Email of the day on rising left-wing populist fervour
Comment of the Day

June 18 2020

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Email of the day on rising left-wing populist fervour

FWIW I found this page on the AP website which seems to debunk the idea on BLM being used to fund Democratic candidates:

Over here in the UK, I found this expressed aim of the BLM movement a lot more troublesome:

"a commitment to dismantle imperialism, capitalism, white-supremacy, patriarchy and the state structures"

Has raised nearly £1M.

Eoin Treacy's view

Thank you for this information email. The ActBlue Charities organisation was set up in 2004 and has been one of the primary routes through which the Democratic Party has sourced grassroots funding. It’s association with BLM, as you point out, is not funding Democratic electoral campaigns directly. However, it would be a gross misrepresentation to think that the two movements are not highly sympathetic to one another. This article from carries additional information on ActBlue’s success in raising money before the recent protests.

For example, there is absolutely no doubt that leading Democrats are making common cause with the BLM movement. A good part of the reason for that is they need to appeal to the radical progressive side of the party after picking a centrist to lead the Presidential campaign. All of the Party’s animus is concentrated on the far left. If they wish to win the election, harnessing the momentum of the protest movement is essential.

I first became aware of just how much of a threat the rise of left-wing populism was at a conference last summer when a member of a panel discussion on ESG investing described the room full of delegates as “stale, pale and male”. She went on to harangue the crowd of asset managers that they do not understand the new way of investing, that we are all dinosaurs and our businesses are all going to disappear. It was one of the most memorable talks I’ve been to.

This service has long focused on the belief that governance is everything. However, it is also worth remembering that governance is not an absolute and it is the trend which is important. The primary tools for measuring governance are property rights / minority shareholder rights, an independent judiciary and free press.

The desire to dismantle state structures and upend privilege, however that is defined, cuts straight to the question of property rights. If the state can reach into my pocket and take my money, property and goods then I cannot argue that respect for property rights is improving.

If the law is subverted by ramble rousing politicians and mob rule it is also hard to argue that the judiciary is independent.

If journalists are not free to give unbiased commentary that is a challenge for any society. The changing business model for media organisations, where they need to increasingly appeal to one demographic or another to stay in business has contributed to this polarization in media content. They can no longer rely on ad revenue and therefore have to focus intently on a single demographic to maximise revenue. Meanwhile, censorship efforts through technology providers and activist movements enforcing political correctness are significant developments.

The destruction of the status quo has led to much greater polarisation in the media and political arena. The lurch in most countries was first to the right but the USA is now beginning to lurch to the left. That is unlikely to be favourable for financial markets. The rise of left-wing political populism is the biggest threat to the sustainability of asset price inflation. Right now, it is not considered a significant threat but the prospect of higher taxes, tighter regulations, redistributions, reparations and higher wages will filter into earnings forecasts if far left-wing progressives look like they will get into power.

Cecil Rhodes' statue being taken down in Oxford, I do wonder what the fate of all the highly placed Rhodes scholars will be. After all, haven’t they benefitted from the patronage of a slaver? Perhaps that’s acceptable if they virtue signal in the politically accepted manner.

The last time we had a sizeable left-wing protest movement against imperialism, capitalism and calling for equality was in the late 1960s. the panicky official response to the potential for student-led revolution was a causal factor in the inflation which peaked in the late 1970s.

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