While the Capitol Police stood down yesterday and did not forcefully remove the people expressing their constitutional rights to assemble and address their government, the Department of Administration has no such qualms. This morning the DoA closed the Capitol. Only legislators and staffers may enter, and only if they have appropriate identification. Representative Roys reportedly refused to show her “papers” and was denied entry to her office. Supposedly the general public may enter if they have an appointment.
This started out as defending labor and protecting the citizens of the state from being robbed of their collective assets (no-bid sales on powerplants), it has expanded to much more–defending health care for the poor and people with disabilities, the oversight of the legislature over the executive branch and now the basic freedoms that this country was founded upon–the first amendment.
It has become clear that the aim of the Republican party is not to destroy the Democratic party, but to destroy democracy itself. It seeks a new world order in which the corporations decide who serves and writes the rules. It isn’t just Wisconsin–Arizona’s attempt to privatize its prison system and make undocumented entry into the country illegal was written by the private sector, for-profit prison lobby.
The Battle of Wisconsin is really a manifestation of a civil war between those who believe that the Corporations and the State should rule together (with the State as the junior partner) and those who still believe in a Republic of the people, for the people and by the people. This battle needs to expand from the Capitol to the entrenched party status–people need to join the Republican Party and the Democratic Party and start fighting at their conventions and leadership. For too long we have ignored this dynamic. Despite the heroic efforts of the Wisconsin 14, we can’t only think about electing progressive Democrats. We, especially those of us in the Labor Movement, need to also elect Republicans who believe that the government should listen to and represent the people in their districts, not corporations or influential billionaires with investments.