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ALEC was exposed in 1997 and nothing at all happened.

ALEC was exposed again in 2002 with excellent reporting and again, nothing happened.

ALEC was exposed again in 2010/2011.
Bill Moyers referred to ALEC as:

"the most influential corporate-funded political force most of us have never heard of"
Will history repeat itself?  ALEC Hopes so.
Neutralizing the influential political force of ALEC legislators - for the long term - may take more than most are willing to give.

Excerpts from a stunning academic report on ALEC and education: Privatizing Schooling and Policy Making: The American Legislative Exchange Council and New Political and Discursive Strategies of Education Governance notes the following:

organizations like ALEC  …   have a strong ideological alliance, a dense, well-funded network, are committed to cross-sector advocacy, and engage effectively in both political and discursive strategies.

Progressive networks, on the other hand, seem to lack a strong ideological alliance, have a more precarious policy network, and have not been very politically or discursively effective.

This battle will not be won by the better academic argument or the most rigorous research, but rather by who has the funding and the ability to more effectively frame the issues.

a protracted battle that they are ill prepared to win.

The supposition is that a protracted battle focused on ALEC legislation is one we are ill prepared to win,
because we
lack a dense, well-funded network,
lack a strong ideological alliance,
have a more precarious policy network, and
have not been very politically effective, historically, in relation to ALEC

    a battle we are ill prepared to win
I disagree -  I choose not to accept failure without trying first
we lack the leadership needed, in relation to our quest against the influence of ALEC legislators.

In Oklahoma City, May 2013 there were almost a thousand people who stood up against ALEC at their spring taskforce meeting.
Last August 2013, on Thursday, there were over 3,000 people who stood up to ALEC at the protest of their annual meeting.  On Wednesday, there were 12 of us – on Friday only 3.
In Kansas City, May 2014, there were a couple hundred people who stood up against ALEC, in a state that was in the midst of multiple ALEC crippling bills being introduced.
In Dallas – this week, on July 30th, based on what I am reading, I am anticipating 1,000’s will again come forward to protest ALEC's annual meeting

The passion of 1,000's of protesters can not be questioned.
The lack of leadership to help them do more after the protest is a shame.

Couple of Examples
Across the US – there have been multiple legislators in multiple states that have stepped forward with legislation to cull the impact of ALEC on recruitment of members based  corporate expenditures for ALEC members to travel and attend ALEC meetings.
  – to no avail – because the public was not there to support them in their effort.

Why? Because
we lack grassroots leadership on the issue of ALEC at the state and local level
we lack a strong ideological alliance on ALEC in regards to ALEC
we are not being very politically effective when it comes to ALEC at the local level

Did you know that a US Congressman brought the issue of ALEC to the floor of the house, not once - but twice- and three times - and more?
Did you know that a US senator convened a panel on the issue of ALEC and stand your ground?
  both – to no avail – because the public was not there to support them in their effort.

Why? Because
we lack grassroots leadership on the issue of ALEC at the state and local level
we lack a strong ideological alliance in regards to ALEC
we are not being very politically effective when it comes to ALEC at the local level
we have no political strategy when it comes to countering the influence of ALEC legislators
BUT - this can change!

In order to develop a strong ideological alliance and become more politically effective in regards to the influence of ALEC - we must start to work together. People have to do more than retweet, like, or favorite on social media. We need to start talking with each other and working with each other. While social media is form of activism, it leaves much to be imagined when it comes to actually getting something accomplished.

Across the US
Many people have watched the Moyers expose’

Many have watched the Montana PBS expose’

Many have visited the ALECExposed site

Many have visited the original Daily Kos Exposing ALEC site
and the current Daily Kos American Legislative Transparency Projectt\

Many have visited the Resist the Privatization of America - Exposing ALEC site

Many have visited the BecauseIcan – 2old2care blog

Many have visited the Voters Legislative Transparency Project webpage
All - webpages with reliable information regarding ALEC.

