Roger Bybee

Roger Bybee is a Milwaukee-based freelance writer and University of Illinois visiting professor in Labor Education.

Photo by Mike Erdmann

Parents, teachers, and students are holding “walk-ins” at over 100 schools on Friday, Sept. 18 to “celebrate and protect public education" in Milwaukee.


Protestor sign says "Two Wrongs Don't Make a Right"

Walker and his crew are building upon the racist foundations of the right-to-work laws, which began to spread across the former slave-holding states of the Deep South in the 1930s. Image credit: Rebecca Kemble

Right-to-work laws are intended expressly to weaken unions by banning labor organizations from collecting fees from all workers who benefit from their extensive and costly efforts. This gives management a powerful incentive to divide workers by pressuring new workers to avoid financial support for the union. Image credit: NH Labor News

Rightwing groups are not content with overturning public employee labor rights with Act 10 in Wisconsin--they are suing to stamp out the handful of local teachers' union contracts in the state. (October 7th 2014)

"North Carolina and Wisconsin have the most extremist governments in the nation," Reverend William Barber has declared.

By Roger Bybee

Automaker Volkswagen has 63 plants around the world, and unions represent workers at all but three of them. Predictably, two of the exceptions are in China, where a prohibition on independent unions has led to low wages, creating a major labor magnet for U.S. and international firms.

When he ran for governor in 2010, Scott Walker vowed to create 250,000 jobs in his first term. But he must be regretting that promise today.

Why in the world are the taxpayers of Mississippi -- the very poorest in the nation, who are already enduring sharply-increasing economic inequality -- providing $1.33 billion in subsidies to the auto giant Nissan, which raked in profits of $3.3 billion last year?

That question has gained new urgency in the wake of a new study by Good Jobs First, the Washington, DC-based monitor of wasteful corporate subsidies, which examined the state's expenditure of public funds for Nissan's 5,200-worker auto-assembly plant outside Canton, Miss.


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Trump's politics are not the problem.

The fiery Milwaukee Sheriff is on the shortlist to head the Department of Homeland Security.

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).

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