The Corporate Liberal in America

Joseph Sohm /

Joseph Sohm |


“I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s greatest stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice.”

— Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from a Birmingham Jail

Whether seated in Congress or exiting a voting booth, a corporate liberal is someone who supports anything progressive that does not challenge corporate power. In practice, this means corporate liberals will fight for progressive identity politics. If it has to do with race, sexual orientation, and gender, it generally doesn’t challenge corporate power. Major corporations support progressive positions on those issues, too. Corporate liberals march for gay rights and the larger LGBTQ community itself. They support feminism. They support reproductive rights. They support African-American protests against police brutality—up to the point where they become threatening to the establishment. (Bill Clinton did initiate the prison industrial complex that unduly incarcerates huge numbers of minorities.)

This support is all to the good. Tremendous progress has been made by popular protest of the devastating prejudices that have for years denied individual rights. But when their elected Democrats undermine economic justice, promote imperial warfare, and refuse to seriously address climate change, corporate liberals just…

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