Many have signed petitions asking legislators to quit ALEC

Many people have sat through educational sessions on ALEC

Thousands have protested.

BUT – what has happened after they did that?
What “actions” did people take?
Was any subsequent action ever taken?

“The activist is not the man who says the river is dirty. The activist is the man who cleans up the river.” – Ross Perot
We have a river of pollution flowing through our statehouses - legislation written by corporate and right-wing thinktanks and introduced & promoted by ALEC members.
The ALEC legislation river is polluted with an incessant flow of regressive and pro-corporate legislation.  
It is time to clean the river.

When ALEC legislators
    Attack our public schools
      We must act
    Attack our movement toward renewable energy
      We must act
    Move to put more guns in the hands of more people
      We must act
    Move to limit the right to vote
      We must act
    Move to privatize larger and larger pieces of our commons
      We must act
    Move to push for the evisceration of regulations
      We must act
    Move to defund our government through insane tax policies
      We must act
    Move to infiltrate our city and county governments
      We must act
    Move to remove consumer protections
      We must act
    Move to destroy unions
      We must act
    Move to limit/eliminate the actions of the federal government and
    agencies of the federal government
      We must act
    Move to re-write our constitution
      We must act
    Move to hand over federals parks and lands to state control
      We must act
    Move to establish state currencies
      We must act

But - those actions require coordination and focus.
Those actions need to be part of a larger, cohesive and effective movement - people actually working together.  We need  a systemic, holistic approach to combating the proliferation of ALEC legislation - to become proactive and stop playing a game of ALEC whack-a-mole.

We must act against ALEC as a whole.  To limit the influential power of ALEC legislators,  must become our idealogy.  As a group we need to become "committed to cross-sector advocacy", stop playing a game of ALEC whack-a-mole.

“This battle will not be won by the better academic argument or the most rigorous research”
Much of the rigorous research has been done and many the arguments have already been posited - we need to act.
More tweets or more Facebook posts of the same old, same old are not going to have a significant change going forward.
“The activist is not the man who says the river is dirty. The activist is the man who cleans up the river.” – Ross Perot
The time has come - more so than most know - that "we the people"  take "action" to stop the flow of regressive legislation coming into our states through ALEC.
If we do not take start to take “action”, we ARE fighting a protracted battle that we are "ill prepared to win".

I’ve done multiple presentations on ALEC across the Metro area – reaching out to over a thousand people and everyone always asks – what can we do?
I tell them the same thing I will write here.  I tell them that my forte is not organizing and someone in the audience needs to take the lead, is capable of taking the lead -  yet, no one in the Metro has chosen to act.

We need a small group of people, in every state, to step up and be the activists to clean up the filthy river of legislation, brought forth by ALEC legislators.
We need a small group of people, in every state, to monitor legislation AND amendments sponsored OR co-sponsored by ALEC legislators.
We need a small group of people, in every state, to make sure that ALEC legislators are opposed in elections.  Too many ALEC legislators are re-elected, unopposed – leaving constituents with no choice, but ALEC.

ALEC needs to know that in each state, there are watchers and reporters.

You don’t need specific instructions on how to do this – you are bright people.
You don’t have to be an expert on ALEC, at this moment.  You will become an expert as your activism progresses.

It won’t cost much, if any, money – but it will take time.

I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation. The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavour will light our country and all who serve it — and the glow from that fire can truly light the world.
And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country. - JFK
Leadership at the state level.  A small group of committed people.
This movement doesn’t require leadership from some enigma at the national level, we shouldn't be waiting for someone, out there, to give us guidance or permission to act.  ALEC is a state issue.  It's our issue.
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead.
If a state movement were to begin it would be fitting to start a new group here at DK that is devoted to the reporting of state level ALEC activism.  Not only would that be a place to showcase and centralize the work but it would be informative and educational for all, as ALEC laws/policies begin to move across the US, as they always do.

