Wisconsin Wakes Up
The Beginning Of The End?
- Pennsylvania labor leaders worry Wisconsin's tactics could spread--PennLive.com
With their contracts set to expire June 30, the unions that represent Pennsylvanias state workers are paying close attention to Wisconsin, where a clash between public employees and Gov. Scott Walker has led to all of the above.
- Wisconsin: The First Stop in An American Uprising?--Common Dreams
It took awhile, but Wisconsin shows that the poor and middle class of the U.S. may be ready to push back. Madison may be only the beginning. By Sarah van Gelder
- Fiscal Crisis Strikes At Labor's Core: Public Workers--NPR
The protests in Wisconsin are shining a light on the power of public-sector labor unions.
- Group plans to hold "We are Wisconsin" solidarity event in Harrisburg on Saturday--PennLive.com
PennACTION, a self-described progressive advocacy organization, is planning a rally on Saturday in Harrisburg to show support for job rights and fair wages for Wisconsin citizens. The event will begin at noon on the Capitol steps.
- Caller posing as major GOP contributor dupes Walker - JSOnline
Gov. Scott Walker, believing he was talking to prominent financial backer David Koch, told a Buffalo, N.Y. blogger that his tough stance against public-sector unions was similar to former President Ronald Reagan. . .
Seeing Past The Tea?
Like many Americans, I've watched a wave of populism spread across the Middle East. Starting in Tunisia, the desire of young people to cast aside authoritarian rulers spread to Egypt, Bahrain and even Libya now find themselves dealing with a critical mass.
After the Egyptians succeeded in bringing down their autocrat, I found myself asking the question, "Could such a thing happen in America?" I dismissed the thought, as it didn't seem to me that enough Americans' saw anything worth truly taking to the streets over. As I've said before, I see the "Tea Party" as a corporate creation, a sort of "astroturf movement" of corporations that saw their power threatened.
Then I heard about what was happening in Wisconsin, where a "Tea Party" backed governor, under the guise of balancing the state's budget, proposed stripping most public employees of their rights to collectively bargain. To many people's surprise, the public employee unions did something that was unexpected in this day and age, they chose to stand and fight back the way that workers used to when any boss threatened them.
The stakes are high, public employees represent the last bastion of organized labor. Pro-corporate polices have crippled industrial unions, and made it difficult to organize the low-wage service workers that make up so much of the modern "McEconomy". Should the workers of Wisconsin win the day; Republican Governors in states like Ohio and Pennsylvania, where there is still decent union power, may be a bit less likely to ask for concessions from public employees, and look to other means of dealing with shortfalls.
The defeat of Wisconsin's workers would likely be another brick on the road to the "corporate state" that the handlers of the "Tea Party" have in mind. There would be a green light for corporate-backed governors to demand concessions from not only public employees, but the fading private sector. The end result of this could be the kind of chaos that could lead to the kind of authoritian rule that many on the Right seek.
But I see something else coming out of Wisconsin. The realization that in supporting "Tea Party" candidates, people voted against their economic self-interest. They let personality and sloganeering, echoed by the likes of Beck, Limbaugh and Palin, blind them from policies that were echoes of the failed policies that created this economic crisis.
As I said on a recent broadcast of Rick Smith's radio show. Wisconsin may not be Cairo, it may be Tunis. Cairo could easily be Columbus--or Harrisburg,