This weekend in Chicago, protestors will descend on ALEC’s Summer Conference. ALEC has taken some serious hits over the last year, losing some of it’s biggest corporate members, but this has lead to it becoming even more scary, retaining some of the most problematic (tobacco companies, gun companies, energy companies). I want to take a minute to do two things: brag, which is something I rarely ever do, and tell the story of how we in Cincinnati organized for the first protests against ALEC and accidentally created something bigger than we ever expected. I hope this encourages those participating in the actions this weekend, and every action for that matter.
I remember when I first heard about ALEC. It was Mid-March, 2011. It was at a dance party in a house my friends were renting near UC’s Campus. My friend Aliya was spinning some vinyl and I was getting wasted and moving with my awkward Elaine-like dance moves. Another friend, Adam, who I met on a trip the previous summer to the Detroit US Social Forum, was there, clutching a beer and engaging Aliya on something that was clearly very serious. To me, anything Adam and Aliya, two of the most political people I know, were discussing was something I could be confident I wanted to hear about. I moved in closer and listened for a few minutes. I caught the occasional word in the dub step filled room. ALEC. Bill Cronin. John Kasich. Paul Weyrich. Scott Walker. Shannon Jones. SB5. Ok, I thought, this is something I want to be a part of.
Adam turned to me: “Are you in for April 29th?”