WHEN: Wednesday, February 29th, Rally at 11:30am, March at 1pm
WHERE: March begins at Waterfront Park at SW Naito and SW Ankeny
WHY: The goal of the protest is to see an end to ALEC and the role big corporations have in corrupting our democracy. The American Legislative Exchange Council is seen by protesters as the chosen tool of the 1% and the wealthiest corporations in the world to craft legislation that serves their interests. According to ALEC's figures, nearly 10% of state laws originate from their efforts, laws that protesters feel have damaged communities, workers, civil liberties, the environment and democracy. The protest represents an effort to focus on corporate power as the root cause of the deep inequalities that the Occupy movement has brought to the surface in recent months.
WHAT IS ALEC: Organizers chose to focus on the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) because of its behind-the-scenes role in crafting pro-corporate legislation, partnering with state legislators to pass these laws, and then profiting directly from those laws - a cycle that exemplifies the dominate role of corporations in our democracy. ALEC is comprised of state and federal government legislators - 14 Oregon state legislators are members - and many of America's biggest corporations. ALEC is responsible for some of the most contentious legislation at the state level in the last year, including Arizona's widely criticized Racial Profiling bill (SB1070) and the anti-union Wisconsin Act 10, which stripped public employee unions of collective bargaining last year. Prison and criminal justice legislation from ALEC include mandatory minimum sentences and Three Strikes laws, giving repeat offenders 25 years to life in prison; and "truth-in-sentencing," which requires inmates to serve most or all of their time without a chance for parole.
WHO: Occupy Portland under the umbrella of the newly formed Portland Action Lab has spearheaded the protests, with participation from the Animal Defense League, Bike Swarm, Cascadia Earth First!, Friends of Peace House, Jobs with Justice, Our School, Portland Central America Solidarity Committee, Rising Tide, We Are Oregon, and others. Over 70 cities and occupations around the country and around the world have signed on to participate.
* This action was endorsed by the Occupy Portland General Assembly. *
More information at www.shutdownthecorporations.org and www.portlandactionlab.org