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There's a word in the very first line of the Constitution of the United States that describes the instrument through which freedom is held. It's a term for people acting in concert to secure their liberty and hold those rights against any opponent. That word is union.

From its founding, the story of this nation has been the story of union. It is the story of two centuries spent in building up the ability of ordinary citizens to treat with wealthy, powerful, politically connected entities. That story contains instances of tragedy. Thousands died in the struggle, many thousands more suffered poverty or were outcast from communities. But the story of union also contains far-reaching triumphs. Every paid vacation, every weekend, every overtime dollar, every protection from arbitrary dismissal and unfair treatment, everything that makes your working life tolerable, came because people stood together in union at risk to their own livelihoods and often their own lives. Some of those laws exist only because workers stood in union when not only corporations but their own government attacked them not just with guns, but with bombers. They paid the price. You reap the benefits.

When we talk about "the greatest generation" that brought the nation through World War II and built America into a post-war powerhouse, we're speaking of a population where nearly a third of workers were union members. It's no coincidence that the peak period of growth and progress coincides with the peak period of union membership. When people act in union, there's nothing they can't accomplish. When people cannot join in union, when everyone must face the powerful alone, all rights are nothing more than words.

Whether in a union of states and nations or a union of workers and citizens, only by working in concert can rights be wrested from oppressors and held against despots. That's why tyrants quake at the sound of union. That's why the right to act in union is the ability that the downtrodden most desire and authorities first attack.  Union is the measure of freedom.

The outlawing of independent unions is the clearest and most consistent marker of despotism around the world. When Gaddafi seized control of Libya in 1969, his first speech proclaimed the end of labor unions. No sooner had he secured control of Cuba than Fidel Castro banned the ability of unions to strike or to bargain over salary and benefits, saying such demands were detrimental to "the national economy." In Colombia today, right-wing militias work together with corporations to keep down costs and demands for decent working conditions in the most effective way they know–they execute union leaders.

There's a good reason why governments and corporations alike show trepidation when people are able to organize. Union is effective. For all the pretty speeches and all the ham-handed threats, the signal that the Iron Curtain was finally rising didn't come in Berlin or Washington, D.C., it came in the shipyards of Gdańsk, when men dared to wave the flag of an independent union. Want to determine where governments are actually concerned about the rights of their people? You only have to look at how free people are to organize for a cause. Without that, no other rights matter. With it, all other rights will follow.

The First Amendment to the Constitution enshrines a number of freedoms including religion, speech and the press, but this amendment should not be read as a random list of disconnected items. Everything in it directly depends on the liberties held out in the closing words: the ability of the people to peacefully assemble and to petition for redress. When the Constitution extends the right of assembly, it's not just giving us the right to gather together for no purpose.  What's protected is the right to join together in common cause, and to seek as a group to move institutions that would not respond to individuals acting alone.

The American dream—the dream that an average citizen can enjoy a decent life, raise a family, and hope for the future—was created in union, sustained by union, and is dependent on union. That dream stands on a knife edge. Already the forces that oppose union have torn away the hopes of many Americans. As union membership has fallen, decent pensions have disappeared. As union membership has fallen, health care costs have increased. As union membership has fallen, pay for workers has stagnated. As union membership has fallen corporate profits—and executive pay—have soared. The decline of union is the birthplace of inequity.

At this moment, the same forces that have ripped union away from most workers are acting against those few who still share the ability to speak with a collective voice. They want to wreck this last bastion, burn it down, stomp it, bury it, extinguish it forever, so that they can sleep safe knowing their power will not be challenged. They want to erase the work of two centuries, turn the American dream into a subject for nostalgia, and make the Bill of Rights into a sheet of paper.

That is what's on the line in Wisconsin.

Nothing has changed since the time that first line of the Constitution was written. Union is not just a means to oppose tyranny, it is the only means.

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Comment Preferences

  •  And in a very practical sense (41+ / 0-)

    Unions are the only structure well-placed to provide a counter-weight -- even if an insufficient one -- for corporate money in politics after Citizens United.  The importance of unions in today's U.S. politics is barely debatable.

    They tortured people
    to get false confessions
    to fraudulently justify
    invasion of Iraq!

    Never let people forget this.

    by Seneca Doane on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 08:05:54 AM PST

  •  Pro union demonstrators are (42+ / 0-)

    Pro-rights demonstrators.

    Governor Walker and the teabaggers are the anti-rights forces. We must get on top of the language.

    Suddenly I've changed from being a social liberal/fiscal conservative to sanctimonious purist.

    by RustyCannon on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 08:06:16 AM PST

  •  Rallies and protests don't mean shit (47+ / 0-)

    Occupation does.

    That's what happened in Egypt.  That's what Wisconsonites are doing - occupying Madison until this draconian bill is permanently squashed.

    I commented earlier that the difference between what we're seeing in Wisconsin and most protests / rallies is that this thing in Madison isn't going to run from 12PM to 3PM today (unless Walker folds), with Jon Stewart presiding, and Starbucks afterward to warm up.  This is an ongoing occupation, 24X7.  It isn't going to end tomorrow, or Tuesday.  That's why this is sooooooo different, and a watershed event for the country.

    That's why what's happening is a union of common cause.

    "It really doesn't get any better than this." Optimist or pessimist?

    by Richard Cranium on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 08:07:10 AM PST

  •  Perfection. (48+ / 0-)

    A few nights ago, my dad (who lives just outside Madison) emailed me about going downtown and seeing the protesters everywhere.  My favorite line in his message was:

    I would like to remind everyone that it was SOLIDARITY which drove Russia from Poland.

    They only call it Class War when we fight back.

    by lineatus on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 08:07:34 AM PST

  •  A Paean to Unions - Superb! (21+ / 0-)

    We need more union talk here at dKos, imo.  Especially now that the HBGary/Anonymous story is revealing Federal government collusion with Big Business to attack and destroy unions by applying anti-terrorism tactics.

  •  Outstanding (32+ / 0-)

    Wonderful and powerful post.

    It's no coincidence that the peak period of growth and progress coincides with the peak period of union membership. When people act in union, there's nothing they can't accomplish.

    People need to hear and understand the above. Together we stand. Divided we fall.

