By Matthew Rothschild on February 18, 2011

I'm fed up with the corporate media's coverage of the great fight-back in Wisconsin.

This is not about a budget crisis. Actually, the current budget is in surplus to the tune of $54 million, according to the Legislative Research Bureau.

And to the extent that the budget may get worse later, Gov. Walker has no one to blame but himself because he kissed goodbye $800 million in federal money for high speed rail, and he gave the rich tax breaks worth $117 million.

And this is not about whether public sector employees would be willing to pay more for health care or pensions. Their unions have said they'd be willing to negotiate on this.

But Walker doesn't want to negotiate.

He wants to bust unions.

That's why he is demanding the defunding of public sector unions by prohibiting employers from deducting union dues. This wouldn't save the state a cent.

That's why he is demanding annual recertifications for every public sector union.

That's why he is trying to make it easier to fire union organizers.

That's why he refused, on Thursday, to take off the table the anti-union parts of the bill and leave open the question of negotiating cuts in benefits and pensions.

I'm sick of seeing headlines about Wisconsin workers reacting to budget cuts.

They're reacting instead to union busting.

Let's hear the truth for a change.

If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his story "Glorious Rallies in Madison, Ground Zero of the Fight Back."

Follow Matthew Rothschild @mattrothschild on Twitter.

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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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