That's what the banner flying over Mitt Romney's Orange County fundraiser said today. Why?
First it was Wisconsin. Then it was Ohio. Now the Koch Brothers, Karl Rove and the Tea Party have their eyes on an even bigger prize: the eighth largest economy in the world. Home to 35 million people, 10 percent of the nation's population.Yep. The ultra-right Koch Brothers with the help of Karl Rove and the Tea Party have just made a major investment in deep blue California.
The Koch Brothers and Karl Rove recently joined the Lincoln Club, Charlie Munger, Jr. and a few other billionaires to buy passage of Prop. 32 in California this November. If Prop. 32 passes, 3 million members of labor unions will no longer have the ability to participate in politics. Why? Because Prop. 32 tells the lie that it would get money out of politics in California when what it really does is get worker money out of politics and double down on the ability for corporations and the wealthy to buy their own private legislation.
The Kochs, Mr. Rove and Mr. Munger understand that in this Citizens United world, the only bulwark against a complete takeover by big companies and the uber rich is organized labor (you know the folks that brought you the 40 hour work week and a little thing called the weekend). And the only way members of unions can participate in politics is by signing up for payroll deduction so that their union has the money to fight for or against candidates and ballot measures who seek progress, not an exaggeration of the wealth gap. Individual union members simply cannot express their voice if they cannot pool their money. Can you imagine a $12 an hour janitor hiring a lobbyist in Sacramento to fight the Kochs? Of course not. But 100,000 janitors can pool their money and keep the Kochs and Bain and Mitt Romney from firing them if they get sick or have a baby.
The Kochs and Rove understand that if they can keep union money out of politics, they win hands down. If Prop32 passes in California, one-third of SEIUs political budget is gone, with sizeable chunks taken from the AFL-CIO and just about any other big national union you can think of.
You may or may not "like unions." Like any other institution, they are not monolithic, are run by fallible human beings and don't always move a perfect progressive agenda. But if you care even one whit about the successes we've had on maternity and paternity leaves, freedom of speech at the work place, increasing the minimum wage, basic decency between the boss and the worker, then you'd better care a lot about Prop. 32.
If you cared about Howard Dean having a voice and reshaping politics when he ran for president, you'd better care about this because unions backed him at a crucial time. If you care about Democrats winning the White House or key congressional elections, you'd better care about this. If you care about building progressive power on the ground, you'd better care about this.
And if you care about taking back our democracy from the super rich and corporations, you better fight against this.
The Kochs, Mr. Rove, the Lincoln Club (which brought us Citizens United in the first place) and their merry band of billionaires have one goal: make as much money for as few people for as long as possible. Nothing else matters to them. They don't really care if their rapacity brings down the nation; they'll have enough money to live happily ever after behind armed walls, in private jets and on any islands they choose to buy.
We saw what happened in Wisconsin. We see what they are trying to do in state legislatures across this country. The Tea Party, Karl Rove, the Koch's, ALEC are all trying to beat back democracy, tear down the middle class and destroy unions all in favor of advancing a far right agenda meant to put profits over people.
We in California can put a stop to this. We can say no to the Koch brothers/Karl Rove/RomneyBain and show them that people power can still beat corporate money. We can also tell them that the eighth largest economy in the world is not up to bid to the highest bidder.
For more on the campaign to defeat Prop 32, and for information about how you can join the fight, please click here.
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