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Wisconsin Wakes Up

Updated on September 18, 2011

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,


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    • profile image


      3 years ago

      That's a wise answer to a tricky quieston

    • lanetodd profile image


      7 years ago from Fruitland, ID

      I am curious since you compare the Egypt uprising this year to Wisconsin, are you still happy about the end result of Egypt? Do you think that regardless of the past dictator in charge, that the end result will be democracy and freedom? Curious if you know or even care anything about the Muslim brotherhood who said they were going to stay out of politics, yet somehow are in a large percentage of the government upcoming elections. Do you think it will be a stabilizing effect on Israel and that region? And also, did you know the cost to the tax payer for the great revolution that happened in wisconsin? 8 million dollars worth of damage. To what ends? States will have to choose bankruptcy, or less entitlements. That is "less" entitlements, a cut, not a withdrawl of entitlements. Compare what public workers make vs private workers, the wage comparison is shocking. This country is in a world of hurt, from both parties of government, and keeping it all the same will just make it worse. Encouraging class warfare, rich against the poor, redistribution of wealth, again, will cause more problems. Taxing the rich to pay for the poor, in a society that already has a higher tax than most countries, not to mention the corporate taxes the highest in the world, will not encourage growth in the economy. The "liberals" used to be against big government, and government control, but now it seems they are for more government control as long as it suits them, especially when it comes to private companies that they feel are making too much money.

    • TeaPartyCrasher profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Camp Hill, PA


      And I'm sure workers there will take mirror the tactics from Wisconsin, Ohio, etc. I did see that similar legislation in Florida did fail though.

      Also, I did not use the term 'Astroturf', one of the other hubbers did?

    • Verily Prime profile image

      Verily Prime 

      7 years ago from New York

      GREAT HUB - from your point of view, but I noticed that you didn't address the fact - or perhaps It did not happen when you wrote this hub - that Liberal Massachussett is about to mirror what was done in Wisconsin and Ohio, vis-a-vis union activities? And why is that only you know what is best and what's with the perjorative term, "astro turf"? I say again TPC, I am not against Unions -it's their currupt bosses. Dems love "choice" Why not the choice to say whether I want to be unionized?

    • bgamall profile image

      Gary Anderson 

      7 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      Marx said that capitalism would fail with all the money going to the top. The only thing that stopped this was unions and a safety net.

      Now perhaps, but we hope not, Marx will be proven right.

    • Jillian Barclay profile image

      Donna Lichtenfels 

      7 years ago from California, USA

      Dear TeaPartyCrasher,

      Looks like you have taken a little bit of heat here! I read the article, thought it was well-founded in fact and has come to the real issue, that corporations, who have long looked for foot soldiers, found them in the Tea Party.

      What better than to recruit middle class Americans to fight your battles! Make it look like a grass roots effort, pump millions into it, and have them vote against their own interests. If Tea Party America doesn't realize that these multi-national corporations are using them to suit their own purposes, then they have not done their homework and do not even know who is funding them. Americans For Prosperity is funded and was started by the Koch Brothers. We all know that they are fighting for the average American! The Tea Party zealots don't even realize that they are being sold a bill of goods by the corporations.

      The taxpayers, yes! the taxpayers, the same people that fail to realize or refuse to realize that they have the lowest tax rates in decades, all act like they are losing every dime they make! Meanwhile, the largest corporations, on the other hand, are effectively paying nothing!

      Liked this article (of course, was called an imbecile the other day for not buying into the corporate garbage!). Keep telling the truth! The hard core tea partiers are too far gone. They are sheep, who believe that unions are the cause of every budget deficit in every state. Last I looked, union workers are taxpayers, too! They were promised certain things and do not deserve to have their pensions and health care stripped. They did not cause the mess we are in!

      And yes, weholdthesetruths, unions do have a right to bargain! Just because corporations destroyed the private pension, and private workers allowed it to happen, does not mean that everyone has to give up what they have fought for.

      Yes, America! Corporations used to pay real pensions!

    • profile image

      Fay Paxton 

      7 years ago

      Hi TeaPartyCrasher:

      Thanks for writing this informative and insightful article. I believe the Tea Party started as a legitimate grassroots organization with genuine concerns about the welfare of the country. I also believe there are still members who are dedicated to what they believe is best. Having said as much, there is no question they have been co-opted by the rich and corporations who are using the movement to serve their purposes. The argument that we pay this one or that one rings hollow...all money is tax payers money and all Americans pay taxes.

      I cannot reconcile why people feel it was okay for Wall Street barons to receive huge bonuses at the expense of taxpayers because they had contracts, while refusing to honor the contracts of the little guy. Sadly, too many people will not see that they are merely being used until it is too late.

      Clearly, it has not yet occurred to them that the corporations and the rich are reaping all the benefits, while they're asked to do all the paying and sacrificing. I

      hear many argue that they (the rich and corporations) are the ones who create the jobs as if they haven't noticed how many people are unemployed.

