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Occupy Movement Targets Corporate Interest Group with Ties to Legislators | Activist News

Occupy Movement Targets Corporate Interest Group with Ties to Legislators

Common Dreams
Feb. 21, 2012

A coalition of Occupy groups, led by Occupy Portland in Oregon, is calling on people “to target corporations that are part of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)” with direct actions and public events later this month. The Occupy groups, organizing under the banner Shut Down the Corporations, sees ALEC as the “prime example of the way corporations buy off legislators and craft legislation that serves the interests of corporations and not people.” ALEC was instrumental in creating the anti-labor legislation in Wisconsin last year and the racist bill SB 1070 in Arizona, among many other measures pushed or passed in state houses across the country. ALEC uses its large coffers and wealthy membership to spread free-market, corporate-friendly laws around the country.

The day of action is slated for Leap Day, February 29th.

According to their call to action:

Occupy Portland calls for a national day of non-violent direct action to reclaim our voices and challenge our society’s obsession with profit and greed by shutting down the corporations. We are rejecting a society that does not allow us control of our future. We will reclaim our ability to shape our world in a democratic, cooperative, just and sustainable direction.

We call on the Occupy Movement and everyone seeking freedom and justice to join us in this day of action.

There has been a theft by the 1% of our democratic ability to shape and form the society in which we live and our society is steered toward the destructive pursuit of consumption, profit and greed at the expense of all else.

What is ALEC?

ALEC describes itself as a “unique,” “unparalleled” and “unmatched” organization. The Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), which studies and tracks the group at its ALEC Exposed website, agrees.  They say that ALEC should not be considered a lobbyist group or a corporate front group, but something altogether worse. “It is as if a state legislature had been reconstituted,” ALEC Exposed explains on their website, “yet corporations had pushed the people out the door.”

Through ALEC, behind closed doors, corporations hand state legislators the changes to the law they desire that directly benefit their bottom line. Along with legislators, corporations have membership in ALEC. Corporations sit on all nine ALEC task forces and vote with legislators to approve “model” bills. They have their own corporate governing board which meets jointly with the legislative board. (ALEC says that corporations do not vote on the board.) Corporations fund almost all of ALEC’s operations. Participating legislators, overwhelmingly conservative Republicans, then bring those proposals home and introduce them in statehouses across the land as their own brilliant ideas and important public policy innovations—without disclosing that corporations crafted and voted on the bills. ALEC boasts that it has over 1,000 of these bills introduced by legislative members every year, with one in every five of them enacted into law.

Full Article Here – http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/02/21

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