Organizer David Osborn will be on Community Currency this Thursday, February 23, 2012 from 2 to 3 pm (Pacific Time) on the Progressive Radio Network to detail the actions taking place in over fifty cities in the United States and Mexico. By spotlighting the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), activists hope to shut it down and help society to reclaim power over government.
Through ALEC, large corporations, including AT&T, Bayer Corp.,Coca-Cola Company, ExxonMobil Corporation, GlaxoSmithKline, Intuit, Inc.,
Johnson & Johnson, Koch Companies, Kraft Food, Inc., Pfizer Inc.,
State Farm Insurance Co., United Parcel Service (UPS), Wal-Mart Stores have been meeting with state politicians behind closed doors to rewrite state laws. They have come up with "model bills" that reach into almost every area of American life and often directly benefit huge corporations. In ALEC's own words, corporations have "a VOICE and a VOTE" on specific changes to the law. The Center for Media and Democracy on July 13, 2011 issued a report based on documentation received from a whistleblower about the hundreds of bills written of, by and for corporations that have been introduced by legislators who have joined and met with ALEC, out of view of the public.
The model legislative bills pushed by ALEC affect our civil rights, our democracy, our voting rights. They target labor rights, education, agriculture, immigration, the privatization of prisons, schools, higher education. They affect our health, protecting insurance companies, big pharma, while shredding protections for citizens and the social service safety net. They give tax breaks to giant corporations and the rich while undermining the state's ability to raise revenues through taxation. The legislation puts more people into jail and keeps them there longer enriching the booming private prison industry.
ALEC proudly boasts of its accomplishments since 1973 when it was founded in Chicago by conservatives "who shared a common belief in limited government, free markets, federalism, and individual liberty." ALEC receives most of its money from major corporations and spends it lavishly on legislators who come to its conferences. It spends more money in California than in any other state. While some reports and articles challenging ALEC's activities have tried to alert the public over the years about an extremely powerful organization that has operated for the most part in the shadows, with little or no public scrutiny, there is still little awareness of how it is funded and how it operates. Its influence in Wisconsin last year was noted, as well as the Koch brothers involvement with Governor Walker which provoked a major public uprising preceding Occupy Wall Street.
David Osborn is an instructor at Portland State University where he teaches courses on culture, narrative and social movements. He was been deeply involved in the Occupy Movement and is also active in the Climate Justice Movement with Rising Tide North America. The Community Currency radio show is hosted by local activist Carol Brouillet and archived online at the Progressive Radio Network.
Learn more about ALEC at Web Link
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