Rebecca Kemble

Over 100 people showed up to the Solidarity Sing Along in the Wisconsin Capitol on Thursday to celebrate a ruling by Dane County Judge John Markson that declared Governor Scott Walker's plot to have his critics arrested "unconstitutional on its face."

Last week, Governor Scott Walker stood before a joint session of the Wisconsin State Legislature and announced that he intends to slash the tax bills of Wisconsin's wealthiest citizens and create an investment program that helps usher school children and people with disabilities into low wage jobs.

Wisconsin Republicans are at it again, and their knives are out for the state's public school funding.

On the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon Baines Johnson's declaration of war on poverty, Republicans on the Wisconsin State Budget Committee made it their mission to hammer the poor as hard as possible.

For over two decades, Wisconsin, and particularly the city of Milwaukee, has served as the national laboratory for voucher and charter school policy projects. The Republican sweep of the state legislature and the Governor's office in 2010 seemed to give carte blanche to those who would tap public education budgets for their own profit-making and religious indoctrination ventures.

Governor Scott Walker signed a bill into law on Thursday written for the Gogebic Taconite mining company (GTac), allowing them to prohibit public access to land and roads surrounding their work sites and dodge fees required by the Managed Forest Law (MFL) program, all while taking tax breaks created by a law designed to increase public access to the area.

The company for which Wisconsin's mining laws were changed earlier this year is having difficulty meeting even those relaxed requirements.

On the last day of the fall legislative session, the Republican-dominated Wisconsin State Assembly spent more than 12 hours passing a spate of socially regressive laws that roll back voting rights, public access to land surrounding a proposed mining site, and authorize the state to fundraise for an anti-abortion group by issuing "Choose Life" license plates.

The frac sand mining industry faced off with dozens of Wisconsin citizens on Thursday as the Senate Committee on Workforce Development, Forestry, Mining and Revenue held a public hearing on a bill that would severely limit local governments' abilities to protect their communities against the harmful health and environmental effects of frac sand and other non-metallic mining activities.

The Dane County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution this week condemning the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a NAFTA-style agreement they say has been negotiated in secret over the last five years.


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This time we’ve got some advantages.

We need to improve the condition of workers this Thanksgiving weekend. Here's what you can do.

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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