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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The virtual office water cooler is the new Thanksgiving dinner table.

The big picture: There's a brewing debate over whether politics belongs at work — and while most Americans think it doesn't, per a new Harris Poll survey shared with Axios, they also think companies shouldn't back down from speaking out on social justice issues.

Driving the news: The cryptocurrency company Coinbase made headlines when CEO Brian Armstrong said the firm would bar political activism at work. "We don’t engage here when issues are unrelated to our core mission, because we believe impact only comes with focus," he wrote in a Medium post.

  • The move garnered mixed reviews, with some calling it a smart corporate move and others saying it crystallized the problems with Silicon Valley's culture.
  • Around 5% of Coinbase's workforce has already quit, accepting a severance package the company offered to workers who wanted to leave over the policy. And Armstrong expects more to follow.

But Coinbase might have picked up on a common sentiment.

  • According to the Harris Poll survey, 70% of Americans would support companywide policies that limit the discussion of politics in the workplace or with colleagues.
  • And even just among millennials — who are often cited as the most socially conscious employees — 67% would support such policies.
  • The problem may be one of feeling safe enough to talk politics at work: 32% of those surveyed say they don't feel comfortable expressing their political leanings in the office.

But, but, but: Even if Americans don't think political conversations should be had at work, they do believe their employers should speak up.

Go deeper with Wired's excellent dive into the turmoil at Coinbase.

Go deeper

Republicans pledge to set aside differences and work with Biden

President Biden speaks to Sen. Mitch McConnell after being sworn in at the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Photo: Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images

Several Republicans praised President Biden's calls for unity during his inaugural address on Wednesday and pledged to work together for the benefit of the American people.

Why it matters: The Democrats only have a slim majority in the Senate and Biden will likely need to work with the GOP to pass his legislative agenda.

Updated 6 mins ago - World

HRW: Over 100 former Afghan security members dead or missing under Taliban rule

Members of the Taliban movement patrol Kabul's airport in September. Photo: Valery Sharifulin/TASS via Getty Images

The Taliban have "killed or forcibly disappeared" over 100 former members of Afghanistan's security forces since the group took power in August, a Human Rights Watch report published Tuesday found.

Why it matters: It means former military members and officials from the ousted government, activists and other Taliban critics are facing peril amid executions driven by revenge — despite Taliban promises of an "amnesty" with no retributions, notes the New York Times, which first reported the news.

3 hours ago - World

Barbados becomes a republic, replacing U.K. queen with president

Combination images of Dame Sandra Mason, president of Barbados, and Britain's Prince Charles at her swearing-in ceremony in Bridgetown, Barbados, late Monday.

Barbados officially became a republic at midnight local time after Dame Sandra Mason was sworn in as the Caribbean nation's first president in a ceremony attended by the United Kingdom's Prince Charles.

Why it matters: Mason replaced Britain's Queen Elizabeth as head of state Tuesday — removing the country's final remaining colonial tie to the U.K. almost 400 years after the first British ships arrived in Barbados.

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