What the US Capitol Insurrection Really Means for Florida
by Lakey Love, January 7, 2021 - Gov. Ron DeSantis, corporate America, and Republican leaders of the Florida Legislature use the alt-right insurrection to push an anti-BLM "Law and Order" agenda.
Photo credit Lakey Love at Florida Capitol, Tallahassee, FL
TALLAHASSEE, FL -- Within hours of the well organized alt-right insurrection inside the US Capitol that took place on January 6th, 2021, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and his champions at the corporate-backed American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) spoke up to condemn the violence as an attack on the “halls of freedom” reiterating time and time again that the “rioting and disorder is wrong”.
Was this a move of a corporate-backed rightwing governor in solidarity with the left? Definitely not.
Governor DeSantis, ALEC, the Koch funded Americans for Prosperity (AFP) and Koch Industries new political non-profit, Stand Together (ST), are using the organized alt-right insurrection to further an attack on black, brown, immigrant and working class people and expand an agenda to accelerate state legislative and executive power to overcome their loss of federal executive and legislative branch control. How?
ALEC, AFP, ST and their corporate-funded politicians have used language that we associate with the left for years to promote an anti-government, pro-corporate neoliberal agenda. Flowery language about “freedom for all Americans”, “the marketplace of ideas” and “liberal order” coming from these corporate controled organizations has always translated into excelerated corporate power and the continued colonization of black, brown, and immigrant people. These "non-profit" organizations and foundations use model policy, astroturf funded "citizen advocacy" groups, and corporate backed politicians and think tanks to support voter suppression and anti-voting rights legislation, private prisons and prison labor exploitation, corporatizing public education, and a massive campaign backed by the NRA to support gun violence. There condemnation of the Trump backed violence in the US Capital city today was no different.
Governor Ron DeSantis is the worst amongt these corporate-backed politicians who sell out the most marginalized for political and corporate gain. Following on the footsteps of Governor Rick Scott, Governor Ron DeSantis was ranked the #2 Governor in the nation by American Legislative Exchange Council for his policy agenda in 2020 even though the state accrued massive debt, never went into special session, and consistently remained one of the nation's highest COVID19 infection states. His acceptance of Koch money for his 2018 gubernatorial campaign is well known.
So it's no wonder that it only took hours after the insurrection for Ron DeSantis’s anti-protest and anti-BLM legislation to finally find bill sponsors and get filed with the Florida Legislature. This, after months of being the legislative hot potato that no one in Florida, Democrat or Republican, wanted to pick up. By 8:00 pm EST on the eve of the insurrection, Florida House Bill 1 and Florida Senate Bill 484 had been filed and a press release from Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson (R-Trilby) followed which included a long-winded quote from Florida House Speaker Chris Sprowls (R-Palm Harbor) stating that:
"In a democracy, rioting, violence and lawlessness are repugnant and unacceptable. Together we are taking immediate action in Florida by filing the Combating Violence, Disorder and Looting and Law Enforcement Protection Act.”
You want us to support a "Law Enforcement Protection Act". Really? Now?
All of this, of course, is despite the fact that Florida lawmakers, directly impacted residents in Florida, and civil liberties and legal organizations like the ACLU of Florida and the Southern Poverty Law Center spent months condemning DeSantis’ proposed legislation stating that it was:
1) an unconstitutional attack on First Amendment rights,
2) an all out assault on BLM and police accountability protestors,
3) an escalation in sentencing guidelines that would elevate arrests when there are COVID19 outbreaks in prisons and jails and a failing healthcare system across the state, and
4) a preemption restriction blocking funding for local Florida municipal governments who might want to "defund police" and prioritize local housing issues, employment, poverty, healthcare, or find answers to infrastructure crises during the pandemic.
Most importantly the legislation silences those who are most impacted and marginalized by racism and the pandemic outcomes. It is clear that this legislation creates a fear based smoke screen set out to hide the Governor, AND the Florida Legislature’s, lack of accountability for everyday problems the pandemic escalated. These include a seriously broken unemployment system, a housing and homelessness crisis, overcrowded & unjust prisons, and safe & equitable public education for our children.
Don’t be fooled by DeSantis, the Florida Legislature, or the corporate-backed organizations who are speaking out against the "violence" in the US Capitol. They are using it as a political move for their own gain. They are NOT defenders of "freedom", "prosperity", or "public safety”, despite the flowery language they are using. Their condemnation of radical Trump terrorists is NOT a move to defend anyone’s right to protest or promote a fair election system.
Their agenda has always been and will always remain the same, namely: corporate white supremacy and political power.