Subject COORS CARRIES ON INSIGHT FEATURES - January, 1991 News Analysis Still Backing the

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Subject: COORS CARRIES ON ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- INSIGHT FEATURES - January, 1991 News Analysis Still Backing the Hard Right: Coors Money Undermines Democracy By Russ Bellant & Chip Berlet Insight Features While the past involvement of the Coors family in conservative causes is well-established, most people are unaware that the family's rightist goals are still in place and that their political influence remains strong. Although the survival and growth of the corporation has required some financial concessions and a shift in public image, the Coors family empire still represents a threat to peace, social justice, pluralism and democracy. Coors family funding continues to flow toward rightist groups, and the family's political involvement plays a crucial role in the establishment and maintenance of key organizations defining the political dialogue for both the New Right and the Religious Right. Ironically, the family derives the bulk of its wealth from working-class and middle-class people who purchase Coors beer products. The Coors family, through its political operations, then uses its share of the profits from beer sales to perpetuate and encourage regressive governmental and social policies serving only the narrow interests of a handful of the very wealthy in this country. That they are able to cloud this reality is due to the Coors Corporation's high-visibility advertising campaign. "The pattern of coors family funding and activism stands in stark contrast to the mainstream image projected by the Coors Brewing Company, whose advertising and funding reach out to the African-American, women's and gay communities," charges Dr. Jean Hardisty of Political Research Associates in Cambridge, Mass. "In fact, Coors family funding underwrites a broad and effective attack on the democratic rights of people of color, gay men and lesbians, and women." Pillars of New Right The Coors family is highly influential in shaping the activities of three organizational pillars of the New Right--the Heritage Foundation, the Free Congress Foundation (FCF) and the Council for National Policy (CNP)--which comprise an influential force in Washington, DC. It involvement with these key groups provides the Coors family with a conservative political base. From this base, the family is connected to prominent activists in other New Right organizations, to groups on the Religious Right, and to allies in governmental agencies and in Congress. For example, FCF is the major New Right political power base for White House Chief of Staff John Sununu, who engineered the David Souter Supreme Court nomination. In reality, the Coors family is a powerful, wealthy, highly organized for for social change. The change they support with their time and money is a return to Social Darwinian political and economic morality framed by the unrestricted demands of market and capital. They see racism ending with the Civil War and leaving no enduring legacy in the 20th century. In international affairs, they expect Third World countries to embrace U.S. capital investment without restrictions. They give money to groups that support the apartheid government in South Africa, the violent RENAMO army in Mozambique and the Pretoria-supported UNITA forces in Angola. The Coors family also funds a right-wing sector of Christian fundamentalism, which seeks to replace democratic pluralism with so-called "traditional family values"--that is, an authoritarian, gender-based social order. They support groups that say homosexuals are an abomination and AIDS is God's judgement on sinners. They have supported organizations working in alliance with Rev. Sun Myung Moon and Christian Reconstructionists, both of whom have called for the abolition of U.S. democracy and the establishment of a theocratic state. Denizens of the Fringe What is surprising is the extent of Coors family involvement with groups that belong properly to neither the New Right nor the Religious Right, but to the fringes of the ultraright. Even more disheartening is the extent to which mainstream political organizations evince a willingness to work with these denizens of the fringe. The Coors far-right links include the following: - Jeffrey H. Coors sits on the FCF board of directors along with the FCF director Paul Weyrich, an ardent supporter of the neo-fascist Society for the Protection of Tradition, Family and Property; and Charles Moser, an editorial adviser to a publication that praises the Nazi Waffen SS. - Weyrich, who for years has represented the political interests of the Coors family in Washington, DC, sponsors the work of a convicted Nazi collaborator, Laszlo Pasztor, a Hungarian-american who is employed at FCF. - The Coors-funded Heritage Foundation co-sponsored a 1989 forum with a pro-Nazi group, the Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations. __Jeff, Holly and Peter Coors were members of the CNP Board of governors in 1988--along with a former Indiana Ku Klux Klan leader, supporters of the apartheid government of South Africa and ultraright Christian Reconstructionists who call for the execution of homosexuals, adulterers and blasphemers. Power Brokers There are other powerful New Right funders, but it is the Coors family who time and again appear in leadership roles in New Right institutions, offering a guiding hand along with their signed checks. The family is seen, by critics and compatriots alike, as being in the front rank of conservative U.S. power brokers. Some observers contend that the Coors empire has moderated politically because the Coors Corporation now financially supports some women's, civil rights and gay and lesbian groups. These donations and advertising dollars, however, merely represent a pragmatic, investment-oriented response to the consumer boycott of coors products--not a rejection of the bedrock rightist and anti-democratic beliefs held by the Coors family. With the thawing of the Cold War, the views of the New Right's major funders will to a large degree shape the nature of conservative activism in the coming decades. To study the past action and ideas of the Coors family provides an imperfect yet useful glimpse into the future of the U.S. political right. -- 30 -- Chip Berlet works at Political Research Associates, a non-profit center analyzing authoritarian and right-wing trends. Russ Berlant is the author of The Coors Connection: How Coors Family Philanthropy Undermines Democratic Pluralism, a report available from PRA, Suite 205, 678 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02139 for $7.50. Source: PeaceNet - nfd.ifeatures --- [ This file has travelled through the Socialism OnLine! BBS at +1-719-392-7781, 24 hours, 300-9600 bps HST/MNP/V42bis, on its way to you, the reader of this file. Please share any information you have about "big brother." Venceremos! ]

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