Sunday, February 20, 2011


Cairo revolution sweeps...Wisconsin? Republican Governor Scott Walker, who has been governor for about six weeks, wants to bust the unions. His drastic plan would require public workers to pay more for their health insurance and pensions, effectively cutting their take-home pay by around 7 percent. The plan would also take away collective bargaining, and the right of public service employees to negotiate with the state over working conditions.

Walker's controversial plan has been met with massive demonstrations in the streets of Madison, an outpouring of people reminiscent of the recent revolution in Cairo. Like a Midwestern Mubarak, Walker says he won't budge. The protests have grown larger and larger.

To his defense, Tea Party activists have staged counter-demonstrations in support of the governor's union-busting plan. Once again they're working against their own interests, riding like Paul Revere in reverse, ready to warn the redcoats about the rebels. These misguided weekend warriors--who wouldn't even have a weekend without the unions--are on the wrong side of history.

Historic note: Wisconsin is the home of the 40 hour work week, unemployment compensation and worker's compensation--thanks to unions. Read more about the struggle for decent wages and worker's rights in this eclectic list of events in US labor history HERE.

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Rachel Maddow gives a rundown of the Wisconsin protests.

1 comment:

Jim Woodring said...

Dire consequenc­es. Hm. Will stripping workers of their collective bargaining rights help stimulate the economy and reverse the recession? Will cutting salaries and benefits help? Will deregulati­on and privatizat­ion help? Or will doing these things simply disenfranc­hise and demoralize working Americans while more and more power falls into the hands of the financial, corporate and political entities that have been steadily growing richer and more powerful while the rest of us lose ground?

The super-rich are asking the workers to pay for their continuing wealth gains. They aren't losing money themselves and they aren't offering anything to help the country; they want more tax breaks, more freedom from regulation­, more opportunit­ies to own the social machinery that has traditiona­lly belonged to us. It is upsetting to realize that we in the United States could be prey to exactly the same sort of kleptocrat­ic oligarchy that has enslaved and tyrannized countless nations throughout history; we want to believe that our constituti­on and belief in democracy and fair play will somehow protect us. But it's a fantasy. The predatory rich in America have finally come close to eliminatin­g all the barriers between them and total control of our country; and they will strip us of everything we have if they can, just as all their ilk have for time out of mind.