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Know Your Enemy

Brian Young's picture
Sep 04, 2015

Ever hear that song by Rage Against the Machine titled Know Your Enemy, well I guess we need to hear the message instead of just listening to the song. While support for organized labor is growing in our country, there is a concerted effort by those in the 1% to make it harder for working men and women to organize and stand up for their rights and benefits.  Some of the names you may already know, like the Koch Brothers, but some are a little shadier, like American’s for Prosperity, but they all have one thing in common, they are all trying to make it harder for you to organize and earn better with good benefits in a job with dignity and respect.  Here is a list of the bad guys and bad organizations:

David and Charles Koch, AKA the Koch Brothers.

The Koch Brothers through their company Koch Industries have made billions off of the backs of the middle class.  Their subsidiary, Georgia Pacific, makes everyday items such as Brawny" paper towels, "Angel Soft" toilet paper, "Mardi Gras" napkins and towels, "Quilted Northern" toilet paper and paper towels, "Dixie" paper plates, bowls, napkins and cups, "Sparkle" paper towels, and "Vanity Fair" paper napkins, bowls, plates and tablecloths. The Koch brothers have been major donors to anti-union campaigns across the country through Americans for Prosperity.  Continue on for more about Americans for Prosperity.

The Walton Family

The Walton’s have made billions of dollars by ripping off workers at Wal-Mart.  By paying low wages, often keeping their workers on public assistance so they don’t have to pay disability, the Walton’s have become some of the richest men and women in the world.  Then instead of taking their money and helping the world, the invested it in union busting efforts at charter schools.  The Walton’s have been named one of the largest investors in the for profit, anti-union schools movement. 

Now let’s look at some of the lesser known groups.

The Heritage Foundation

The Heritage Foundation is a conservative “Think Tank” that is currently run by Tea Party icon Jim DeMint.  The foundation has been a leader in pushing a right wing anti-worker agenda for nearly 40 years.  They have published articles and reports that advocate against every major pro-worker policy and advocate for anti-worker policies like right-to work. The Heritage Foundation has had their hands in every major anti worker policy over the last 40 years. 

Americans for Prosperity (AFP)

Maybe the shadiest of all the groups, but the one that has caused the most trouble, is Americans for Prosperity.  The group was initially funded by the Koch Brothers to hide their political activism.  The group played a major role in transforming the Tea Party into a political force.  They were the major opponents of the Affordable Care Act, donating millions of dollars to run ads opposed to the law and aided candidates who were opposed to it.  Americans for Prosperity also backed two anti-union governors in Scott Walker and Rick Snyder in Wisconsin and Michigan.  After backing them, AFP spent tens of millions of dollars to support their Right to Work campaigns.  AFP even spent $3 Million to protect Walker in his recall election. 

In Michigan, AFP actually bussed people to the capital and handed out gas cards and food to people who came to rallies supporting right to work legislation.  AFP also published a 15 page booklet entitled Unions: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: How forced unionization has harmed workers and Michigan to drum up anti-union fervor. 

In both cases, right to work legislation was passed largely due to the campaigns that AFP had run, and against public sentiment.

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