legislation aimed at monopolies. Meanwhile, at least one woke corporation appears intent on scolding its customers. Yet, Moeller viewed the expenditure as an investment in the future. Unsatisfied with the above explanations, I still wondered how and why corporations assumed the role of social justice arbiters and how and why social justice came to be the ideology of major U.

    Academic journal article The Yale Law Journal. Amicus briefs are an ancient legal instrument, originating in Roman law and appearing early in the common law tradition. This Comment seeks to document this development and to suggest some factors that may be responsible for it. In particular, this Comment points out that courts in civil law countries in different regions around the world now accept amicus briefs.

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    In addition, nongovernmental organizations NGOs routinely submit amicus briefs to civil law jurisdictions that do not officially accept them. This Comment offers some explanations for these trends, including the global influence of NGOs, the long reach of international law, and the distinctly civil law aspects of amicus submissions. At the outset, it should be noted that the purpose and form of amicus briefs have not been stable across time or across the different jurisdictions in which they appear.

    In the United States, for example, amicus briefs have shifted "from a source of neutral information to a flexible tactical instrument available to litigants and third parties. Often, the procedural rules providing for amicus briefs offer little in the way of standards for their form or use.

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    Nonetheless, ifamicus briefs are to be examined at any level of generality, it is necessary to establish some defining characteristics. Retrieved The New York Times. Retrieved 8 September New York Times. The Harvard Crimson. Retrieved 13 April Harvard Law Review. Retrieved July 9, The Harvard Law Record. Retrieved August 3, Serrano, et al. News and World Report, Aug. Times, Jan. The Washington Post. Times , Feb. The Toronto Star. Accessed October 22,