Angry Progressive Coalition to Protest Billionaire Gathering Hosted by Koch Brothers, Major Tea Party Funders
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Increasingly, Democrats, liberals and progressives are coming to understand that the Koch brothers, a secretive right-wing billionaire family that pours limitless money into virtually every destructive anti-democratic initiative affecting tens of millions of Americans, are "Public Enemy Number One."
More and more, leaders and activists are shifting tactics and confronting the Kochs face-to-face, challenging their efforts to steal the American Dream and drown out the voices of ordinary Americans by buying our democracy, and trying to take control of civic and economic life. The Kochs' goal appears to be nothing short of transforming America into a radical right-wing, corporate, third-world-like country, crushing social safety nets, and letting the destructive "free market" reign supreme.
The Koch brothers are bringing their super-wealthy friends to the California desert to a private gathering to strategize how they will dominate American political life, and bring a hardcore right-wing government to power in the U.S. In response, on Sunday, January 30, thousands of activists and concerned people are expected to travel to Rancho Mirage, a wealthy enclave adjacent to Palm Springs, to say no to the Koch brothers' plan. People will be educated about the Kochs and their cabal of rich friends, and peacefully march to offer an alternative to the greed and right-wing agenda that aims to roll back consumer protections, including the environment, health care, credit cards, banks and more.
"We can't sit back while a few billionaires destroy the fragile fabric of democracy and the protections that are so necessary for the health of our society," says Jodie Evans of CodePink, one of the organizations planning the protest. "It is time for the progressive community to gather together and say no more, and what better place than where the Koch brothers are plotting their next moves."
The Koch brothers protest signals a new stage among concerned Americans from many areas and organizations. An impressive tally of progressive leaders will speak at the gathering, including Van Jones, former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, and California Nurses Association co-president DeAnn McKewan. Marchers will come from a wide range of organizations including the California Nurses, Common Cause and the Courage Campaign.
The Kochs control the second largest private company in America and are among the richest men in the world. Along with their wealthy allies, they funded the Tea Party to use as a hammer to drive American politics further to the right. Through their various organizations, and often secretly, the Kochs have pumped hundreds of millions of dollars into efforts to deny climate change, undermine financial reform, unleash unlimited corporate money in elections via the Citizens United decision, destroy unions, and make it far more expensive for students to get loans. And recently in California, Koch Industries pumped $1 million into elections last fall to try to roll back the state's global warming law with Prop 23.
They have been major underwriters of the Tea Party and its efforts to disrupt congressional town hall meetings to give the insurance companies control over our health care. The Koch brothers used their wealth to finance scurrilous attack ads -- and recruit others to do the same -- in the wake of the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling that allows corporations to spend unlimited amounts of secret money on politics. Their goal is to undermine our democracy so they can increase their profits and control and corrode our standard of living.
Don Hazen is the executive editor of AlterNet.