    If teaching is so easy, see if you can last longer than the five years in the classroom 50% of those who enter the profession never make it to.

    by michael in chicago on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 08:09:24 AM PST

  •  Great piece, Mark (12+ / 0-)

    The battle is on!

    Unions vs. The Confederacy of Dunces

    Choose wisely.

    ... just floating by ...

    by cumulo on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 08:09:39 AM PST

  •  Brilliant. (31+ / 0-)

    I will send this to a lot of people.

    I'd like permission to post it on our local Democratic Party website. I might preface it with a quiz:

    Which of the following words appear in the United States Constitution?
           A) Corporation
           B) Union

    Joe

    Save energy! Install the dimmest bulbs available: Vote Republican.

    by CitizenJoe on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 08:11:06 AM PST

  •  Except there's a crucial point we need to learn (6+ / 0-)

    US unions fought for benefits for their own members.  Other countries' unions fought for universal benefits.  The universal approach has proven to be far more politically durable and even economically durable than the member approach.  So US unions need to really take the term "union" more seriously — they need to reach out to each other and to non-union people and push for an agenda that is broader than just that of their members.

    •  trade vs labor unions (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sychotic1, googie, David Kaib, GAladybug

      Please note that not all unions have the same historical roots or goals. At least historically, trade unions (eg electricians) worked to protect workers with special skills, excluding non-members from performing that work. Labor unions worked more in the sense of this article - to protect all workers through collective and mutual support.

      •  trade unionism (5+ / 0-)

        it's also important to protect skilled labor.  in other words, unions fight against the deskilling of professions - which forces companies to take the "high road" investing in workers rather than the "low road" designing workplaces for unskilled interchangeable, and ultimately disposable workers.  
        the low road also leads to crappier products and worse service (see Wal-Mart).

        •  Protecting all workers (0+ / 0-)

          Agree totally. I just brought up the trade/labor distinction to say that union history is rich and complex.

          It's also intriguing to think of some of logical outcomes of trade unionism, like the American Medical Association, as unions.

          •  AMA (0+ / 0-)

            that would be interesting but not unheard of.  for example, i am a member of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) - which is both a professional association like the AMA and at some universities a union - at my workplace we are affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers so that my union is actually AFT-AAUP.

          •  by the way (0+ / 0-)

            sorry if my original comment came off as challenging yours - i meant it as additive not corrective.

    •  They already do. US unions (8+ / 0-)

      fight for the benefit of all working people not just unionized workers. Problem is that non-union workers don't realize it.

    •  Absolutely! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GAladybug

      US  unions have divided themselves against each other according to who believed they had more power alone.    

      Instead of supporting workers rights and benefits for all, many unions fight amongst themselves.  This is why we have public employee unions instead of trade unions.

      Government service workers cut themselves off from the private sector workforce.  For awhile, it worked.  Now they shall both hang separately.

      Religion gives men the strength to do what should not be done.

      by bobtmn on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 08:41:23 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Really? (2+ / 0-)

        California's largest public sector union is SEIU, which is part of the Service Employees Union, which I believe is comprised of far more than government workers.

        "If we don't succeed, we run the risk of failure."- J. Danforth Quayle

        by Sychotic1 on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 09:12:10 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Indeed! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          esquimaux

          This particular commenter has a mission here today, it appears.  It is not to advance solidarity; rather, it is to create further division, even among those who voice their support for unions.

          "It's called the American dream because you have to be asleep to believe it." ~ George Carlin

          by vigilant meerkat on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 10:11:03 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  This particular commenter (0+ / 0-)

            I believe that public employees should NOT have the right to strike or to withhold services from the citizens, regardless of whether those services are essential, like police protection, or supportive, like bus service.

            It is too much power to put in their hands, and there is no Capitalist on the other side of the fight.

            The justification of the privater secto labor movement is to counteract the power of the owning class in order to more fairly distribute the profits between the workers and the owners.

            A public employee union can only act to harm the citizen, and that is why it is wrong.

            It is a labor monopoly, enforced by the fact that we cannot go elsewhere to get public services.

            Religion gives men the strength to do what should not be done.

            by bobtmn on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 10:43:52 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Since (0+ / 0-)

              the Citizens United decision, the power of the owning class the private labor movement is juxtaposed against has taken hold of the power of the ruling class as well... you think that should be allowed unfettered?

              Also, as the looming government shutdown by the republicans shows, the withholding of government services, essential and otherwise, happens without there being  any union action at all... where is your complaint regarding that?

              Fear doesn't just breed incomprehension. It also breeds a spiteful, resentful hate of anyone and everyone who is in any way different from you.

              by awesumtenor on Tue Feb 22, 2011 at 06:33:23 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Do they negotiate together (0+ / 0-)

          I know there are unions that consist of public and private sector workers, but do the negotiate together?  Do the public workers get separate contracts under different terms?

          If they do, then they are divided against each other, even if they are in the same umbrella organization.

          In many unions, there is even an internal division, pitting the older workers against the newer.  Newer workers get less in pay and benefits in order to protect the pay/benefits of the senior workers.

          There is no solidarity.

          Religion gives men the strength to do what should not be done.

          by bobtmn on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 10:37:54 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  It's called paying your dues. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            wsexson, GypsyT, David Kaib

            When you first start with an employer, as a union member you generally earn less than more experienced workers because

            1.  you're less experienced
            2.  the employer and the union have both agreed that a starting worker gets paid less

            I've been in a number of unions, in fact, was a paid union officer, and there were not divisions pitting older and younger workers against each other.

            Right wing talking points are not facts.

            •  Two tier wage systems (0+ / 0-)

              I have heard of many 'two tier' wage settlements, and it is not just a matter of paying dues till you're older.   The lower tier can be permanent, and requires the younger workers to take up the pain, because they are a smaller and powerless group.

              Especially powerless if they are not yet hired.

              Wikipedia  http://en.wikipedia.org/...

              A 2008 study of collective bargaining agreements in the United States found that 25 percent of union contracts surveyed included a two-tier wage system.[3]

              Such two-tier wage systems are often economically attractive to both employers and unions. Employers see immediate reductions in the cost of hiring new workers.[3]

              Here is where the lack of solidarity and division comes in:

              Existing union members will see no wage reduction, and the number of new union members with lower wages is a substantial minority within the union and subsequently unable to negatively affect ratification votes.

