I’ll take “cancel my membership” for $1,000,000 ALECPosted: April 7, 2012
I wrote about the powerful right wing group ALEC and its deep pocket donors last August. It’s basically the source of a lot of cookie-cutter, right wing laws with goals of destroying Unions, Public Health and Education, Abortion access and family planning funding, preventative health care measures, regulation, and replace them with a host of wing nut laws worthy of the Birch Society. ALEC is also dabbling in voter suppression measures like photo ID requirements. Their power has gone basically unchecked until recently when Color of Change launched a campaign targeting ALEC’s biggest corporate donors. Color of Change is an advocacy group for blacks. The voter suppression laws were the inspiration for the campaign. Some of the biggest corporate donor are bailing on ALEC. This is good news.
The companies being targeted included Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Intuit, Inc., and Kraft Foods — all of which dropped their ALEC memberships as the ColorofChange.org campaign gained steam. Coca-Cola was the first to announce it was jumping the ALEC ship, and the other companies’ announcements soon followed. (Notably, and predictably, missing have been the public statements denouncing voter suppression. Wrote Kraft, “Our membership in ALEC expires this spring and for a number of reasons, including limited resources, we have made the decision not to renew.”)
As each new corporation drops ALEC, the pressure mounts for other corporations to do the same. Meanwhile, both Koch Industries and Wal-Mart, which plan to keep their ALEC affiliation, have been forced to issue public statements reaffirming their support for the dubious group. Quoth a Wal-Mart spokesperson, “Our membership in any organization does not affirm our agreement with each policy created by the broader group.” Convincing!
Will Wal-Mart and Koch, not to mention ALEC, survive this campaign?
Other companies have been targeted and are sitting tight.
According to Reuters, Pfizer, Reynolds American, and Procter & Gamble have all came out in support of ALEC. Tobacco maker Reynolds American said, “ALEC provides a valuable forum for sharing of ideas and fostering better understanding of a broad range of both legislative and business issues.”
Of the three companies who are standing with ALEC, one is a tobacco company and the other is a drug maker. Both of these companies smugly believe that consumers are stuck using their products either due to addiction (Reynolds) or medical need (Pfizer). I would argue that politically inclined Americans who smoke can always change brands, so Reynolds shouldn’t get too comfy.
Pfizer and Proctor & Gamble executives apparently think they are immune to boycott. Pfizer has seen their profits plummet as the patents have or will expire on 42% of their drugs. Pfizer’s profits fell 50% as their patent expired on their top drug Lipitor. The extensive list of Proctor & Gamble brands includes Bounty, Braun, Tide, Head & Shoulders, Vicks, Duracell, Gillette, Iams, Febreeze, Oral-B, and Crest.
The companies that are standing with ALEC are doing so out of arrogance. They don’t believe that a boycott could impact them, but no corporation is completely resistant to boycotts. In order to function and survive, corporations need money. Without money even the biggest corporate giant will eventually fall, and these titans get their nourishment from you and me.
Every time you buy a bottle of Tide, you are supporting Stand Your Ground and voter ID laws. Every night that you grab up your Oral-B toothbrush and brush your teeth with Crest, your money is going to fund the effort to suppress the vote. Dawn may take grease out of your way, but could also make your vote not count on Election Day.
Louisiana has just been hit by ALEC’s school voucher and privatization laws. Most of the anti Public Union laws are also ALEC written. ALEC exposed has a link to all the groups and types of bills that have been boilerplated and sent to right wing elected jerks. You may want to check out the list. ALEC is just another way that extremely rich and powerful corporations are bypassing the democratic process and buying the country’s laws. Here are some of the major areas.
- Worker and Consumer Rights bills (plus Trade, Pensions, Privatization, Banking, Housing, Property Insurance, Transportation, Telecomm & IT)
- Tort Reform and Injured Americans
- Privatizing Schools and Higher Education bills
- Health, Big Pharma, and Social Welfare bills
- Environment, Energy, and Agriculture bills
- Democracy, Voting, and Federal Relations bills
- Tax & Budget bills
- Guns, Prisons, Crime and Immigration bills