Thursday, June 7, 2012

Don't mourn. Organize!

Unlike Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, working families don’t have the luxury of big money to keep their jobs. And now that Walker has held on to office in Wisconsin, his right-wing allies want to use the governor’s victory as proof that attacking workers is somehow an effective way to run the state and the country.

But $30.5 million is a cheap argument.

Here’s a good breakdown of all the money that went into Tuesday’s election.

As Mother Jones’s Andy Kroll wrote:
Walker crushed his Democratic opponent, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, in the political money wars. The governor raised $30.5 million while Barrett pulled in $3.9 million.

The dark-money-peddling Republican Governors Association itself spent $9.4 million to keep Walker in office.
Walker can also thank the Supreme Court for his win, writes the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent: way of thinking about tonight’s results is that they say at least as much about Citizens United, and the ways it has empowered opponents of organized labor, as they do about the very real decline in union power. An analysis by the Center for Public Integrity found that Walker outraised his vanquished opponent Tom Barrett by nearly eight to one, and that outside groups supporting Walker vastly outspent unions, thanks to Citizens United.
When the U.S. Supreme removed limits to campaign contributions in the Citizens United case, it told Corporate America that money equals speech. This unleashed the power of the super-rich and their political spokespersons like Walker. Now they can trample on “one person, one vote” democracy.

And in case anyone thinks Tuesday’s recall shows that waging war on American workers is sound economic policy for the middle class, Professor Colin Gordon at the Economic Policy Institute points to a very different historical precedent:
By most estimates, declining unionization accounted for about a third of the increase in inequality in the 1980s and 1990s…In 1979, union stalwarts in the northeast and Rust Belt combined high rates of union coverage and relatively low rates of inequality, while just the opposite held true for the southern “right to work” states.
While Wisconsin reminds us that workers may be easily outgunned in the electoral arena, it also reminds us that we are strongest on our own turf: in the workplace and on the streets.

This video posted today by out brothers and sisters at the Transport Workers Union shows us the meaning of Wisconsin – the inspiration, the hope and the struggle that continues.