Thank You For Supporting Wisconsin’s Public Workers

(11 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Albany Solidarity Saturday

Thank you for attending the demonstration near you yesterday on Solidarity Saturday. It’s important to turn up in physical as opposed to digital form, to link arms, to carry signs, to speak out, to be counted on this important issue.  This is a terribly old fashioned way to petition the Government for redress of grievances, to take the First Amendment’s phrase, but alas, it’s all there is.

I’ve been on fire about Scott Walker’s plan to abrogate public workers’ collective bargaining rights in Wisconsin, and the copy cat legislation introduced in other states in which the Teapublicans and probably more  important, the Koch brothers or other members of the Oligarchy have control.  I’ve written about it here and elsewhere on the Port Writers’ Alliance blogs.  I’ve bought pizza for the demonstrators.  I’ve talked to colleagues and friends about it.  So pulling on the heavy boots  and the thermal underwear and hitting the pavement in Albany, New York with others was a natural, positive next step to express my view that the termination of collective bargaining for public or private workers, in Wisconsin or elsewhere, is an unwarranted regression to Teapublican Nirvana, the Nineteenth Century.  That and every other atavism that increases oppression and exploitation, however disguised, has to be fought.

I have little doubt that what we are seeing is a dramatic  exercise of the Shock Doctrine.  The excuse is that the states don’t have money in the treasury.  You can tell this is so: asking the top 1% to discontinue their tax exemption to balance a budget is immediately called tyranny, but cutting a teacher’s salary by 8% along with his/her pension and medical benefits is necessary to curtail excessive spending.  Asking for an increase in corporate taxes is decried as socialism, but  abrogating the right  to collective bargaining is a necessary sharing of the pain.  Bailing out Wall Street to the tune of billions is necessary because they are too big to fail, but extending unemployment benefits to workers who cannot find work is an incentive to sloth.  Look.  It’s really simple.  The rich don’t pay their fair share and they control the Government to prevent that from happening.  Everybody else, meaning you and me and everyone you know, has to “share the pain.”  Why?  Because we’re only willing to look at one side of the equation: the side about spending.  We don’t dare look at the side about income.  This is silly.  But it’s also simple,  household bookkeeping.  Want to balance your budget: you can either increase the money coming into the till by taxing those with the most, or you can decrease spending on the backs of the soon to be once-middle-class by impoverishing teachers, firefighters, state workers, policemen, sanitation workers, on and on.  The Teapublicans clearly prefer the latter.

The fact is that the Teapublicans are just stooges for the Oligarchy.  It should be obvious by now.  Scott Walker immediately took the phone call from “David Koch.”  Do you think for a second that you could get your Governor on the phone by calling up?  And that once you got the Gov on the line, you could have a rambling, pointless, unhurried blibber blabber?  Are you kidding?  When officials-none of these are in as exalted a position as the Governonr– rarely take my calls, they want to get down to the bottom line in a big hurry and they want to get off the line.  Not so if you’re “David Koch.” And if Scott Walker won’t take the call and grovel for a while, the Citizens United decision and the Koch Brothers’ money will assure that there will always be someone else in the office who is more receptive, more appreciative.  And just as much a tool.

The only known counterpoint to this is organized labor.  Only organized labor has money to fund candidates who aren’t Koch heads.  If labor is destroyed, there is no obstacle to the Oligarchy’s impoverishing everyone, include the once-middle-class.  There is no check to its rapaciousness.  The government will slowly be filled with even more tools and stooges.  And you and I, amig@s, will do more than share the pain, we’ll carry all of it.

My Fotos of Albany’s demonstration are here.  A festive, large warm crowd in a park with snowy trees.

revised from a piece at The Dream Antilles


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  1. for the union makes us strong.

    Thanks for reading.

  2. That’s what I get when I clicked, I use safari.

  3. It looks like you had a pretty good turnout in Albany, albeit, despite the cold.  

    I love that “share the pain” notion.  It is WE who have borne the pain right down the line, which has not been shared by ANYONE but us (the so-called “middle-class” — now, “upper poor”).  “They’ve” just about run out of things to tap us for, so, now it’s time to tap Unions, pensions (a part of it), Social Security and anything and everything the uber wealth can get their hands on — there isn’t much left to tap. But, just as George Carlin said, “they want it ALL!”

    Thanks for your reportage!

  4. is Rupert Murdoch:

    . . . . . The informal partnership between billionaire David Koch, whose campaign dollars and astroturf group, Americans for Prosperity, have fomented the Wisconsin crisis, and billionaire Rupert Murdoch, is profoundly ideological — the ideology being the exponential enrichment of the two men’s heirs, all dressed up in the language of libertarianism and free enterprise . . . . .

  5. There are other provisions of this bill that are very disturbing, as well.  One has to do with healthcare.  The other has to do with Walker want to privatize energy companies — think Koch Bros. — see more here!

