On radio, ALEC co-director accuses ALEC critics of being “Marxists”

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

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 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 agreeing 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.”

Extortion? Intimidation?

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

25 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

    Attention BlueCat, Libertad 2.0, and others – I’m not a right wing capitalist Republican. I’m a Marxist. So Thuuubtttttt!!!!!!


  2. AristotleAristotle says:

    why the hell the right is trying to pull a new Red Scare in the 21st Century? I really don’t get it – are they THAT out of touch?

  3. RedGreenRedGreen says:

    Really? I thought it “led to” how police and prosecutors initially handled things after the shooting.

  4. AmyCO says:

    Your comment that stand your ground legislation is “encouraging people to fire guns at innocent people” is just as hyperbolic as Williams’ Marxist claims.  Stand your ground applies to the use of deadly force in self defense “to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm.”  Absent evidence establishing those facts, it is no defense and certainly not a license to shoot innocent people. But I guess if you’re going to take the time to respond to hysterical, nonsensical claims of “THE COMMIES ARE COMING!!” it doesn’t make sense to make a reasoned argument.  

    • Fidel's dirt nap says:

      and as is with many unhinged paranoid gun nuts, there are threats everywhere, so we better shoot now and ask questions later because the law is now on our side.  Encouragement ?  Check.

      A crappy, not well thought out piece of legislation with a ton of unintended consequences, all with the narrow aim to placate far right kooks and garner votes and support from the ill informed Joe six pack crowd.  Republican, tea party politics at its best – never matters if they’re a couple of bodies left in the road.

      • Duke Coxdukeco1 says:

        so we better shoot now and ask questions later because the law is now on our side.

        Is a very accurate framing of the “one percent doctrine” which was the guiding principle behind the Bush administration. Bullies use it all the time.

        Ron Suskind explains in depth in his excellent book, called, oddly enough, “the One Percent Doctrine”.  

  5. dmindgo says:

    just thought I’d jump ahead to the whole Godwin thing

  6. allyncooper says:

    I was called a hippie (which was somewhat true), a commie, a pinko, a Viet Cong sympathizer, a flag burner, and a nattering nabob of negativism.

    But one one ever called me a Marxist.  

  7. Just how does ALEC team up with corporations to draft laws “in secret”?

    All of the mock legislation that I am aware of is submitted in draft form to ALEC task forces, discussed at meetings that any paying customer can attend, introduced in various legislatures, heard and debated in public committee hearings, AMENDED, debated in legislative chambers, AMENDED, then signed into law by a governor.

    Am I missing something?  How does this differ from any legislation that’s drafted by labor or environmental groups?

    You make it sound like laws are bypassing the entire legislative process.

    • Duke Coxdukeco1 says:

      that “backroom”  deals are not part of the scenery at ALEC?

      You funny.

      • Duke – Jason makes it sound like these bills automatically become LAW without any public debate or legislative amending.  They don’t.

        And, please tell me that liberal groups don’t do the EXACT same thing.  

        Financial supporters of liberal groups suggest language, liberal groups find willing legislative sponsors, those sponsors introduce said language. And it all goes through the system properly.  Just like the ALEC boogeyman model legislation. No?

    • Big business has plenty of ways to get this done, without ALEC. You’re right. More ways and more power than labor and environmental groups. I see the exposure of ALEC as an opportunity to educate people about how the process works and to fight back.

    • Apparently, being a paying customer isn’t so easy, or you’d think some Progressive infiltrator might have joined up to expose the practice before.

      ALEC is, essentially, a shadow version of the National Council of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (an organization that’s been around since 1892, consisting of representation from each state government…).  Unlike the NCCUSL/ULC, ALEC is a kind of partisan lobbying group – except that it lobbies in secret, away from the capitol building, by joining corporations and conservative organizations with state legislators in invite-only meetings.  Bills are drafted at ALEC meetings and taken to state legislatures by conservative legislators with no indication of how they originated.

      There is no record of lobbying – no record that a bill comes from ALEC, nor which company or organization may have wanted it passed.

      Once in the legislature, a bill may or may not attract sufficient attention to get research applied against it prior to voting.  Here in Colorado with our mixed legislature, most of the truly dumb ones get weeded out before they make it in to law, but in other states these bills pass straight through with citizens being completely unaware of their origins.

      I and some others on this blog think the citizens deserve to know the reasoning behind various laws.  How about you?

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