Saturday, February 19, 2011

Protest Spreads to Ohio

The Streets of Columbus
The Midwest seems to be rousing the American working-class from its long, winter's nap that has had it hypnotized by T-Party nonsense since the crash and banker bailout of 2008. As an anti-christ, agnostic I must say, Praise the lord and pass me a picket sign!

We have stood by passive and mute as the financiers of Wall Street rifled through our pockets, taking our homes, our jobs and chunks of our salaries. As a public-sector worker, I have undergone wage freezes, furlough days and pay cuts, all the while watching the anti-austerity protests in Greece, Ireland with awe wondering what it was going to take to get us out on the streets again.

Then came Iran which, although they were creamed, was an inspiring battle. Of late the people of Tunisia, Bahrain, Algeria and, of course Egypt have all entered the fray as well, spurred on by some of the same conditions we experience here, falling wages, rising prices and a general lowering of the quality of life. In Egypt the people actually drove out a dictator even though the kind of government they will build remains to be seen.

Now the Wisconsin struggle to hold onto the last vestige of unions, collective bargaining, has spread to the state where I was raised and the town of my old alma mater, Columbus Ohio. Will this be a watershed moment, a turning point for US politics or will this be the beginning of a clash between left and right wing Americans, with have-nots fighting each other in the streets? Civil rights or civil war? I am hoping for the former. That working-class T-party reactionaries will wake up to the fact that fighting against decent wages, benefits and health care is contrary to their own interests.

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