This sounds like something out of the 1920's, which is exactly where the David Koch's of the world would like America to go back to.
Mike Elk is a phenomenal writer who focus on labor issues. Please read this stunning piece about how the Koch Brothers are using political intimidation against their employees in an attempt to control their workers' votes. Because the Koch Brothers believe in freedom, and by that they mean their own freedom as billionaires to do as they please, not yours as a worker you stupid peasant. Hat tip to kossack IAmNotAKochSucker for pointing this out to me . . .
Much has been written about the owners of Koch Industries, brothers David H. Koch and Charles G. Koch, trying to control the political process through hundreds of millions of dollars in donations to right-wing causes and candidates. Now, an In These Times investigation reveals that the billionaires have broken out another tactic to influence the 2012 elections: attempting to control their workers’ votes.In the article, Mike Elk exposes how Koch Industries regulates their employees use of social media to ban opinions that oppose the Koch brothers views.
In a voter information packet obtained by In These Times, the Koch Industries corporate leadership informed tens of thousands of employees at its subsidiary, Georgia Pacific, that their livelihood could depend on the 2012 election and that the company supports Mitt Romney for president. The guide was similar to one the company distributed before the 2010 midterm elections, which Mark Ames and I reported on in The Nation last year.
Tactics include monitoring employees social media use outside of the workplace, demanding "that workers seek approval from supervisors before running for local elected office or serving on the boards of nonprofits" and denying promotions to employees who are "too political", i.e. not Republican enough. If this is freedom I'd hate to see what corporate fascism looks like.
More below the fold . . .
The packet sent to employees of Koch Industries is similar to one sent out back in 2010, which Mark Ames and Mike Elk wrote about at the time.
“This sort of election propaganda seems like a new development,” says UCLA law professor Katherine Stone, who specializes in labor law and who reviewed the Koch Industries election packet for The Nation. “Until Citizens United, this sort of political propaganda was probably not permitted. But after the Citizens United decision, I can imagine it’ll be a lot more common, with restrictions on corporations now lifted.”Economic freedom for the super rich means predatory exploitation for everyone else.
The election packet starts with a letter from Robertson dated October 4, 2010. It read: “As Koch company employees, we have a lot at stake in the upcoming election. Each of us is likely to be affected by the outcome on Nov. 2. That is why, for the first time ever, we are mailing our newest edition of Discovery and several other helpful items to the home address of every U.S. employee” [emphasis added].
For most Koch employees, the “helpful items” included a list of Koch-approved candidates, which was presented on a separate page labeled “Elect to Prosper.” A brief introduction to the list reads: “The following candidates in your state are supported by Koch companies and KOCHPAC, the political action committee for Koch companies. We believe these candidates will best advance policies supporting economic freedom.”
When McKinney applied for a foreman job at the plant in May, he says, his supervisor informed him that a higher-up said he wouldn’t get the job because he was “too political.” “They said I should be aware of what I am posting online,” says McKinney. A subsequent August evaluation of McKinney noted that “supervisors feel Travis gets caught up in the politics of the day which can be distraction.”If you are a worker and you get caught up in the politics of the day it is a "distraction." Why worry your pretty little head? Just go back to work and let the billionaires handle this for you, because the billionaires who finance the Republican Party certainly have your best interests in mind.
Let me tell you something, if you have to intimidate your workers into supporting your views on liberty than you aren't supporting liberty, you are supporting serfdom. Promoting liberty doesn't require intimidation, never has, never will. Promoting servitude, though, requires lots of intimidation.
Georgia Pacific’s employees don’t find the Koch’s courage so inspiring.
“I don’t even put down on my Facebook that I work at Georgia Pacific. I put that I work for the Camas Paper mill. It’s embarrassing to let people know that you work for Georgia Pacific because of what the Koch brothers are doing,” says one employee who spoke on condition of anonymity out of fear of being fired. “They are destroying the planet. They are trying to buy the votes. They think they are so high and mighty. They have their principles. They just think their way is the only way and they think everyone else is wrong.”
Taking away your employees freedom of speech in the name of liberty? The workers at Koch Industries owned Georgia Pacific who blew the whistle on these tactics have certainly put their jobs at risk. The Koch brothers pay lip service to freedom, but what they really believe in is a rigged game where the Koch Bros make all the rules and where they always win.
A country dictated to by the wealthy isn't a democracy, it's an aristocracy of oligarchs. But doesn't this story expose what utter bullshit the Koch version of "liberty" is? If money equals freedom of speech than not being rich is like being born without vocal cords, and despite all of the money the Koch brothers are spending to buy this election that isn't enough, they have to intimidate their workers too. That doesn't sound like a Democracy or even a Republic. It sounds like a dictatorship.
Amidst the voter suppression efforts carried out by Tea Party groups that are funded by the Koch bros and others like them, and the huge sums of money being spent to lie to voters via Citizens United styled SuperPACs funded by Koch Industries, can we at least admit one thing? The wealthy aristocracy,the Koch brothers and their puppets have a vision of America's future, and that vision looks frighteningly like the worst images of the past.
Kudos to Mike Elk. Please share this story. If you aren't following @MikeElk on twitter and elsewhere, you should. He is promising to release tons of confidential Koch Industry internal documents soon. The way this guy delivers, I'm looking forward to it.
If only we had more real journalists like Mike Elk in America we wouldn't be in this mess.
Peace and love to all,
The floor is now yours.