The Bishop and the Butterfly: Murder, Politics, and the End of the Jazz Age
    oleeb's picture

    Gov. Mussolini Has Made His Big Move In The Belief Our Side Will Have to Give In: Will We?

    The pathological power grab that Governor Mussolini in Wisconsin and his fellow travelers have so desired has been carried out.  They could not wait any longer to strike at the unions.  They saw that their original strategy was working inexorably against them and they had little time.  The Wisonsin Duce didn't want to take the heat for all the layoffs he promised if his union busting provisions weren't approved so, like any bully who is about to lose the game he kicked the board across the room and demanded a do over.  They rammed the unions busting provisions through the Senate and hope to do so in the House as well in a naked power grab and attack upon working people in Wisconsin.  What more do the centrist fence sitters need to see to understand these people don't mean well but are just misguided but, in fact, they mean to do real harm to Wisconsin first and then the rest of the nation?  Some of us have had their number for years and just as when we were shouting at the top of our lungs to stop the idiotic war in Iraq before it started we have been labeled as alarmist, too extreme, etc... by those who wish to negotiate with what Paul Krugman rightly calls: The Party of Stupid.

    The lesson of Wisconsin is not over.  It plays out before us at this very moment.  What will determine how this all goes for the average American is what labor and the Democrats do to fight back.  One need look no further than the pages of labor history to know what it will take to win this sort of struggle against the naked power worshipers who intend on destroying the labor movement and the Democratic Party not to mention our once mighty republic.  Rolling over for this outrage will not do.  Gov. Mussolini and his minions have now spit in the faces of our fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers.  Will we fight?  The right answer is clear.  But what will the answer be on the ground first in Wisconsin and then across America?

    What do we have to lose by fighting these scum?  What?  Nothing.  The elite classes of wealthy and powerful Americans have utterly failed the people.  It is time for the people to assert their sovereignty and refuse to accept the disasterous course they have put us on.  The battlefield is bigger than the various state capitols.  It is the entire country.

    What say you friends?  Defend our honor or turn tail and run?  Which side are you on?


    This is would be much stronger if you acknowledge that some of his key "fellow travellers," and who made the "power grab" possible are legitly elected state legislators in the House and Senate.  The collective bargaining rights were not stripped through executive order, but rather through votes by the people the citizens voted into the role as their representatives.  (And yes it does look like they screwed up by not giving the 24 hour notice). 

    The people asserted their sovereignty by voting for these Republicans who in turn voted to gut collective bargaining in Wisconsin.  The best and most effective way to refuse this disasterous course is get the people of Wisconsin to understand what was understandable before the last election that this is the course that Walker and the other Republicans wanted for this country.  So understandable in fact, so clearly in front of one's face in fact, that one might say the good folks of Wisconsin wanted this to happened when they went to the polling both.  Of course, it is more complicated than all that.

    Any time that the Dems in D.C. tried to do anything remotely liberal, Rush, Beck, and the folks on Fox News et al would huff and puff about how the Dems were trying to "ram their agenda" down the folks of the American people.  The simple fact is that is a fundamental facet of the governing process that the party that gets power will then work to push through its agenda.  It is not ramming it down the throats of the people.  What Wisconsin shows us, aside that from the fact that the Republicans are hostile to the economic classes below the wealthies, taken as a whole, is that elections do have consequences and people need to get more fully engaged, or if they do vote that maybe making the decision on a single issue like abortion or gun control might lead to a government that is openly hostile to things like unions.

    Everyone should continue to voice their displeasure with has transpired in Wisconsin.  The people of Wisconsin should continue full steam ahead with the recall efforts.  We need to fight back by rallying the people to participate fully engaged in the democratic process, not just for a week before the election or just on one Tuesday each two years, but every day of every year.

    One of the tactics right wingers use against voters is to exploit their fears.  Perhaps they need to experience fear themselves.  The history of labor struggles suggests that capitalists will remain unmoved until there is blood in the streets.  Truly sad.

    So just how much blood was flowing in the streets of Madison that day in 1959 when they politicians elected by the people passed into the law the right for public employees to collective bargain?  Yes there has been much violence and blood in the history of the struggle for workers rights.  But the underlying implication of what you are saying is that it is hopeless to look to the peaceful means of our political system because the citizens are hopelessly manipulatable by their fears.

    I disagree.  I think what underlies that comment is that unless and until workers demonstrate their resolve the bosses and the government stooges will not stop and that they will do anything including kill those who oppose them as they have so often done in the past.  Workers never start the violence.  It is always the side of the bosses and their allies in government that use the police and national guard to intimidate, threaten and perpetrate violence against workers who refuse to be put down.  When workers have been involved in violence it has always been in self defense because they are being attacked physically by privately hired thugs, law enforcement, or the military.

