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Activists Striking Back Against Conservative Legislative Agenda

By Saeed Shabazz

Labor and community activists working in Southern states plan to make North Carolina ground zero in their fight against the American Legislative Exchange Council’s State Policy Network, a web of think tanks in all 50 states the activists contend are hijacking state politics by enacting draconian policies behind closed doors.

Fresh from its 2013 State and Nation Summit in Washington, D.C, where ALEC outlined proposed legislative bills for 2014, the conservative group reportedly received $83 million from corporations like Reynolds American, Microsoft, AT&T, Verizon, Facebook, GlaxoSmithKline, Kraft Foods, Comcast and Time Warner, according to the Wisconsin-based Center for Media Democracy, an investigative research and reporting group.

The 2014 agenda aims to lower wages for workers in the private and public sectors, undermine collective bargaining, launch initiatives aimed at lowering labor standards and eroding workplace protections, rollback Environmental Protection Agency regulation of greenhouse gases and clean energy, enact voter suppression laws, undermine the Affordable Care Act, and cut use of federal funds for Medicaid and public schools has been in the works for awhile, according to Rebekah Wilce, a research reporter for the Wisconsin center’s PR Watch.

“We need a lot more transparency to stop the state legislatures and we need to get the corporate money out of politics,” Ms. Wilce told The Final Call.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the state’s Black unemployment rate of 17.5 percent is the fourth highest in the nation. Blacks constitute 22.1 percent out of the population of 8.04 million people with 9 percent of Black families living below the poverty level.

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