Aug 19, 2019
“She’s the world’s richest baby,” said news stories back when banking heiress Cordelia Scaife May was born in 1928.
Described as unhappy during her lifetime, her personal fortune was said to be at least half a billion dollars. Her family’s wealth came from ownership of Mellon Bank, Chevron Oil, Alcoa Aluminum and major shares of General Motors, U.S. Steel, and H.J. Heinz.
The “philanthropist” Cordelia Scaife May used that wealth to fund far-right propaganda during her lifetime, and she funds it to this day – even after her death in 2005.
Wanting her rancid ideas to outlive her, she bequeathed a chunk of her fortune to the Colcom Foundation. This “charity” funds over a dozen “think tanks” and organizations, promoting white nationalist and anti-immigrant ideas.
Her handwritten notes, uncovered by a New York Times investigation, reveal her putrid core beliefs. She wrote that black people are less intelligent, that Latino immigrants are criminals and that white Americans were being displaced. In a horrifying manner, she described medical achievements that lowered infant mortality as “useless.” Her money funded the translation into English of a racist French novel that attacks immigrants. This novel’s “white replacement” ideas have been linked to the manifestos of the Christchurch and El Paso terrorist shooters.
The “philanthropic” activities of a woman whose family fortune would have been impossible without the labor of immigrants and the banking money made off of the North Atlantic slave trade, provides a window into the ideas of her class – the capitalist class. The intentional way the wealthy spread lies to divide the working class is exposed here.
The world that we live in — this capitalist world — is ruled by a tiny group of oligarch families. This is their world. Karl Marx explained that in every epoch, the wealthy class ruling society is the source of the intellectual ideas that reign in that society. This one example points to the truth that the fight to end racism, the fight for justice for working people, the fight for a better world, will require power be taken away from this lying, bloodthirsty class.