Edward F. Berger is a champion for children and public schools in Arizona. He writes in this essay that the state is controlled by a tiny claque of very wealthy people who want to starve the public sector. This small minority is well-organized and well-funded. Berger compares them to the Robber Barons of the 19th century whose goals were money and power.
Arizona is run by a well-organized minority. They work to undermine and control representative democracy, elected boards and officials, public schools, environmental regulations, any law that limits the powers of corporations, and interference in their affairs by The People. They believe in the right to rape, rip and run for personal gain while demanding free and unregulated access to natural and national resources. They attack workers’ organizations, associations and unions, taxes on individual wealth, and laws that hold individuals responsible for activities that damage others, the planet, and a sustainable future….
Fred Koch, father of the infamous Koch brothers, created a powerful empire. He had an ideology of freedom from government intervention that his sons inherited.
Fred was a founder of the John Birch Society, a movement based on:The destruction of public education, the privatization (control) of prisons, racial inequality, and denial of workers’ rights to organize. He was able to inculcate two of his sons (Charles and David Koch) to believe that they are the rightful heirs of his mission and will determine the future of America.
When the John Birch Society gained disrepute, they dropped that name and formed dozens of subversive* organizations. The largest in the US and Arizona is the American Legislative Executive Council (ALEC). If your elected representative is a member of ALEC, be afraid and get them gone! Another is the Goldwater Institute. The corporate leadership of Arizona Public Service (APS) and its holding company, Pinnacle West Capital corporation, is deeply involved with the Koch-ALEC-Goldwater Institute politicians. One can not underestimate the subversive work of the Goldwater Institute (a false 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization) with a purely political agenda. Through its minions, the legislators and governors placed in office by the power of this minority, they were recently able to place a Goldwater Institute lawyer on the Supreme Court of Arizona. As an example of their reach, in 2015 the Goldwater Institute filed suit in far off Massachusetts to challenge that state’s ban on corporate contributions to political candidates. A stated goal of the Goldwater Institute is to support charter schools and vouchers. They lead the pack of active and disruptive organizations working in the state sowing, cultural division, anti-teacher, anti-education, anti-unions, and pro-corporations movements….
Most of the members of the state legislature are in the Koch-ALEC-Goldwater Institute pocket , or they are forced to cooperate with the extreme right to keep from being ostracized and rendered ineffective for their constituents. Voters are discouraged from voting. It looks like Governor Doug Ducey is being groomed to take on the work of Scott Walker of Wisconsin, who followed the Koch dictates to his ruin. The governors and legislators in many states are being placed by the Koch-ALEC machine. They have used gerrymandering and control of the primaries to ensure that key members of the republican right do not have to fear re-election. The Koch-ALEC machine has made inroads into the US Chamber Of Commerce, and the United States Supreme Court, forcing rulings like Citizens United….
Public education in the state of Arizona is being systematically dis-mantled.The budget is being used to starve and destroy public schools, and to privatize every aspect of government to gain access to, and profit from, our tax dollars. Public school financing, and thus education programs, have been arbitrarily cut and then reinstated at a fraction of what they need to operate. Governor Ducey plays a game of ‘cut deep and then give a little back,’ so he can brag about his support, while starving and destroying the state’s public schools, universities, and service sectors. His agenda is not for the children and families of Arizona, it is for a small, well-organized minority. He is trying to prove to his masters that he can be the new Scott Walker or Rick Snyder and he can make Arizona go the way of Wisconsin and Michigan.
This is not what the people of Arizona want, writes Berger, but the grip of the plutocracy is so tight that people have given up the power of democracy. Less than 40% turn out to vote.
Berger remains hopeful. He thinks the time is approaching when the people of Arizona elect a government that serves them, not the Robber Barons.