January 20th, 2012 – “WE SHUT DOWN THE COURTS.”
TODAY – “WE SHUT DOWN THE CORPORATIONS.”
Nearly 80 occupations nationwide, Occupy Rockland, Albany, Mexico City, and Wall Street have all taken action today, February 29th, 2012 in a wave of autonomously orchestrated nonviolent direct actions focused on interrupting daily business at various ALEC member offices. ALEC is the American Legislative Exchange Council, an organization dedicated to bringing corporations and politicians together. The call to arms was sent out by Occupy Portland and the collective proved to be united by hearing it loud and clear:
We specifically call on people to target corporations that are members of the American Legislative Exchange Council. The biggest corporations in America, like Exxon Mobil, Bank of America, BP, Monsanto, Pfizer, and Wal-Mart use ALEC to buy off legislators and craft legislation that serves only the interests of corporations and not people. They then duplicate and spread this corporate legislation in Washington, D.C. and in state legislatures across the country. The anti-labor legislation in Wisconsin and the racist bill SB 1070 in Arizona are two recent and destructive examples of what corporations use ALEC to do.
The corporate consolidation think tank, ALEC, is a monstrosity funded by the most ugly of industries. Big Tobacco, Big Pharma, and Big Oil are all top donors to the council, along with the infamous Koch brothers who have made billions in tax-payer subsidies for failing oil companies. Keeping money and corporations out of politics is something that must be done. ALEC completely undermines and deteriorates our State and National governmental structure by uniting and supporting corporate influence. ALEC has a history of paving the way for corporations to draft model legislation for the benefit of the 1% across the country
Micheal Elk, labor journalist and union organizer on ALEC’s history in the prison system:
An In These Times investigation last summer revealed that ALEC arranged secret meetings between Arizona’s state legislators and CCA to draft what became SB 1070, Arizona’s notorious immigration law, to keep CCA prisons flush with immigrant detainees. In 1995 alone, ALEC’s Truth in Sentencing Act was signed into law in twenty-five states. (Then State Rep. Scott Walker was an ALEC member when he sponsored Wisconsin’s truth-in-sentencing laws and, according to PR Watch, used its statistics to make the case for the law.) More recently, ALEC has proposed innovative “solutions” to the overcrowding it helped create, such as privatizing the parole process through “the proven success of the private bail bond industry,” as it recommended in 2007. (The American Bail Coalition is an executive member of ALEC’s Public Safety and Elections Task Force.) ALEC has also worked to pass state laws to create private for-profit prisons, a boon to two of its major corporate sponsors: Corrections Corporation of America and Geo Group (formerly Wackenhut Corrections), the largest private prison firms in the country. The Prison Industries Act was also written to exploit a critical Prison Industries Enhancement loophole that seemed to suggest that its rules did not apply to prisoner-made goods that were not shipped across state lines. It allowed a third-party company to set up a local address in a state that makes prison goods, buy goods from a prison factory, sell those products locally or surreptitiously ship them across state borders. It helped that by 1995 oversight of the PIE program had been effectively squashed, transferred from the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance to the National Correctional Industries Association (NCIA), a private trade organization that happened to be represented by Allen’s lobbying firm, Service House, Inc.
At the same time of the topple ALEC actions, all European Union countries are taking part in the European Trade Unions day of action against austerity. “These actions, which will be covered by media campaigns, will be decentralized and conducted at the regional, national and cross-border level…sending a clear message to the EU leaders: this imposed austerity is going to plunge Europe into a recession!”
The effects of the financial, economic and social crisis have reached unbearable levels in several countries. Faced with the extreme seriousness of the situation, European leaders are making the race for austerity their priority response. The crisis serves as a ready-made pretext to attack the European social model, justify cuts in wages and public services, weaken social protection, make the labour market hyperflexible, and attack trade union rights.