[Marxism] Reed Elsevier connections

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Mar 26 12:27:48 MDT 2012

March 25, 2012
Lobbyists, Guns and Money

Florida’s now-infamous Stand Your Ground law, which lets you shoot 
someone you consider threatening without facing arrest, let alone 
prosecution, sounds crazy — and it is. And it’s tempting to 
dismiss this law as the work of ignorant yahoos. But similar laws 
have been pushed across the nation, not by ignorant yahoos but by 
big corporations.

Specifically, language virtually identical to Florida’s law is 
featured in a template supplied to legislators in other states by 
the American Legislative Exchange Council, a corporate-backed 
organization that has managed to keep a low profile even as it 
exerts vast influence (only recently, thanks to yeoman work by the 
Center for Media and Democracy, has a clear picture of ALEC’s 
activities emerged). And if there is any silver lining to Trayvon 
Martin’s killing, it is that it might finally place a spotlight on 
what ALEC is doing to our society — and our democracy.

What is ALEC? Despite claims that it’s nonpartisan, it’s very much 
a movement-conservative organization, funded by the usual 
suspects: the Kochs, Exxon Mobil, and so on. Unlike other such 
groups, however, it doesn’t just influence laws, it literally 
writes them, supplying fully drafted bills to state legislators. 
In Virginia, for example, more than 50 ALEC-written bills have 
been introduced, many almost word for word. And these bills often 
become law.

Many ALEC-drafted bills pursue standard conservative goals: 
union-busting, undermining environmental protection, tax breaks 
for corporations and the wealthy. ALEC seems, however, to have a 
special interest in privatization — that is, on turning the 
provision of public services, from schools to prisons, over to 
for-profit corporations. And some of the most prominent 
beneficiaries of privatization, such as the online education 
company K12 Inc. and the prison operator Corrections Corporation 
of America, are, not surprisingly, very much involved with the 



 From ALEC website:


Private Enterprise Board Members

Ms. Teresa Jennings
--->Reed Elsevier, Inc.

Ms. Sano Blocker
Energy Future Holdings

Mr. Don Bohn
Johnson & Johnson

Mr. Jeffrey Bond




UPDATE 1/2/12 It is now possible to restrict the costofknowledge 
list by subject. So it has become easy to work out, for example, 
that (at the time of writing) 2632 people have left their names, 
of whom 613 are mathematicians.

Many thanks to Tyler Neylon for designing a website where one can 
declare one’s unwillingness to work for Elsevier journals. 
Already, without any announcement apart from brief mentions quite 
some way into the comments on the last post, it has 31 signatures, 
many of them from France, where for various reasons they are 
particularly annoyed with Elsevier.

This post is primarily to give the site some visibility, which 
I’ll also do on Google+ (if you support the venture, then please 
spread the word). It is not necessarily to persuade you to sign. I 
well understand that we are all in different situations and 
signing is easier for some people than others. But one thing I 
would definitely say is that if you already have a private 
non-cooperation policy (as I myself have done for years) then you 
will have much more effect if you go public about it. As I said in 
my previous post, the more people who sign, the more morally and 
socially acceptable it becomes to sign too: a private protest is 
just a nuisance to other mathematicians, but larger and more 
public one may have a chance of achieving something. So I hope 
that each signature will beget several others, at least for a while.

In the interests of balance, let me briefly mention two arguments 
against signing. (If you can think of others, then please let me 
know in the comments.) One is that Elsevier already allows authors 
to keep versions of their papers on the arXiv. This considerably 
weakens the argument that Elsevier papers, once published, 
disappear behind a very expensive paywall. (It also means that 
submitting to an Elsevier journal and not putting your article on 
the arXiv is a dereliction of duty.) Nevertheless, having to make 
do with arXiv versions is an inconvenience. For example, the page 
references in the arXiv version will be different from those in 
the journal. (Another principle: if you refer to an Elsevier 
paper, do so in a page-independent way such as, “See the 
discussion just after Lemma 3.1 in [XYZ].”) Also, it is not 
standard practice to refer to the arXiv versions of other papers 
if there are print versions.

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