We can not depend on others to do this work for us.
We need to start taking action.
The nonprofits that were anti-ALEC gung-ho during 2011 and 2012 are losing interest in ALEC – their reporting and actions on ALEC are becoming sparse, mostly limited to the 2 - 3 day time span surrounding one of the three ALEC meetings.  Their interest in ALEC is waning.  They have given the public tools and databases to use – but we must choose to make those tools, databases and information, actionable. Or, on the other hand, money talks – if you want them to keep up the fight, you can give them donations, targeted specifically for ALEC research and exposure and sit back and hope they continue working on ALEC.

If the focus and attention on ALEC is allowed to decrease, the end results are real and frightening - ALEC's power in our state and federal governments will begin to increase again – as in 1997 and 2002.

ALEC claims that exposure of its structure and processes infringe on their first amendment rights.  I disagree.  No organization has the right to impact the policies of the United States of America without being questioned and held accountable by the natural born people impacted by the policies enacted.

The very word "secrecy" is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths and secret proceedings.
Without debate, without criticism, no Administration and no country can succeed-- and no republic can survive. That is why the Athenian lawmaker Solon decreed it a crime for any citizen to shrink from controversy. - JFK
The first great action against ALEC - a protest in Cincinnati, was born right here on the pages of Daily Kos.
I can only hope that the next monumental and on-going action against the American Legislative Exchange Council, state level activism, that is politically effective - over the long term, not just a month or two, will start here also

Will history repeat itself?  ALEC hopes so.
ALEC was exposed in 1997 and nothing at all happened.

ALEC was exposed again in 2002 with excellent reporting and again, nothing happened.

ALEC was exposed again in 2010/2011 - will something lasting happen?

Originally posted to MNDem999 on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 09:31 AM PDT.

Also republished by American Legislative Transparency Project and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I feel your pain and passion for this issue. (8+ / 0-)

    The fact that those legislators that take the kick-backs from ALEC and are too lazy to even paraphrase the recommended bills to push are the most shameful and corrupt public officials. We must keep exposing this organization and fighting to end their control.  I'm not counting on other politicians to do so - it is up to us and the free liberal media (hah!) to get the message out.

    Gravitation cannot be held responsible for people falling in love. - Einstein

    by moose67 on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 09:47:43 AM PDT

  •  I take your point (10+ / 0-)

    about American short term memory when it comes to scandal, but I think that there have already been lasting consequences of this round of exposing ALEC.

    For one, there has been an enormous drop off in both corporate funding and legislative participation.

    More importantly, there is now a united front between labor, environmentalists, and civil rights groups that didn't really exist in the past.

    Stand your ground, voter ID, and anti-immigrant model legislation have all given ALEC a profile on social issues that they have strenuously tried to avoid in the past. It's going to be a long time before African-Americans and Hispanics forget these things, and demographic trends are going to make it harder to win elections without votes from these groups.

    by ManfromMiddletown on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 09:50:14 AM PDT

    •  Luv your optimism - Disagree over longterm (5+ / 0-)


      The members will rejoin - the money will improve
      if there isn't an on-going focus on ALEC's work.
      Some are already rejoining - can't give you a link on that right off the top of my head.
      The drop in members was due to the focused actions of the nonprofits in 2011/2012 - they aren't doing that anymore and once in awhile someone will drop - based on stockholder push, but that's rare now.

      Yes - I agree that groups are more aware and actually taking action - but strongly believe that it has to be the work of "we the people". at the state level.

      ALEC reiterates the lies that they no longer work on social issues and eventually they will get people to believe them - repeat a lie enough times and  ....
      ALEC did this to me in a public op-ed against one of my presentations - calling me a liar, saying what I had presented was not endorsed by ALEC - grab this, because it was not on their webpage - therefore I was a "liberal blogger" liar,  for saying they endorsed SYG and Voter ID.  But - then and now - on their webpage - you will not find Stand Your Ground and Voter ID legislation.  They lied, claiming no connection to SYG & VID - but how could I go back weeks later to my audience and say - ALEC lied, I didn't.

