The ALEC Connection —or— Feminism = Environmentalism

To those who find it strange that a post about the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) surreptitiously pops up here every Thursday (or so), here’s my reasoning: Koch-owned pipeline spews oil in Texas. Just a few days ago, and just about 40 miles from here (downstream at least), about 17,000 gallons of oil spilled from a pipeline, contaminating local ponds and reservoirs.

Of course, this kind of “accident” is nothing new, as noted by Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council: “Over the past two decades, more than 5,600 failures in oil and natural gas pipelines – many of which predate the Eisenhower administration – have resulted in more than 100 million gallons of oil spilled.”

As the same article explains:

The Koch brothers have also put $50 million toward think tanks and Congress members in support of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline. And they, together with the American Legislative Exchange Council, have launched numerous attacks on renewable energy as well, while at the same time throwing their full support behind fossil fuels, which obviously mean higher profits for corporations. But corporations’ recent habit of touting pipelines as a safe way to transport oil has come under fire, as they have been proven wrong time and again this year.

I started writing about ALEC because, along with this kind of nefariousness, they also draft legislation to limit immigrants’ rights, restrict voting access, and—as we saw here in Austin over the summer—dial the clock back (to the ’50s) on abortion regulations. Feminism = environmentalism, as the old battle cry, courtesy of Françoise d’Eaubonne, has gone; perhaps nowhere is this connection more evident (or rather should be more evident) than in the widening critique of the current alliance of corporations and their unrelenting efforts to tighten the noose around everyone—humans and non-humans alike.

What do oil and abortion have to do with one another? Well, put extremely succinctly, at the risk of inadequacy but for the sake of blog-etiquette brevity, here goes: if women have agency, then they can decide to reproduce or not; when they have this decision, then family size tends to level out at replacement rate (or below); when population plateaus, so does the “need” for oil-based products and infrastructure (everything from diapers to roads to GMOs); when non-oil-based alternatives became more available and viable in the longterm, then the corporations like the ones in ALEC lose—and not just money but their grip on societal institutions and centers of power.

Therefore, people like the Kochs, via ALEC and other vehicles of hegemony (their “engines of terror,” as Simon Schama once called the castles of William the Conqueror), will not let that first domino fall. By the very definition of a corporation, they can not even entertain such a horror. No white rhino or watershed or woman will stand in their way.

Meanwhile, the phrase “stand your ground” continues to drip with irony.


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