    Basically I agree with you've said, although there are, of course, some nuances to the issue of violence and the "workers."  But if we look at the recent three or four decades, the fight has been played out less on the "battlefield" in the streets and more in political hallways and in the hearts and minds of workers. 

    And just what is the resolve that is being asked?  The union workers in the Northwest who refused to budge on some significant sacrifices are now finding the work being shifted down to the South.  Not South America or South Mexico or South China, but the South in the US of A. where there are workers who are willing to work for the reduced wages/benefits.  Are these folks scabs?  Yes companies like Boeing are going to pit one region or community against another, knowing economic pressures and challenges on the individual level will mean that are usually going to be someone who willing to work at the lower rate.  What this means is that companies like Boeing know it is probably better for the bottom line to just move operations elsewhere, where bad time generates welcoming arms, then to ask the government to call out the national gaurd or hire some thugs to put the wallop on the workers.  (of note, one could see it all coming when Boeing moved its corporate office out of the Seattle area and to Chicago so that the executives didn't have to live in the same community as those who were getting laid off.)

    Which is why I think it is important to remember that many of the significant advances we now enjoy from a labor perspective were the result of legislative victories that did not require people spill their blood in order to achieve.  If Wisconsin had elected Tom Barrett instead of Scott Walker, we wouldn't be dealing with this particular mess.  The notion that we can only achieve significant victories once the physical confrontation occurs is either ignoring what has been peacefully achieved nationally and on various state and local levels through the political process, or a giving up on the electorate as ever being able to make wise (liberally speaking) political choices.  Moreover, it is probably looking for a fight that isn't going to happen. 

    This is economic genocide as practiced by the coporatocracy.  They have practiced it for 150 years in third world countries as well as here at home.  It is systemic, deliberate and devastating.  I would submit that the legislative remedies of which you speak generally happen as a reaction to growing unrest and possibly violence.  "Proactive Politicians" is a contradiction in terms.

    "Economic genocide"?  Wow.  Now we have gone over the rhetorical cliff Thelma and Louise style.  I would submit that getting people to see the horrors left in the wake of multinational corporations is made more difficult when we go for the hyperbolic flourish.  In your mind, you can see the connection between going after collective bargaining of public employees and some African villagers who are now pissing blood because we've dumped our toxic waster into their water supply, but there are plenty out there who don't.  And it is those that don't that we need to reach out to.  What about all those states that have never allowed their public employees collectively bargaining?  Have they been practicing "economic genocide" all this time? 

    In the big picture, governments seek to maintain the perception of their legitimacy as means to wield power.  The greater the unrest and agitation, the greater that legitimacy is undermined.  The government can then either seek to respond to the unrest, restoring the legitimacy or it can turn to oppression and coercion as means to maintain power.  This is the value of public protest in this country, just as there is a value in writing letters and making phone calls to one's representatives in halls of local, state and federal government. 

    And while the number of politicians who a true civil servants are unfortunately small, the meme all politicians are corrupt, etc etc. means we might as well throw in the towel.

    There is one truth that I hold to be self-evident and that is that a major goal of the corporatocracy is cheap labor.  I also believe that to achieve that end they will resort to whatever tactics are necessary.  It may be union-busting.  It may be "free-trade" treaties.  It may be a debt crisis of their own creation.  It may be simple corruption on a grand scale.  It may be evading taxes above and beyond their already generous loopholes.  It is all a variation of the shock doctrine.  Combine this with the growing concentration of wealth and the intentional destruction of the middle class and "economic genocide" doesn't seem so hyperbolic to me.

    There is no choice left for the workers of the United States.  The committment will have to be complete as it was years ago and if need be we will literally have to put our bodies on the line as they did in the many, many strikes of the thirties.  Labor has been losing most of the battles in recent decades because they were not in the streets but instead took place on the ground that favors the fat cats and their foot soldiers like Gov. Mussolini in Wisconsin.  When the rotten souls at the top makes their moves like this they are prepared to do anything and they will do anything because it will be hired muscle doing it for them.  If workers are unprepared to withstand the inevitable violence the enemy will unleash then they will lose the battle.  Will the result be that we won't win anyway?  Maybe.  That's a distinct possibility. But failing to fight guarantees you lose.  At least there is honor in fighting and losing.  Fighting produces hope, it inspires others to fight.   Remember the Alamo and Pearl Harbor were battles that were lost in wars that were won.  The power that workers possess is massive if they stick together and don't give up.  The people at the top only have power and retain it because the people beneath obey.  The people at the bottom do not need those at the top and do not depend upon them.  The people at the top have nothing if they do not have the obedience of the workers.  It's that simple.  That's why I truly like the idea of a general strike.  I think there are tens of millions of Americans who might potentially join in a general strike due to the deep and ongoing rage at our rulers for how badly they've fucked up everything.  American workers have done it in the past albeit not for a long time.  But the past instances of uprising and disobedience can serve to give us all hope in the present.

