By Anonymous (not verified) on September 02, 2011

I’ve gotten a lot of questions lately about how I came up with the term “Fitzwalkerstan,” a term I coined on the floor of the State Assembly March 10, 2011.

Several years ago, Common Cause brought in a group of people from Turkmenistan and I learned a great deal about that country. The ruler, Saparmurat Niyazov, gave himself the title President for Life. He served as the country’s ruler from 1985 until his death in 2006.

During that time, Turkmenistan was a “democracy” but was ruled by only one party. Mr. Niyazov was elected by the people, but he handpicked his opponents in the elections. While he was ruler, Niyazov renamed the month of March after his mother and put his own face on the currency.

After watching Governor Scott Walker, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald ,and Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald trample on worker’s rights, it became apparent to me that Wisconsin was no longer the proud progressive state once led by Fighting Bob LaFollette; rather, we’d become more like a Third World junta.

The will of the people was no longer the law of the land. One of Walker’s first acts as Governor was to appoint the Fitzgerald brothers’ father to lead the State Patrol, and then later called on the State Patrol to guard the Capitol when protests arose. Then, they violated open meetings laws and stopped public debate.

When I coined the term, I was actually speaking in favor of a motion to remove Jeff Fitzgerald as Speaker of the State Assembly, a rarely made motion on the floor of the Assembly. The motion was the culmination of all the power grabs that had occurred to that point.

With the Fitzgerald brothers and Scott Walker ruling Wisconsin like their own junta, I said I felt like I live in “Fitzwalkerstan.” Immediately after I said it, Fitzwalkerstan became a trending topic on Twitter, mock Fitzwalkerstan flags were made and it was being mentioned in national media.

Even after the recall elections, Fitzwalkerstan is still the status quo. Just like the former Turkmenistan leader trying to pretend a democracy exists by calling elections yet rigging those elections, Republicans are pretending to be bipartisan but have yet to act that way.

But remember, an occupation is only temporary. One day soon we definitely will be living in the state we love, Wisconsin. Until then, we are only temporarily occupied by Fitzwalkerstan.

Wisconsin State Representative Mark Pocan (D-Madison), who coined the term FitzWalkerstan on the floor of the State Assembly, served three terms on the state’s budget committee, including one as its co-chair. He also served as the vice-chair of the non-partisan National Council on State Legislature’s Budget and Policy committee. Pocan’s Assembly district includes both the State Capitol and the Governor’s Mansion, making Governor Scott Walker his most infamous constituent.

Add new comment

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.

More

Subscribe to The Progressive and Get A Free 2015 Calendar

Malala Yousafzai meets with the Obamas. Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

When Yousafzai left the White House, she was whisked away to speak at the exclusive private school that the...

Mauldin cartoon from the Chicago Sun-Times depicts Fidel Castro musing to a portrait of Karl Marx, "I'll bet you never had to deal with Cubans."

From our 1963 archive, this piece explores the tension between the United States and Cuba after the Bay of Pigs...

Chris Christie excoriates a teacher in front of a crowd.

It’s become difficult for Christie to continue to blame his failures on teachers and their unions; and yet, like a...

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).


Public School Shakedown

Progressive Media Project

Newsletter