              Religion gives men the strength to do what should not be done.

              by bobtmn on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 01:35:48 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Who is the SEIU? (0+ / 0-)

          How many of these groups are private sector?

          http://www.seiuca.org/...

          As SEIU Members, We Are:

          » County Employees
          » Homecare (IHSS) Providers
          » State Employees
          » School Employees
          » Janitors
          » Nurses
          » Trial Court Employees
          » Private Security Officers
          » Security Officers
          » Child Care Workers
          » Child Support Enforcement Workers
          » Human Services Workers
          » Developmental Disability Workers
          » Mental Health Workers
          » Hospital and Health Professionals
          » Healthcare Workers
          » Nursing Home Workers
          » City Employees
          » Water District Employees
          » Sanitation District Employees
          » Substance Abuse Counselors
          » Transit District Employees
          » State & County Correction Employees
          » CSUS Faculty & Employees
          » Horse Racing Industry Workers
          » Pari-Mutuel Clerks
           

          Religion gives men the strength to do what should not be done.

          by bobtmn on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 10:50:18 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  My former union (5+ / 0-)
        Government service workers cut themselves off from the private sector workforce.  For awhile, it worked.  Now they shall both hang separately.

        is the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, which represents both public sector and private sector employees, and which makes god damn sure that neither sector "cuts itself off" from the other.

        SEIU, UFCW, and UAW also represent both public sector and private sector employees, and I'm sure other unions do also. These are just the ones I know off the top.

        So I'm not so sure that your observation holds up in today's environment.

        "Lash those traitors and conservatives with the pen of gall and wormwood. Let them feel -- no temporising!" - Andrew Jackson to Francis Preston Blair, 1835

        by Ivan on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 09:23:06 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  all institutions have kleptocratic abuses (0+ / 0-)

          of power, public sector unions emerged to counter Republic Party abuses of power and wage exploitation driven by capitalism. Labor value in itself has neither public nor private property value except when commodified.

          Präsidentenelf-maßschach; Warning-Some Snark Above "Nous sommes un groupuscule" join the DAILY KOS UNIVERSITY "makes Beck U. and the Limbaugh Institute look like Romper Room"

          by annieli on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 09:35:51 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  US Unions do fight... (8+ / 0-)

      ...for everyone.

      Unions are far and away the biggest funders for progressive issue advertising and independent support of prgressive politicians.

      Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

      by TexasTom on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 08:48:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  historically you are correct (5+ / 0-)

      .. but not now.  in the past, unions opposed the minimum wage and universal health care because they assumed that if workers could get a guaranteed minimum wage they wouldn't need a union.
            today, unions have pushed hard for raising the minimum wage and universal health care - neither of which directly benefit it's members (who all make above the minimum and mostly have decent benefits)

      •  And this is an important development, but (0+ / 0-)

        some unions are a lot better at broadening their agenda and vision than others.  I'll single out SEIU for praise for example in generally thinking more strategically, and the United Steelworkers for showing some real entrepreneurial guile and vision in organizing workplaces that aren't necessarily steel plants.

  •  Solidarity Forever! (14+ / 0-)

    And, while we're talking about history, the First Continental Congress met in a union hall, the Carpenters' Hall.

  •  Great essay, thanks. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marykk, googie, Eric Nelson, Catsmeat

    You touch on the role of worker uprisings in Poland in bringing down the iron curtain. People on the right swear that it was the Gipper who brought down the Soviet Union with his gift for diplomacy. I would like to read an intelligent, authoritative history to know how much different factors played a role. I expect organized labor isn't getting a lot of credit it's due.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 08:14:44 AM PST

  •  Too bad E Pluribus Unum got downgraded (6+ / 0-)

    to idiotic superstition... it would be a nice reminder.

    Zombie Reagan gives the most peachy speeches.

    by The Dead Man on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 08:15:12 AM PST

  •  Great FP post! Saw a photo of a sign (20+ / 0-)

    at the WI rally:  Tea Parties are for little girls!  Grow up!  

    Those are my sentiments exactly.

    Want to go back to the days of no minimum wage?  No overtime pay?  No child labor laws?  No protection in the workplace?  Just keep busting unions and you'll have your wish.

    Best. President. Ever.

    by Little Lulu on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 08:18:14 AM PST

  •  This is beautiful (22+ / 0-)

    I shared it on FB....I want every person I know, but especially those I know who tell me that we really don't need unions, or those that have bought into the myths of unions being evil, or mafia infested, or anything to make normally fair minded people, disavow unions.

    Uniting together in one cause is how this democracy started.  It was how people got together and declared no monarch could tell us how to think, how and who to worship, how to live.  It was the first step in the march toward a more fair society.  Granted it did not start out as a real democracy because people of color and females were not included, but it was a start.  

    When MLK stood up for sanitation workers unionizing for better conditions/lives, when Ceasar Chavez stood up for farm workers unionizing for better conditions/lives, it was no different than the colonists standing together, unionizing as one group regardless of which colony in which they lived, to fight for better conditions/lives.

    How the so called "tea party" people can go against the very concept which created the original tea party is a testament to their ignorance.  I hope people of good will stand with the WI public employees and use this as a chance to educate the citizenry and stop the ignorance pushed and propagated by the Kock brothers and all their rich and powerful colleagues.

  •  Yes, a thousand times yes! (9+ / 0-)

    beautiful post.

    We are better than this. We must do better. Cmdr.Scott Kelly

    by mydailydrunk on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 08:24:41 AM PST

  •  Solidarnosc (10+ / 0-)

    When it happened in Poland, they applauded it.  When it happens here, not so much.

    If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

    by marykk on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 08:27:44 AM PST

  •  Messaging (7+ / 0-)

    It's about time we got out a clear and united message.

    If  we continue to let the right demonize progressive values, liberal thinking and democratic policies, we will all be totally fucked.

    Progressives need to stop bickering about who represents who, cause it certainly is not the US corporations who are fighting for workers rights.

    So what if you don't belong to a union, that doesn't mean you help the right tear unions down.

    The right is using trickle down propaganda nowadays, and many progressives are sitting back in their safe place thinking that  they are immune to job loss.

    I don't believe for one minute that the right will stop until they have won the war.

  •  A truer word was never spoken... (8+ / 0-)

    That's right, Mark, "union" or "united" or "unified" is what we are. When we do our best, we do that "together" and in "solidarity" with each other.

