Wisconsin workers fight on

This video from the USA is called Wisconsin workers speak on the general strike, social inequality, and democracy.

More than 100,000 workers, young people and other protesters marched in the Wisconsin state capital of Madison Saturday in the largest of the month-long demonstrations against attacks on public employees and cuts in public education, health care and other services: here.

Jeanne Mirer and Marjorie Cohn, Truthout: “The International Commission for Labor Rights (ICLR) sent a notice to the Wisconsin Legislature, explaining that its attempt to strip collective bargaining rights from public workers is illegal. Anyone who has watched the events unfolding in Wisconsin and other states that are trying to remove collective bargaining rights from public workers has heard people protesting the loss of their ‘rights.’ The ICLR explained to the legislature exactly what these rights are and why trying to take them away is illegal”: here.

Nearly Identical Anti-Labor Bills Appear in Maine, Missouri, New Hampshire, Other States: here.

Students in 20 states walked out supporting Wisconsin and teachers Friday. Media roundup: here.

Linn Washington Jr., This Can’t Be Happening: “Swinging a sledge hammer, Pennsylvania’s first-term Republican Governor Tom Corbett smashed into educational spending and state worker jobs during his first-ever budget address, following in the footsteps of his conservative cost-cutting confederates across the nation. While Corbett proposes slashing over a billion dollars in funds for pre-K through college, he spares the Keystone State’s burgeoning billion-dollar Marcellus Shale natural gas industry from his call for ‘shared sacrifice’ to close a $4-billion gap in the state’s budget”: here.

A special meeting of the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD), the second largest district in California, approved a proposal that represents another round in the attacks against the working class in the state. Every March for the past four years, a new and perverse ritual sees school boards throughout the state issue layoff notices to teachers and workers in anticipation for the latest round of budget cuts to be voted upon at the state level in the summer: here.

USA: Amnesty International warns on states’ plan to severely restrict workers’ rights: here.

USA: Hedge fund manager makes as much in on hour as a middle-class family earns in 47 years: here.

The Truth About GOP Hero Ayn Rand: here.

6 thoughts on “Wisconsin workers fight on


    “Scott Walker’s real agenda in Wisconsin: The Republican governor’s budget plan would open the state up to a corporate asset-grab not seen since robber baron capitalism.”

    That headline is not from BuzzFlash at Truthout; it’s from The Guardian UK, and it pretty much nails where the current GOP is at: Milton Friedman on a triple dose of steroids.

    Yesterday, BuzzFlash at Truthout speculated about the trend of the government selling off public assets. In the end, this would lead to Grover Norquist’s dream of “strangling government and drowning it in a bathtub” (a paraphrase). BuzzFlash, alas, was not being entirely sardonic when we predicted that we will have a manufactured “education crisis” resolved by selling off corporate naming rights (and perhaps ownership) to high schools, privatized teaching (mostly through computers), Wackenhut school security and even pay toilets to cover the costs of privatized sanitation services.

    For anyone who thought that this was a parody, read this from The Guardian:

    Fast-forward to Scott Walker today. Representing a new breed apart from Wisconsin’s earlier Republicans, he is seeking to reopen the asset-grabbing, Gilded Age-style. A plague of rent-seekers is seeking quick gains by privatizing the public sector and erecting tollbooths to charge access fees to roads, power plants and other basic infrastructure….

    But who is one to steal from? Most wealth in history has been acquired either by armed conquest of the land, or by political insider dealing, such as the great US railroad land giveaways of the mid-19th century. The great American fortunes have been founded by prying land, public enterprises and monopoly rights from the public domain, because (to paraphrase Willie Sutton) that’s where the assets are to take. Throughout history, the world’s most successful economies have been those that have kept this kind of primitive accumulation in check. The US economy today is faltering largely because its past barriers against rent-seeking are being breached.

    Nowhere is this more disturbingly on display than in Wisconsin. Today, Milwaukee – Wisconsin’s largest city, and once the richest in America – is ranked among the four poorest large cities in the United States. Wisconsin is just the most recent case in this great heist. The US government and its regulatory agencies are effectively being privatized as the “final stage” of neoliberal economic doctrine.

