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March 2011, Week 1

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Wed, 2 Mar 2011 21:53:35 -0500
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How You Can Boycott the Kochs

    The backlash against the Kochs' influence in
    Wisconsin is gaining steam, with labor supporters
    starting to boycott Koch Industries' many products
    (listed here)

by Lauren Kelley

AlterNet

February 28, 2011

http://www.alternet.org/story/150078/how_you_can_boycott_the_kochs

Over the past few weeks, the billionaire Koch brothers and
their front groups have steadily increased their involvement
in Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's efforts to strip state
workers of their collective bargaining rights. The Kochs'
outsized wealth and influence are forces to be reckoned
with; that's why we should all be grateful that a Koch
backlash, including a boycott of Koch Industries' products,
has started picking up steam.

AlterNet has been keeping a close eye on the Koch-financed
support for Walker's anti-union campaign. As we reported
last week, Walker is deep in the pocket of the Kochs, having
received some $43,000 from Koch Industries while running for
governor in 2010. Once Walker was elected, he made sure to
take care of his friends/financiers, giving out massive tax
breaks to Koch Industries, and more recently, launching the
ongoing effort to quash Wisconsin union workers' rights.

As AlterNet's Washington bureau chief Adele Stan puts it,
Walker is "carrying out the wishes of his corporate master."
But why are the brothers Koch so interested in stifling
labor rights in Wisconsin? For one thing, they have
significant business interests in the region, with at least
17 facilities and offices in the state and some 4,000 miles
of pipeline through Koch Pipeline Company, L.P. Also, the
Kochs recognize that the outcome of the battle in Wisconsin
could have national implications: if Walker wins, workers
elsewhere might be less inclined to put up a fight. And that
would be good for the Kochs' bottom line.

With the almighty dollar at stake, the Koch-funded astroturf
group Americans for Prosperity has launched a pro-Walker
campaign, comprised of a propaganda-filled Web site and
petition, at least $342,000 worth of ad time on network and
cable TV, and anti-union rallies at the Wisconsin state
capitol building, for which AFP paid to bus in Tea Partiers.

AlterNet also reported late last week that two of Rupert
Murdoch's Wall Street Journal columnists are fronting for
AFP and ginning up support for the union-busting cause as
well.

Did the Kochs think no one would notice or care about the
influence of AFP and Koch Industries in Wisconsin? If so,
they were wrong. Word of a Koch Industries boycott is
starting to spread around the progressive blogosphere. Daily
Kos community site blogger geebeegee has a rather giant
roundup of Koch products and notes, "Their major holdings
are very difficult to boycott -- other than the promotion of
clean energy and environmental laws, you may be stuck buying
their energy products, directly or indirectly. However, they
do produce some consumer products that you should put to
memory to NEVER purchase again." There's also a Boycott and
Defeat Koch Industries Facebook page that offers the same
information and more. As of Monday afternoon, more than
10,000 people had "liked" the page.

Here's the colossal list of products being boycotted:

Angel Soft toilet paper

Brawny paper towels

Dixie plates, bowls, napkins and cups

Mardi Gras napkins and towels

Quilted Northern toilet paper

Soft 'n Gentle toilet paper

Sparkle napkins

Vanity fair napkins

Zee napkins

Georgia-Pacific paper products and envelopes

All Georgia-Pacific lumber and building products, including:

Dense Armor Drywall and Decking

ToughArmor Gypsum board

Georgia pacific Plytanium Plywood

Flexrock

Densglass sheathing

G/P Industrial plasters (some products used by a lot of
crafters)

FibreStrong Rim board

G/P Lam board

Blue Ribbon OSB Rated Sheathing

Blue Ribbon Sub-floor

DryGuard Enhanced OSB

Nautilus Wall Sheathing

Thermostat OSB Radiant Barrier Sheathing

Broadspan Engineered Wood Products

XJ 85 I-Joists

FireDefender Banded Cores

FireDefender FS

FireDefender Mineral Core

Hardboard and Thin MDF including Auto Hardboard,

Perforated Hardboard and Thin MDF

Wood Fiberboard

Commercial Roof Fiberboard

Hushboard Sound Deadening Board

Regular Fiberboard Sheathing

Structural Fiberboard Sheathing

(INVISTA Products):

COMFORELr fiberfill

COOLMAXr fabric

CORDURAr fabric

DACRONr fiber

POLYSHIELDr resin

SOLARMAXr fabric

SOMERELLEr bedding products

STAINMASTERr carpet

SUPPLEXr fabric

TACTELr fiber

TACTESSEr carpet fiber

TERATEr polyols

TERATHANEr polyether glycol

THERMOLITEr fabric

PHENREZr resin

POLARGUARDr fiber and

LYCRAr fiber

The boycott is in addition to several other creative
backlashes against the Kochs. For instance, there was the
prank call from progressive blog editor Ian Murphy, posing
as David Koch, to Scott Walker. Some punny protest signs
have been making an appearance at pro-union rallies in
Madison and elsewhere: "Don't be a Koch sucker: Wall Street
broke America, not the unions," "Walker sucks Koch," etc.

And then there's "Anonymous," the infamous hacktivist group
that in recent months has launched coordinated DNS attacks
on companies that refuse to do business with WikiLeaks. The
latest news is that Anonymous has targeted the Kochs for
their efforts "to usurp American Democracy." The group
managed to take down the AFP Web site for a time over the
weekend. (In response, AFP released a statement saying that
"Americans for Prosperity will not be intimidated and will
not be deterred from our effort to support responsible
economic policies, including the efforts of Governor Walker
and other democratically elected leaders in that state to
balance the budget through common-sense reforms.")

So the anti-Koch movement has begun, and it is gathering
steam. Labor supporters may not have the money the Kochs
have, but we have something better -- a conscience. Combined
with creativity and determination, it could get us
somewhere.

[Lauren Kelley is an associate editor at AlterNet and a
freelance writer and editor who has contributed to
Change.org, The L Magazine and Time Out New York. She lives
in Brooklyn.]

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