    While the states-rights nuts think they can succeed as individual states, but that was never right in 1776 nor was it right in 1860. Further, it's not right today.

    And for people who need to do their best, work their best and get the best wages, UNION is the only way to go. While the union-busters try to demonize union members as socialists, communists or ararchists, it's really the neoncons, neo-confederates and anarchist libertarians who are the demons for the vast majority of United-Statesians (as well as for all Americans from Nunavut to Tierra del Fuego).

    United we Stand can stand for our movement, ladies and gentlemen.

    Let's go forward with this theme:

    Solidarity Forever (Seeger and Weavers):
    http://www.youtube.com/...
    (The Union Makes Us Strong!)

    Which Side Are You On? (Seeger and Weavers):
    http://www.youtube.com/...
    (You're a Union Member or a thug for the corps)

    Ugh. --UB.

  •  something that has baffled me for eons (22+ / 0-)

    is that despite the fact the unions did so well in insuring things like, oh i don't know, that my mother, who never worked outside the home, has health insurance and a pension thru my now-deceased dad's union, she is a republican. as is my now-retired teacher brother receiving a pension, the direct consequence of union action. as is my sister-in-law, the nurse.

    I'm thinking they are not the only republicans who benefit directly from unions and yet complain and complain.

    we need to frame this issue appropriately, keep it front and center and ask and ask what kind of a nation do we wish to be.

    excellent piece.

    "You've got to stop this war in Afghanistan." final words of R Holbrooke

    by UTvoter on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 08:32:26 AM PST

    •  The same thing, here. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sychotic1, UTvoter

      My folks were union members, and they were conservative. But against union workers, but against beatniks, hippies, blacks, mexicans and other lazy people. They worked hard, but they got the wrong idea about other cultures.

      They were catholic calvinists.

      And that is the connection, I think.

      It is just that the GOP got hijacked by those who spouted calvinist anti-minority, anti-gummint worker stuff as a red herring to destroy the unions my folks were members of.

      Bingo.

      Ugh. --UB.

    •  My first response... (12+ / 0-)

      ...is that since Galt didn't need no stinking union, neither do any of these "self made" Republicans.  

      In all seriousness, the conservative concepts of "self made" individuals, boot strapping, and meritocracies have done enormous harm by encouraging people to ignore the extent to which they've benefitted from the actions of others, instead choosing to believe the ego-enhancing (and nonsensical) idea that they accomplished it all on their own.   And if you believe that crap, you won't admit how much of what you have today came through the work of unions -- and therefore won't be able to acknowledge how much value those unions can have.

      For that matter, it took me years to realize that I've personally benefitted by the work of unions, even though I work in a largely non-union field (engineering) and have never been a union member.  My first employer was rabidly anti-union, and would feed us the periodic "why unions are bad" propaganda.  But the dissonance in that propaganda was the assurance that we didn't need a union because our employer was giving us wages and benefits just as good as the unions got for their members.

      I bolded that last line for a reason -- because implicit in it if the threat of unionization goes away, then the motivation of employers like that first one to offer good wages and benefits also goes away.  

      And perhaps that is a point that unions need to make a little more loudly, because I don't think that many non-union workers have ever really thought about it.

      Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

      by TexasTom on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 09:06:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Outstanding (3+ / 0-)

    I have a right-wing buddy who needs to see this.

    "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win". Mohandas K. Ghandi

    by DaveinBremerton on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 08:32:35 AM PST

    •  The reason for unions (5+ / 0-)

      My right-wing friends and family REFUSE to read or listen to anything that interferes with their version of the "Facts." I agree, DaveinBremerton, that right-wing buddies need to see this kind of information, but if your brother is like my brother and best friend, they do not wish to be confused with truth and facts; they just prefer to wallow in their own ignorance.

      •  Are they of the (0+ / 0-)

        "Obama is a Kenyan Muslim Marxist whose birth certificate is a forgery and don't send me any Snopes links stating otherwise because Snopes is a propaganda arm of Obama"

        variety of RWer?

        liberal bias = failure to validate or sufficiently flatter the conservative narrative on any given subject

        by RockyMtnLib on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 10:51:49 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Wonderful and right on. When (12+ / 0-)

    there is a balance of  power between labor and capital, between employers and employees, we see the most prosperity. Not only prosperity measured on a scale of national wealth, but also prosperity measured by the more equal distribution of that wealth.

    Unions are one of the keys to that prosperity. The other is laws protecting employees in the workplace and providing progressive taxation.

    Since 1980 we have seen a concerted attack on both. But that attack has often been disguised. It is now in the open. How we as a nation respond will be critical.  

  •  Thank-you Mark. (7+ / 0-)

    The right to free speech includes the right to organize. We need to keep reminding Walker, his cronies and his patrons, the Koch brothers, of this.

    Where are the jobs, Mr. Boehner?

    by Blue Intrigue on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 08:34:13 AM PST

  •  government != corporation: false parallel (1+ / 1-)
    Recommended by:
    Justanothernyer
    Hidden by:
    Jjc2006

    Public employee unions are not fighting corporate power.  By equating government and corporations you are saying that the institutions we create to serve the people are the enemy.   That makes you no different than the teabaggers.    

    The teabaggers want the government to wither away, and the public unions want the government to pay ransom while they shut down public services that are there to serve the less fortunate and to build the infrastructure for us all.

    The public unions did not win any rights for the average citizen.  They stepped in and demanded a share of what the private sector fought for.   By doing so, I think they weakened the private sector unions.

    There is no solidarity.  The PubUnions are  just as selfish as the corporations.  The private middle class citizen gets hammered by both sides.

    If you want to fight the union fight, go join a real union, and fight the capitalists, not the public sector.

    Religion gives men the strength to do what should not be done.

    by bobtmn on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 08:36:11 AM PST

    •  I am tempted to hidrate you for this vile (14+ / 0-)

      bullshit.

      You obviously don't know shit about working in the public sector or public sector unions.

      I am waiting for your follow-up post where you say we make too much money (already debunked) have better benefits (at the expense of pay) are trying to bleed money out of the state coffers (in the good times the state coffers did not pay a dime into our retirement, we waved the state share completely) won't negotiate (most teachers and government workers have already given up pay, reduced benefits, increased contributions).  

