Friday, August 9, 2013

Chicago protest paints unflattering portrait of ALEC

The Chicago protest against ALEC yesterday. 
ALEC can't possibly be happy with the news coverage generated by the anti-ALEC protests in Chicago yesterday and on Monday. The organization was depicted as a bunch of corporate lobbyists peddling their influence with state lawmakers to outsource education, freeze the minimum wage and weaken environmental and workers' rights.

Chicago police estimate 3,700 people showed up yesterday at the luxurious Palmer House to tell state lawmakers and their corporate owners that Chicago is a union town and they weren't welcome.

ALEC, if you're new to this, is the American Legislative Exchange Council, a front group for corporations who wine and dine state lawmakers, take them on posh vacations, contribute to their political campaigns and hand them ready-made anti-worker, billionaire-empowerment legislation. The state lawmakers' visit to Chicago was, ahem, subsidized by ALEC.

ALEC came across as a group of corporate lobbyists  cut and outsource education, freeze the minimum wage, weaken environmental and workers' rights

ALEC "advocates cuts to education and freezing the minimum wage," reported CLTV

ALEC may have broken the law in its evolution to a "right-wing ideological wrecking crew," writes The Nation.

Protesters charge that "policymakers are listening too much to businesses who are footing the bill for the conference," reports WMAQ.

"ALEC is an organization of corporate lobbyists (ouch) and mostly Republican lawmakers," reported WBBM. "Protesters contend it writes legislation at the expense of the environment and workers' rights."

A college professor, Julie Mead, was interviewed on The Real News saying, "K12 Inc. is the nation's largest provider of online for-profit schools. And as one of the top sponsors of the ALEC meeting, it's allying itself with the tobacco industry and with the oil industry and with the pharmaceutical industry, all of which are not something you would normally associate with good educational outcomes, not the sort of thing that you would typically expect of a school that is looking out primarily for kids."

"Labor vs. Lobbyists," was how Salon described it.

Funny, that's not how ALEC describes itself...