Tuesday, April 24, 2012

1971 Memo to Kochs: Take over the government

ALEC's granddaddy.
Today is the anniversary of the memo that soon-to-be Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell wrote to corporate America (okay, we admit it, not just the Kochs) to take over the dominant public institutions of American society.

Powell, then an attorney from Richmond, Va., laid out a blueprint for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to dominate democracy. Greenpeace describes the his argument this way:
...business leaders would have to ... begin marshalling their resources to influence prominent institutions of public opinion and political power -- especially the universities, the media and the courts. The memo emphasized the importance of education, values, and movement-building. Corporations had to reshape the political debate, organize speakers’ bureaus and keep television programs under “constant surveillance.” Most importantly, business needed to recognize that political power must be “assiduously cultivated; and that when necessary, it must be used aggressively and with determination – without embarrassment and without the reluctance which has been so characteristic of American business.”
Here's what the Benedict Arnold Koch brothers took to heart:
Since business executives had “little stomach for hard-nosed contest with their critics” and “little skill in effective intellectual and philosophical debate,” it was important to create new think tanks, legal foundations, front groups and other organizations.
That was where anti-worker, anti-middle class organizations like ALEC (1973),  Heritage Foundation (1973), the Cato Institute (1977), the Manhattan Institute (1978), Citizens for a Sound Economy (1984 - now Americans for Prosperity) and Accuracy in Academe (1985).

Read the whole thing here.