oleeb's picture

    Why No Call For Demonstrations Nationwide In Support Of Wisconsin?

    I watch in amazement as the Republican right seizes more power by the day which is what neo fascists do in preparation for the full blown fascist abuses of power they inevitably will attempt.  With each passing day we watch as our brother and sister workers in Wisconsin fight valiantly to preserve the right to collective bargaining as though this was their fight alone when that clearly is not the case.

    In the Arab states we have seen that when the political henchmen of the oligarchs turn the screws too far the people have risen up as one and not only exercised their power but proven that the only legitimate government is one that rules with the consent of the governed.  The power of Egypt's uprising and the others taking place right now across the middle east are clear demonstrations of this simple truth: without the consent of the governed no regime can last.  By pouring into the streets and by no longer obeying the people of any nation can experience the power they possess and it is a power far greater than that of any government. 

    The people, regardless of which nation you look at, do not need their oligarchs to survive, but all oligarchs need the obedience of the people to survive.  It is no different in the United States than it is elsewhere.  We forget because we so rarely exercise the power of the popular will that it is the people who are sovereign.  The state only possesses sovereignty by our leave.

    In all the Arab uprisings we have seen one spot of protest spread to others like wildfire yet here in the land of the free and the home of the brave where are our leaders in terms of joining this battle?  The President's perfunctory statement about an attack on workers is nice but not enough.  Where are the leaders of the Democratic Party calling on the tens of millions of loyal Democrats to stand up for the right to collective bargaining?  Where are the national and local labor leaders calling on their members and all those in solidarity with the dignity of labor everywhere to hit the streets in their own cities and towns?  Where is Al Gore's voice on this vitally important question?  Where is Bill Clinton's voice on this vitally important question?  Where is Jimmy Carter's voice?  Clearly, if we wait for our ostensible leaders there will be no fight as is typically the case. If we let them do the fighting we already know what the outcome will be.  Are we willing to lose forever?  Are we really willing to submit to the abusive and idiotic rule of athoritarianism in the US?  Because that's what our enemies are all about.  It could not be clearer.

    It is well known that the fight in Wisconsin is the test case.  The Republicans plan on systematically destroying the right to bargain collectively and thus break organized labor wherever they can.  If we do not fight them and win on this battleground we will have missed a golden opportunity to demonstrate the power of the people and to show them they will not be allowed to carry out their rotten plans.  In terms of this strategic moment this is the equivalent of Hitler moving his troops into the Rhineland.  (No, I'm not calling the other side Nazi's.  It's simply an analagous strategic point)  Had France and her allies challenged the remilitarization of the Rhineland they could have stopped Hitler right there.  Hitler himself admitted this.  But they didn't and their failure to challenge him when he could not hold his ground only emboldened him.  Failure to fight and to demonstrate our opposition to this abuse of power and this attack on both workers and democracy itself will only embolden the enemies of the common people.

    The time to fight has arrived.  Every single day of delay allows our enemies (and make no mistake they are our enemies) to grow stronger and organize themselves even further.  It is time to quit playing like the intentions of these people are good and that they mean well for America.  They do not.  They mean quite clearly to return to the days when unions were all but illegal, where sweatshops reigned supreme, where children worked literally for pennies, and where peasant immigrants arriving here found working conditions at least as bad, if not worse, than in the old country.

    The fight today is the same fight that was fought and won in 1932.  The enemy has never forgotten this though many in our ranks have (including many of our political leaders).  It is the fight of the many against the favored few.  It is the fight between the good of all the people versus the good of the rich people.  It is the fight of democracy over authoritarianism.  It is the fight of labor to challenge the power of the predator class that doesn't give anymore of a hoot about the lives or living standards of the common people of this country than they do of the people working literally for slave wages in Asia.  It's all about money for them.  They put profits before people.  They always have and they always will.

    Unions didn't bring about the collapse of the world economy in 2008.  It was the greed fueled criminal fraud of the predator class that brought down the economy.  Yet, the crooks who engineered that biggest heist in the history of the world destroying pensions and retirements for hundreds of millions and destabilizing whole communities, states and nations have been pampered and bailed out and given a complete pass because our leaders serve them instead of us.  How is that different than what the people of Egypt objected to regarding their oligarchy and how it denied opportunity to millions there?  It isn't.

    It's time to pick a day for every American who has had enough of the rich fattening themselves up while 20 million or more remain unemployed!    What's wrong with March 1st? 

