ALEC-author of Stand Your Ground- In Chicago this Weekend

Fight or flight is well known in discussions on self defense. With the implementation of "stand your ground" (syg) laws, the "or flight" has been deemed legally inappropriate. Prior to syg laws, if you found yourself in a situation where you felt threatened with violence, trying to get away was encouraged. With the Trayvon Martin verdict, we face situations where someone can provoke a confrontation, murder an unarmed person and be protected by the law. "Make My Day!" has replaced fight or flight.

The National Rifle Association (NRA) put together the syg law that the Florida State Assembly passed in 2005. Florida became the first state in the nation to pass this kind of justified murder law. The NRA lobbied heavily for passage. In the five years preceding passage, the NRA provided $165,000 to the Florida Republican Party. Republicans were the majority party in both houses of the legislature and held the governorship. Twenty-two of the 23 legislators who received contributions from the NRA during the course of those five years voted for the bill.

With success under their gun belt, the NRA went to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and helped draft a "model bill" that could be used to enact syg laws around the country. ALEC is a cartel of corporations and elected legislators. The NRA is and was a member of ALEC. Syg laws have since been enacted in a majority of our states.

Corporations, corporate trade groups and corporate foundations fund more than 98 percent of ALEC's operations. The Koch brothers have been major funders of ALEC and ALEC has shown an excellent return on investment. The corporations provide legislators with "model legislation" which the legislators take back to their statehouses, where they introduce them as important public policy. There are nine task forces where public (sic) policy is shaped. Each task force has two co-chairs with one an elected official and the other a corporado.

The nine task forces are: Civil Justice; Commerce, Insurance, and Economic Development; Communication and Technology; Education; Energy, Environment and Agriculture; Health and Human Services; International Relations; Justice Performance Project; and Tax and Fiscal Policy. Not by chance, the corporate co-chair of the Education task force comes from the Goldwater Institute, which promotes charter schools. The corporate co-chair of the Energy, Environment and Agriculture task force comes from American Electric Power, which is heavily invested in the coal industry. The corporate co-chair of the Health and Humans Services comes from Guarantee Trust Life Insurance Company. Mission + Money = Corporate Policy.

Thus far in 2013, ALEC introduced: 71 bills protecting corporations from being accountable for causing injury/death; 139 bills calling for the privatization of public education; and 104 bills to diminish public sector unions and collective bargaining.

ALEC is holding its 40th anniversary in Chicago from August 7th through August 9th. Featured speakers include: former Governor Jeb Bush; climate change denier and meteorologist Joe Bastardi; the "father of supply side economics, Art Laffer; and UK Conservative Member of Parliament, Conor Burns, admirer of Margaret ("there is no society") Thatcher.

Tom BroderickI invite you to join me in welcoming ALEC on Thursday, August 8th, at noon outside the Palmer House Hilton Hotel at 17 East Monroe.

 

Tom Broderick is co-chair of the Greater Oak Park branch of Chicago DSA.

Film Discussion: The Price We Pay

January 30, 2017
· 44 rsvps
The Price We Pay blows the lid off the dirty world of corporate malfeasance — the dark history and dire present-day reality of big-business tax avoidance, tax havens - and what we need to do to stop this.  DSA member Bill Barclay, who has a cameo role in the film, will facilitate the discussion. Watch the film prior to the discussion.

Full film available on Vimeo.

How to Plug in New Members

February 01, 2017
· 13 rsvps

Is your DSA chapter growing quickly and you're trying desperately to find ways to plug new members into your chapter's work? Never fear! On this conference call an experienced DSA organizer will go over the basics of new member outreach and developing a plan for plugging new members into your chapter's work. Most of the call will be devoted to troubleshooting specific issues you're facing, so please brainstorm some issues beforehand that you want to bring up on the call.  8 PM ET; 7 PM CT; 7 PM MT; 7 PM PT.

Film Discussion: Salt of the Earth

February 05, 2017
· 9 rsvps

Join DSA members Shelby Murphy and Deborah Rosenfelt in discussing Salt of the Earth, a captivating film made in 1954 by blacklisted writers and actors about a strike at a New Mexico zinc mine. Well before the resurgence of feminism in the 1960s, these filmmakers were exploring gender inequality and solidarity. Available on Netflix.

Shelby Murphy is a Latina from Texas and former Young Democratic Socialists co-chair. Professor Emerita of Women’s Studies at the University of Maryland, Deborah Rosenfelt researched the making of the film and its aftermath for the reissued screenplay. Here is her blogpost about the film.

 

Film Discussion: Documentaries of People's History in Texas

April 02, 2017
· 4 rsvps

Join DSA members Glenn Scott and Richard Croxdale to discuss videos produced by People’s History in Texas (PHIT), a project that brings to life the stories of ordinary people in significant socio-political movements in Texas. They will discuss The Rag, their newest documentary, which tells the story of an influential underground paper based in Austin, Texas, from 1966-77. Click here to view Part I (the early years as an all-volunteer paper covering the student, anti-Vietnam and Civil Rights movements), Part II (the impact of Women’s Liberation on the paper) and Part III (building community: covering local politics, nukes, co-ops, feminist institutions). But also check out the video on the Stand-Ins about a group of university students who led a movement to desegregate Austin’s movie theaters in 1961.

Film Discussion: Rosa [Luxemburg]

May 31, 2017
· 7 rsvps

Join DSA member Jason Schulman to discuss the film Rosa, directed by feminist filmmaker Margarethe von Trotta. View it here at no cost before the discussion. Marxist theorist and economist Rosa Luxemburg (1871-1919) played a key role in German socialist politics. Jason edited Rosa Luxemburg: Her Life and Legacy and has a chapter in Rosa Remix.

Film Discussion: The Free State of Jones

June 11, 2017
· 4 rsvps

Join Victoria Bynum, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History, Texas State University, San Marcos, to discuss The Free State of Jones. STX Entertainment bought the film rights to Bynum's book of the same title. She also served as a consultant and appears in a cameo scene. What was the Free State of Jones? During the Civil War, an armed band of deserters led by Newt Knight, a non-slaveholding white farmer, took to the swamps of southeastern Mississippi and battled against the Confederacy in an uprising popularly known as “The Free State of Jones.” Joining Newt in this rebellion was Rachel, a slave. From their relationship, there developed a controversial mixed-race community that endured long after the Civil War had ended. View the film here for $6 before the discussion.