Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Thousands descend on Wisco capital today

Thousands are descending on Madison, Wisc. today in what the Associated Press calls "a second day of powerful protests."

This from our brothers and sisters behind the Cheese Curtain:

HUGE PROTEST, THE WEDNESDAY EDITION!! Officers and Business agents of Local 344 are again heading to Madison today to Protest Govenor Walker's anti-worker budget bill. Help us keep up the pressure! All members who are available are vigorously encouraged to converge on the Capitol at 11:00am today.
Find out more on their Facebook page, which has some terrific photos of yesterday's rally.

According to news reports, the hearing last night ended at 3 a.m. (CST), with students bringing sleeping bags and spending the night sleeping under the Statehouse Rotunda. Students are walking out of classrooms in protest. Schools in Madison are closed today because of a citywide sickout by teachers. Firefighters, veterans and Green Bay Packers are among those showing solidarity.

The peerless Harold Meyerson had a fantastic column today in which he compared Wisconsin's worker protests to the uprising in Egypt. Writes Meyerson:
It's a throwback to 19th-century America, when strikes were suppressed by force of arms. Or, come to think of it, to Mubarak's Egypt or communist Poland and East Germany...The real goal of the American right is to reduce public employee unions to the level of private-sector unions, which now represent fewer than 7 percent of American workers. ...Which would yield what? Our unions have already been decimated in the private sector; the results are plain. Corporate profits are soaring, while domestic investment, wages and benefits (particularly at nonunion companies) are flat-lining at best. With nobody to bargain for workers, America increasingly is an economically stagnant, plutocratic utopia. Is everybody happy?

American conservatives often profess admiration for foreign workers' bravery in protesting and undermining authoritarian regimes. Letting workers exercise their rights at home, however, threatens to undermine some of our own regimes (the Republican ones particularly), and shouldn't be permitted. Now that Wisconsin's governor has given the Guard its marching orders, we can discern a new pattern of global repressive solidarity emerging - from the chastened pharaoh of the Middle East to the cheesehead pharaoh of the Middle West.
"Cheesehead Pharoah of the Middle West." Has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?