A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature
The woke kids are still at it. Days before a planned National School Walkout to mark the anniversary of the Columbine shootings, Parkland survivor and firebrand David Hogg has suggested a boycott of massive money managers BlackRock and Vanguard, the biggest owners of publicly traded gun makers Sturm Ruger and American Outdoor Brands, parent company of Smith & Wesson Corp. Citing the scale of the two asset managers’ holdings – according to Bloomberg, their wealth exceeds current U.S. GDP, approaching $20 trillion – Hogg noted their ownership of gun stocks, suggested to shareholders who oppose blood-soaked investments that, “If you use them, feel free to let them know,” and added the hashtags #BoycottVanguard and #BoycottBlackrock.
Hogg posted the idea Tuesday to his over 750,000 followers on Twitter, where he launched the successful advertiser boycott of Fox’s Laura Ingraham. (Since then, her viewership has reportedly climbed back up, though with cheaper ad rates.) Having learned to follow the money, Hogg’s focus on BlackRock and Vanguard is well-timed: In response to mounting pressure for Wall Street to grow a pair, Vanguard now offers a FTSE Social Index Fund that screens companies based on social and environmental criteria, and BlackRock has createdtwo new funds for pensions and 401(k) plans that exclude gunmakers’ stocks. Although – or because? – Hogg’s mild call for social responsibility mirrors current cultural trends, he was venomously pilloried as “little idiot” and “fascist bot.” “Sorry, Davey,” wrote one hater, “but on Wall Street, no one can hear you scream.” Really, America?!? May he not grow weary.
First published in Common Dreams.