For years, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has claimed to be “committed to transparency”—yet it refuses to disclose its donors on its website. When asked about this, ALEC’s CEO Lisa Nelson told the press that donor information is available in tax filings published on its website. But a review of those filings shows that although the organization’s Schedule B does include donation amounts, all donors’ names are redacted.So who funds ALEC? A review of hundreds of tax filings by the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) has uncovered 39%—or $16.4 million—of the $41.7 million ALEC received in contributions between 2017 and 2021. Most 2022 IRS filings are not yet publicly available.
Right wing politics
Quill is the magazine of the oldest press organization in the United States, the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), which describes itself as having “roughly 6,000 members” and being “the nation’s most broad-based journalism organization.” It features a five-page story in its current issue (Summer/23) headlined “Refreshing the Pool: Right-Leaning Organizations Keep the Conservative Press Pipeline Flowing.” The piece, touted on Quill‘s cover, is a largely uncritical and superficial look at efforts to push journalism further to the right. It begins with Corey Walker, who “didn’t major in journalism” and only “took one journalism class” at the University of Michigan, but “got more journalism experience and training through Campus Reform and the College Fix, organizations that help students prepare for careers in conservative media.”
The political class in Germany is stunned by the findings of a YouGov poll published on Friday that 20% of voters would give their vote to the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), making it the second-strongest party behind the center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) (28%) and ahead of center-left Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democratic Party (SPD) (19%). There is no mistaking that it is a political earthquake. Given Germany’s proportional representative system — which is unlike the US or the UK where, too, politics is fractious but is protected by the first-past-the-pole voting system — it is reasonable to estimate that the current “traffic-light” coalition between the SPD, the Greens (who polled 15%) and the neo-liberal Free Democrats or FDP (7%) no longer has a mandate to rule, after only one and a half years in office.
In this season of parent-celebrating days, many of the parents making top headlines are those pushing violent agendas under the mantle of “parents’ rights.” Deep-pocketed groups like Moms for Liberty and Parents Defending Education are asserting the rights of parents as a justification for their right-wing, anti-trans, anti-Black, anti-immigrant, ableist onslaught. The Republican “Parents Bill of Rights Act” that passed the House this spring combines an attack on students’ right to gender self-expression with measures targeting curricula and libraries. As Amy Nagopaleen wrote for Truthout, the bill (which, thankfully, is unlikely to advance in the Senate) had “nothing to do with empowering parents, and everything to do with bringing the mounting Republican moral panic over schools to the national stage.”
South Korea’s right-wing government, led by president Yoon Suk-yeol, has been increasing attacks on workers’ rights and unions in recent months. The government has been anti-worker and anti-union since it took power last May, with President Yoon frequently emphasizing that his administration would “strictly respond to any illegal [labor] activities. But these traits have become blatant since successfully repressing truck drivers’ second strike last November to December, which demanded the expansion of a standard-fare system that means a minimum wage for ostensibly self-employed truck drivers.
We are one year on from the projected Ukraine-Russia peace deal. Ukraine was to have become a neutral state, one unable to own nuclear weapons, with internationally guaranteed independence. It would have rolled back the Russian advance to February 23, for the loss of Russian Crimea and part of Donbas, which the Ukraine government had anyway bombed for years, killing thousands. So, were a hundred thousand lives saved? No. Like a role-play US envoy, on April 9 Boris Johnson appeared on the scene and “urged” Ukraine not to negotiate because its Western backers were not ready for a deal. As the US Democratic Party’s Adam Schiff said before the war, “The United States aids Ukraine and her people so that they can fight Russia over there, and we don’t have to fight Russia here.”
An interesting thing has happened in the U.S. antiwar movement. After years of relatively small protests, two relatively large ones took place, both in Washington, D.C., both demanding that the U.S. government stop funding the war in Ukraine, And yet the two actions could not have been more different. On Feb. 19, about 1,500 people gathered at the Lincoln Memorial. This protest was cosponsored by the conservative Libertarian Party and the liberal People’s Party, which grew out of the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign of 2016. The event was dubbed Rage Against the War Machine. This was an example of what people are calling a “Right-Left” alliance.
The US government organized a conference of its allies which it misleadingly called a “Summit for Democracy”, but which actually featured numerous anti-democratic, far-right regimes. The State Department invited 120 global leaders to participate in the summit on March 29 and 30. They did so virtually, via video calls. Several of the heads of state who spoke represent governments that even Western officials, corporate media outlets, and mainstream human rights organizations have admitted are authoritarian, including Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, Andrzej Duda of Poland, and Narendra Modi of India.
