May 5, 2012
A good boycott
By David Giffey
Before ALEC there were consumer boycotts. With resuscitation from consumers, boycotts are likely to outlive even the American Legislative Exchange Council.
A reason to support consumer boycotts has to do with money: They are free or, better yet, they might lead to savings when we realize we don’t need certain products produced by objectionable corporations. Well-organized boycotts are powerful tools against private for-profit corporations whose disinformation practices “cause injustices in the global economy [and pollute] our physical or mental commons.” This quote is taken from Adbusters, a non-profit magazine published in Vancouver and loaded with provocative ideas about social activism.
In a nutshell, there’s nothing like bad press and the threat of reduced profits to inspire Coca Cola Co., McDonald’s Corp., and Kraft Foods Inc. to sever ties with ALEC. They did so after ALEC and the NRA came under increased scrutiny for pushing “Stand Your Ground” laws in states like Florida and Wisconsin to allow individuals to use deadly force if they feel threatened.
If discerning consumers acting together can’t bring selected corporations to their knees, it’s because corporations don’t have knees, no matter what body parts they have been granted by the U.S. Supreme Court. Corporations don’t have knees, but they have bank accounts.
It took pressure from groups like Color of Change and Madison's Center for Media and Democracy, creators of ALEC Exposed, before some of the Fortune 500 groups split with ALEC. The pressure is mounting with news that the political ethics watchdog Common Cause filed a complaint on April 23, asking the IRS to collect back taxes and penalties because ALEC violates tax exempt status when it lobbies state legislators.
An Ohio Republican state senator, Bill Seitz, is an ALEC board member and was quoted in the New York Times whining about opponents being jealous because “they don’t have a comparable group that is as effective as ALEC in enacting policies into law.”
Whatever else Seitz meant, his words should put to rest once and for all any argument that ALEC is neutralized by rich liberals or wealthy unions or deep pockets in the Democratic Party. One must wonder if the new ALEC scandals could cause the Koch brothers and Grover Norquist to regroup.
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You can bet your boots that these companies would still be funding ALEC but for their public disclosure. I try to avoid buying products from companies that consistently work against my interests like Johnsonville brats (WMC). Klements are great and they sponsor sausage races.
Some patented products are unavoidable. Still it it sometimes difficult to know which products use money from my purchases to undermine my interests.
-nonheroicvet | Disgusted, WI | May 6, 2012
Among those on the list of ALEC contributors is UPS. Isn't it ironic that UPS employs thousands of Teamsters. I wonder if they noticed that their employer is spending cash to support ALEC's union busting aims.
-blurondo | Milwaukee, WI | May 6, 2012