      Yes , we've made progress - no, I don't believe it will hold if we don't continue to keep them in the sunlight.

      Good to hear from you - hope all is well.

    •  Pinning your hopes on the American public? (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      a2nite, MNDem999, unfangus, mikejay611

      Don't forget, Americans' attention spans extend back to the last commercial and expectations extend forward to the next commercial. As long as there's plenty of beer, chips and dips, ALEC is the farthest thing from anyone's minds. The only thing that will wake us up is prolonged discomfort. Knowing that, ALEC operatives appear to carefully monitor the temperature of their frogs' water. When the frogs do wake will be after the water has reached a roiling boil when feudal slave bracelets are locked and the work detail deployed.

      ALEC is ALL about keeping the current crop of corporate aristocrats in the style to which they are not only accustomed but furiously insist they are totally entitled...that means: No taxes (so working class!); no regulations (get the govt off our backs); only celebratory news coverage (bye bye librul media); and last but never least---low wages/no unions/no workplace safety/child labor/privatized "education"/privatized everything else (profit$ for the "job creators")...I could go on...but you likely already get my point.

      "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." George Santayana

      by GEldridge on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 03:40:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Don't lose sight of the "junior ALECs" (8+ / 0-)

    Every state has at least one participant in the State Policy Network, who do pretty much the same work ALEC does for state and local legislation.

    SPN is a web of right-wing “think tanks” in every state across the country. It is an $83 million right-wing empire as of the 2011 funding documents from SPN itself and each of its state "think tank" members. Although SPN's member organizations claim to be nonpartisan and independent, the Center for Media and Democracy's in-depth investigation, "EXPOSED: The State Policy Network -- The Powerful Right-Wing Network Helping to Hijack State Politics and Government," reveals that SPN and its member think tanks are major drivers of the right-wing, American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)-backed corporate agenda in state houses nationwide, with deep ties to the Koch brothers and the national right-wing network of funders.[1]

    “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

    by Catte Nappe on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 10:04:31 AM PDT

  •  Thanks for keeping the focus on ALEC. (5+ / 0-)

    ALEC is destabilizing to our democracy and quality of life. All ALEC's goals are in direct opposition to the average American's interests.

    Every mind that can be informed on this important topic is useful to counter ALEC's pernicious influence on all levels of government.

    We can't let ALEC win these battles. At stake is our democracy.

    I'm for truth, no matter who tells it. I'm for justice, no matter who it's for or against. ~ Malcolm X -8.62 -8.36

    by 4Freedom on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 03:19:09 PM PDT

  •  I can not defeat ALEC alone, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MNDem999, Hector Solon, mikejay611

    but i believe in my heart that action will work. If each one of us did one act of protest, took one action a month (better a week) and simply said this is wrong and what is right is participatory democracy and I am going to stand my ground and say my piece on your issue better yet issues, we can affect change.  It is the cumulative effect of many voices influencing more voices.  The 100th monkey effect, the tipping point.  Just do something and have fun.Keep the faith don't get discourage just act.  It feels good.

    •  Never underestimate... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MNDem999, Ohiodem1

      ... the power of... yes, just ONE... or a few activists on the ground in a State or event. There are many examples of one person, or small groups making HUGE impacts to cripple ALEC. Those "meddling kids" in Cinn in 2011 a great example.

      Fight the battle in your State, to your Front, there is essentially no State or Issue unaffected by ALEC models or concepts.

      For more than occasional tweets on #ALEC & #SaveMI.

      by Hector Solon on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 05:11:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  A broad-based coalition of progressive activists (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MNDem999, Hector Solon, Yosef 52

    and organizations needs to be assembled, with solid leadership and a common set of goals, and a consistent strategy.

