- Egyptians want it. So do Palestinians, Arabs throughout
the region, protesting East and West Europeans, others across the world,
and growing numbers in America, especially in Wisconsin - ground zero to
save organized labor.
- At issue is freedom v. tyranny, what Aaron Russo's 2006
film called "Freedom to Fascism," identifying America's money
system as inimical to liberty and justice for all. Along with American-style
corporatism, it lets banking giants control money, credit and debt for
private self-enrichment, colluding with government for laws favoring them,
as well as others destroying democratic principles, fast eroding and disappearing
throughout the country.
- It produces:
- -- pervasive public and private corruption;
- -- concentrated wealth;
- -- government serving America's aristocracy, not popular
- -- alliances with global despots, replaced when they
forget who's boss;
- -- America's war machine and imperial arrogance;
- -- subjugation, not freedom;
- -- mass impoverishment and human misery;
- -- a war on dissent; and
- -- another preventing constructive change, forcefully
when other ways fail.
- It makes America and similar societies unfit to live
in, heading them for tyranny and ruin. It also fuels popular anger, bubbling
eventually to the surface, growing and now spreading across the Middle
East and parts of America.
- On Saturday February 26, all 50 states held pro-labor
"Save the American Dream" rallies, promoted by MoveOn.org:
- "in every major city to stand in solidarity with
the people of Wisconsin" and workers in their own states under attack.
Wisconsin is ground zero. The cancer is national, pitting an alliance of
bought-and-paid-for governments, corporate bosses, and corrupted union
heads against organized labor, democratic values, and basic freedoms, including
a living wage, essential benefits, decent living standards, and a seat
at the table representing themselves.
- On February 26, AP writers Patrick Condon and Todd Richmond
headlined, "Protesters across US decry Wis. anti-union efforts,"
- "Rallies were held across the country Saturday to
support thousands of protesters holding steady at the Wisconsin Capitol
in their fight against Republican-backed legislation aimed at weakening
- In fact, Walker's bill wants them and democracy destroyed,
so other state governors and Washington can do the same thing. It's been
happening incrementally for decades.
- "Union supporters organized rallies from New York
to Los Angeles....(Thousands) gathered (in) Columbus, Ohio....(Others were
held across America, including) "Topeka, Kan; Harrisburg, Pa; and
Olympia, Wash. (In) Los Angeles, public sector workers and others held
signs (saying) 'We are all Wisconsin.' Some wore foam 'cheeseheads' in
- In St. Paul, MN, union leader Eliot Seide addressed protesters,
saying, "The right to collectively bargain is a American right. You
can't have American democracy if you don't have a strong trade union movement."
- Others in Madison and across the country expressed anger,
saying they won't stand for what Walker wants. Maintaining that spirit
is key to stopping him.
- On February 26, New York Times writers Richard Oppel
and Timothy Williams headlined, "Rallies for Labor, in Wisconsin and
- In Wisconsin, tens of thousands rallied for worker rights,
chanting, "This will not stand!" Over 100,000 turned out in Madison,
including celebrities like Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary fame. The
Times estimated the crowd at "70,000." It was more than half
again that size. Others rallied in support across America, "a call
(drawing) thousands of demonstrators to state capitals and other cities
from Albany to the West Coast."
- Al Alt, a teacher for 40 years, said, "We've had
bargaining for 50 years (actually 75), and (Walker) wants to end it in
a week." For two weeks, thousands protested peacefully, hundreds camping
out every night in hallways, stairwells, and public areas of the Capitol.
- Battle lines are now drawn after state officials said
they'd be evicted Sunday afternoon at 4PM. Claiming health and safety issues,
it's a ruse to weaken resistance and push for passage of Walker's anti-labor
bill. Union officials and protesters object, saying conflict may result.
- Wisconsin's Professional Police Association (WPPA) head
Jim Palmer called on police to join the sleep-in, saying:
- "As has been reported in the media, the protesters
are cleaning up after themselves and have not caused any problems. The
fact of the matter is that Wisconsin's law enforcement community opposes
Governor Walker's effort to eliminate most union activity in this state,
and we implore him to not do anything to increase the risk to officers
and the public....Law enforcement officers know the difference between
right and wrong, and (Walker's) attempt to eliminate the collective voice
of Wisconsin's devoted public employees is wrong. That is why we have stood
with our fellow employees each day and why we will be sleeping among them"
- On February 27, Palmer said authorities were backing
away from their eviction plan, saying, "Now it sounds like they are
going to let people stay." Protesters will only be asked for "voluntary
compliance." Some said if evictions happen, they'll circle the Capitol
- Prior to Palmer's Sunday announcement, BailOutPeople.org's
web site headlined, "The Whole World is Watching! The Capitol Belongs
to the People!" They build it. They paid for it. They deserve support
from everyone. Maintaining pressure is essential, inside and outside the
building, across the state and country. It's not just a Wisconsin issue.