      Come on, sell us the Republican talking points and straw men.  I am waiting.

      "If we don't succeed, we run the risk of failure."- J. Danforth Quayle

      by Sychotic1 on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 09:22:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Public employee union = monopoly power (0+ / 0-)

        I don't know if you make too much or not.  I do think that powerful interests should not be able to dominate the debate, or demand personal benefits, just because they have power.  That goes for capitalists and for public employees.

        I have a long history of support for progressive issues, and I have been against public employee unions for lots longer than you can imagine.   I have my own reasons, and I am not echoing anyones talking points.

        Despite all the bile my position seems to create in the pro public union folks, I have not yet encountered a rational argument challenging my ideas.  

        Just insults, veiled  threats, promises to hide-rate etc.

        Try making your case with argument instead of invective.   There are many like me, and just because you have intimidated them into shutting up does not mean you are winning an argument.

        Religion gives men the strength to do what should not be done.

        by bobtmn on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 11:55:21 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  This from a Carpenter (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      vigilant meerkat, tb mare

      whose union raids other unions. I'm about out of patience with you, pal.

      "Lash those traitors and conservatives with the pen of gall and wormwood. Let them feel -- no temporising!" - Andrew Jackson to Francis Preston Blair, 1835

      by Ivan on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 09:34:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I was a member of AFSCME (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Justanothernyer

        while a student at the University of Michigan in the late 60s and again in 1974. That union seemed to have gotten a pretty good deal for a number of student workers. The job I worked paid about $6.50 and involved driving a truck at the U. Hospital on weekends. About 2 hours of that and 7 hours of being on call during which time I finished up filing the week's paperwork (the job was attached to a receiving warehouse) and/or studied. So 9 hrs a day (overtime for the last hour) two days a week and it allowed me to pay my out of state tuition and living costs with a bit left over. It was a plum job, alright. And I was glad to have it. But I thought at the time and still think that it could have been done more economically for the taxpayers of the state by combining its responsibilities with those of a couple of other similar jobs I knew about. So I have mixed feelings about it even now.

        And there were a number of unions covering different collections of workers at the hospital and at the university in general. I remember one strike where our union instructed me to go through the picket lines of another union. The Ann Arbor police were called on to control the situation and their response was complicated by the fact that their command structure was represented by one union and the lower ranking officers by another with differing views of the situation.

        I guess what I'm trying to say is that unions have been very helpful to advancing the cause of working people but that power can become a bit confused or counterproductive as it grows and differentiates.

        Moderation in most things. Except Reactors. IFR forever!

        by billmosby on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 09:57:42 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Theres that hate again. (0+ / 0-)

        Why do people hate the carpenters ?

        I was never a union rep, but I felt that the union did try to grow the ranks of union members.   I don't remember any raiding...

        Religion gives men the strength to do what should not be done.

        by bobtmn on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 11:44:54 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Keep on fighting the public unions (5+ / 0-)

      Yes, they destroyed any notion of solidarity.  There are days when I can barely stand to read diaries and comments on this blog, because I know I am going to come across outrageously divisive comment such as this, which are designed to interfere with any and every effort to actually build solidarity.  It makes me nauseous.  And this is your second comment along these lines.  I won't read the next one.

      "It's called the American dream because you have to be asleep to believe it." ~ George Carlin

      by vigilant meerkat on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 09:40:11 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  agree totally vm (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rlharry, 3goldens, vigilant meerkat
        There are days when I can barely stand to read diaries and comments on this blog, because I know I am going to come across outrageously divisive comment such as this, which are designed to interfere with any and every effort to actually build solidarity
        .

        I have tried staying away, not responding or just plain trying to send clear message, but the comments persist.

        IMO it's that cognitive dissonance - theres a lot of  ''inconsistency between one's beliefs and one's actions'' in the comments found here.

    •  Do you think (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      3goldens, wsexson, esquimaux

      public employees are a bunch of independent contractors? At their workplace they have management they have to report to. It isn't just the immediate supervisor, it's the legislative and executive branches of their governments.

      They also have working conditions, salaries, benefits, sick days, vacations, etc. to deal with.

      You've totally swallowed Gov. Walker's line that the battle is between taxpayers and public employees with their "lavish" compensation.

      Either that or you're just a RW troll.

      liberal bias = failure to validate or sufficiently flatter the conservative narrative on any given subject

      by RockyMtnLib on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 11:05:08 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent (6+ / 0-)

    I also think it goes to something Alan Greenspan said when discussing the financial meltdown and how he found his ideology had a fatal mistake in it. That mistake had to due with humans having flaws and well , being humans.

    Humans (and corporations, business owners, employers, etc)as Alan Greenspan discovered and admitted, cannot always safely be relied upon to put aside their own sometimes short sighted self interests ahead of/over perhaps the longer term best interest of all other stakeholders, workers, and society as a whole.

    They don't always do what's right because they've put their own self interest above that....that's what led to the Wall Street Disaster...humans are flawed by nature.

    Unions act as an important and necessary check against those flaws.

    It will not matter how much money was in my bank account, but the world may be a better place because I was important in the life of a child.

    by emal on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 08:38:24 AM PST

  •  Everyone send this diary to at least two people. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sychotic1, 3goldens, Jjc2006

    We need to persuade others, one by one, to see just how important this moment is in America.

    Solidarity!

  •  Assembly, general & on Wisconsin Capitol Grounds (12+ / 0-)

    Means of Speech or Fundamental right has ben the cutting edge of jurisprudence in the area of Freedom of Assembly for the last 22 years. I have been deeply involved in key cases, as plaintiff, witness, coach,  and defendant.

    With Ward vs Rock Against Racism (1989), the Supreme Court lowered the standard by which regulations restricting assembly were to be measured, deeming it simply a means of speech, subject to "reasonable time, place, and manner" restriction. Most subsequent cases then devolve to whether the means, and process are reasonable.

    I won a case vs Tommy Thompson in Wisconsin State Courts in 1987, establishing better Speech and Assembly rights on the WI Capitol Grounds than are protected in the federal process. rather than needing a permit which the State more or less must grant, I won an unconditional right to assemble in unlimited numbers without a permit.

