Videos: Mike Elk on labor, politics, ALEC, and Koch Industries

In These Times staff writer Mike Elk spoke to a meeting of the Wichita Sate University Student Labor Project and Young Democratic Socialists on February 16, 2012.  Two days later, he spoke to an Occupy KochTown conference, organized by regional Sierra Club and occupy groups.  Elk is a prolific reporter who has broken many important stories–a frequent contributor to Talking Union. We think both videos may be of interest to Talking Union readers.

See the KochTown video after the break.

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Koch Brothers, Tea Party, Attacks on Unions, Wisconsin

Scott Walker in 2007 at Marquette University a...

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Koch industries, the second largest privately-held company in the US, is an oil refining, chemical, paper products and financial services company with revenues of a $100bn a year. Virtually every American household has some Koch product – from paper towels and lumber, to Stainmaster carpet and Lycra in sports clothes, to gasoline for cars. The Koch’s political philosophy of rolling back environmental and financial regulations is also beneficial to their business interests…

This year, Americans for Prosperity spent at least half a million dollars supporting Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s efforts to cut social spending and roll back collective bargaining rights for public employee unions. The legislation passed by Walker makes it more difficult for unions, which are major backers of Democratic candidates, to secure funds for political purposes. Americans for Prosperity is also very active in a battle against unions in Ohio, another important 2012 presidential state. Its president, Tim Phillips, says that the organisation is winning in Wisconsin and around the country “because on the policies of economic freedom, we’re right”. He refused to tell People & Power reporter Bob Abeshouse how much the organisation is spending to combat the unions.

The Kochs have also poured millions into think tanks and academia to influence the battle over ideas. According to Kert Davies, the director of research for Greenpeace in the US, the Kochs have spent more than $50m since 1998 on “various front groups and think tanks who … oppose the consensus view that climate change is real, urgent and we have to do something about it”. As operators of oil pipelines and refineries, the Kochs have opposed all efforts to encourage alternative sources of energy by imposing a tax on fossil fuels.

Watch the entire video.

Source: Aljazeera news.

http://english.aljazeera.net/programmes/peopleandpower/2011/10/2011102683719370179.html

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