    That should give enough time to spread the word on the net, let the unions mobilize and for all those in support to prepare and show up.  Remember, though the media likes to tout the role of social media in organizing the recent Arab uprisings, it has been the labor movement in these countries that has provided the backbone of organization and opposition, especially in Egypt.

    It is time for every American to stand up and be counted and demand the right to collective bargaining be left untouched!  It is time to demand the government do something to stop the millions of foreclosures that we know are coming down the pike.  It is time to demand that we put this country back to work and fight for restoration of stability in our communities and for what remains of the middle class in this country.  It is time to say enough of Republican trickle down economics: it has never worked for anyone but the rich and never will.

    There is plenty of wealth in America, but not if we allow the parasites at the top to continue to run the show in their interest and their interest alone.  They have proven time and again throughout history that they are incapable of leading a society where all can prosper and where every person has the opportunity to do better through hard work. 

    Our grandparents fought them and won.  African Americans fought them and won.  Women have fought them and won.  Gays have fought them and won.  We can fight them and win too.  But we cannot fight them sitting at home.  We must take to the streets and we must stay there until our demands are met. 

    In order to win a fight you have to actually take part.  The enemy prays we will remain at home.  Will we allow their prayers to be answered?  I hope not.

    Now is the time!  If we don't try we'll never know what could have been!  Let us act now!

    I leave you with two quotes from a very wise man who lived through most of the major people's battles of the 20th Century and then made his life's work studying them... Howard Zinn:

    "Not to play is to foreclose any chance of winning. To play, to act, is to create at least a possibility of changing the world."

     “When you're feeling powerless remember: the power of the people on top is only possessed due to the obedience of the people below.”

    *Note: This is also posted at FDL


    I was recalling the world wide protests of the sixties.

    Once the Smothers Brothers opened a show with scenes of riots in Paris & Moscow & DC and elsewhere.

    Some cop in each clip would scream about 'outside agitators' causing the riots.

    This all culminated with Tommy & Dicky introducing themselves as the 'outside agitators'.

    This is really a pan Muslim phenomina. More and more of these countries are exploding from within.

    And of course rummy and beckerhead are coloring it all as the end of days for chrissakes.

    In this country we shot ourselves in the foot by letting the repubs beat us to the polls.

    Wisconsin then Ohio and soon Indiana and others will experience peaceful demonstrations while the repubs 'splain their actions.

    The same corporations rule regardless of party rule, but the repubs are so damn cruel about it all.

    They wish to take all personal empowerment away and hopefully, it will back fire.

    But Oleeb, I mean millions have lost their homes, millions have lost their livelihoods, millions have lost their pensions...

    And there really has been no movement.

    Just on-line petitions.

    Take the time to watch old Ed Shultz. I watched him in his big winter coat sitting with those in Wisconsin.

    We need more voices like Ed's.

    DD, We shot ourselves in the foot by electing a corporate Democrat as President.  His uninspiring lack of leadership and his wimpy surrender in advance strategy of giving the Republicans what they want despite having lost the election in 2008 totally demoralized democratic voters.  I know you still, in saintly fashion, harbor hope that Obama is not what he appears to be, but he is.  No politician like Obama will ever fight for people like you and me DD and it's time we quit fooling ourselves with dreams of him somehow coming out of it.  He won't.  Howard Zinn made clear in an interview just before he died that Obama was just another servant of the powerful and that the lesson of history is that unless you force the Democrats (as they were forced in the 30's) to act on behalf of and in the interest of the people, they won't do it.  I think the evidence is starkly clear that he's right.  Of the many, many promises made on the campaign trail, the only Democratic group that has gotten anything of consequence since the 08 election is the GLBT community and they got it by staying in his face and not falling in line and being quiet like everyone else.  Their efforts paid off.  As it is, the only group in America Obama ever criticizes is the same group that he has betrayed and flip flopped on the most: Democratic liberals.

    I just saw that TPM is reporting that Indiana Democratic office holders are now evacuating the state in order to prevent a union busting "right to work" for less bill from passage.

    This confirms what I've said above.  Time to fight!



    The Democrats "need to go to a state with a Democratic governor to avoid being taken into police custody and returned to Indiana," the paper reports.

    How the hell does that work? On what grounds would a republican governor be empowered to order state police to pick up law abiding citizens of the United States and physically "return" them to somewhere they don't want to be? That's full-on false arrest. Our nation has gotten ALL fucked up.

    It works that way because the Republicans are all about seizing power and using it to the maximum without regard for comity or decency.  They are authoritarian proto-fascistists.

