Walker’s War Not Just Against the Middle Class
Back in February union leaders, Democrats and the mainstream media characterized Scott Walker’s “budget-repair bill” as an attack on the middle class due to the stripping of collective bargaining rights. However, only a dozen or so pages of the 144-page bill concerned itself with collective bargaining.
We need to grapple with the other provisions in the bill that had nothing to do with the so-called middle class but were direct assaults on people with disabilities, seniors, the and people who rely on Medicare. Subsequent legislation has specifically targeted voters, workers from Milwaukee, the public school system, the public water supplies, Native American tribes and their resource base, and women. Perhaps the most troubling aspects of both the budget-repair bill and other pieces of legislation are the administrative power grabs that concentrate power in the hands of the Governor’s Office and the Department of Administration.
Those who have ventured outside of Wisconsin over the past few months return with reports that we are perceived outside of our borders in a heroic light and as having attained some sort of victory with the occupation of the Capitol in February. We are an inspiration. And yet back home, we’re seeing not victory, but an onslaught of legislation and economic policies that will have far-reaching, deathly effects on the people and democratic traditions of Wisconsin.
Forces were set in motion long before Scott Walker was elected Governor to systematically dismantle the public sector and transfer wealth and power into the hands of those who already have an overabundance of both. This is not just an attack on the middle class; it is an attack on all poor and working people, democracy and the common good.
In the face of this assault, we Madison radicals, progressives, organizers, - even some members of the Democratic Party - find ourselves scrambling to not only mount an adequate defense of basic human, worker and civil rights, but also to create new ways of building lasting coalitions for the long struggle ahead.
We would do well to begin listening to those in our community and statewide who have been waging this struggle far longer and on many more fronts than we have been these past 4 months. This is indeed a long-term fight and we’ll need all the allies and stamina we can muster.
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CURRENT ISSUE: June 2013
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