Woke, Inc

The old left loathed big business – the new left uses it as a weapon.

Nick Cater


The Mad Witches have cast a curse upon Australia’s most popular radio host to cleanse the airways of his presence.

They are offended, so they say, at Alan Jones’ criticism of New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern, the Mother Theresa of woke on the international stage.

When Ardern accused Australia of not doing enough to fix climate change, Jones (pictured) told his listeners that the woman should put a sock in it.

At least that’s what he meant to say. But when you get up at 3am in the morning and broadcast three-and-a-half hours of opinionated breakfast radio five days a week, occasionally your tongue runs away with you.

What Jones actually said was that someone should shove a sock down Ardern’s throat. By the time he apologised, in the abasing manner now required in such circumstances, it was too late. The pile-on had begun.

The Mad Witches, an anonymous group of offence-seeking women with a Facebook group, spend their time trawling the internet for reasons to be offended. Jones, along with other prominent right-wing dissidents, is a favourite target.

Their particular form of attack is to manufacture a storm of outrage on social media to shame advertisers into withdrawing their commercials.

Mad Witches is an appropriate name for this freaky bunch of female supremacists who are convinced that everything that goes wrong in the world can be put down to gender.

‘Most of the world is controlled by old white men and they’re not doing a very good job of it’, says Mad Witches founder Jennie Hill. ‘That’s the bottom line. The conversation for the witches is much broader than just Alan Jones.’

The extraordinary thing, however, is that at least a dozen or so major companies acquiesced to the Witches and took their advertising off air. Losses to the Macquarie Media which employs Jones are estimated to be at least $1million.

They included Coles, one of the big two Australian supermarkets, retailers Big W, Snooze and Bing Lee, and the local franchises of Mercedes Benz and Volkswagen. In a choice between Jones’ large mainstream audience and a bunch of hectoring harridans on the internet, CEOs and their boards sided with the she-devils.

To the old left, big businesses were the epitome of evil. To the new left, they are useful idiots to be co-opted into the pursuit of their favourite causes.

They have found a receptive audience occupying the nation’s executive suites. A generation of graduate entrants in the corporate world have had the same education that they have and absorbed the same conventional wisdom.

It is more than 75 years since the economist Joseph Schumpeter predicted that when corporations become bureaucracies run by executives rather than hungry entrepreneurs, capitalism has planted the seeds of its own destruction.

The overpaid functionaries who manage our largest enterprises seem determined to prove him right, with their studious indifference to the market economy and contrived addition of social wellbeing to the corporate bottom line.

The craze for corporate social responsibility has replaced entrepreneurialism as the driving force. At times, companies seem less interested in selling us better products than nudging us into being better people.

They begin by lecturing their own staff. From there they move on to the customer and the world in general throwing shareholders’ money at the cause du jour.

Necessarily, they are symbolic causes fixing symbolic rather than actual wrongs. The reconciliation of Aboriginal people, whatever that might be taken to mean, is embraced with enthusiasm. Qantas even paints Aboriginal designs on the side of its planes. The cause of rescuing remote Aboriginal communities from the welfare trap into which the well-meant policies of the past 40 years have plunged them is ignored.

We might have thought, for example, that the main social responsibility of the national airline Qantas was to keep its passengers comfortable in the air and put them down safely at the correct destination. The second responsibility is to their shareholders, the people who have risked their money in their business in the hope a gaining a return.

Yet Qantas cabins have become laboratories for inclusiveness, jettisoning a tried and tested moral code and introducing a new one.

An instruction manual issued to staff last year in preparation for Spirit of Inclusion month provides a taste.

Staff are forbidden from using the words ‘husband’ and ‘wife’ along with ‘mum’ and ‘dad’ for fear of causing offence to non-heterosexuals and single parents. They have been told to adopt the terms ‘partner’, ‘spouse’ and ‘parents’ to avoid discriminating against LGBTI families. The words ‘guys’, ‘love’, ‘honey’ and ‘darling’ also should be avoided. Why? Because ‘language can make groups of people invisible’.

The most audacious aspect of the Spirit of Inclusion document is not the faux etiquette on avoiding offence – we’ve become immune to that stuff – but its adoption of the guilt-laden, post-colonial narrative of Australian settlement.

Staff are advised to ‘recognise the reality’ that ‘Australia was not settled peacefully’. ‘Describing the arrival of Europeans as a “settlement” is a view of Australian history from the perspective of England rather than Australia’, it says: ‘Instead of settlement, try “colonisation”, “occupation” or “invasion”.’

So Qantas’ ‘people, culture and corporate affairs’ department (yes, they really do have one) has taken it upon itself to define the terms of Australian settlement, a highly contentious subject on which scholars disagree.

