The Democrats provided some great theater today. The GOP either decided (or didn’t have the votes) to proceed with acting on the “non-financial” parts of the Budget Repair Bill in a separate act (although I have to think that Collective Bargaining is, in its nature, financial). The Assembly Democrats, however, vowed to present close to 100 amendments to the Budget Repair Bill.
The Senate made a few appointments and adjourned until the “Call of the House” which will happen when they achieve quorum on the Budget Repair Bill. The Assembly was still debating when the Governor took to the air is what was billed as a “fireside chat.” For those that either remember FDR’s fireside chats or have studied them (as I did in high school). These were talks to the nation to ease the country’s anxiety through the depression. Scott Walker didn’t quite reach that level. He continued to pretend that the only opposition to this bill is over pension funds and health insurance. He decried the protestors as being entirely from out-of-state. This was especially odd since he seemed to focus on Nevada for some reason as the source of protestors (for those that don’t know, the GOP code for outside agitators in Wisconsin is this: NY=Jews, Chicago=Gangsters, California=Gays and Lesbians). He claimed that he would only listen to “Wisconsin voices”. I can tell you that the tens of thousands of people on Saturday knew the UW Badgers’s fight song and they also knew what to do when “jump around” came over the loud speakers:
Imagine that scene with protest signs!
Oh, youtube has it!
Labor and Civil Rights Lawyer Lester Pines spoke to the crowd. He mentioned something very important that may get lost in the hullabaloo. Collective Bargaining Rights are Human Rights. As such, and with any rights, they are not conferred upon people by the government. The government merely recognizes that the right exists. Workers have the right to collectively bargain because those rights are inalienable human rights included the the Jeffersonian short list of “life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.” Many men and women faced down armed guards (private and public), Pinkerton spies and assassins to force employers and governments to recognize those rights. The denial of recognition will not make our rights fade away, it will only mean that the methods of enforcing them will change from bargaining tables to picket lines.
A state bent on destroying labor relations will not be good for business. Unlike the south which, because of slavery, has a culture of subservience that extends back 500 years, the north has a alternate culture of standing up to bullies, fighting for our rights, and helping others fight for their rights. A world in which the State ignores the rights of the people will make the current protest look like a tea party.
The Great State of Wisconsin lives for another day. The Struggle continues.
Luther Olson is a Republican Senator on the bubble. He is a good man and a nice guy. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting him and he isn’t part of the cabal, but he needs to be pushed to challenge the leadership. Contact him:
Madison Office: 123 South, State Capitol
Madison Address: PO Box 7882 Madison, WI 53707-7882
Madison Phone: (608) 266-0751; Toll-Free: (800) 991-5541