What Is ALEC?
They meet in secret. They write our laws. And they want us silent.
On March 15th, University of Wisconsin Professor Bill Cronon posted a study guide on his blog on the history and actions of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). He asked: What is behind the “sudden and impressively well-organized” wave of right-wing legislation targeting workers, students, women, immigrants, and the environment in state legislatures? He found that all roads led to ALEC.
ALEC is a conservative think-tank run by right-wing politicians and corporate and financial interests within the banking industry, the pharmaceutical industry, the big oil and gas industries, and others. They are aligned to many right-wing and conservative interests, including the election-manipulating Koch Industries.
For offering his research to the public, Professor Cronon then immediately found his character, privacy, and livelihood under attack by the GOP.
In Arizona, the text for anti-immigrant SB 1070 came from ALEC model legislation. In the Midwest, the attack on public servants had the same source. In Wisconsin and Ohio, ALEC is promoting voter ID laws that will disproportionately disenfranchise students. And finally, in Indiana, ALEC provided the text for a state resolution calling for an end to much federal environmental regulation. In 2009 alone, ALEC was behind over 800 laws written for state governments. Scratch the surface of right-wing state legislation, and you’ll most likely find ALEC underneath.
What Are We Doing?
Hoping to carry on the movement begun by a wonderful group of Ohio activists, we here in Baton Rouge and New Orleans are working to put together an even bigger demonstration that lets them know that they can’t hide and we will fight them nation wide!
ALEC’s legislation seeks to solve “crises” by attacking the vulnerable – often in ways that do very little to address the problems at hand, and that ultimately function to transform power structures in favor of private interests. We want to use this day of resistance to do more than just express discontent. We want to convey the message that there are policy alternatives to ALEC’s legislation – alternatives which demand that lawmakers begin to place the burden of solving crises on the powerful, not the vulnerable.
What Can You Do?
First, we need you in the French Quarter!
Resistance means feet on the ground and people in the street. Hop on a bus, take a train, or car pool with friends. We are communicating to a breadth of organizations and individuals negatively impacted by ALEC’s agenda that the time to fight back and propose our own solutions has come.
Second, we are looking for representatives of the many movements that ALEC works against to speak before our March to the Marriott. ALEC is a shining example of the right-wing’s united front of corporate and political forces, and they can only be stopped by the strength of solidarity. We, the working class, are poor, Black, immigrants, LGBTQIA, women, and union members. The only way we can put a stop to the work ALEC is doing is to unite in an independent political movement that not only challenges ALEC and it’s members on the streets but also in the halls of government. We must show them that we can fix the problems we face without breaking the backs of the working class!
Many opportunities will come up for individuals and groups opposed to ALEC’s attack on America to help out.