This is curious, to say the least, since Qantas, like almost every other major corporation, has a strict policy of political non-partisanship. The practice of contributing money to the two main political parties was common a decade-and-a-half ago.

Companies like Coca-Cola or BHP would donate five- or six-figure sums, commonly to both parties, in the interests of promoting a healthy democracy.

Today BHP, one of Australia’s two mining giants, claims piously that it makes no political donations. Yet last year it gave $1million to the campaign to enshrine an Aboriginal ‘Voice’ in parliament.

Such a move would involve changing the Constitution. The very notion of giving one group of Australians an extra democratic right to the rest of Australians is highly contentious. Yet we are asked to believe that is not a ‘political’ campaign. It is just BHP’s contribution to achieve an uncontested good.

And so by degrees the corporate world finds itself disassociating itself with the mainstream and drifting towards fringe activism, often towards causes that undermine capitalism itself.

They find themselves hostage to social-justice crusaders incapable of being appeased. Each step of wokeness they take invites ever more exacting demands.

For the best part of a decade now the debate over the environment in Australia has been reduced to an argument over coal. For Australia, coal is a $58 billion export industry. Its demise would considerably harm the Australian economy.

Yet the activists want all coal production stopped and approval of a new coalmine in central Queensland reversed. The activists are cashed-up and sophisticated. Millions of dollars from US philanthropic trusts are funnelled through Australian activist charities and used, among other things, to wage lawfare to try to tie the approvals process up in the courts in the hope that Adani, the company building the new mine, will become so frustrated that it will eventually go away.

They run shareholder activist campaigns, staging campaigns at annual general meetings designed to shame other companies, particularly financiers, into shunning Adani.

A strong-minded board might be prepared to call their bluff. The anti-Adani campaign has been fought on lies and misinformation. Protesters have claimed, for example, that it is located in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, when in fact it is 400km inland.

Yet company after company has meekly gone along with the activists’ demands. No Australian bank has been prepared to finance the project; insurance companies are pulling out one by one.

A mine, lawfully approved and for which the government achieved a clear mandate to deliver at the last election, could conceivably fall through because of corporate Australia’s pusillanimous response to climate-panic merchants.

Nick Cater is executive director of the Menzies Research Centre and a columnist for the Australian newspaper.

Let’s cancel cancel culture

Free speech is under attack from all sides – from illiberal laws, from a stifling climate of conformity, and from a powerful, prevailing fear of being outed as a heretic online, in the workplace, or even among friends, for uttering a dissenting thought. This is why we at spiked are stepping up our fight for speech, expanding our output and remaking the case for this most foundational liberty. But to do that we need your help. spiked – unlike so many things these days – is free. We rely on our loyal readers to fund our journalism. So if you want to support us, please do consider becoming a regular donor. Even £5 per month can be a huge help. You can find out more and sign up here. Thank you! And keep speaking freely.

Donate now

To enquire about republishing spiked’s content, a right to reply or to request a correction, please contact the managing editor, Viv Regan.



Philip Bond

5th November 2019 at 10:41 pm

Just as mister jones has the right to be offended, voice his outrage, demand his audience buy this don’t buy that, other to have the same right to label hypocrisy and bullying. Let’s not apply double standards.

Nick Vasey

23rd October 2019 at 12:14 am

Revolutionary thought!

It’s possible to loathe AJ and much of what he stands for … AND loathe JA!

I loathe #JacindaArdern and her globalist, virtue-signaling NWO ways … but it doesn’t mean she’s wrong about #AlanJones … my comments thereto, from (The Monthly Magazine) all the way back in 2006! LOL.

“Firstly, I wanted to say your magazine is the first I’ve subscribed to in quite some time, and the decision was certainly a good one. With reference to David Salter’s excellent article on the execrable Alan Jones, I have always applied a simple test to what I watch, or listen to. If one can actually feel one’s IQ getting lower during the process, then it is time to quickly move on in another direction. Jones’s show is slickly packaged advertainment dross – more or less the radio equivalent of 7’s Today Tonight, or 9’s A Current Affair. Low-brow, one-eyed, chest-beating, puerile, self-serving garbage. It is an insult to anyone with any intellect, and I applaud David for nailing this annoying and self-important little insect down on practically every count possible.”


Brandy Cluster

22nd October 2019 at 11:49 pm

It’s not just corporations which are activist; I abandoned the Australian Shareholders’ Association because they started to use PC group-think and Left-speak about “stakeholders” and they said the owners of the companies were not the most important ‘stakeholder’. They are fools and deserve to fail.

Yesterday at my son’s children’s school in Perth the teachers were all wearing activist T-shirts saying “Treaty Now” for the aboriginals. State schools seem to think they can pass of propaganda as teaching. I’m going to subsidize my grandchildren so they can get a private school education and not state-sponsored propaganda.

