Environmental activists from Extinction Rebellion and other NGOs are implementing week-long protests against climate change and inequality ahead of the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Sandy. Activists briefly shut down the escalators at BlackRock, the world's largest financier of fossil fuels, according to New York Communities for Change. Participants urged BlackRock management to refrain from making new fossil-fuel investments and urged the New York state government to adequately fund climate action. Protesters Tuesday temporarily blocked a section of New York City's Park Avenue and called for measures to tax the rich for a statewide Green New Deal.
An open letter signed by 700-plus feminist groups and activists sent on Aug. 8 to UN Women, protesting a recently announced partnership between the agency and BlackRock, a United States-based hedge fund, resulted in the cancellation of the arrangement. The letter pointed out that BlackRock personifies “crisis-prone speculation-based capitalism” and that the May 25 joint press releases announcing the partnership by both parties offered no useful or explicit details on what it would accomplish. Such vagueness, the letter writers contended, could give UN Women the appearance of “pinkwashing” BlackRock, since there was no clear benefit for gender equality stated in the partnership goals.
Railroad workers voted overwhelmingly this year to go on strike after more than two years of contract negotiations. The Biden administration prevented a strike by appointing a Presidential Emergency Board (PEB) to hold hearings. That board released its recommendations recently. Clearing the FOG speaks with Michael "Paul" Lindsey, a railroad engineer and member of Railroad Workers United, about the deterioration of working conditions, workers' response to the PEB and the high likelihood of a national strike this Fall. Lindsey explains why the railroad worker's plight is similar to that of many workers in the United States and around the world and the importance of solidarity if a strike occurs.
For most people in America and much of the world, our life is — to some degree — owned, run, managed, or manipulated by a “shadow bank” that few people even know the name of. It holds between 9 and 10 Trillion dollars in assets. It is the largest or close-to largest stake holder in most enormous media companies like Disney and Comcast, most big tech companies like Google and Meta/Facebook, most big banks like Citibank, Bank of America, and Barclays. This secretive cabal is one of the biggest funders of deforestation, fossil fuel use, weapons contractors, and basically destroying the planet. And yet, despite all that, most Americans and most people around the world have never even heard of them. Watch the video to learn who it is that truly owns the planet.
There’s less than a week to go until COP26, the United Nations climate conference which some are calling the most important yet. As folks across the globe make their way to Glasgow, pressure is mounting to hold the corporations that are investing in, funding, and insuring climate destruction accountable. These actions are culminating in a global day of action on Friday, October 29th. As part of the runup to this critical global conference, we’ve seen a massive influx of actions to hold the world’s two largest asset managers, BlackRock and Vanguard, accountable. From vigils and mural paintings outside BlackRock’s San Francisco office to bike actions targeting Vanguard’s CEO (himself an avid cyclist) at its headquarters in the outskirts of Philadelphia, people impacted by corporate inaction on climate are coming together and raising their voices with the aim to push these firms to make meaningful (not just performative) climate commitments ahead of COP26.
Larry Spencer, UMWA District 20 Vice President, represents the 1,100 coal miners in three UMWA locals which on strike against Warrior Met in Alabama since April 1, 2021. He will give an update on the strike in a September 28 webinar. The strikers are fighting to reverse concessions that were foisted on them in 2016 when BlackRock and other billionaire creditors set up Warrior Met Coal and took over mine operations with the aid of a bankruptcy court. To keep their jobs, Warrior Met made the miners work up to seven days a week and take a $6-an-hour pay cut, accept reduced health insurance, and give up most of their overtime pay and paid holidays. BlackRock is one of the three majority shareholders in the new company.
History repeated itself as hundreds of miners spilled out of buses in June and July to leaflet the Manhattan offices of asset manager BlackRock, the largest shareholder in the mining company Warrior Met Coal. Some had traveled from the pine woods of Brookwood, Alabama, where 1,100 coal miners have been on strike against Warrior Met since April 1. Others came in solidarity from the rolling hills of western Pennsylvania and the hollows of West Virginia and Ohio. Among them was 90-year-old retired Ohio miner Jay Kolenc, in a wheelchair at the picket line—retracing his own steps from five decades ago. It was 1974 when Kentucky miners and their supporters came to fight Wall Street in the strike behind the film Harlan County USA.
BlackRock has been called “the most powerful institution in the financial system,” “the most powerful company in the world” and the “secret power.” It is the world’s largest asset manager and “shadow bank,” larger than the world’s largest bank (which is in China), with over $7 trillion in assets under direct management and another $20 trillion managed through its Aladdin risk-monitoring software. BlackRock has also been called “the fourth branch of government” and “almost a shadow government”, but no part of it actually belongs to the government. Despite its size and global power, BlackRock is not even regulated as a “Systemically Important Financial Institution” under the Dodd-Frank Act, thanks to pressure from its CEO Larry Fink, who has long had “cozy” relationships with government officials.
BlackRock, the world's largest investment firm, has more money invested in the fossil fuel and agribusiness industries – the biggest drivers of climate change – than any other company in the world. That means that BlackRock's portfolio constitutes a huge liability for putting the planet on a path towards runaway climate change -- in fact, BlackRock contributes more to climate change than almost any other company on Earth. Demand that BlackRock divest and stop financing Amazon destruction!