Opinions & Editorials

Op/Ed: Hey you Occupiers, Blame ALEC!

The Guardsman 

The middle-class crisis is finally at a tipping point, but the unrest growing among the unions and the 99% lack an obvious adversary, a place to direct their ire other than just the amorphous idea of “government” or “big banks.”

Let’s help point them in the right direction.

The American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, is an organization that drafts “model legislation.” Model for whom? For big ol’ corporations that believe in privatization: of prisons, schools, sanitation… of everything.

When the Arizona government passed legislation allowing police officers to check people’s immigration status to screen for “illegals,” by whom was that legislation written? By ALEC, at the behest of a private prison company that wanted more business.

ALEC is an organization made up of republican senators, governors, and assorted politicians, as well as representatives from large corporations across the U.S. Its goal is to selectively seed legislation across state governments in order to deregulate, sway elections, cripple labor, and destroy public institutions by replacing them with private ones.

All those folks, republicans and big businessmen, sit around a table a few times a year and write out legislation to bring back to their respective state capitols.

They’ve drafted hundreds of bills, many of which have been adopted word for word by state legislatures.

This may sound very shadow-organization and paranoid, but actually ALEC is quite public about what they do. Go to the ALEC website, and they list all the republicans and big businesses involved. NPR also has some stellar stories that tell the truth about ALEC.

Most of the legislation and politics that affect people in their everyday lives happen at the state and city levels. It’s often too mundane or complex for the average person to pay attention to.

So ALEC swoops in, changes all the rules of the game, strives to destroy the middle class and gut the social safety net, and no one is the wiser, mainly because the average person just doesn’t seem to care.

Getting away with all of this is shamefully easy since most of the media is focused on Washington D.C., and on the broader political battles going on between Obama and those around him.

If you are with the Occupy movement, if you support labor, public education, or otherwise support the 99%, you owe it to yourself to know about ALEC, and to spread the word.

Your ignorance is their firepower.




The Guardsman