    Will the likes of Koch Industries, Bank of America, and Wal-Mart “own” your high schools soon? If Scott Walker and much of the GOP across the United States has its way, the answer is not, “That is ridiculous.” The answer is, “It is really quite possible.”

    Just think of your grandchildren looking forward to their 20th reunion from JP Morgan Chase High of Peoria.

    Oh, on the upside, they will get a free starter checking account.

    Mark Karlin
    Editor, BuzzFlash at Truthout



    Has the pro-middle class uprising gone viral in Wisconsin?

    Well, let’s take the example of Washburn – at the far-northern part of the Badger State Scott Walker is trying to sell off to the highest bidder, as he beats workers down to pre-Industrial Age wages.

    The Duluth News Tribune reports that on Saturday night, Walker attended a fundraiser, but was met by perhaps as many as 5,000 protesters, which according to the Duluth News Tribune was “probably at least double the size of Washburn, which has a population of 2,271.”

    Washburn is in what is known as the North Country of Wisconsin. It’s no Madison, and there are no big union towns around. The largest big city nearby is in another state, Duluth, Minnesota.

    Protesters, were – as has been the case for days down in Madison – peaceful, energetic and humorous: “Signs included ‘Gov. Walker, you probably can’t remember me, but … I can recall you’ and ‘At least my Grandma’s Walker helps her.'”

    As the News Tribune reported, one protester took a more expansive view of the challenge posed by the Walker government: “The thing that really got me here is the disparity of wealth that has grown way too out of hand,” [Scott] Griffiths said. “This is not a Wisconsin thing. This is a global pandemic of wealth buying power.”

    If you look at Washburn on a Wisconsin map, you’ll find it a rural area not too far from the land’s end of the state to the north. If the protests are spreading to Washburn, the battle for economic justice appears to be going viral.

    Walker may have been left choking on his walleye pike at the fundraiser as the advocates for livable wages shouted loudly enough to allegedly be heard inside the Republican fundraiser.

    It appears that there may be no town that is going to give a pass to Walker’s radical agenda.

    Mark Karlin
    Editor, BuzzFlash at Truthout



    The real battle that Wisconsin represents is who is going to control government in America: corporations or people?

    That is why BuzzFlash called attention to a Guardian UK article yesterday with the headline: “Scott Walker’s real agenda in Wisconsin: The Republican governor’s budget plan would open the state up to a corporate-asset grab not seen since robber baron capitalism.”

    So, it’s no surprise that the San Francisco Chronicle on Sunday reported, “Record earnings fueled by the highest profit margins since 1993 are giving executives more leeway than ever to boost dividends as the bull market enters its third year.”

    If corporations need tax breaks to generate jobs, then why are they not creating a large number of jobs in the US when they are announcing record profits? That is because the purpose of corporations, as we have mentioned before, is to increase profits and disburse them to senior staff and shareholders, not to bolster employment.

    In order to accomplish this goal, corporations need to control government laws and regulations. One strategy that they have used to successfully accomplish this goal is bullying through a sense of legal entitlement called corporate personhood. This has ramifications far beyond the devastating electoral impact of the Supreme Court Citizens United decision.

    Literally, no author in America knows more about the evolution of the concept of corporate personhood in the United States than Thom Hartmann.

    Truthout/BuzzFlash is extraordinarily proud to be running weekly installments of Hartmann’s prescient book: “Unequal Protection: How Corporations Became ‘People’ – and How You Can Fight Back.” Receive it with a minimum contribution to Truthout/BuzzFlash or read the weekly installments.

    If you want people to decide the direction of our democracy, instead of corporations, then “Unequal Protection” is the book to read.

    Mark Karlin
    Editor, BuzzFlash at Truthout


  4. Unions tell Obama to back workers

    BRAZIL: Six union confederations representing nearly five million Brazilian workers have expressed their solidarity with public-sector staff in Wisconsin and other US states who are fighting to defend key collective bargaining rights.

    In a letter sent to US President Barack Obama on Saturday leaders of the CUT, Forca Sindical, CTB, UGT, Nova Central and CGTB called on the United States to guarantee “full freedom of association, collective bargaining, and freedom of expression and assembly” for state employees.

    “We deeply appreciate the solidarity of our Brazilian sisters and brothers,” said United Steelworkers international president Leo Gerard.



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