The indefinite national strike in Peru, called by various social movements of the country, has been continuing since January 4, in demand of a constituent assembly, the release of President Pedro Castillo from prison, and the resignation of de facto President Dina Boluarte and her illegitimate government. The strike has spread through the country, with the greatest presence in the departments of Apurimac, Arequipa, Ayacucho, Puno, Cusco, and Tacna. The protesters demand the closing of the Congress, dominated by the ultra-right, which removed the democratically elected president, Pedro Castillo on December 7, 2022, and imposed his vice president, Dina Boluarte, as the de facto head of state of Peru.
This Monday, December 26, the de facto government of Perú, led by Dina Boluarte, annulled the appointment of 312 district sub-alderpeople across 23 regions of the country, in a move that seems to advance the erasure of any traces of opposition to Boluarte’s controversial rule. These sub-alderpeople had been appointed by President Pedro Castillo, in accordance with local legislation, during his mandate by popular election. The de facto ministry of the interior justified their decision on the basis that “these officials, instead of responding to the guidelines established regarding the functions of district sub-alderpeople, instead of representing and defending the state as the law indicates, had various degrees of participation in the popular demonstrations,” the repression of which has resulted in almost 30 deaths in less than three weeks.
Recent exposés have uncovered an emerging pattern of improper lobbying of right-wing Supreme Court justices by wealthy evangelicals. They reveal serious threats to the independence of the judiciary. But equally alarming is that the Supreme Court is unconstrained by a code of judicial ethics. From 1995 to 2018, the right-wing evangelical nonprofit Faith and Action executed “Operation Higher Court.” It was an organized and systematic campaign “to wine, dine and entertain conservative Supreme Court justices while pushing conservative positions” on social issues pending before the court, *Politico* reports. Faith and Action “would rehearse lines” in order “to influence the justices while steering clear of the specifics of cases pending before the court.”
Tulsi Gabbard made headlines on October 11, 2022 with her announcement that she was leaving the Democratic Party. In her statement, Gabbard provided a litany of reasons for her decision. She condemned the Democratic Party for being under the control of an “elitist cabal” of warmongers that are driven by “cowardly wokeness” and who divide the people with “anti-white racism.” Gabbard further decried the Democratic Party’s support for “open borders” and its demonization of the police. The Democratic Party, according to Gabbard, has also weaponized the national security state against its opponents and brought the world closer to nuclear war. On the last point, there is no argument. The Democratic Party has ridden on the back of its Russiagate conspiracy theory to serve the repressive imperatives of the national security state and expand censorship.
The prosecutors and judges who intend to politically destroy the current Vice President of Argentina, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, have had their shot backfire. Those who, after years of unsuccessful judicial and media set-ups, sometimes forged in the very same office of the former right-wing president Mauricio Macri, are now asking for 12 years in prison and to perpetually disqualify her from holding public office. Charges that venal judges and Macri’s cronies would be happy to impose on her as a sentence. They already have it written, thundered Cristina, who made a memorable plea via digital networks from her office as president of the Senate, when the judge denied her the right to speak to refute elements recently introduced by the prosecutors and never previously aired in the process.
After four years of a right-wing Bolsonaro government, Brazilians will vote for a new president on 2 October 2022. Former president Lula—currently high in the polls—is confronting an increasingly delirious incumbent, who appears to have threatened violent unconstitutional action should he lose. Bolsonaro’s victory came two years after the impeachment of Workers’ Party president Dilma Rousseff in 2016, the first woman to be president. The Workers’ Party (aka Partido dos Trabalhadores, or PT) had held office since 2003. The period 2010-2016 was dominated by the ‘credit crunch’ crisis that sent the world into turmoil, with a generalised economic contraction, huge indebtedness in the advanced economies, and a considerable reduction in the consumption of raw materials. Brazil was badly hit.
The crisis in Pedro Castillo’s government is worsening. Less than a month before the rural teacher and trade unionist who came to power as candidate of the left completes his first year in the presidency, the right wing, which from the first day of the government has bet on a coup, accelerates its plans to remove him from office abusing the power of the Congress that it controls. The instability of the government is accentuated by the destabilizing maneuvers of the right wing, which in its coup plans has the support of the big media, but one cannot deny the responsibility of a presidential administration that has moved away from its proposals for change, is now inoperative and lacks direction, is stained by allegations of corruption, accumulates errors and controversial ministerial appointments, and is weakened from within by sectarian attitudes and divisions in the governing party.