The Rift: Morgan Harper on Monopoly Power Over American Politics and Why Antitrust Laws are Imperative
RIFT Magazine: Hi everybody, my name is Salvatore Laimo, here with RIFT magazine. Today I have Morgan Harper joining me. She is the former candidate for Ohio’s third congressional district and a consumer protection lawyer. She’s also the Director of Policy and Advocacy at the American Economic Liberties Project. Morgan, how are you feeling today?
Morgan Harper: Good, good. Great to be here.
RIFT: Nice. So, can you start off by telling me a bit about your work with the American Economic Liberties Project? What is their mission statement? How do they aim to take on current big tech monopolies?
MH: Yeah. So I connected with American Economic Liberties Project after I wrapped up my campaign for Congress, and you know the connection for me was…as part of my campaign here in Columbus, Ohio, I ran on (like a lot of progressive candidates) no corporate PAC money, the get-money-out-of-politics message, and it was interesting because during the campaign I had a lot of people that would say, “Well Morgan, you know, that’s interesting you’re saying that but your opponent is saying that you’re getting, you know, money from individuals who live in California — like $500 from people who live in California. So, what’s the difference? Isn’t it all just like outside money?” And it was interesting because, you know, when you run for office you hear all sorts of things, so you’re prepared for many thoughts that are kind of misled in their ideas, but this one was interesting to me because it was very sincerely communicated. And I was like, “wow,” because actually if people believe that my friend who might live in California and give me a couple hundred dollars is the same as JP Morgan Chase giving my opponent $5,000, then people have a misunderstanding of power and that’s a policy and educational problem for us as a movement, right? And so, you know, I connected with the Executive Director, Sara Miller, of American Economic Liberties Project, and we were talking about how I can help to support their work and kind of like educate folks about the corporate power, about the role that large corporations have over our political sphere, and also the economy and how that is driving inequality and a lot of other issues that we tend to focus on around racial and economic justice.
So, that’s how I first connected with them. And it’s just been a whirlwind, really, because as you probably know, and with big tech in particular, it’s a movement whose time has come. So there’s a lot of momentum to actually move real legislation, real policy changes throughout the federal government, at the state level, that can actually do something to check this corporate power, in particular the hold that large corporations have over our economy. So, it’s exciting but we have a lot of work to do to make sure that we can take advantage of this moment.