It's a national and worldwide one - freedom or fascism, global Walkers
v. working people everywhere, struggling for justice against dark forces
wanting greater empowerment and enrichment at their expense.
- On February 24, the Social Justice & Labor Center
headlined, "Why Wisconsin matters in New York, and throughout organized
- "Unionists from across the nation have come out
in force to support our colleagues in Wisconsin, as well as those in Idaho,
Indiana, New Jersey, Ohio and Tennessee. Other states are facing unprecedented
threats as well. And New York state is not exempt."
- "Make no mistake about it," worker rights are
on the line everywhere. It's resist or die. "What is happening right
now in Wisconsin is historic." Standing firm there is crucial. Workers
didn't cause fiscal problems. Bad governance, Wall Street crooks, corporate
greed, predatory capitalism, and corrupted union bosses are responsible.
They tanked the economy. Make them fix it, not workers, suffering grievously
as a result.
- Moreover, an Economic Policy Institute (EPI) study showed
Wisconsin public workers make on average 4.8% less in total compensation
than private sector ones. In addition, teachers are on the front lines
educating future generations, and police, firefighters, nurses, sanitation
workers, and many others provide essential services without which societies
- They deserve support from everyone for a living wage,
essential benefits, a decent standard of living, and right to bargain collectively
for self-betterment. It's them against America's Walkers, struggling for
rights too important to lose. Everyone's in this fight together against
dark forces heading America for a future no one wants, except elitists
and their political allies benefitting from other people's pain. Now's
the time to stop them. Below are 10 more reasons.
- A Final Comment
- On February 26, the web site Think Progress.org headlined,
"REPORT: Top 10 Disastrous Policies From The Wisconsin GOP You Haven't
Heard About." Access it through the following link:
- In Walker's agenda and bill, much more is at stake than
stripping workers of collective bargaining rights and making them pay more
for healthcare and pensions. A previous article partly explained, accessed
through the following link:
- Included is more, repeating some of what the bottom link
- (1) "Eliminating Medicaid:" Healthcare czar
Dennis Smith (Wisconsin's Health and Human Services Secretary) may "override
state Medicaid laws as (he) sees fit and institute sweeping changes,"
including big cuts, "limiting eligibility," perhaps ending state
responsibility altogether at a future time.
- (2) "Power Plant Privatization and Environmental
Neglect:" Use the above lower link for full coverage.
- (3) "Dangerous Drinking Water:" New bills introduced
would end "requiring municipal governments to disinfect their water."
- (4) "Destroying Wetlands:" Walker's bill "exempt(s)
a parcel of wetland owned by a Republican donor from water quality standards,"
and affects the entire county where it's located. Perhaps later the entire
- (5) "Fiscal Irresponsibility:" Another Walker
bill requires a two-thirds supermajority to raise taxes. "Republican
lawmakers are now reportedly considering a constitutional amendment that
would make the rule permanent." At issue, is imposing a "fiscal
strait-jacket" on Wisconsin residents.
- (6) "Disenfranchising Voters:" Another proposed
bill "require(s) voters to present a photo ID from the (Department
of Motor Vehicles) at the polls," causing added hardships for elderly,
disabled and rural residents as well as students and persons without cars.
- (7) "Cutting Jobs, Losing the Future:" Walker
killed a fall 2010 "$810 billion federally funded high-speed rail
project," preventing potentially 130,000 new jobs.
- (8) "Stifling Innovation:" Walker introduced
a bill to ban wind-powered energy, making Wisconsin more dependent on coal.
A public outcry killed it.
- (9) "Naked Power Grab:" Along party lines,
Wisconsin's "legislature ceded 'extraordinary control' of the state's
rule-making oversight process to the governor," giving him near-dictatorial
- (10) "Politicizing State Agencies:" Walker's
budget repair bill "convert(s 37) state employees from civil servants
to political appointees," seizing even more power.
- Fascism landed in Wisconsin under Walker and his cronies,
aiming to turn the whole state into Guatemala in the worst sense of its
meaning. More than ever, exposing and stopping him is crucial. It's no
exaggeration saying, as Wisconsin goes, perhaps also America, a possibility
too grim to allow.
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com
and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the
Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays
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