    One may still apply for, and at the discretion of the Dept. of Administration, receive a permit, but this only really affects whether you can use the building's electric to amplify. (My 1993 Fed. case, also v Tommy, clarified that you can amplify without a permit if your power source is self-contained. )

    A case i lost, also in US District Court here, sought to overturn National Forest Service Permit regulations as overbroad and un-necessary in context of a small Rainbow Gathering well written ruling and  admittedly well written ruling, and Magistrate Crocker's writeup pretty well sums up the state of the law post -Ward. (There were a few facts in my case which in retrospect made it the wrong one to use as a test. I'm told Crocker agonized over the case for weeks, as his gut said I should win, but he couldn't find a way around the precedent in Ward. My Rainbow case sought to resestablis Assembly as a right in itself.)

    Desperate times demand futile gestures.

    Norman Spinrad, from his 1969 novel, Bug Jack Barron

    by ben masel on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 08:42:30 AM PST

  •  Public unions and private unions are different (1+ / 1-)
    Recommended by:
    Justanothernyer
    Hidden by:
    Jjc2006

    Even FDR saw dangers inherent in public unions. Private union membership may be a good thing (or may not, I don't take a position), but it's hard to argue that unionization of government employees serves public policy (i.e. the maximization of government effectiveness at a minimum cost).

    All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations when applied to public personnel management.

    The very nature and purposes of Government make it impossible for administrative officials to represent fully or to bind the employer in mutual discussions with Government employee organizations.

    Particularly, I want to emphasize my conviction that militant tactics have no place in the functions of any organization of Government employees.

    A strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to prevent or obstruct the operations of Government until their demands are satisfied. Such action, looking toward the paralysis of Government by those who have sworn to support it, is unthinkable and intolerable.

    (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
    Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

    by Sparhawk on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 08:42:59 AM PST

    •  Sorry have to disagree here (11+ / 0-)

      The key ingredient in any human affairs are the humans.  Humans by nature are selfish greedy and often intransigent.  

      Just as in "private" markets, it is people who make decisions that adversely impact the lives of those that perform the work that makes the markets function so to in government operations, humans make similar decisions.  

      Collective action is the singular means to maintain balance between the humans that hold the reigns of power in government and those that perform the work on behalf of the people.  This balance forces those in power to treat the collective members with respect and to bargain in good faith.  

      the Libertarian notion that individuals can bargain for their own power with entities of infinite power is a laughable and false concept.  What happens is that invariably the individual is left with meager scraps.  

      --Mr. President, you have to earn my vote every day. Not take it for granted. --

      by chipoliwog on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 09:16:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  yup, we are left with meager scraps (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        chipoliwog, esquimaux, DocbytheBay
        the Libertarian notion that individuals can bargain for their own power with entities of infinite power is a laughable and false concept.  What happens is that invariably the individual is left with meager scraps.  

        if the GOP gets it's way.

        This is so true, how can anyone not see this.........

    •  All public union contracts (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      emal, Inland, GypsyT

      have no strike clauses in them.  This doesn't sound like a put down of public sector unions, just militant tactics.  

      "If we don't succeed, we run the risk of failure."- J. Danforth Quayle

      by Sychotic1 on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 09:26:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  People readily confuse "union" with (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        esquimaux, David Kaib

        the worst tactics or unreasonable demands.  But in WI, even after the unions were helpful, they got more cuts and a quick attempt to decertify them entirely.

        "It's too soon to tell". Mao, when asked about the consequences of the French Revolution.

        by Inland on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 10:20:05 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Speechless! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      esquimaux, DocbytheBay, lostinamerica

      In the face of such divisiveness in a diary about "union" and solidarity.

      "It's called the American dream because you have to be asleep to believe it." ~ George Carlin

      by vigilant meerkat on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 09:46:11 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  On this point (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      emal, wsexson, esquimaux, RockyMtnLib

      like many others, MLK was right, and FDR was wrong.

      Politics is the art of the possible, but that means you have to think about changing what is possible, not that you have to accept it in perpetuity.

      by David Kaib on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 09:48:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Your constant trolling (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      esquimaux, schnecke21

      your anti progressive views toward public employees have been seen by many of us around here.  It won't work.
      You are sadly misinformed and your narrow tunnel vision marks you as a right winger/libertarian.

      Go away.

    •  They would serve as much as private. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      emal

      If you think that collective barganing works for private sector, there's no reason to think they wouldn't work for the public.

      A strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to prevent or obstruct the operations of Government until their demands are satisfied.

      Well, most public unions actually don't have the right to strike.  But otherwise, I"m not particularly concerned.

      "It's too soon to tell". Mao, when asked about the consequences of the French Revolution.

      by Inland on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 10:18:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Private sector unions (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        soros

        have stronger arguments in their favor then public sector unions.   To deny that is to ignore essential differences between the business sector and government.    To admit that, however, does not mean one should not have public sector unions.

        •  Can you name one? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          wsexson

          It's hard for me to avoid denying it before someone names one.

          "It's too soon to tell". Mao, when asked about the consequences of the French Revolution.

          by Inland on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 11:08:54 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  The compensation of management in the private (0+ / 0-)

            sector is often directly increased as a result of treating their workers worse.   This is not generally true in the public sector. Thus, in general, the motivation of the public sector to treat their workers poorly is lower (but not non-existent).

            Public sector workers have other legal protections which private sector workers lack including civil service (though this is not applicable to all public sector workers) and certain constitutional protections not applicable to private sector workers such as the first amendment.   These protections are not as extensive as what unionized public sector workers have won but are greater than those non-unionized private sector workers have.  

            •  Not directly at all. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              wsexson

              No more directly than the politician or manager in the public sector.

              As for those other legal protections, I"m not impressed.  A civil service simply addresses an additional ILL of the public sector, that is, politically motivated hiring and firing and cronyism on the public dime.   Adding a civil service only gets the public worker to the place the private counterpart is naturally.

              And a right to sue someone for a constitutional violation isn't anything like a union.  A union is an advocate.  A right to sue is an expense once you're already out of a job.

              "It's too soon to tell". Mao, when asked about the consequences of the French Revolution.

              by Inland on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 01:36:16 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Politicians and managers (0+ / 0-)

                in the public sector are not compensated on (short-term) financial results.  Those in the private sector are.  

                And, I hate to note this, but cronyism is alive and well in the private sector.