    Well, yes. But what's the legal hook that keeps them from getting sued for false imprisonment and kidnapping?

    Didn’t you know oleeb, it was the fact the democrats didn't vote for republican-lite we got this mess.

    The people are now forced to wake up, voting for a republican lite candidate was just an illusion, putting off the day of reckoning ,kicking he can down the road with "can't we all just get along" Obama .

    Are you taking notes Mr. President, the republicans are not our friends. 

    Centrist Democrats (r) need not apply for the positions that will be opening up,

    Maybe Wisconsin is the Pearl Harbor, the progressive movement needed; the sleeping giant is being aroused? 

    Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death...March 23, 1775...By Patrick Henry 

    “They tell us, sir, that we are weak - unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs, and hugging the illusive phantom of Hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? ... http://www.law.ou.edu/ushistory/henry.shtml 

    President Obama “The illusive phantom of hope: is never going to work with these folks. 

    Today there are rallies that I have heard about in Rhode Island, Arizona, California, Colorado, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio, Vermont and Massachusetts.

    They had one yesterday in Helena. That battle doesn't really get started for a few weeks.

    Got this from DailyKos in my inbox a couple of day ago...I tried to update to more current info, but I am on vacation and have terrible connection speed, so I'm sending the link as is, and maybe someone can find an updated one to post...  http://action.seiu.org/page/s/solidarityaction?source=kos

    The DNC is in DC today for a meeting, if any of you happen to know anyone with that group and would like to encourage them to issue a statement of support for Wisconsin--and other states'--public employees.

    The National Governors' Association starts its next meeting, also in DC, on Friday, I believe.  The Democratic subgroup of the NGA meets separately, before the NGA meeting, I believe.  So, ditto...if you or anyone you know knows a governor or a close aid to one...

    I found some cogent thoughts on some of your questions in this article, ("What if the Egyptian protesters were Democrats?"" Oleeb.  Some of the relevant passages:

    Had they been Democrats, they surely would not have been so quixotic and would have instead opted for a pragmatic approach, as most Democrats do in every American election.

    To challenge bad politicians by electing more bad politicians is not serious political thinking; it is an inducement to apathy and intellectual frivolity.

    The Egyptian people erected a remarkably functional democratic space in Tahreer Square, complete with an infirmary, a kindergarten, and a pharmacy. When Democratic Party bosses get together, protesters are entrapped in chain link cages.

    In short, if the Egyptian protesters were Democrats, they would have undertaken no revolution. The Democratic Party represents the pervasiveness of elite corporate power; its liberal supporters represent the appropriation of oppositional politics into the neoliberal economies of electoral hegemony; the Egyptian protesters represent a determined, collective will to social justice and legitimate freedom. If those protesters were American liberals, they would have sided with the state while professing support for the people.

    Despite police brutality, the people of Egypt remained steadfast and continued their chants of “down with Mubarak” and “Tunisia is the solution,” both slogans underscoring the importance of a genuinely transformative revolution. Had they been Democrats, they surely would not have been so quixotic and would have instead opted for a pragmatic approach, as most Democrats do in every American election. 

    The Egyptian protesters demanded rule by the people rather than subservience to a small caste of politicians and crony capitalists. They continue to agitate for a new constitution, universal health care, a multiple-party democracy, unionization for workers, and an end to the violent suppression of dissent. If they were Democrats, they probably wouldn’t be so ambitious. In the United States, dissent is often suppressed, sometimes violently, unions are busted, two parties representing 300 million people assert plutocratic hegemony, and politicians of the two parties serve the interests not of their citizen constituents but of crony capitalists. The Democrats do not tolerate dissentient action in the form of mass protest; they prefer the tactic of voting for Democrats during election season. 

    According to liberal Democrats, alternate politics are impossible and thus undesirable. The Egyptian people do not share the same viewpoint. There was nothing pragmatic about what they did: it is never a reasonable idea to march into bullets, tear gas canisters, and police boots in order to upend a rotten political system brandishing the imprimatur of the world’s most powerful armies and politicians. But if the Egyptian people wanted a just political system, rather than the practical realities of theft and corruption, they needed to replace and not merely reform their government. To challenge bad politicians by electing more bad politicians is not serious political thinking; it is an inducement to apathy and intellectual frivolity. 