      Corporations have not created jobs despite the fact they have received tax cuts, low and no-interest loans, tax credits and can take advantage of numerous loopholes. So much so, the richest corporations receive huge tax refunds...where are the jobs?

      It's a sad indictment on the collective lack of intelligence and the fact that people become so mired in ideology they cut off their noses to spite their own faces. I gotta go add a shot of vodka to my orange juice.

    • sir slave profile image

      sir slave 

      7 years ago from Trinity county CA.

      hey jed!!I thought you were a total redneck from what you wrote about my opinion on AR's hub. your evidently not. how can they justify giving a 165 million dollar tax break to big companies and then tell the public employess, the people who teach our kids and put out fires to go screw. the protesters are hardly tell anybody to screw except the KOCH brothers. AMERICAN romance seems to think differently. this is tpc's hub though and its is right on the money with every word.

    • Jed Fisher profile image

      Jed Fisher 

      7 years ago from Oklahoma

      But... the root cause of all this, the state budget deficits and the de-funding of state pensions, are all a result of the maufactured, engineered contraction of the money supply. The well-orchestrated financial ripoff of 2008. The Banksters stole the big money, then Congress gave them more, (TARP) and now the little people fight over what's left.

      Vote the bums out.

    • Vladimir Uhri profile image

      Vladimir Uhri 

      7 years ago from HubPages, FB

      Do you know that unions started socialism in Czechoslovakia?

    • TeaPartyCrasher profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Camp Hill, PA


      I have a follow-up in the works;)

    • junko profile image


      7 years ago

      You did a very good job with this hub, that's evident by the flys you attracted. Do it again and again.

    • LRCBlogger profile image


      7 years ago


      I'm in agreement that the TEA party is a brilliantly orchestrated plan by some of the elite in corporate America to benefit business at the expense of individuals. As sad as it is, you have to be somewhat impressed with what these elite have accomplished. It is not often you can convince people to go against their best interest and fight those who try to help them. Hey, I'm a corporate America guy, I work for a fortune 500 but I can clearly see who is holding the TEA party reigns.

      In regards to what is happening in Wisconsin, I agree with the Governor that concessions have to be made. Payroll is typically 85% of a govt's expenses leaving only 15% for everything else. The union made some concessions to pensions and pay (I believe in the form of furlough days). Now Walker is pushing to crush collective bargaining. The concessions needed have been made, Walker is clearly overstretching his authority. His execuse is that ending collective bargaining addresses the long term. What about simply having a long term contract? Happens all the time in business.

    • earhzondi profile image


      7 years ago from Philippines

      Every Labor Day in my country, different groups of protesters hit the road to inform the government and even different company to increase their salary. There are different leaders representing these groups in the senate. Leaders of different groups have their documents to prove that companies are underpaying its employees. I thank God coz everything well. Everything is under negotiation, and still hoping for the best result

    • TeaPartyCrasher profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Camp Hill, PA


      He came from an era when corps didn't have nearly the power they do, something many nostalgics for that time forget. Put down the tea and pop in "Capitalism--A Love Story"

      And as I've shown time and time, and Gov Walker may have himself, the Tea Party is little more than a movemenet of by and for the corps. No matter what Beck and Limbaugh tell 'ya.

    • American Romance profile image

      American Romance 

      7 years ago from America

      My dad had great wages and benefits, he also came from a different era, I have great wages and benefits and I don't belong to a union nor do I have the education my Dad has. Unions are fund raising organizations for the Dems, pure and simple, nothing more!

    • TeaPartyCrasher profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Camp Hill, PA


      You could describe many of your fellow "Tea Twizzlers" as Rick Smith likes to call them.


      Your Dad also had fair wages and benefits. You likley reaped some benefits, that you now want to see denied to others thanks to years of corporate and nationalist brainwashing.

    • American Romance profile image

      American Romance 

      7 years ago from America

      TeaParty, my dad worked and retired under a union, they took 80 dollars a month out of his check, he was forced to strike twice and had a car repoed because of lack of funds, they gave his money to the Democrat party against his will? ...........sooo unions are about freedom, people etc.? I think not!

    • weholdthesetruths profile image


      7 years ago from Western Flyover Country

      @TPC... and your wholesale and endless insults against the good people of the TEA Party movement indicate a mindset that cares only to be a partisan, unconcerned iwth reality or substance... For you, it's nothing but the party, all the part, nothing but the party... Kinda like the commies of old.

    • TeaPartyCrasher profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Camp Hill, PA

      My Dad would be insulted at that remark!

      And it seems to me that the Tea Party is little more than the 'mobs' that the old-style barons (like the Koch's) would use.

      Of course, as folks like LRC and Steve8 have showed, looking down on 'others', like many on your side, is stock and trade.

    • American Romance profile image

      American Romance 

      7 years ago from America

      Instead of signs hating Walker why don't they hold signs saying screw Americans? I mean we are the ones paying them not Walker? When you are superior to others, have a better education, more ambition, and a strong work ethic you don't need to join a gang to get what you want in life!.............funny how the great ones are seldom seen working unionized government jobs?

