Thursday, March 10, 2011

An Injury to One...

"This is our Moment, Everybody up off the Couch Now!" is a quote from Michael Moore on Democracy Now where he appeared today speaking out against the abhorrent tactics used by Wisconsin governor Scott Walker to railroad through his controversial "budget repair bill." Moore galvanized both Madison and the country with his moving speech on Saturday railing against the ever-unfolding damage done to working Americans as a result of the Wall Street meltdown of 2008. But yesterday evening, March 9th, Scott Walker trampled our rights further by reworking his bill stripping workers of collective bargaining rights. He divided the old bill into two smaller parts that required only a simple majority, instead of a quorum, to pass. With the Democratic 14 still out of state, it took only minutes to pass this totalitarian, draconian piece of pseudo-legislation with only one dissenting vote.  So, T(yranny) Party faithful, Walker pulled a fast one on the people of Wisconsin and the people of the USA. While the legality of his move remains to be decided in a court of law, the ramifications of his undemocratic action are already underway.

A recent, similar bill in Michigan, not only strips bargaining rights but makes it legal for the governor or his designated representatives to appoint an "emergency financial manager" who would have nearly unlimited financial power over decisions ranging from workers' contracts to the running of school districts and the removal of elected city officials.

Even my home state, Ohio, has passed a union-busting bill that eliminated the ability of public sector workers to bargain for health care, pay raises and seniority issues, plus mandates a fine or jail time for workers who go out on strike.

All this is happening under the auspices of "budget repair." While there is an unhealthy dose of  Naomi Klein's "Shock Doctrine" philosophy in this strategy, eliminating the power of unions is a major, financial stepping stone to defeating Obama in 2012. After the inappropriately named, Citizens United decision, (stating that for purposes of political fundraising, corporations can be perceived as individuals thereby giving them license to buy government elections) the unions are the last source of significant amounts of capital available to the left.

Since these developments, the State House in Madison has been flooded with people who are resuming their campout. Saturday, the agricultural workers will be riding their tractors into Madison and I'm betting that they will have lots of company. Those of us in the rest of the country need to get off our butts as well and make our presence known in our respective states and cities. This is our moment, there may not be another. See you in the streets!