Monday, September 23, 2013

ALEC's Achilles Heel

Most people have probably seen this already, but Wisconsin State Representative Chris Taylor took it upon herself to dish out a thousand dollars to participate in the recent ALEC convention in Chicago.

She penned an op-ed piece which doesn't really tell us anything we didn't already know - such as that these corporate overlords wannabes are pushing for privatizing education and that they are doing pay for play with the Teapublicans in the state governments, not just in Wisconsin but all across the country.

There was one area that did catch my attention more so, which comes at the end of her column:
But ALEC has an Achilles heel. An ALEC think tank member solicited my opinion about a constitutional amendment strategy requiring congressional approval of federal regulations. I replied that I didn't think it would inspire people to amend the U.S. Constitution. He explained that with Republican domination in so many states, and guaranteed corporate support, the consent of the people is unnecessary.

This is where democracy can win over special interest influence. In ALEC nation, people are irrelevant and democracy a burden. When the people's interests are truly represented by policy-makers, and the origin of bills exposed, ALEC fails.

ALEC's corporate funders, who are also campaign donors to many ALEC members, have shrouded themselves in secrecy for this reason. ALEC cannot otherwise exist. Concerned policy-makers and the public must ensure that ALEC's promotion of corporate profits over the needs of actual people leads to the downfall of ALEC nation.
What Representative Taylor is describing is nothing new. In fact, what she is describing is much older than some people might think about.

What she is describing is the things that Fighting Bob LaFallotte had spoken off and fought for.

And before that, there was the Bay View Massacre.

What Taylor is referring to, whether she realizes it or not, are unions.

Recently, I've heard a lot of crap from friends and coworkers that unions are all but dead, especially since Act 10. This is, of course, utter rubbish and so much bullshit.

In the most recent newsletter I received over the weekend from my district council, the new Executive Director, Boyd McCamish, addressed this very issue:
Let's be clear about one thing: There is no law that has ever been written that could deny us our right to respect, a decent day's pay and a chance at a better future for our children.

Although those politicians in Madison and their corporate sponsors have tried to take away our rights, they will only succeed if we allow them to succeed. By that, I mean they will only take away our rights if we stand idly by and let them take away our rights. And of course, we will not.

Union members often ask me: What can the union do now that Act 10 has been implemented? My answer to that question is as simple as it is complicated. We can do everything that we have always done to protect our rights and standard of living - we just need to do some things differently now.

But don't ever let anyone tell you that there is no union anymore. Don't accept the idea that management can do anything they want, however they want, just because of what's in Act 10. We can be more powerful than we've ever been; we just need to commit to each other. In the old days, we called it solidarity.
Indeed, why do you think that the corporate overlords have spent billions of dollars in an effort to destroy the unions. It is as Tom Donohue, former AFL-CIO president, had said, "The only effective answer to organized greed is organized labor."

There has been innumerable studies showing that the decline in average wages and the decline in the middle class is directly correlated with the decline in union membership and strength.  Now that the corporate fascists thought they had the unions small enough to take out once and for all, they are finding out how wrong they are.

We could prove them wrong even more convincingly, if people would only stand up and get evolved.  We have the power, if only we have the courage to use it.  But we won't get anywhere while we are supporting the likes of Scott Walker or Chris Abele or anyone else who would attack workers rights.

What I'm trying to say is that we are the unions and the unions are only strong when we stand together.  It's also a lot like voting.  If you don't participate, you don't have a right to complain when you lose your pay, your safety and your other rights.


  1. Shop as many union stores as possible and when you don't make sure you let the workers know you are union and you support their rights to a better work environment, that they deserve, and they are the reason the corporations make the historic profits.

    Small business needs to wake up, because the more the politicians attack workers the less money will be spent in their stores, leaving them vulnerable to be swallowed up by big box. They should be standing with labor.

  2. It would be good to see a change in tactics by the unions that might indicate they understand there's a problem. Nothing you've said is different than what I've heard for 30 years as membership has declined. Maybe if the Nationals had spent more time and money on the roots they wouldn't be in this mess. That's what conservatives did. They focused on school boards, county boards then State Legislatures, and look where it's gotten them.

    Hopefully things get bad enough that the regular folks figure it out. But there are still not enough of them paying attention. Even some of those whose lives have been greatly effected by the greed of the financial meltdown still blame the "liberals" for their ills. I fear things will have to get 1890s bad before enough people wake up. I hope that's not the case.

  3. Maybe if the Nationals had spent more time and money on the roots they wouldn't be in this mess. That's what conservatives did. They focused on school boards, county boards then State Legislatures, and look where it's gotten them.

    Listen, I hear this all the time and I agree to an extent. Even though I agree with you that the left needs to focus on ALL races and technically "build the bench" lets take a look at the right.

    Where have they been succcessful in this? Andre Jacque? Ted cruz? Scott Klug? Bill kramer? come on its not like these guys are talent...

  4. Big difference between talent and electability. Unfortunately. Doesn't really matter if everyone knows they're clowns if they're in charge.

    My point all along is that if the unions don't look hard at the way they've been doing things (funneling all the money to the top) then the conservatives will continue to win. And that's disastrous for the middle class and the poor.