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Corporate Lobbyists Challenged by a Growing ‘Populist Lobby’

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Imagine a bold headline blaring, "An Army of 1,500 Lobbyists Swarms Capitol Hill."

But that wouldn't be news, since it happens every day. In fact, an occupying army of Gucci-clad corporate lobbyists is permanently encamped in Washington, numbering not a mere 1,500 - but more than 12,000. Yes, that works out to nearly 22 lobbyists for every member of the House and Senate, and they come armed with explosive levels of campaign cash to keep lawmakers toeing the corporate line.

Yet, on April 28, the headline I mentioned should've been a news story, for on that Monday our corporate-coddling Congress critters were startled to be greeted by a very different army of "lobbyists." This one did not come from the infamous K-Street corridor of corporate lobbying firms, but from your town and mine, armed with a decidedly un-corporate agenda. 

They are part of the growing majority of Americans who've been knocked down by the low-wage economy - an intentional inequality being imposed on working (and non-working) families by Wall Street, corporate chieftains and their Congressional enablers. To the surprise of those clueless elites, however, workaday Americans - even the lowest-paid and supposedly least powerful - are not going to be passively herded into that plutocratic future. To the contrary, they've been organizing, strategizing and mobilizing - and the April contingent of 1,500 that went to Congress as the "Populist lobby" are members of three fast-growing, grassroots groups: National People's Action, National Domestic Workers Alliance and the Restaurant Opportunities Center. These groups are made up of a network of farmers, workers, clergy, retirees, environmentalists, students and just plain folks.  

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