Wednesday, April 18, 2012

ALEC and the 1% retreat under threat of working class power

The American Legislative Exchange Council or ALEC, the organization that counts 2000 state lawmakers as members and that bribes politicians on behalf of its 300 corporate sponsors is backing off pushing for Stand Your Ground type laws.  The Trayvon Martin case has opened a bag of worms for the authorities as the shooter, George Zimmerman, will most likely be using the Stand Your Ground Law as a defense, but all indications are that it was Zimmerman that was the aggressor, not Trayvon Martin. They have to find a way to close this issue though. How to resolve it and keep a lid on any potential social disturbances is their goal.

"The controversy over the Trayvon Martin shooting wasn't the chief factor in ALEC's decision to refocus on economic issues." says Chip Rogers, ALEC's treasurer according to the Wall Street Journal. This is how they write history.  Wages, conditions, social change, the right to vote, the end of Apartheid in South Africa or the US South, never has its origins in the threat of social upheaval or even revolutionary change. Progress always comes from the top down according to the King whose sages write the history books.

But it is the general mood and disgust in society at Trayvon Martin's killing that is motivating these developments.  And while the 1%'s media tries to portray a racially divided America on this issue as it always does, it is not just black folks that are angry at this law and its potential for increasing racial profiling and vigilantism etc. "So-called justifiable homicides nearly doubled from 2000 to 2010" the WSJ reported  earlier this month, part of the reason is that with these laws homicides become justifiable a little more frequently.   "Among all homicides, when races differed", the Journal added, "the victim was more often white. By contrast, in justifiable-homicide cases, when the races differed, the opposite was true: The victim was more often black."

But the general mood in society is one of anger at the system and the corporate state and the more astute representatives of capital know this.  Buffet and other billionaires' call to raise their taxes is about self preservation not generosity or sense of fairness.  One doesn't accumulate $60 billion without being a most ruthless individual. Obama is parroting it on their behalf in the hope of remaining their representative in the White house for another four years.  No, with one in four homeowners under water, two million in prison, 50% of them people of color and the inequality gap widening as corporations that are raking in billions in profits are paying no tax, the more astute and sober representatives of the 1% are well aware that  US society is an explosion waiting to happen.

The decision by Coca Cola, Kraft Inc. and McDonald's to sever ties with ALEC is a factor in ALEC's decision but that too is due to the fear the capitalist class has that that any social upheaval, even if it initially arises in the black community over this killing, the racist justice system and prison industrial complex, can spread quickly to encompass wide swathes of the population.  These three corporations also avoided any reference to their fears of social unrest and the possibility of economic boycotts and other tactics that could hurt their bottom line. Their decision to dump ALEC was simply, "..part of annual reviews of the organizations to which they belong.", Kraft and McDonald's announced to the media. Mr. Kraft and Ms. McDonald can "announce" in this way as they are people like you and I in the eyes of US law and capitalist society. It's very useful. If the corporation poisons a whole bunch of people it's hard to find those humans whose actions may have contributed to the crisis.

When we had victories at work through our collective struggles, the boss never attributed it to our collective power or the Union.  When socially progressive legislation is passed as occurred in the 1930's and the 1950's-60's, it is never attributed to the mass direct action taking place in the streets as was happening in the 1930's with the rise of industrial Unionism and in the 50's with the civil rights movement and the heroic struggle of the mostly black youth to end US Apartheid. Look at the response to the attack on women's rights, they had to back off on their efforts to de-fund Planned Parenthood and both the Wall Street Parties are trying to outdo each other on which one is the most ardent champion for women.

It is not uncommon for people to be overcome by the propaganda of the mass media and the news stations that spew out their demoralizing and anti-social view of human nature and the world. But around the world as well as here in the US, there has been an historic change in consciousness.  Demonstrations against the capitalist offensive are occurring globally every day.

The Occupy movement seems to have ebbed somewhat here in the US and an attempt to hijack it is being waged by the Democratic Party and the Labor hierarchy much as they did after the Seattle events in 1999 when the youth shut down the WTO.  But this may only be temporary.

There is no doubt that the missing factor is the leadership of the working class on a global scale.  A leadership that would bring all these struggles together in a generalized coordinated offensive against global capitalism that will if not stopped, destroy the environment and life on this planet as we know it.

Such a leadership will arise.  Consciousness lags behind events as we say, but one thing history teaches us is that the working class will rise to defend its class interests,  our future and the future of the planet.  No one said it would be easy; just inevitable.

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