It’s judgment day in Ohio, and the voters there are set to deal John Kasich a black eye, as they strike a blow for workers’ rights.

Like Scott Walker of Wisconsin, Kasich declared war on public sector workers almost from the moment he took office.

He and the Republicans in the legislature used one sleazy move after another to get Senate Bill 5 through, a bill that severely restricts the collective bargaining rights of public employees in Ohio.

Thanks to an excellent state constitution, the citizens of Ohio have the right to overturn laws by referendum.

They needed 231,000 signatures to get this referendum on the ballot, and they turned in more than 5 times that many.

Kasich’s popularity has plummeted. And polls have consistently shown that a large majority of Ohioans wants to overturn the law. That’s why Kasich and his cronies tried to shrink the balloting by eliminating early voting.

But I doubt they’ll prevail.

Turnout seems high already today, and 88,000 people mailed in absentee ballots.

If this hideous anti-labor law goes down, as it seems likely to do, the working people of Ohio will have sent an unmistakable message: You can go after us, but you’re going to pay a price. And we won’t stop till we get our rights back.

A powerful message for all of us.

If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his story "Why I Got Arrested in Madison."

Follow Matthew Rothschild @mattrothschild on Twitter


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Helen Caldicott, a co-founder of Physicians for Social Responsibility, calls this “one of the most frightening books...

This time we’ve got some advantages.

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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