                A right to sue for a constitutional violation is not anything like a union - but it is more protection than the private sector employee has, thus reducing the relative arguments in favor of unionization in the public sector.

                •  You're contradicting yourself. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  wsexson

                  You say the public sector managers are compensated on short term financial results, and that means firing people, then say they are practicing cronyism, which implies they are padding.  

                  Maybe what you're saying is, different employers do different things, not showing that the private sector is somehow better for unions or vice versa.

                  "It's too soon to tell". Mao, when asked about the consequences of the French Revolution.

                  by Inland on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 02:10:15 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Cronyism doesn't mean padding (0+ / 0-)

                    merely replacing one employee with another on a basis other than merit.    They are not, unfortunately, inconsistent.

                    The private sector is not better for unions.  It is worse for unions, in part because it is where unions are more needed for workers.

                    And apologies, but  I said public sector managers are not compensated on short term financial results but private sector ones are.  

  •  TPM reports (10+ / 0-)
    Separately, WisPolitics reports that the state Department of Administration has estimated 55,000 demonstrators -- 50,000 outside the Capitol, and 5,000 inside.
    Wisconsin is currently in a political crisis, with the minority state Senate Democrats having left the state in order to block the three-fifths quorum necessary to pass the budget. In addition, many schools have closed across the state, due to teachers calling in sick in large numbers
    .

    Hahahaha. Don't screw with the union of teachers parents students - firefighters, police, janitors, Green Bay Packers, especially in the birthplace of progressive politics.

    http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/...

    The CLEAR Act would sell carbon shares to fuel producers and return 75 percent of the revenue in checks of $1,100 per year to every American. - Sen. Maria Cantwell

    by mrobinson on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 08:44:59 AM PST

  •  republican's message (6+ / 0-)

    so what is the message to voters now:  "hey, do you have stagnant or falling wages, crappy benefits, no job security..?"
    voter: yes! you have a plan for better wages and benefits, and enhanced job security! Great!
    republicans: actually no.  but we will make sure no one else has good wages, benefits, or job security.  doesn't that sound great!

    [here's where the message gets complicated]
    voter with IQ over 80: no, that sounds like it sucks - how does that help?
    republicans: you sound like a commie now!

    tea party voter: ...and that will please the magic market fairy and jesus and i'll get a better job, right!
    republicans: of course!  see you're smart and have common sense like a real American!

    most Americans (i.e. non-voters): --- [actually most Americans are too busy watching reality TV and shopping]

  •  I am a stay-at-home mother who is married (10+ / 0-)

    to an anti-union Republican.  This debate has been THE strongest we have ever had.  Today he told me that I was not free to spend "HIS" money on anything union made.  We haven't spoken to each other since.   He agreed with me in the healthcare debate.  He is usually a very agreeable person who is willing to listen to both sides, but not on this one.

    Live simply so that others may simply live.

    by Ann T Bush on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 08:52:40 AM PST

    •  Wow, you should show him quotes from (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LordMike

      famous Republicans in support of the unions.

      "If we don't succeed, we run the risk of failure."- J. Danforth Quayle

      by Sychotic1 on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 09:29:09 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Wha...What does he think "Buy American" means? nt (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LordMike, schnecke21

      The day is coming when a single carrot, freshly observed, will set off a revolution. Paul Cezanne

      by MeToo on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 09:32:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Ann, it sounds (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tmo, lostinamerica, Ann T Bush, GypsyT

      Ann, it sounds to me as if your husband is frightened by what he sees as change.

      We are headed for a dictatorship in this country if the unions fail.   We know one thing for sure, and that is that we outnumber them.  

      He owes any good conditions that he works under now to the unions.  

      There was a time in the US when one could not speak openly, and when all were investigated for signs of communist connections.   Think of the Patriot Act on steroids.

      If the unions do not stand up we will be back to 1929 before we know it.

    •  That is low. nt (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      esquimaux, Ann T Bush
      •  Yes. I'm looking to go get a job. A union job (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        emal, wsexson, Mike08, GypsyT

        at a grocery store, so I don't have to spend "his" money.

        Live simply so that others may simply live.

        by Ann T Bush on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 10:25:25 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  BTW, the money he is bringing (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mike08, GypsyT

          in to the family? It's yours, too. You are just as much a contributing member of the family as he is, even if it's not money you are providing.
          You are his partner, and therefore, you deserve at least half of that take-home pay-- and you should be able to spend it any way you wish.

          It took me awhile to fully embrace this position, back when I was a stay-at-home-mom, but, thanks to my feminist husband, I came to fully believe it.

          If you charged your husband for the childcare, cleaning, cooking, etc that you provide, he probably couldn't afford to pay you.

    •  Do it anyway (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mike08

      liberal bias = failure to validate or sufficiently flatter the conservative narrative on any given subject

      by RockyMtnLib on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 11:15:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  tell him: then you better work thru Sat + Sun. eot (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wsexson

      ..now, where did I leave my torches and villagers?

      by FrankSpoke on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 11:38:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  You have my sympathies (0+ / 0-)

      I, too, am married to an anti-union Republican.  We have frequent political disagreements (especially in election years) and I've run up against the "you're not spending "MY" money on blah-blah-blah," too.  

      Worse yet, because I am one of those 'awful' public-sector employees, he actually thinks that he, as a taxpayer, shouldn't have to "pay for" for my paid holidays that were fairly negotiated for me and my union brothers and sisters with my employer at the bargaining table.  It made no difference to remind him that Hey, I pay taxes too, Mister!

      Yeah, marital bliss is a rare occurrence here.....

      Going to the woods is going home--John Muir

      by GypsyT on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 05:36:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  the union label (9+ / 0-)

    Look for the union label
    When you are buying a coat, dress, or blouse,
    Remember somewhere our union's sewing,
    Our wages going to feed the kids and run the house,

    We work hard, but who's complaining?
    Thanks to the ILG, we're paying our way,

    thanks to the ILGWU many of my relatives were able to move OUT of poverty and into the burgeoning middle class.....

    So always

    look for the union label,
    It says we're able to make it in the USA!

    •  God what happened to that sort of union pride? (0+ / 0-)

      I really liked that song when I was a kid; it was very catchy. How come the other unions weren't putting out catchy songs like that? Why did that sort of branding just stop?

