If you've been around the internet the last few days, you've heard about the amazing work progressives in Wisconsin are doing to STAND UP for the middle class and American citizen's right to collectively bargain. The unions built the American middle class and by seeking to destroy unions, Gov Walker and the GOP is seeking to destroy the American middle class (to the benefit of their base, 8-figure earning executives).
And if you happened to be reading the Cheddarsphere (as the Wisconsin blogosphere calls itself), than you knew first when this started happening and have watched all week as the protests grow and blossom with their outstanding coverage.
Let's highlight some of that coverage and give the Cheddarsphere their due in helping to keep the protests going and to make the story a national one.
First, we need to talk about those folks on the front lines, the Wisconsin State Senate Democrats. The WI State Senate Dems have raised nearly $40,000 this week! (a lot for those local races), and if you can chip in a few dimes and nickels, you can help make sure they don't back down to the radical majority that has taken over Wisconsin state government. As sad as it is; at times like this, money talks. It is telling those Senate Democrats that we're not going anywhere and they shouldn't either, we'll have their back when the next election comes around and we'll give them the resources to fight back against the corporate interests they're surely pissing off right now. That link is the fundraising page from the Cheddarsphere, so let's help them raise some cash for politicians doing the right thing. (hat tip to UppityWis.org for the link to the ActBlue page)
And let's take a look at the coverage this week:
On Sunday, Blogging Blue was starting to let folks know about actions that would be taken that week and how they could get involved. A post on Blue Cheddar went up on and has been updated many times in the days since, letting folks know where they can pick up buses to Madison to join the protests or what they can do in their own community to fight for a strong middle class.
Dane 101 has a photo gallery from overnight on Tuesday you've really got to see. People camped out in sleeping bags all over the marble in the Capitol. Very inspiring stuff!
As the week progressed, it became more clear that the "crisis" Gov. Walker created was deliberate and done so that he could stick a dagger in the heart of unions in Wisconsin and across the US. Cognitive Dissidence brought this up on Wednesday. Mal Contends offers a very apt analogy:
In Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker sees this fiscal crisis as an opportunity, in the words of Richard Nixon, to use the "available federal machinery to screw our political enemies." [Memorandum from John Dean to Lawrence Higby (August 16, 1971). Dealing with our Political Enemies.]Emily Mills shares a great first person account of her experience at the protest on The Daily Page:
On the state-level, screwing political opponents seems relatively easy to accomplish as a project:
Declare a state of economic emergency, and justify everything the lock-step Republican Party does as in support of the state of emergency.
I've spent the last few days almost entirely immersed in the ever-growing protest on behalf of worker's rights and against Gov. Walker's attempt to take them away. Tuesday I found myself in the middle of a 10,000-plus crowd of students and workers, union and non-union alike, as they stormed the Capitol building and filled its halls with the almost overwhelming echoes of their chants and cheers.And as Wednesday drew to a close, rallies for Thursday and Friday were announced and things were just picking up steam….
It's been intense, but incredibly inspiring.
I don't know what the outcome will be – whether Walker and his cronies will simply ignore the deafening will of the people of their state and push the budget repair bill through as is, or if reason and compassion will actually win the day and force them to at least delay and reconsider.
What I do know is that there are tens, if not hundreds of thousands of people in Wisconsin who are out there walking the line, showing support for their friends and families, and doing so peacefully but passionately.
On Thursday Dane 101 blogged a moving note that one of the protesters inserted just inside the then-locked gates of the State Senate chamber, showing the compassion and thoughtfulness of the protesters.
And in the rest of the country we saw it really take off nationally on Thursday, from Bargaining for Benefits:
other states are starting to attempt to follow Wisconsin in its race to destroy the working class. Republican State Senator Shannon Jones of Ohio has introduced a bill in the Legislature to change collective bargaining rights for the state. Just like Wisconsin, Ohio’s Governor, State Senate and State Assembly are controlled by Republicans and they are “pushing a national GOP effort to de-fund unions that have historically backed Democrats.”To keep following what's going on, you can follow this twitter list of Wisconsin Bloggers put together by the amazing Melissa Ryan. (and if you want some fun, check out the top 45 signs seen in Madison)
Like their Wisconsin counterparts, Ohio public employees aren’t taking this assault on their labor rights sitting down. 1,800 of them have converged on the Ohio Statehouse to protest the bill and fight to continue their ability to have a say in their hours, duties, working conditions, hiring and firing procedures as well as their pay and benefits.
Hopefully labor will be victorious here in Wisconsin and we can turn our focus to Ohio and defeat their misguided bill as well.
You can also check out these Wisconsin blogs for more coverage:
Brew City Brawler
Dan Cody - Left on the Lake
The Happy Circumstance
The Lost Albatross
Eye on Wisconsin
Emily's Post at The Daily Page