A coalition of far-left political activist organizations known for peddling smears about conservatives held a protest at Mastercard’s annual general meeting (AGM) today, aiming to pressure the international credit card giant to financially blacklist wider sections of the political right. The groups’ proposal to form a “human rights committee” did not sway shareholders, who voted the measure down.
At Mastercard’s AGM this morning, the far-left groups SumOfUs and Sleeping Giants circled the venue with a mobile billboard stating: “Putting hate groups out of business? #Priceless.”
According to a press release published by the two organizations, this was coupled with a speech from Sleeping Giants co-founder Nandini Jammi, “addressing the need for Mastercard to take swift action by cutting off its services to these hate groups.”
Sleeping Giants, whose founders initially refused to take accountability for the organization’s words and actions by remaining anonymous, was set up in 2016 by far-left political activists with the sole stated purpose of defunding Breitbart by spreading lies about it. The identity of its other founder, former advertising professional Matt Rivitz, was revealed last year.
Sleeping Giants coupled these smears with targeted social media harassment campaigns against corporations whose ads appeared on Breitbart News.
Over time, Sleeping Giants expanded its targets to encompass any conservative media with which its organizers politically disagree, including Fox News shows like Tucker Carlson Tonight, The Daily Caller, Dennis Prager, and the Daily Wire.
SumOfUs is purportedly a “human rights” activist group that now campaigns to make speech with which it politically disagrees unprofitable. Its website lists a number of powerful left-wing foundations among its partners, including George Soros’ Open Society Foundations, the Tides Foundation, the Media Democracy Fund, and the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation.
Earlier this year, SumOfUs presented a proposal to Mastercard’s shareholders, calling on the company to establish a “human rights committee” that would monitor payments to the “far right.” The protest aimed to pressure Mastercard to accept the proposal. Shareholders voted down the proposal this morning, despite the protest.
“Over the past few years, the rise of the far-right has wreaked havoc around the world, terrorizing and harming marginalized groups,” wrote SumOfUs in its press release.
Although Mastercard’s board says it is committed to the principle of allowing “all lawful purchases,” online payments platform Patreon says that Mastercard asked it to withdraw service from Islam critic Robert Spencer, founder of JihadWatch.org, in August 2018. Mastercard also pressured a payment processor to cut off service to conservative activist, think tank founder and author David Horowitz last year, but later the processor reinstated service following pressure from Breitbart News and other conservative media.
As left-wing political activist groups have pressured social media companies to blacklist their political rivals, they are also intent on destroying the ability of the political right to do business on the Internet. The rise of financial blacklisting has been a trend in recent years, with repeated instances online payment processors and funding platforms cutting off their services to right-wingers and conservatives.
Even liberal groups have sounded the alarm about this trend. In July last year, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) warned that banks, credit card companies and payment processors are becoming “de facto internet censors.”
“EFF is deeply concerned that payment processors are making choices about which websites can and can’t accept payments or process donations,” an EFF spokeswoman told Breitbart News at the time.
Combined with corporate-controlled cryptocurrencies like Facebook’s “Libra” coin, Corporate America increasingly references the rise of a “cashless society.”
The CEO of Bank of America recently stated that he supports the trend, “from a pure operating cost [perspective]” as it would allow the bank to spend less on moving checks and cash around the company.
But beyond this relatively benign motivation, a “cashless society” would also allow a handful of corporations to control access to the financial system — and potentially cut if off from those deemed politically or socially undesirable. This is precisely the kind of financial blacklisting that Sleeping Giants loudly demands from Mastercard.
Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News. You can follow him on Twitter, Gab.ai and add him on Facebook. Email tips and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.