Occupy Movement Challenges ALEC’s Corporate Influence on Legislation

by Will Potter on February 26, 2012

in Terrorism Legislation

Occupy Movement protests ALEC F29More than 70 cities will be protesting corporations that are part of a secretive lobby group called the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, that helps corporate interests literally write our laws.

Occupy Portland has called for a national day of protest on February 29. The protests will focus on corporations that pay tens of thousands of dollars to be part of ALEC, in exchange for the power to draft model legislation which is then introduced in state legislatures across the country — all the while, most state lawmakers have no idea the bills were actually written by corporations.

Corporations have used ALEC to draft model “eco-terrorism” legislation that classifies civil disobedience as terrorism. Other bills drafted by corporations attack union rights, environmental protections, and any attempt to restrict corporate profits. Here is a closer look at how ALEC stealthily drafts legislation.

In other words: ALEC is a trojan horse used by corporations to sneak legislation into statehouses across the country.

As organizers explain in their collective statement:

There has been a theft of our democratic ability to shape and form the society in which we live. The corporations, which run our government, place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and domination over equality. This situation stems from our society’s obsession with profit, consumption and greed, which corporations only take to its logical and frightening conclusion. In this obsessive pursuit of profit above all else, our voices have been drowned out…

I think this is a sentiment shared by countless Americans, whether they identify as part of any movement or not. It’s quite common even in apolitical crowds to hear people talk about the power that corporations have over the political process. However, the omnipresence of this corporate influence in our culture can make it difficult to identify the specific mechanisms that allow it to exist.

That’s what is so inspiring to me to see the Occupy Movement focus on ALEC. It demonstrates an increasingly sophisticated movement willing to engage complicated political processes, and merge widely-held public sentiments with concrete strategies that aim for the wheels of the trojan horse.

To learn more and get involved in your city: #F29 Shut Down The Corporations

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