I have to preface this blog post by telling you I'm a critic of the American Legislative Exchange Council, known as ALEC. I don't like the legislation that the outfit promotes (for example, discouraging registered voters from voting, encouraging people to fire guns at innocent people).
I also don't like the way ALEC teams up in secret with conservative legislators and big corporations to draft anti-consumer laws.
I signed a petition as a hopeless gesture to get giant businesses to abandon ALEC, and I was floored when Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, MacDonald's, and Proctor & Gamble dropped their sponsorship of ALEC in recent weeks, after it came to light that ALEC pushed legislation that may have led to the Trayvon Martin shooting.
My problems with ALEC may sound innocent enough to you, even pathetic given the power of big corporations, but to ALEC co-director Jonathan Williams, my views of ALEC and my actions against ALEC make me a Marxist. On Denver's KLZ radio April 26, he said:
"You know," Williams told KLZ, "at the end of the day though, companies should realize that capitalists are the folks who buy their products. The Marxists that are coming after us and coming after them are the folks who want to see them gone anyways."
I had no idea I was a Marxist. I spent a lot of time studying Marxism in college, hoping I could be a Marxist someday, but I never could bring myself to agree with it.
But did Grassroots Radio Colorado hosts Ken Clark and Jason Worley object at all to Williams' accusation? Nope.
Maybe that's because you hear the Marxist card thrown around so much these days on conservative talk radio that it's become standard fare?
Just this morning, KOA's Mike Rosen pointed out on Facebook that President Obama's new campaign slogan "forward" has "very well-established links to Marxism and Socialism."
Forward? I thought it had roots in the old hippie slogan, "Never go straight. Go Forward."
So, with Obama, I'm in good company as a not-yet-self-actualized Marxist.
Still, I consider myself fringe, but Williams doesn't see the Marxists behind the anti-ALEC campaign as a rag-tag group. He didn't mention Obama as being in the Marxist fold, but Williams sees real, serious power in the hands of American Marxists these days as they go after ALEC:
"There is a very coordinated intimidation campaign against some of our corporate sponsors and against many of our legislators across the country by folks who disagree with free-enterprise policy," ALEC's Williams told KLZ. "And they try to use extortionist techniques to intimidate the corporate members from getting involved. It's been a really sad state of affairs that we've been seeing over the last few weeks and some of the companies crumbling under these intimidation tactics."
I wish the KLZ talk-show hosts had delved into those bad things more. I thought the backlash against ALEC was an anomalous case study of successful citizen activism, with organizations like the Center for Media and Democracy creating an informative website, ALEC Exposed, and state groups like ProgressNow pushing out information about local legislative ties with ALEC.
And what about Williams saying ALEC's corporate sponsors were "crumbling?"
I almost started to feel sorry for him, for his disappointment, but then I remembered I'm a Marxist, and I realized the weakening of ALEC, with corporations crumbling, is the first step toward the proletarian revolution I've been waiting for since college.
Listen here to ALEC's Jonathan Williams say that critics of ALEC are "Marxists"
Follow Jason Salzman on Twitter @bigmediablog
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