Thursday, December 1, 2011

ALEC Protests: Any more radical than Bush protests?

Considering that ALEC has not been shut down (yet?), I'm concerned that some of the message has been lost in the interest of gaining numbers and exposure. I do think it's important to expose ALEC, and that has been accomplished on a large scale over the last year, with this protest in Scottsdale being the largest and most militant yet.

I've been concerned about ALEC being the new public enemy #1 when in fact they are just a good example of the larger system(s) at work that affect laws to the benefit of the rich and powerful. So we're talking colonization, capitalism, slavery and the continued criminalization of people of color, which included borders and prisons, etc. There certainly are benefits to the exposure of the World Trade Organization (WTO) culminating 12 years ago, but in a sense, it focused on neo-liberalism/globalization at the expense of a focus on capitalism.

While ALEC came to be exposed to us in AZ because of its links to SB1070 and private prisons, I was concerned that the private-ness of prisons would be the focus, rather than the history of criminalization people, primarily people of color, which has also benefited the rich and powerful. But while I don't know a lot about the messages coming out of the liberal/progressive/democrat groups that are also opposing ALEC, it seems that even the private prison connection is not the main focus. And with the occupy rhetoric, ALEC can just be understood as representing the 1%.

Today I asked myself what made these ALEC protests different than the old Bush protests where democrats and anarchists gathered together to oppose a common enemy. Not to say we shouldn't oppose a common enemy, but it is clear to anarchists (for the most part) that democrats can be just as bad if not worse in their slimy deceptive ways. Or they don't have to be deceptive, it's that those who would oppose Obama's higher rates of raids and deportations are more isolated because the left is too afraid or enamored to oppose Obama. It's similar to how Arpaio has been the face of evil anti-immigrant schemes, while the Phoenix PD has made more arrests than MCSO and with hardly a peep from the immigrants' rights movement.

All this is intended as constructive criticism and self-criticism. What is it that we'll wish we had done differently, and is it to late? The indigenous gathering was very encouraging. There will be more media releases that address the wider context. It was great that the "SHUTDOWN ALEC" message did not alienate many people, even if it hasn't resulted in the achievement of that goal. I hope that now that ALEC has been further exposed, we can bring the bigger issues into the forefront. Because if ALEC didn't exist, there would still be prisons, borders, colonization...

It's the never-ending conundrum: say what only anarchists will say at the risk of total isolation, or compromise a bit in hopes that people will slowly be drawn towards being open to what only anarchists will say. I honestly fall somewhere in the middle of these, but sometimes more towards the former.

See also: ALEC protest Wednesday
ALEC in context...
Private Prisons in a Wider Context: Video

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