H McLean

22nd October 2019 at 10:14 pm

Alan Jones consistently displays the acerbic bitterness of an angry and frustrated man who has spent his life refusing to come out of the closet. Australia and the public discourse would both be immensely improved if both he and the unhinged neoMarxist witches were, to paraphrase Jones himself, tied in a chaff bag and thrown into the sea, never to be seen or heard from again.

Brandy Cluster

22nd October 2019 at 11:51 pm

I think there’s an element of truth to this!! Jones is a bit of a hate-bag, but at least he has a sense of humour and can laugh with Peta Credlin and Graham Richardson on Sky News!! He lives like a lord of the manor but, honestly, would you swap that for a family with children and grandchildren?

David Drumright

22nd October 2019 at 3:06 pm

Small point: The author is missing the economic reason for this change. It’s not bureaucracy. Corporations have been bureaucratic forever. The change happened when corporations stopped seeking profit and started seeking maximum share value. Profit forces business to please the customers. Shareholders want to see precise agreement with their own orthodoxy, and want the company to get rid of unnecessary costs like employees and customers and products.

Forlorn Dream

22nd October 2019 at 1:07 pm

It couldn’t have been an invasion as Australia wasn’t a country prior to the English arrival. They didn’t have a flag.

A Game

22nd October 2019 at 4:35 pm

I read an interesting article from a Perth newspaper… over a year ago. The writer made the case that with Native Title being awared, that can only happen if it is consensus that Australia was settled by the English. Native Title can’t exist if Australia was invaded. The writer cited sources of law, it wasn’t an opinion piece.
The article rapidly disappeared.
I thought, well, that’s good. That helps clear that up. Nope.
The activists will have their pound of flesh. Get it wrong, you get sent to the gulag. Just like Qantas employees.
What the crying shame is that the life of the activists and the plight of rural and remote communities are so disparate. (Particularly the women and children. Jacinta Price is trying to fight their corner… she gets shouted down by urban, Aboriginal, young men. She’s not allowed to move the issue to where it needs to be, and away from them. Actually, she gets shouted down by the whole Aboriginal Establishment. She is an aboriginal woman, she grew up in rural Northern Territory, with her kin, within their culture. She knows what she is talking about. She is being ripped into by the “progressives”.)

Ven Oods

23rd October 2019 at 3:17 pm

“Australia wasn’t a country prior to the English arrival. They didn’t have a flag.”
Neither did England in 1066, so the ‘Norman Invasion’ must be a misnomer.

A Game

22nd October 2019 at 1:05 pm

Yeah… well…
Let’s see. The Mad Witches are just that. More of the “Sleeping Giants” social media pile-on to pretend there is grass root support for a protest or threat of boycott than there actually is.
Everything noted about them, their methods, is correct. These people are misrepresenting the public’s opinion – the 5 people pretending to be 100. Its being used, repeatedly and helping to create this distortion between the hierarchies (business, government) and the vast majority of a population.
The woke methods we know well.
But where Cater comes a cropper is… In order to prove his case against wokeness, especially The Mad Witches, is he’s deliberately misrepresented Alan Jone’s quote and he’s edited it.

It was really ugly to hear. He was saying that Scott Morrison, the Australian PM, should shove a sock down her throat. That is nowhere near “she should put a sock in it”. No where near. Directing the action of one PM to do that to another. That means we now have an image to work with. Not a good looking one, at all.
His tone was pure revelry. He was flying high, at his best. This is vintage Alan Jones.
And this, of course predates his next effort… something like: I hope Scott Morrison gets tough here with a few backhanders. Again… imagery.
He’s been doing this schtick for years… he’s in total control of what he is doing, anyone pretending he’s not… your a liar. Frankly.
Like or dislike his politics, but he thrives on sneering distaste for political opponents and there does seem to be a slant towards the female politicians. They do seem to get a particularly hefty dose of nastiness.
Then we got the spectre of Alan, in order to grovel his way back into good graces, starts crying a river over the Tamal family. Everyone was… what? Then the dots were joined. He’s as manipulative as the woke f’wits are. He’s just the other side of the same coin.

And N Cater… so are you.

Ven Oods

23rd October 2019 at 3:19 pm

“your a liar. Frankly.”
No, not frankly – ungrammatically, perhaps?

bill mcCall

26th October 2019 at 2:09 am

Lucily Woolworths Supermarkets are generally found where Coles trade. That’s just fine as I have switched to Woolworths from Coles and am actively urging my entire suburb to follow me. “Woke” does not mean AWAKE, you folks at Coles and elsewhere

Andrew Leonard

22nd October 2019 at 12:46 pm

“Qantas even paints Aboriginal designs on the side of its planes.”

