In a show of solidarity for unions and American workers, Anonymous–the Internet-connected bunch of people who share some of the same ideals, best known for defending Wikileaks and before that for exposing a totalitarian cult–has turned their attention to Koch Industries and their front group Americans for Prosperity.
According to Politicususa.com, on Sunday Anonymous succeeded in crashing AFP’s website with a distributed denial of service and for a time knocking one of Koch’s brands, Brawny paper towels, off line. At the time of this writing the sites were back up. (Though many see DDOS as an act of civil disobedience, it is considered illegal. So kids, don’t try it at home. Especially because at this point some of the tools may now have sniffers attached that could track back to you).
Along with pulling the online Koch-block, Anonymous also calls for a boycott of Koch-owned companies, including all Georgia Pacific paper and wood products and brands like Dixie, Brawny, Angel Soft, Quilted Northern, Sparkle and Mardi Gras.
Why AFP and the Koch brothers? In a speech on February 25 AFP’s Michigan Executive Director Scott Hagerstrom told attendees at he Conservative Political Action Committee’s annual conference:
We fight these battles on taxes and regulation but really what we would like to see is to take the unions out at the knees so they don’t have the resources to fight these battles.
Koch Industries, and oligarchs like them, have most recently started to manipulate the political agenda in Wisconsin. Governor Walker’s union-busting budget plan contains a clause that went nearly un-noticed. This clause would allow the sale of publicly owned utility plants in Wisconsin to private parties (specifically, Koch Industries) at any price, no matter how low, without a public bidding process. The Koch’s have helped to fuel the unrest in Wisconsin and the drive behind the bill to eliminate the collective bargaining power of unions in a bid to gain a monopoly over the state’s power supplies. [emphasis added]
The Koch brothers have made a science of fabricating ‘grassroots’ organizations and advertising campaigns to support them in an attempt to sway voters based on their falsehoods. Americans for Prosperity, Club for Growth and Citizens United are just a few of these organizations. In a world where corporate money has become the lifeblood of political influence, the labor unions are one of the few ways citizens have to fight against corporate greed. Anonymous cannot ignore the plight of the citizen-workers of Wisconsin, or the opportunity to fight for the people in America’s broken political system. For these reasons, we feel that the Koch brothers threaten the United States democratic system and, by extension, all freedom-loving individuals everywhere. As such, we have no choice but to spread the word of the Koch brothers’ political manipulation, their single-minded intent and the insidious truth of their actions in Wisconsin, for all to witness.
(The GP website states that Koch companies employ or support the jobs of more than 203,000 people nationwide according to analysis done by Harrah Analytics. The press release doesn’t mention how many of those jobs are union, include health coverage or what the pay level is).
With this action, Anonymous draws attention to the Koch brothers, their desire to acquire public utility plants, their policy front groups and attempts to strangle workers’ rights. And I wonder just how green their companies really are, what exactly is meant by “acquisitions” and what effect those acquisitions have workers and the environment.