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Labor's Edge: Views from the California Labor Movement

“Stop the Greed Agenda” Bus Tour Exposes Koch Brothers’ Link to Prop 32

By Danielle Tipton, California Labor Federation

The notorious right-wing ideologues David and Charles Koch are some of the biggest spenders in American politics, dropping millions upon millions to buy elections and influence politicians all across the country. So why would they suddenly throw $4 million into Prop 32, a proposition that claims to “stop special interest money” from flooding politics?

Simple -- because they know it’s a sham and that will silence the voice of workers while giving more power to corporate special interests. And this is exactly what the Koch brothers want. If they succeed in silencing our voice, the floodgates will open up even wider for billionaires like them to spend without limits and push their “greed agenda”-- with the sole purpose of putting even more money into their loaded bank accounts, at the expense of our education, our jobs, our communities and our economy.

That’s precisely what brought the “Stop the Greed Agenda” bus tour to California this week. Sponsored by Patriot Majority USA, the 23-state tour aims to educate communities around the nation about the Koch Brothers and other corporate special interests that spend billions pursuing their “greed agenda,” which centers around more tax breaks for billionaires and corporations that outsource our jobs, while cutting vital protections and programs for working-class Americans.

The greed agenda bus tour arrived in Oakland yesterday, where San Francisco State University Professor John Logan, teacher and Oakland Education Association President Trish Gorman and Mike Villeggiante, president of ILWU Local 10, joined representatives from Patriot Majority USA to expose the links between Prop 32, the Koch Brothers and their corporate front group, the American Future Fund.

The American Future Fund is a 501(c)(4) organization, which means it can spend without limits on elections without having to disclose its donors. Not surprisingly, the American Future Fund would be exempt under Prop 32 and could continue to pour buckets of money into the political process in California if Prop 32 were to pass.

John Logan, Associate Professor and Director of Labor Studies for SFSU, summed it up:

Prop 32 is being bankrolled by the very special interests it claims to be targeting. The people who are bankrolling Prop 32 are the conservative billionaires and they will be completely untouched by Prop 32.

Teacher Trish Gorman explained the Kochs’ blatant hypocrisy: they believe that their money equals speech, but then they do not believe that our voices -- the voices of the working class -- equal speech.

How dare the Koch brothers and their ilk come in to my community, my city, and tell me that my organization and the teachers that work and live in this city cannot have a voice equal to theirs?

Mike Villeggiante, president of ILWU Local 10, reminded us that this country was built by workers and we are not going to let the Koch brothers and other cronies take away the gains we’ve fought so hard for, like the minimum wage, worker safety, project labor agreements, and even the weekend.

With checks from billionaires totaling millions of dollars pouring into deceptive ads to pass Prop 32, we know it’s clear that these deep-pocketed special interests are serious about buying this election.  But as we saw in 2010 when Meg Whitman heavily outspent Jerry Brown and still lost by a huge margin, having the most money does not always translate into getting the most votes in California. We may not be billionaires, but we’re rich with enthusiasm, and we’ve got tens of thousands of working Californians who have already joined the volunteer effort to get the word out person-to-person – and that’s the sort of political power money just can’t buy.

Now is the time to fight the greed agenda by volunteering to reach out to others in your community and let them know about the deception that is Prop 32. Learn more and sign up to volunteer today.
 

Posted on 10/05/2012Permalink

More posts by Danielle Tipton

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