    • TeaPartyCrasher profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Camp Hill, PA


      It will be a great day for CORPORATE America, who you act as a tool for.

      And your fellow "Tea Brain" Wehold(did you ever see my hub 'We The People?'

      As for We, it may be nice to see salaries of public employees put to a referendum.

      Now you and Ken can go back to your corporate propaganda from Beck, Limbaugh, etc.

      At least folks like GNelson get it.

    • Ken Crow profile image

      Ken Crow 

      7 years ago from Iowa, USA

      Crasher: Some FACTS FOR YOU AND THE OTHER NPR listeners.

      1. The Protest in Madison have NOTHING TO DO WITH CORPORATIONS !

      2. Many of the so called " wounded and broken " hard working Americans at that protest belong to President Obama's " Get out the vote " campaign arm. THEY WORK FOR THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY !


      4. Further law breaking by releasing students and ordering them to go protest while they are suppose to be in class. Teachers walking out of classrooms and sending children home.

      5. Falsifying Doctors notes in order that protesters can be paid for " sick days ".

      I could keep going. However, the truth is this. This is organized to stop Wisconsin from trying to balance it's budget and raise taxes. One must understand that the "STATE OF WISCONSIN " IS BY DEFINITION BANKRUPT. The Governor has no money ! He simply asked the Unions to pay into their retirement benefits package the same as most other American workers do ( as a matter of fact, not even as much, only 5.9%, most Americans pay 10% of their salaries for their 401k's ) and for that the Teachers walk out ?

      The Unions for your information have broken Detroit, Pittsburgh, Cleveland and many other cities and states. The Unions are what caused General Motors to go under and seek Government bailout money. The Unions were invented ( go study your history on this one ) by a very nice fellow by the name of Carl Marx. Be that as it may, people called President Reagan a Union busting President. No, he was not, he fired the Air Traffic Controllers after they broke the law and walked out of their job. He could have sent them to prison, but chose not too.

      Nine other states are about to do what is happening in Wisconsin. And more will follow. This is happening because of greed on the Unions part. They will not back off their demands and the tax payers are sick of it.

      Their is your accuracy. The Unions will lose this one and Wisconsin will win. The Obama campaign people will go home beaten and bruised. It will be a great day for America....Keep on Hubbing...

    • weholdthesetruths profile image


      7 years ago from Western Flyover Country

      GNelson, that's pure unadulterated nonsense.

      THE PEOPLE are the public's employer, and THE PEOPLE decide what is ok. No "contract" formed by blackmail (union thugs against the citizens of the state) could ever be considered morally binding. Besides, the state is broke. It's time the people took control of the budget and sent the greedy government leeches packing.

    • GNelson profile image


      7 years ago from Florida

      What you see in Wisconsin may be the end of the middle class. The workers in Wisconsin got their pay and benefits by negotiating a contract, in good faith, between their employer and their Union. By law any changes to that contract should be negotiated with the Union like Ford did, like GM did. If Wisconsin changes a legal contract with employees without negotiations, the contract is worthless. Working people will take a very large step backwards. Our children and grandchildren will be fighting to win back the rights we lost.

    • weholdthesetruths profile image


      7 years ago from Western Flyover Country

      Are you going to answer the question or not? Whether the issue is dollars per hour, or some other facet of employment is IMMATERIAL. The issue remains exactly the same.


      Why are you struggling so hard with this question?

    • TeaPartyCrasher profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Camp Hill, PA

      We Hold:

      This is no longer about pay, from what I heard on NPR. This is about the right to bargain for other things.

      Of course, Beck and Limbaugh, and their CEO handlers, are telling a different story.

    • weholdthesetruths profile image


      7 years ago from Western Flyover Country

      TPC, I see you are unable to have a rational conversation, still. You failed to answer the question, in fact, you failed to even address it.

      Do the people of Wisconsin, it's cities, counties/boroughs /municipalities have the right to control their government and the amount of money they wish to pay those who serve them, or not?

      Provide the rational basis for your answer.

    • Tom Koecke profile image

      Tom Koecke 

      7 years ago from Tacoma, Washington

      I find it ironic that the same people who applauded the minority holding up legislation in one arena find it reprehensible that the minority is holding up legislation in another arena simply because the minority in the second arena is not of their persuasion.

      Good luck arguing with those people who see political ploy as admirable only when it is those they agree with exercising the ploy, and who think giving power back to the people as electing someone who will forcefully destroy dissidence!

    • TeaPartyCrasher profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Camp Hill, PA


      The people's control?

      Seems to me that the corps hold most of the control.

      But then you likely rely on corporate mouthpieces like Beck and Limbaugh. . .

    • weholdthesetruths profile image


      7 years ago from Western Flyover Country

      Answer me this. Do the people have the right to control their government and its employees? If so, what is a union, but an effort to thwart the people's control over their government?

    • weholdthesetruths profile image


      7 years ago from Western Flyover Country

      Pure nonsense.


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