Another display of grassroots muscle caused the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to drop their financial support for ALEC.
The Gates Foundation had donated $375,000 to ALEC over the past two years, but a spokesman told Roll Call that they were not a dues paying member. “We have made a single grant, narrowly and specifically focused on providing information to ALEC-affiliated state legislators on teacher effectiveness and school finance.”
The effort to get the Gates Foundation to drop ALEC was spearheaded by Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC). In just a few hours, the PCCC had gathered 23,000 signatures on an online petition calling on the foundation to drop ALEC. Their original goal was 20,000 signatures, but they have blown past that and are now over 31,000.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation news comes on the same day that ColorOfChange announced that they were targeting ALEC supporter AT&T. The fact that the Gates Foundation decided to drop their support for ALEC today illustrates how toxic any affiliation with ALEC is becoming. The popular movement against ALEC is growing and more companies are being forced to weigh the access to state legislatures that ALEC provides against the negative publicity that comes with being associated with the organization.
What makes tonight’s development significant is that the Gates Foundation doesn’t deal with advertisers or consumers. This wasn’t a reaction to a boycott. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation pulled out of ALEC because they didn’t want the public backlash and bad publicity. ALEC has gone from an organization that controlled state legislatures from the shadows to a PR nightmare for those who fund or associate with them.
The fragmented left has united, not around a common cause, but a common tactic. Boycotts have become the left’s David against the right’s corporate sponsored Goliaths. The left’s Davids are smart. They have figured out that the corporate giants can’t stand if they aren’t fed by all the little Davids across the country and around the world. The Davids have stopped feeding them and the Goliaths are paying a heavy price.
The left is expanding their boycott tactics to other areas. ColorOfChange is using the same tactic that brought down Glenn Beck and applying it to a political organization. The PCCC took that same tactic and applied it a charitable organization that had funded a political organization. The tactic is moving away from advertiser boycotts and into grassroots activism.
No right wing organization, no matter how powerful, is immune. People are coming together, and one by one, they are joining each other to stand up and take their country back.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association