I wonder what Titania McGrath would say about that?

Ven Oods

23rd October 2019 at 3:23 pm

It’s cultural appropriation, and I bet they don’t employ Aboriginals to do the painting. Like all those sad, pink-faced Kiwi rugby types doing the haka…

Gerry Delasel

22nd October 2019 at 12:02 pm

Excellent use of the phrase ‘female supremacists’ in this article. I’ve been saying for some time that we should be using the hysterical langauge of the extreme left against them. Don’t say ‘Isis Bride, Shamima Begum’, say ‘Islamic supremacist, Shamima Begum’. Don’t say ‘Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell’ say ‘Far-Left Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell’.

‘Lawfare’ is also an excellent word, I shall start using it!

Danny Rees

22nd October 2019 at 10:11 am

It sounds to me the writer is offended by people being offended.

We get it Spiked , free speech means you can say whatever you want about anyone you want but if they respond it’s just not cricket.

Ven Oods

23rd October 2019 at 3:26 pm

There’s surely a difference, Danny, between disagreeing with what other people say or write and campaigning to get them sacked?

Jim Lawrie

22nd October 2019 at 9:25 am

The gist of these articles is that Woke, XR, the judiciary, Parliament, the EU, the Police and most political parties have decided against democracy. Unless they are going to win.

Jim Lawrie

22nd October 2019 at 9:19 am

“You only get people to join you by reasonable arguments and facts not never ending lecturing and constantly screaming at them” When a climate change disciple climbs onto a train to stop it and says “sorry, but I have to do this” he is simultaneously declaring those on front of him too stupid to understand argument and himself to be bereft of any that will be given a hearing by other than a captive audience. Like all of the religiously righteous, that Buddhist was about to deliver a sermon in the belief that he would win a multitude of converts. What he did not respect was the right of people not to listen, their right to go where they choose, and their preparedness to enforce these rights.
The screaming and hysteria are a reflection of how they imbibed these beliefs, and a reaction to being challenged to justify them.

Jim Lawrie

22nd October 2019 at 9:20 am

That was meant as a response to Andrew Best

Stephen J

22nd October 2019 at 8:13 am

I wonder whether these Australian will consider taking their argument to its logical conclusion and abolish themselves, since they are not aboriginals?

Andrew Best

22nd October 2019 at 6:19 am

There is nothing wrong with respecting people but this never ending woke cobblers is very anti productive
The more you badger, dismiss and generally be nasty to people you disagree with, will turn people away from you not towards you.
You only get people to join you by reasonable arguments and facts not never ending lecturing and constantly screaming at them
Your white = evil
Man = evil
Middle aged = evil
Straight = evil
White = evil
Working class = evil
Leaver = evil
And on and on , Ad nausem

Ven Oods

23rd October 2019 at 3:29 pm

So ‘white’ is doubly evil, according to your list?
Glad I got a tan this summer.

Noggin The nog

24th October 2019 at 3:48 am

Very good points.

Having had the good luck to travel and to work in Australia and NZ, I find it amazing to read about the move towards the ‘PC / Cultural Appropriation” position.

Auz was one of the best places in the world to live and work along with some of the best people in the world. And now the PC virus seems to have started to infect that great country.

I also spent many happy years living and working in China, including seeing the Tiananmen Square demonstrations first hand (not so fortunate). And having the privilege of meeting superb people who had lived through the Cultural Revolution.

A dreadful time in history, the effects of which are still present.

The development of groups in the West such as Antifa, The Witches etc appears to be a move towards the same dangerous changes.

The rise of Generation Zen (those born before 1990) who have seen the mess that we, the baby boomers have made of society, combined with the strength of the Globalists may well give rise to despair for this generation. For what future do they have? And so they challenge the 4 olds:

• Old Customs
• Old Culture
• Old Habits
• Old Ideas

Are all repeats of the Cultural Revolution?

But these are groups of well off white people who have had the privilege of ‘money’ who claim to support this change as perhaps as a means for filling an empty life. You see few working class youngsters taking this road.

Chinese people have a term for these mostly White, Middle & Upper Middle class people (always from all Western Countries) – ‘Baizon’. The ignorant and arrogant westerners who pity the rest of the world and see themselves as saviors.

Perhaps the death of religion in the west has left a vacuum in the lives of young people. The lack of a future, the obvious dishonesty of the MSM, the malfeasance of the politicians (in all countries), corrupt mega corporations who care nothing for the environment nor their workers and the insouciance of the majority of the populations -adds fuel to young peoples despair.

The Chinese Cultural Revolution finally died (for may reasons) but I suspect that the west may well be on a ratchet to perdition as the ‘Woke’ virus spreads.

Leave a comment

You must be logged in to comment. Log in or Register now.

Deplorables — a spiked film