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.
This minority is not the first to believe they should be able to act for personal gain without being restrained. American history has experienced periods when powerful individuals were allowed to do any damn thing they wanted, regardless of the cost to others. History knows them as the Robber Barons, “…who used exploitative practices to amass their wealth. These practices included exerting control over natural resources, influencing high levels of government, paying subsistence wages, squashing competition by acquiring their competitors to create monopolies and raise prices…” Wikipedia.
In recent times, we have seen the rise of men who have been influenced by Adolph Hitler and Joseph Stalin. Their access to power is the role model for a powerful few who want to take away the rights of every American as guaranteed by the Constitution. Men like Fred Koch, who was deeply impressed by Hitler who could act solely on his own to displace people, take land, kill, build oil refineries, create environmental damage, strip mine, declare war, or in every way ignore the damage to the people under his thumb. Fred was impressed by Stalin who could destroy opposition to his ideas, murder millions, and create his own powerful one-man rule. Fred, and a few like him, imagined a world where they could do as they wanted without having any government interference to hold them accountable. He set out to create a hell on earth for everyone else.
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.
Why focus on Arizona? Arizona is one of the states where those who wanted power without government met little opposition. At that time there were only a few regions of AZ that had an involved but loosely organized population which could oppose them. Before the availability of air conditioning the state was controlled by mining barons, large agricultural interests, and those who provided water and electric power. When it became possible to live and work in AZ year round, after WWII, the state population grew rapidly. New immigrants wanted a government that would serve them. They demanded services that only government can provide. Thus the battle lines are drawn. The powerful old guard is organized to preserve their power and be able to run things in ways that favor their interests. They are actively fighting the citizens to retain that power.
What is happening now? 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.
Arizona is a state stuck with policies, political ideologies, and the devastating leadership of this self-serving minority. In education, this minority has done so much damage to our children that the state is known for its high school dropout rates, low teacher salaries, budget cutting attacks on school and university funding, the destruction of community-based education run by elected boards – for all children, and the profit-driven privatization of schools and services to its citizens.
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.
The governor is confusing the public by pretending he is for classrooms and for education, while implementing the ideas of Grover Norquist, who gets pledges from politicians that they will not raise taxes. To the uninformed, this may sounds good until we understand the evil implications of starving and destroying our schools, and our government, and allowing the few to get even more power and wealth.
Is this the will of the people? Is this the future we want for our children? Of course not. The overwhelming majority of parents support their public schools and support public education. The overwhelming majority of citizens reject profiteering and the subversion of state services for the good of the few. However, less than 40% of AZ citizens vote. Why vote in a state where the majority of candidates who get through the primaries are those who do not reflect the will of the people? The citizenry is marginalized and powerless. In Arizona the mano muerte (dead hand) of this well-established minority lies heavy on the future.
*Wikipedia: “Subversion refers to an attempt to transform the established social order and its structures of power, authority and hierarchy . Subversion is used as a tool to achieve political goals because it generally carries less risk, cost, and difficulty as opposed to open belligerency. Furthermore, it is a relatively cheap form of warfare that does not require large amounts of training. … a “subversive” is sometimes called a “Traitor” with respect to (and usually by) the government in power.”