  6. A list of Koch Bros. products.  O.K., so everyone should print it out, put it on their person and spend the rest of your life checking out labels, etc.  Well, O.K., maybe, not to that extent, but be more mindful of products you might be purchasing:

    Koch Bros. Products:

    (Georgia-Pacific products)

    Angel Soft toilet paper

    Brawny paper towels

    Dixie plates, bowls, napkins and cups

    Mardi Gras napkins and towels

    Quilted Northern toilet paper

    Soft ‘n Gentle toilet paper

    Sparkle napkins

    Vanity fair napkins

    Zee napkins

    Georgia-Pacific paper products and envelopes

    All Georgia-Pacific lumber and building products more detailed list below

    (INVISTA Products)*more below*


    Stainmaster Carpet

    Georgia Pacific Building products

    Dense Armor Drywall and Decking

    ToughArmor Gypsum board

    Georgia pacific Plytanium Plywood


    Densglass sheathing

    G/P Industrial plasters (some products used by a lot of crafters)-

    –Agricultural Plaster

    –Arts & Crafts Plaster

    –Dental Plaster

    –General Purpose Plaster

    –Glass-reinforced Gypsum (GRG)

    –Industrial Tooling Plaster

    –Investment Casting Plaster

    –Medical Plaster

    –Metal Casting Plaster

    –Pottery Plaster

    FibreStrong Rim board

    G/P Lam board

    Blue Ribbon OSB Rated Sheathing

    Blue Ribbon Sub-floor

    DryGuard Enhanced OSB

    Nautilus Wall Sheathing

    Thermostat OSB Radiant Barrier Sheathing

    Broadspan Engineered Wood Products

    XJ 85 I-Joists

    FireDefender Banded Cores

    FireDefender FS

    FireDefender Mineral Core

    Hardboard and Thin MDF including Auto Hardboard,

    Perforated Hardboard and Thin MDF

    Wood Fiberboard –

    Commercial Roof Fiberboard

    Hushboard Sound Deadening Board

    Regular Fiberboard Sheathing

    Additional products/brands by INVISTA:

    COMFOREL® fiberfill

    COOLMAX® fabric

    CORDURA® fabric

    DACRON® fiber

    POLYSHIELD® resin

    SOLARMAX® fabric

    SOMERELLE® bedding products

    STAINMASTER® carpet

    SUPPLEX® fabric

    TACTEL® fiber

    TACTESSE® carpet fiber

    TERATE® polyols

    TERATHANE® polyether glycol

    THERMOLITE® fabric

    PHENREZ® resin

    POLARGUARD® fiber and

    LYCRA® fiber

    (h/t geebeebee )

    I could think of other alternatives, something along the lines of what the French have done, but, you know . . . . . !

  7. I still have to point out the Overton engineering in this left/right banter.  The dying US companies don’t have HR departments anymore so they outsource to temp agencies who try to match candidates to job positions.  “Lean” manufacturing today means anemic and short of a Vulcan mind meld from the elder who used to hold the position most companies can’t afford that transition time of training new help.

    What is not on the agenda is the rise of these temp agencies and the resulting excuse the dying enterprise has to NOT pay the former benefit packages enjoyed by those few permanent employee/slaves.

    • rossl on March 1, 2011 at 03:59

    I’ve been going to at least one demonstration a month, in addition to meetings, in addition to local and more modest activism in my community, in addition to just being more civically active and aware, and I’m always asking, “Is this enough?”  In fact, a friend of mine recently said that one of the most important things we can say to our government is, “Not Good Enough!”  But that’s true of ourselves, as well – if we’re not constantly saying “not good enough” in terms of our own activism, then we can’t credibly say it of our government.  Because I truly believe that our quality of government depends on the quality and quantity of radical action in our nation.

    So, here’s a cool picture of me from Saturday’s rally in Philly.  I’m on the left, holding a small Green Party sign and the giant Cheri Honkala for Sheriff sign, yelling at the MoveOn organizers for not letting Cheri speak:


  8. somebody got a sammich AND a soda/beer 😛

  9. If the answer is “no”, shouldn’t that raise the question as to whether the unions deserve any more than just verbal support, for their lack of support of working (and formerly working) people, in general?

    Or, to put this another way, if the WI unions hadn’t been threatened with loss of collective bargaining, would they have organized against the forces of the dastardly Kock brothers and the “teapublicans”? Or would their members, instead, just be going about their lives as before?

    Or, to put it yet another way, if Scott Walker backs down completely, will the WI unions do anything – anything at all – for working (and formerly working) people, in general?

    I explained my misgivings about giving the unions no-strings-attached support, in my diary American Unions are a compliant, selfish disgrace, compared to European Unions.

    Elsewhere, I long ago argued for a sort of public-spirited shock doctine, whereby (mostly) predictable trajedies and trials that befall sections of the citizenry should be exploited, not selfisly ffor private gain, but for the greater good.

    It’s easily predictable that, no matter how WI turns out, more or less the same process will repeat in probably at least about half the states in the country. Apparently, according to you, we should just line up behind the unions (who will probably all just line up behind the Democrats), demanding nothing in return (except the opportunity to put it to the dastardly Koch brothers, Teapublicans, etc., and the joy of having held the line on collective bargaining for public service unions).

    To this notion I say “baloney”. I see too many destitute people, many looking utterly defeated, to be able or willing not to connect the dots between their plight, and the selfishness of unions. I mean, even at just a PR level, unions pushing strongly against the Korean NAFTA and for universal, socialized medical care would help the unions immensely. IOW, taking “PR level” to be yet another form of selfishness, or close to same, it would still make sense for them to lead the general public (or at least their members – their leadership may be too coopted by the Dems for us to expect anything out of them).

    I’ve supported Dump Obama and New Progressive Alliance (see diaries by jeffroby and themalcontent at MyFDL), which is partly about driving a wedge between the Democratic base and the corrupted, corporatized Democratic leadership and party machinery. You’ve got me thinking about why we see things so differently, and it seems to me that you can’t imagine a more enlightened unions. And, in fact, you might be basically correct, given their current leadership. Thus, to make significant social progress, it may well be necessary to drive a wedge between union leadership and union members.

    As with Dump Obama, it is painfully clear that better leaders are needed, and need to be generated. In the case of unions, though, their rank-and-file are the obvious analogs of Democratic-leaning rank-and-file.

    Food for thought, here.

  10. by Ken Lonnquist (written 2-18-2011)

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