Occupy Milwaukee targeting Koch brothers, Caterpillar on Feb. 29


Occupy Milwaukee will rally outside the Caterpillar Global Mining plant in South Milwaukee on Feb. 29 as part of a national day of action.

A statement from Occupy M said the rally was to “protest the undue influence they feel the American Legislative Exchange Council exercises over state legislation throughout the country.” ALEC’s biggest donors include the Koch brothers, Wisconsin’s prominent conservative billionaires.

The demonstration will begin at 3 p.m. on Oak Creek Parkway just east of Chicago Avenue.

Occupy Milwaukee activist Dave Onken said ALEC’s corporate members finance model legislation intended to limit voter participation and diminish worker rights. Onken cited as examples Wisconsin’s new voter photo ID law and anti-worker legislation signed last year by Republican Gov. Scott Walker.

ALEC also drafted the No Sanctuary Cities for Illegal Immigrants Act, which was a model for Arizona’s strict anti-immigrant legislation.

ALEC, founded in 1973, is described on its Website as “a non-partisan membership association for conservative state lawmakers.” Each year, the organization helps conservative lawmakers introduce about 1,000 bills.

Onken said Occupy Milwaukee is going to Caterpillar because it is “a corporate member of ALEC” and it manufactures mining equipment “like that which would be used at the controversial open pit mine proposed for northern Wisconsin which is opposed by many people in the state.”

After the plant protest, Occupy will move on to the home of Wisconsin state Rep. Mark Honadel, an ALEC member.

Plans for the national day of action originated in Portland, Ore., but now involve demonstrations in more than 60 cities under the banner “Shut Down the Corporations.”

“We call on people to target corporations that are part of the American Legislative Exchange Council which is a prime example of the way corporations buy off legislators and craft legislation that serves the interests of corporations and not people,” reads a statement from Shut Down the Corporations.

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