February 29, 2012
Today Portlanders joined concerned citizens, students, and Occupiers in over seventy cities across the nation to target corporations and legislators involved in the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). The largest corporations in America, including ExxonMobil, Bank of America, BP, Monsanto, Pfizer, and Walmart use ALEC to funnel donations to legislators and craft pro-corporate legislation often at the expense of ordinary people. Responding to a national call from Occupy Portland, this is the Occupy Movement’s largest coordinated action this year, confronting ALEC corporations in the cities in which they do business throughout the nation.
“ALEC writes legislation focused on amassing more profit for the wealthiest 1% at the expense of our communities. We took action today to challenge this destructive organization and to empower communities rather than corporations,” said Nicholas Caleb of Occupy Portland.
Portlanders gathered at 11:30 AM at SW Naito and Ankeny before marching and making stops at nonviolent actions organized by some 15 social justice, environmental, and anti-capitalist groups. Many long-standing community groups, working under the banner “Portland Action Lab,” assisted in organizing the day, including Rising Tide, the Animal Defense League, We Are Oregon, Jobs with Justice, the Portland Central American Solidarity Committee. This action was organized in conjunction with Occupy Portland. All of the actions targeted corporations involved with the American Legislative Exchange Council.
ALEC is comprised of state and federal government legislators and many of America’s biggest corporations. In ALEC task-forces and committees, lobbyists work directly with legislators to draft and advance cookie-cutter “model” bills that serve the interests of the corporations rather than people. According to ALEC’s figures, nearly 10% of state laws originate from their efforts. Wisconsin Act 10, attacking public employee unions, mirrors ALEC’s anti-union agenda and was introduced by Governor Scott Walker, an ALEC member from 1993-2002. Arizona’s widely criticized anti-immigrant legislation (SB1070) also has roots in ALEC model legislation.
“The decisions affecting our communities should be made democratically, not through a corrupt system that hides the influence of the very corporations that benefit at our expense. ALEC is representative of a failed system in which profit and greed are dominant over everything else,” said Kari Koch of Portland Action Lab.
Stay up to the minute on Twitter using #F29 and follow @F29pdx. Updates on actions throughout the day are available via liveblogging at shutdownthecorporations.org.
* This action was endorsed by the Occupy Portland General Assembly. *
For more information:
CONTACT: Kari Koch
firstname.lastname@example.org, (503) 489-7353
Press packet at http://portlandactionlab.org/press-room/press-packet/