Google may have been, until now, the Obama of hip internet monopolies. No matter how many nations the President bombs, people still put Obama peace-sign stickers on their cars. No matter how many radical rightwing initiatives Google funds, people still think it’s a “progressive corporation” — How could it not be? It’s making progress!
Google is funding Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform, the Federalist Society, the American Conservative Union, and the political arm of the Heritage Foundation.
And there’s more really bad news: Google is funding ALEC, the powerful, secretive, and destructive lobbying force from which many companies concerned with their public images are fleeing. ALEC is in the news this week, holding its 40th annual meeting. Together with allies, RootsAction.org is applying as much pressure as we can. And it might just be that the tide is turning. Google just might have to start worrying about whether its users favor plutocratic plundering or not.
ALEC targets state legislatures around the country to roll back labor rights, environmental protection, civil rights, public health measures and more. Using big money, corporate clout and smooth lobbyists, ALEC teams up with like-minded state lawmakers to draft and enact regressive legislation.
Tens of thousands of people have heeded our request to Tell Google and other huge firms to which we’ll deliver this petition not to participate in ALEC’s corruption of our government:
We urge you to stop funding ALEC. With ALEC’s help …
* Tobacco companies get tax cuts.
* For-profit education companies get school privatization.
* Management gets union busting.
* Oil companies get opposition to renewable energy.
* The rich and powerful get the repeal of estate taxes.
But, in the process, democracy gets hijacked — one state at a time.
You should read the thousands and thousands of comments people have submitted when they have signed this petition. And you can, they’re all publicly posted at the link above.
Some people express their great affection for Google, along with disillusionment:
“I really thought that your business was a role model as progressive, social conscious Corporation… I was seriously mistaking… - – It is outrageous that you are supporting these politicians that have injured out country and our people so deeply… and ALEC???? - – PLEASE STOP!!!” –J. Carlo Diaz, FL
“Really, Google. Really!? I expect more sense from you!” –Marian Pickett, LA
“As much as I like Google, I’ll be damned if I’ll support in any way the increase in political clout of big and secret money funneled to “money is above all” unbridled capitalism Republican organizations! There are other choices … and I’ll be switching!!” –William Whitlock, CA
“Any company that funds an organization like Alec does not have an interest in democracy. Alec is in the business of buying votes, and votes for the most un-American causes. My respect for Google has taken a huge hit because of its support of Alec.” –Kathlyn McCaughna
“I used GOOGLE to research ALEC. I am surprised and greatly disappointed that your corporation would support this horror to our democracy. Greed. Cynicism. Arrogance. Downright stupidity. Or as stated in one of your listed sources–policy areas including legislation ‘opposing U.S. consumers’ rights to know the origin of our food,’ ‘undermining workers’ rights,’ ‘stripping environmental protections,’ and ‘limiting patient rights and undermining safety net programs.’ (MediaMatters 12/4/13) I said ‘surprised.’ Perhaps not, just thoroughly disgusted. – I love GOOGLE; other venues’ ads have not swayed me. However, your support of such a vicious, predatory, manipulative organization has changed the game. –JoAnn Durfee, OR
Some explain to Google what the problem is:
“Alec is for profits at any cost to society. Make your engine work for people, not for evil.” –John Kozub, TN
“Google, Facebook and Yelp are people driven and should not support corporate takeover of the internet or other arenas.” –Amy Whitworth, OR
“Does Google want to be seen to be supporting ALEC? If so they are also supporting this neanderthal approach to energy production: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/dec/04/alec-freerider-homeowners-assault-clean-energy — An alliance of corporations and conservative activists is mobilising to penalise homeowners who install their own solar panels — casting them as ‘freeriders’ — in a sweeping new offensive against renewable energy, the Guardian has learned.” –E Healy, CA
“Funding the most regressive organizations puts your company right there with them: destroyers of democracy, dirty political actors. Think carefully whether this is where you want to be, and where you are going to be seen to be.” –John Prehn, UT
“ALEC has caused so much evil and trouble in Wisconsin that I am sure most people don’t understand, at this point in time. Please do NOT support the agenda of ALEC as it is not for the people but for the FEW!” –Joan Schneider, WI
Some get a bit angry:
“Alec sucks. When I found out the State Farm backed them, we DUMPED State Farm. And we had been with them for 20 years. Don’t miss them a BIT!” –Audrey Lima, FL
“ALEC’s prime mission is to destroy everything decent in this country! Fascism simply ISN’T the same thing as Democracy! STOP supporting this evil group!!!!” –Linda Christy, OK
“Stop SCROOGLING the very hard-working Americans who pay taxes that made you a household name. We don’t need ALEC trying to shove their power-hungry, money-centered, and sexist/racist/homophobic agendas onto hard-working taxpayers. And we won’t need GOOGLE either if they get in bed with corrupt ALEC and its members.” –Deirdre McCullough, NC
“Google is EVIL SCUM pretending to be a progressively-minded company while funding organizations that systematically destroy the rights and well-being of everyday citizens everywhere, all to increase their already bloated bottom line. Screw you–I don’t need your search, your email, your phones, or anything else you can offer. I NEED DEMOCRACY AND A COMPASSIONATE SOCIETY.” –Ellen Read, NH
Or angry and pithy:
“Dicks.” –Brad Thompson, IA
Some plead with Google:
“Please, Google, do not be a part of this right wing attempt to hijack democracy in your country!” –Sharon Fummerton, BC
“With your power you could (and should) do good instead of furthering ALEC’s poisonous agenda.” –Barbara Coulson, NC
Some propose a course of action:
“I will boycott any company affiliated with ALEC” –Jim Knipe, VA
“Don’t make me start using Bing.” –Liz Neff, CA
Some are taking action already:
“I am already using DuckDuckGo for web searches. I’m pretty sure I can find an email service other than Gmail.” –Dan Starr, IL
“Just changed my search engine.” –Michael Keenan, IL
“I already changed my home page to Yahoo.” –Nadia Daley
“I have stopped using Google completely due to it’s support of these ultra conservative and regressive groups.” –Kelley Dempsey, MD
“Until Google makes it clear that it no longer supports Alec and other anti-democratic, anti labour, and environmentally destructive causes I will conduct my searches through other engines.” –Glenn Ashton
Some have a more serious solution in mind:
“Google is Getting too big and powerful, break it up!” –Stephen Rawlings, FL
“When corporations get a fairer deal than the tax paying population, something needs to CHANGE!” –Debbie Boozer, IN
Photo from Patrick Barry licensed under Creative Commons