    I am not against fighting.  But the objectives need to be clear.  If there was a general strike, what would constitute a success?  Other than saying we're outraged.  What will be the follow up if the powers to be shrug their shoulders and go about business as usual.  In other words we have to keep the eyes on the prize, but I'm not sure exactly what the prize is that those ten million folks are seeking.  The Civil Rights Movement was ultimately successful because it knew what the prize was.  The anti-Vietnam War movement was successful because it knew what the prize was. 

    What you're talking about rage about the way things are, and among those ten million there are probably a million different answers about what the solution is.  This is a key reason that those who have their hands on many of levers of power are able to maintain it with seeming ease. 

    Of course, the quick answer to the problem is to overturn are existing system.  I.E. revolution.  But there are few who have the stomach for such an endeavor.  And if there is going to be a rift in any movement which springs from Wisconsin (and Ohio and Indiana and...) it will be between those who want to keep the traditional structure but with a bigger share of the pie getting to those below and those who see the traditional structure as inherently corrupt and see the only viable path is to impose an alternative structure (which alternative is one area for new secondary rifts to occur).

    This is not to throw a wet blanket on the whole affair.  It is to say that an opportunity has opened up, one that doesn't come around every day in which the liberal/progressive agenda can take major step forward in being embraced by a larger cross section of America.  One may be itchin' for a fight, but that doesn't mean a particular strategy that emerges from that itchin' is necessarily the wisest path for long term success.  Then again it might be the best strategy. 

    This is the moment when those who care passionately about what can be called the liberal/progressive agenda to take a breath and assess what is the best way forward.  Standing on the barricades and waiting for the blood to flow in the streets may pump up the enthusiasm of the hardcore activists, it may not be the best to bring together a coalition of diverse citizens to bring about significant and sustainable change.

    What does Labor want?


          Samuel Gompers

    I'm not so concise ( Surprise!)

    What Labour needs is a permanent guaranty of the right  to collective bargaining. Country wide.

    What the rest of us need is an end to Free Trade. But that's another storyl

    for employees in the private industry in this country they have this (permanent guarantee).  the issue gets a little murky with public employees when it comes to things like salary which are determined through legislation.  While free trade as expressed in entities as WTO is a bad thing, also a complete shut down of borders globally (which would never happen). But if Labor is going to just approach the current situation with the demand you first start off with then I will tell you that they experience the same results they have experienced over last decades, with those in typical non-union professions shaking their heads and walking away to look after their own interests.  But go ahead and keep partying like its 1940.  

    Trope.  Diagram one of the sentences you just wrote.  I dare you.  And yeah, I'm acting like an asshole.  But I've just had it up to here with what you write and how you write it.  So sue me.

    Nice to see you and Kyle know how to make people feel welcome around here, as usual.  Can you get any more childish?  Oy.

    Some folks inherently play devil's advocate because they need to rationalize all the crap that's going on (and there's lots of it) and adding some thoughtful reasoning to any subject at hand is a good thing. 

    Adding crap like this is just...crap.

    Just sayin'.


    See LisB, that's how it works.  You read something you didn'tlike, and you responded accordingly.  Sometimes I'm a jerk, sometimes I'm snarky, sometimes I'm thoughtful.  Sometimes you're funny, sometimes you're encouraging,  This time you're sanctimonious.  Fine with me,  My guess though is Trope's a grown up who can handle the jab.  It's just he takes up a lot of space around here.  The least he could do is proofread every now and then. 

    Thank you for sanctimoniously calling me sanctimonious, and for spelling it right.  Sometimes people have a lot to say and they say it fast and shame on them for not proof-reading before they hit send.  Why don't you ask Genghis for a job helping him maintain this site and you can be a paid proofreader?


    I've asked him twice before to please show a bit of respect by at least previewing his comments, so that they say what he wants them to say. Often his stuff will have key words missing, or be sentences that just disappear mid-stream, or will have things like "I you" in them so you can't even guess who he's referring to, or the word "not" left out or inserted wrongly. The result is that it often becomes complete gibberish, and there's no need for it. 

    Since he likes to engage people in long long series of debates, I figure the least he could do is preview what he says so the worst excesses get removed. He doesn't. He doesn't even respond when I say it. It takes 10 seconds.

