Battle of Wisconsin

There hasn’t been a lot of mainstream news out of Madison lately which might lead some to think that this battle is over–far from it. On Saturday, Union Cab led a rally calling on Co-operatives in the region to stand in solidarity with labor.

Here is a great speech by historian Allen Ruff. He was a member of Union Cab for 20 + years and a member/worker at Rainbow Bookstore Co-operative for 14 years. He has recently releisured to focus on his writing.

Allen Ruff on the Battle of Wisconsin

The Government of Fitzwalkerstan (as we have come to call it) has chosen to believe its own hype.

This gets a bit complicated. The Fitzgerald brothers called a special meeting in violation of the State’s Open Records Law and passed only the parts of the Budget Repair Bill that strip collective bargaining rights. However, laws can’t be effective until published by the Secretary of State. The District Attorney of Dane County went to court and won a temporary restraining order against the Secretary. Last Friday, the leaders of Fitzwalkerstan ordered the Legislative Reference Bureau to publish the law. It is unclear if this has any legal meaning but it is clear that the Fitzgerald’s purposely violated a TRO! Now the Secretary of the Department of Administration is claiming that the law is in effect regardless of what the court says.

Tomorrow, Judge Sumi will hear the case on whether the law is void due to the failure to fallow the law in its drafting.

Meanwhile, the Capitol has been on an essential lockdown with prostesting limited to a small space. The Sargent kids violate the Administrative Code (not a law, mind you, but a code) that prohibits signs. Their mother is an elected representative in Dane County.

Sargent Boys Stand Up for 1st Amendment

There is now a call for a Free Speech Fight to begin on March 29 inside the Capitol.

Most dramatically, Matthew Shauenburg has entered his fourth week of a hunger strike in protest:

Hunger Strike

If the despots of Fitzwalkerstan think that they have won because the Capitol isn’t flooded with protesters every day, then they are sadly mistaken. As Allen Ruff says, Wisconsin is not “Open for Business”, Wisconsin is “No Business as Usual.”

What can those of you outside Wisconsin do? Send letters of support to those organizations in the fight: Wisconsin Wave, Wisconsin Action, etc. Send letters to the Governor, the Wisconsin Department of Tourism and let them know you won’t be spending your money in Fitzwalkerstan. Let the  Wisconsin companies that support Fitzwalkerstan (Sargento Cheese, Johnsonville Brats, Miller Brewing) that they need to explain why they support these actions. Let them know that this isn’t a private fight–it is every worker’s fight.

About John McNamara

John spent 26 years with Union Cab of Madison Cooperative and currently helps develop co-ops in the Pacific Northwest. He holds a Ph.D. in Business Administration and Masters in Management: Co-operatives and Credit Unions from Saint Mary's University.
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