    The Egyptian people erected a remarkably functional democratic space in Tahreer Square, complete with an infirmary, a kindergarten, and a pharmacy. When Democratic Party bosses get together, protesters are entrapped in chain link cages

    In short, if the Egyptian protesters were Democrats, they would have undertaken no revolution. The Democratic Party represents the pervasiveness of elite corporate power; its liberal supporters represent the appropriation of oppositional politics into the neoliberal economies of electoral hegemony; the Egyptian protesters represent a determined, collective will to social justice and legitimate freedom. If those protesters were American liberals, they would have sided with the state while professing support for the people. 

    If the Egyptian protesters were Democrats, they would have accepted Mubarak’s proposed reforms—not because those reforms were good, but because Democrats are accustomed to settling for empty rhetoric. They would have accepted Mubarak’s handpicked successor, the infamous torturer Omar Suleiman—not because they like him, but because he would presumably be less evil than his predecessor. They would have accepted the inevitability of defeat—not because they wanted to lose, but because losing would be both pragmatic and realistic. The actual Egyptian protesters, however, would only accept freedom.

    The only acceptable liberal American response to the revolutions in the Arab World is the silence that enlivens a sincere attempt to listen. Clearly it is time for American liberals to stop lecturing Arabs and start following their example, instead.

    That said, the US is not Egypt, and we haven't labored under a single dictator for the past 30 years, just under the dictatorship of some very badly discredited ideas which never seem to go away thanks to a Republican Party that never tires of reasserting them regardless of the innefectiveness, and the counterproductive nature of those ideas.  Maybe things have to become even worse before Americans will actually pay attention, and act in their own self-interest my friend.

    Excellent stuff and I heartily agree with the assessment of what American Democrats would have done were they in Egypt.  Our current Democratic Party has reverted to what Democrats were in the 1920's which was just a mirror image of the Republicans but with a slightly populist twist at election time.  Only in the 30's because of the demands of the common people push Democrats, led by FDR, into becoming New Dealers.  Obama could have done that upon election in 2008 but instead chose to be just another politician instead of a great leader with a real vision.  It's a lot more comfortable taking the path Obama has taken that it is to say, as FDR did: "I welcome their hatred!" about the vitriolic response of the right to the NRA and the NLRA among many other laws.

    I pray some labor leaders and folks like Jane Hamsher get behind turning this moment of shock and outrage into a moment of bottom up democracy.  Now is clearly the time and the Republicans know this.  The move to right to work in Indiana will be followed by the same thing in other states.  In my home state right to work has reared its ugly head for the first time since 1979 when it was soundly rejected by the people.  The right is conducting a union busting blitzkrieg that must be met with force or we will find ourselves in a nation that few outside of Mordor would want to live in.

    This bears repeating:

    "If those protesters were American liberals, they would have sided with the state while professing support for the people."

    Demonstrations in support of Wisconsin have gone nationwide, Oleeb. There were (and will be)union-organized rallies yesterday, today and tomorrow in at least two-thirds of all states, often on the capitol steps. The labor movement is fully aware that Walker has declared war, and it's time to fight or die.

    Union membership in the U.S. has eroded greatly in recent years, to the point where Republicans think frontal attacks like this can succeed. From about one-third at the end of WW II, it's fallen to 7 per cent in the private sector (it's twice that, counting public workers). So even with unionized employees fully motivated, it's crucial to bring non-unionized voters on board. That seems to be happening in Wisconsin, where Walker now has a 10-per-cent disapproval/approval gap. That's a deficit some state Republicans must be starting to worry about.

    Your suggestion for a single nationwide day of mass protest is a good one, and I'm confident it's in the works. To maximize participation, though, it should be held on a weekend -- say, four or five days from now, if organizers can get their ducks in a row. 

    Actually, I'd differ with you on one small detail: don't do it on a weekend.  It ain't a barbecue or a concert.  It needs to be in the middle of the day.  It needs to impact business as usual. 

    People who can and those who decide to take a chance need to just take off from work.  Part of the impact of protest is the sacrifice one makes in doing so.  A weekend demonstration would be dismissed (as millions were dismissed in protesting the Iraq war during the run up to it) as "reminiscent of the 60's" etc... which is what they've been writing in the corporate media now for the 30 years whenever there is such a demonstration.  In other words, a protest on a Saturday or Sunday isn't really news and is, as a matter of course, designed to keep the disruption of people's lives at a minimum.  I think the news here is that this isn't business as usual.  Even so, better on a weekend than not at all.  The difference isn't that great.  I hope you're right that something nationwide is in the works!