    As for "making people feel welcome," it's the writers job to check their own words, because they only have to do it ONCE to clarify if it means what it should. If they don't preview, then 100 other readers each have to take the time to try to figure out whether he meant for there to be a "not" in there or not. It's classic incivility and "not making people feel welcome."

    As for "childish," sorry again - but Trope's the one too lazy to check his writing. Just like a kid in Grade 4. 

    Now, it's not as though he's some poor undereducated lad, or has no time to spare from the mining. He blogs long, and if anyone aims high with his blogs and commentaries, it's Trope. And I know he has absolutely no problem achieving clear writing, because he's enormously well-read and educated, and his blogs aren't like that.

    As for taking him seriously, I do. Moreso than most around here, I suspect. Periodically, I write great long pieces to him. Other times, I try and be useful by saying what I think he might usefully study - beyond my limited comments. Other times, I shout at him like I actually give a damn. Because I do. 

    In sum, my point was, "show a bit of respect, take 10 seconds and preview to make sure your words actually say what you want." 

    Your point was, "be nice to my friend."

    P.S. And the cartoons are there because they make me laugh, and hopefully, will help catch his attention. Straightforward textual requests clearly didn't.

    Others make typos too.  Get over it, luv. 

    Channeling Herr Beck? I love these!

    You really don't see any difference between what's going on in Wisconsin, and the support those protests seem to be engendering, than, e.g., the public take on the PATCO strike-busting on 1981?  If we stay at 9-10% unemployment until 2012, it might cost Obama the presidency.  But it also might drill it through the heads of working-class Republicans, with an able assist due to the overreach of Walker, Kasich, et al., that wage slaves haven't benefitted a whole lot from the policies of the Reagans, Gingriches and the Norquists that have dominated our politics for the last thirty years.  But Wisconsin represents, to me at least, a possible light bulb moment for an electorate that has been consistently voting against its economic self-interest over these last three decades.

    I think you and I agree that our politics won't change until our electorate changes.  Where we disagree is that you seem convinced that that electorate will never change, and that a majority will keep voting for tax cuts for millionaires, and paying for it by further impoverishing average Americans forever.  Sooner or later, working people will wake up, and a politician running on a Clinton/Obama platform really will be the conservative choice for voters.

    I think Wisconsin (and Michigan and Ohio, and now PA?) are waking everyone up very quickly, and I won't speak for Trope but think he knows that too.

    This should never have happened and wouldn't have happened had Dems been more engaged in 2010.  But then, I have the lofty position of living in a state where Tea Bag asshats like Paladino were laughed out of the voting booth.  So...


    Hear!  Hear!


    What progressives have lacked since Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King is passion and courage.  The passion and courage I'm talking about is the kind that stands up and fights because it is the right thing to do whether or not it is the most perfectly calculated political move.  The fight itself inspires others and expands the base and without it, you have yet more carefully calculated political manuevering and frankly I don't think people can stomach that from the Democrats any longer.  One of the most repulsive things in politics these days is the all too frequent spectacle of Democrats peralyzed for extended periods of handwringing about how not to offend too many people by openly supporting the things they say they are for!  Now is not the time to think, but to act and decisively.  The lines are clearly drawn here.  There is no gray area for debate.  We, the working and middle classes of this country on the side of right and of history, while Governor Mussolini and his fascists in short pants are acting in support of those things we already know are against history and justice.  We can sort it all out when the dust settles but right now it's time to get out there and challenge the power of the bloated and idle predators. If we hesitate now at this most critical moment, we will lose.

    You're point AT would be much stronger if you did not have to open with a snipe at the poster.  But I can ignore that, though I just did that.  However, you might now see how my same stylistic opening might blur your absorbing the rest of my post.  Nonetheless I will continue. 

    We really should stop playing personalty politics.  The reason people can continue going for the GOP is that they were trained to believe the last US Administration was bad because of Dumya.  Dumya was not alone.  He had dozens of people pulling his strings to enable him to perform feats of foolishness that were accomplished on his watch.  Those same people have poured into DC as a result of the Disppointment Disorder brought by an ineffective Democratic majority. 

    Now we have Dems crying because Obama is not getting everything done he promised in his first two years.  It's as though there were no other people responsible for getting things done.  I will say though, they did manage some pretty smooth moves in the death throes of that Dem majority.  Where was that determination for the previous two years?!? 

    Wisconsin, the signs for your struggle are simple, "This was a very organized attack on organized labor."  Walker needs to go, but he was not alone. 