    As long as we have different organizations squabbling over who gets credit and blame when things go either right or wrong, we will be a weak movement.

    Perhaps we can organize an Anti-ALEC group with representation by organizations like PFAW, Common Cause, Color of Change, statewide progressive organizations, and some friendly media types.

    Admittedly, the media types will be difficult to get on board because ALEC corporate members have the ability to co-opt media because of the ability to withhold advertising dollars from media, but we should have the ability to point out this kind of conflict of interest when it exists.  Many editorial boards are dominated by people who share ALEC's goals and aspirations, and some media may simply not be available to report on ALEC.  I have some ideas about advancing getting ALEC coverage into publications that are reluctant, on ideological grounds, to report on ALEC activity.  There is a way to make that happen, and the media that blows the lid off ALEC at the state level has a good shot at a Pulitzer, so we can offer incentives that no one ever considered before.

    Publicity is the best disinfectant.

    Republicans are like alligators. All mouth and no ears.

    by Ohiodem1 on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 04:51:35 PM PDT

  •  Paging Harry Reid Clean up in aisle two needing... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Yosef 52

    Paging Harry Reid

    Clean up in aisle two needing the Koch Bros. treatment.

  •  I quit State Farm Insurance and I told them why. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MNDem999, Yosef 52, Ohiodem1

    The sun's not yellow, it's chicken. B. Dylan

    by bgblcklab1 on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 05:59:06 PM PDT

  •  Thank you for this! I lambaste them in my (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    upcoming novel, as well as a few of their member Companies.

    All we can do is keep plugging, and as my main character, Seth says, “Ya know, we can actually change the world, even just a tiny tiny bit.”  And I held my forefinger and thumb together in an almost-pinch, just far enough apart to slide a credit card through."

    Please know I am not rude. I cannot rec anything from this browser. When I rec or post diaries I am a guest at some exotic locale's computer. Ayn is the bane!

    by Floyd Blue on Tue Jul 29, 2014 at 06:17:21 AM PDT

  •  corporate media won't report on this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    If this was presented, in depth, as the corruption and selling out of our gov't that it is, and participating legislators were identified, and the implications of their policies were made clear, it would be one thing, and may have an impact. On the other hand, of course, republicans operate right out in public with plenty of media coverage and manage to get elected anyhow...

    when I see a republican on tv, I always think of Monty Python: "Shut your festering gob you tit! Your type makes me puke!"

    by bunsk on Tue Jul 29, 2014 at 08:04:23 AM PDT

  •  ALEC, seeking to privatize education? Promoting (0+ / 0-)

    charter schools? Whoever could have guessed that such an ambition was so nakedly right wing!

    I don't expect to have such information change any minds of privatization-promoters here on DKos, though. They're too intransigent for that.

    Can't wait to see their arguments, though. It ought to be amusing.

  •  ALEC's success mirrors that of talk radio (0+ / 0-)

    ALEC started 'blossoming' in the early 90's right after the rw radio monopoly got going. they sell their legislation sand politicians on rw radio.

    that is their best weapon, and they couldn't have done shit without it.

    everything they do, name any issue, is set up, has been set up with rw radio and is/was coordinated with the programming on those 1200 stations.

    rw radio and alec have succeeded largely because the left has ignored rw radio.

    alec will continue to succeed as long as democracy-loving americans ignore that fact.

    how many progressive activists and protestors is one ALEC think tank blowhard on a loud radio station worth?

    how are their think tanks coordinating rw raido on the local level?

    protest their meeting and work against them but if you want to protest and they're not having meetings, their radio stations are all over the place and i'll bet media and alec will notice that more than protests at state capitols.

    those are ALEC radio stations- all of them- and ignoring their best weapon means a lot of the same.

    This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

    by certainot on Tue Jul 29, 2014 at 05:47:31 PM PDT

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