    If you're hoping for a nationwide show of force that the media will notice, you want to make it easy for people in so-called "right to work" states to take part. That's my main rationale for the weekend. Yes, some heroic types would take a weekday off anyway and get fired for it. Martyrs do make good symbols, but there'll be plenty of self-sacrifice to point to by the time this is over. No need to rush.

    Even in right to work states people get time off. 

    True. But in a right to fire you state, if employers don't like what you did instead of going to work they can totally axe your ass ... even if you are using legit vacation/sick leave.

    Well, as a practical matter, there is no state where a boss cannot fire a worker for any reason at all and be pretty confident they'll get away with it unless there is a written contract between the two parties.  Hey!  That would be like, a collective bargaining agreement! And, as we know all too well, most workers aren't covered by one of those.  Most states in the union, whether right to work or not are "at will" states which means workers are effectively indentured servants.

    Heh. I almost added my own labor-based snark on that one. Well played.

    It does seem where "right to work" has been codified specifically, it is representative of a more belligerent attitude within the business community regarding their workers than in other places. Almost like the state advising employers to treat their workers like shit.

    state advising employers to treat their workers like shit.


    I believe the term of art is " (name of state) open for business!"

    This is a very interesting point. I don't know which I think is more correct. There's a reason politicians have taken to dumping crap news late on Friday - because generally weekends are where news goes to die.

    I don't really think it's a question of the benefit of symbolic martyrs. The question is where would action make the most impact. And in that respect - a big show of force when people are trying to do stuff and will end up crossing paths seems like it would be more effective.

    But you've got a really good point. These things tend to build and this is a long-haul battle. Is going all-in right off the bat the way to go? I duuno. But it's important to think about. And it's also important to note that one objective here is to provoke an overreaction by the opposition in control of the establishment to undermine their moral authority - severely impacting business with peaceful protests would probably draw a reaction that wandering around in largely unused streets without causing much hassle is unlikely to.

    Good stuff.

    Correct!  The big demonstrations that have always had most impact are those that interupt business as usual, not those that make as few waves as possible in people's daily lives.  That's why they are effective: because they cannot be ignored as they have created news by disrupting business as usual which is a demonstration of people power and what citizens can do, that they are not powerless as corporate media and its masters wish us to believe. By the same token, the weekend picnic rallies are typically ignored because they have been staged to be ignored.  The power of demonstrations isn't simply the massing of a large number of people.  It wasn't the numbers in Tahrir square alone.  It is the fact that the masses that are present are forcing the entire society to stop and take notice because business cannot be conducted normally.  Recall the highly effective Moratorium Day protests during Viet Nam or any of the other major demonstrations that shut down or interupted commerce.  They can't ignore that and it need not involve any sort of violence or threat of violence.  All we have to so is to literally "demonstrate" that we can bring the machinery of commerce to a stop overnight.  By failing to continue to obey we threaten their claim to any legitimacy at all.  That is the power of the people and that is what has fueled the people power revolutions of the past thirty odd years.  The last thing the predator class wants to see or wants America to see is that they are beholden to us, their power is subject to our consent.  Time to fight!  Time to show them we do not consent to their crony capitalism, their authoritarianism, their racism, their militarism and all the rest of their priorities that they pursue at our expense!  LIke the Egyptians we must refuse to be conned by accepting a bad deal and instead demand our freedom from the oppression of the economic royalists and their rotten, atrophied and anti-democratic ideology!

    You might like to check your diary at my.fdl.  Just sayin'.

    Just wondering if anyone ever explained to you that imitating the rhetoric of  Mao Tse Tung doesn' thave a good record motivating westerners. Here you're starting to sound suspiciously like a conservative parodying a liberal, an agent provocateur.

    Hello coward! 

    Where was anon. yesterday when I was confessing to channeling my inner Trotsky and fantasizing about putting Mark Miller in front of a firing squad, "comes" (as we say) "the revolution"...

    Oh, and, anonymous?  Up against the wall, motherfucker.  (Oleeb, I'll go on a Long March with you anytime,,,)


    Good to see you JR! 

    back at ya--it's a big ole party here at Genghis' place

    doesn' thave a good record motivating westerners.

    Really?  That's odd.  I'm a "westerner" and he motivates me.     Speak for your jive turkey self.

    Moveon.org is putting together a nationwide gathering:


    But, yes, it's on Saturday

    OK then, it's Saturday. Whatever Moveon wants, Moveon gets. It's not like there won't be quite a few more opportunities to take to the streets before this is over. Wish I had a statehouse nearby.

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