    The reason people can continue going for the GOP is that they were trained to do so for far too long.  Period.  Reagan came first.  And this stupid lady, typing, voted for him and for Dubya's dad (the first time around, anyway). 

    Only after picking apart every social issue under the sun with my own mother was I able to open her eyes and make her realize she doesn't always agree with her GOP that she's steadfastly been voting for since she was 18 (with maybe one exception).  Even then, she still gets sold on the message that big government is costly. 

    If everyone in the US were to take a true test of what their values are, I think we'd show mostly liberal leanings.  The problem comes when you add the $ in.  Everyone wants less gov't spending.  And the problem with that is, no one knows what the gov't is spending on the most.  Defense contracts, anyone?  Those who know that also know (as Trope pointed out elsewhere this evening) that without those gov't contracts a lot of small towns across the US would be like Detroit tomorrow were we to suddenly end all wars as we know them.

    Going green energy v war would be a great start, but no one seems to want to concentrate on that for long.  I don't know why. 


    Yup!  We can only make progress one person at a time and it takes the patience to stay calm and address, as you say, every social issue under the sun.  I do that one-on-one, for the most part.

    Good to see you, LisB!!!  Laughing

    Good points all. There are many who don't like to hear this but it is the truth... the issues today are what they have always been and until we focus our energies on those issues first and foremost we will never be able to prevail.  The fundamental issue is whether or not there will be a fair deal or a rotten deal for the working people, whether the many whose toil makes the few rich have a fair share of the wealth they create or not?  Will the common people be allowed to live a life free from want and fear alonside freedom of speech and worship?  The predator class is happy to give us speech and worship but they want us to be in perpetual fear and want because that keeps them firmly in control and obscenely wealthy.  So long as the vast number of people toil for peanuts and fight one another for the crumbs from the tables of our masters we cannot gain or maintain economic stability or prosperity.  The power of predatory wealth was restrained effectively by the New Deal and Fair Deal laws and regulations that produced the greatest prosperity any people have ever known.  That prosperity was at it's height when taxation of the wealthy and their business enterprises were highest.  Our nation was able to sustain a stable and productive system of education, federal, state, and local services to all the people and an expanding middle class.  Now, many of the rules, regulations and policies of the New and Fair Deals have been broken or discarded and it didn't take long at all to see conditions revert back to how they were in the 1920's.  The critical difference in the political arena was made when labor asserted itself all across the country and when politicians fought for the expansion of human rights via the labor laws.  The power of the unions and the power of others that was buttressed by union power was used to secure political power up and down the line in our system.  So, you could say it's chicken and egg with respect to fighting the predators in the streets vs in the legislative arena but it is clear to me that the legislative victories followed the economic and political power gained by using the might of workers to shut down production and to bargain collectively.  There is a sympiotic relationship between labor power in the workplace (organized or otherwise) and political the halls of government.  We've lost our power in many places particularly the states and so it will be necessary to rewin lost ground before we can start seeing any further legislative/political advances.

    I agree wholeheartedly with your comment Oleeb.  And thanks for not blaming it, once, on Obama.  Smile

    I think we should move all the rich to Texas and Arizona, and have the rest of this country to ourselves, us working folks.  But that would be too easy.  Alas.


    I think we should move the rich all to rural Montana and let them get poisoned by the gas fracking the energy companies they own are profiting from and that are turning the once beautiful rural waters of our wonderous continent flammable.. Let them live in the inner city neighborhoods contaminated by the industries they owned and grew rich with but shut down without cleaning up that make the poor and their children who live there sick.  Let them in New Orleans 9th Ward and don't let them leave the next time a Katrina force hurricane blows in.  Let them in the shadow of the aging Yankee nuclear power plants of New England that shoudl have already been decommissioned and are contaminating the waters of some of the major rivers of the northeast and being consumed by citizens all along the way.  Let them live in once productive farmlands now being turned to desert as a result of the global warming that made them rich for the last 200 years. And one more thing, let's let them livei in these places once we've restored the Eisenhower era 90% top tax rates for individuals and the same era's corporate tax rates which were vastly higher than those paid today.

    Oleeb, I'm starting to agree with you more and more. 

     "The predator class is happy to give us speech and worship"  We get free speech in a free speech zone and and can worship whatever big box Christian faith on TV.  Any other option is a problem.

    But here's the joke from the Whipping in Wisconsin:

    "A public union employee, a tea party activist, and a CEO are sitting at a table with a plate of a dozen cookies in the middle of it.

    The CEO takes 11 cookies, turns to the tea partier and says, 'Watch out for that union guy. He wants a piece of your cookie.' " - Someone.

    I hear ya and agree!

    It is quite amazing how viral that joke has become and so quickly isn't it?

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