      The goal is not to bring your adversaries to their knees but to their senses. -- Mahatma Gandhi

      by tmo on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 10:11:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Mark, we need a Union group in dKos n/t (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MeToo, 3goldens, Castine
  •  inspiring and informative (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sychotic1, BalanceSeeker, Catsmeat

    Thanks Mark for a great piece on union. I've forwarded this essay to my entire email list.

    I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do. Leonardo da Vinci

    by kokoro on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 08:55:02 AM PST

  •  This is what a Democratic Leader (12+ / 0-)

    like a President or a Senator would be saying if they had any guts, brains, and a teaspoon of inspiration.

    I'm not afraid of guns! I'm afraid of the people that obsess over owning them.

    by Detroit Mark on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 08:58:50 AM PST

  •  my dream (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sychotic1, JanL, GypsyT

    May it be as hard to dismantle the unions as it was to build them.

  •  Beautifully written, thank you! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sychotic1, dirtfarmer

    I've passed this on to all the haters that I know.

  •  We're on the DEEfensive (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GypsyT

    I wish there was something that could change this equation to set republicans back on their heels and put us back on the OFFensive.

    I'm not afraid of guns! I'm afraid of the people that obsess over owning them.

    by Detroit Mark on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 09:02:57 AM PST

  •  as always, well said (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    esquimaux, googie
    Nothing has changed since the time that first line of the Constitution was written. Union is not just a means to oppose tyranny, it is the only means.
    and this current struggle must be won ...by any means necessary

    on the lighter side:

    dyslexics of the world, Untie!
    ogres are like unions

    Präsidentenelf-maßschach; Warning-Some Snark Above "Nous sommes un groupuscule" join the DAILY KOS UNIVERSITY "makes Beck U. and the Limbaugh Institute look like Romper Room"

    by annieli on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 09:09:29 AM PST

  •  Unions got greedy for a while there. (0+ / 0-)

    Now in a lot of areas they are needed again. Like many other things, this too goes in cycles.

    Moderation in most things. Except Reactors. IFR forever!

    by billmosby on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 09:12:09 AM PST

    •  No the union did not get greedy (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      esquimaux, dirtfarmer, Catsmeat

      A union is not a person.......
      if a few members of the union got greedy, or the leadership, that's different.  The concept of unions is what we are fighting for....just like the concept of democracy.
      Right now we have some really greedy people in our democracy,  we have always had some really greedy people join unions.  One cannot control those things because by nature human beings are flawed and sometime the worst of us can beat out the best of us, when the best of us becomes apathetic or dispassionate.

      It is not the unions, it is those in them, who must strive to keep the best of us in charge.

      •  Sounds like the same thing to me. (0+ / 0-)

        Unions or the people who run them, it looks the same on the outside. But soon the perception will shift and the cycle will start over. That's another thing about humans. We're cyclical. Wish we were harmonious and well organized all the time. We're not.

        Moderation in most things. Except Reactors. IFR forever!

        by billmosby on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 10:30:26 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Who won the Civil War? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BOHICA, chipoliwog

    Hmm, let's see.  Oh yeah, the Union.

    The thing is, you see what you want to see, and you hear what you want to hear. Dig? - The Rock Man

    by BalanceSeeker on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 09:12:45 AM PST

  •  First rate! (10+ / 0-)

    The problem with our country is that we suffer from collective amnesia about our own history. Either people don't learn it at school or they don't understanding the meaning of it when they read about it. As you so ably point out, we fought the fight for the right to unionize already, but it looks like we have to do it again. The only question is where are those fearless leaders of the 20's, 30's and 40's today? The Democratic Party is sadly lacking in spine. They should realize, however, that what's happening in Wisconsin is as much about destroying the base of the Democratic Party as it is about protecting the right to collective bargaining.

    •  Too many democratic leaders (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      esquimaux, FrankSpoke, GypsyT

      along with almost all of the republican leaders and representatives have been bought and paid for by greedy corporatists and plutocrats.

      We have an unhill battle because too many with power now to change the system to benefit the common good (the election finance laws), are owned by, in league with those who do not want it to change because they are part of the plutocracy.

      But we can win.  If a few rag tag colonists could stand up to the monarchy, who had all the power, the money and even the law on his side, then the citizens of this country can stand up to the unsavory, lying plutocrats.
      Our first task is to educate the ignorant (tea party folks) as to who they are really fighting for...

    •  Korp'rat $$s soften most Dem. leaders' spines. eot (0+ / 0-)

      ..now, where did I leave my torches and villagers?

      by FrankSpoke on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 01:21:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Union Is The Measure (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mike08

    Collective bargaining is free speech

  •  Just as our representative government (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MeToo, FrankSpoke, Mike08, GypsyT

    of, for, and by the people has somehow been painted as an enemy of the people, unions have been tarred as somehow being an enemy of the worker.  This was a wonderful and straight forward rebuttal to that notion.  Thank you very much.

  •  Wonderful presentation (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dirtfarmer

    Thank you.

    Linked to on my Facebook page.

    Democracy is a contact sport...

    by jsmagid on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 09:30:38 AM PST

  •  This article . . . (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dirtfarmer, FrankSpoke

    . . . ranks among the most powerful pieces of writing I have ever read.

    Thank you.

  •  Turn Off The TV And Organize! (0+ / 0-)

    Unions are our only hope.

  •  The Rich and Powerful (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dirtfarmer

    have always tried to divide people into little groups.
    Much easier to CONTROL thay way.

    Superficial differences such as Religion, Ethnic Origin,
    skin Color, Gender and Age are all used to make us FEARFUL of each other.

    And while we are fighting meaningless battles with our
    fellow WORKERS, the Lords and Masters are slowly
    tightening the Noose that will Kill Us.

    On Giving Advice: Smart People Don't Need It and Stupid People Don't Listen

    by Brian76239 on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 09:36:13 AM PST

  •  egypt, too (0+ / 0-)

    when labor decided to side with the protesters, mubarak was through.

    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

    by Laurence Lewis on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 09:36:36 AM PST

  •  Thanks for the diary, Mark (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GypsyT

    Thanks for the diary, Mark.

    We out number them.   The Despot class is only 2% of the population and 3% at most.

    I say UNITE.

  •  if the private sector had been organized (6+ / 0-)

    they would have been able to fight back against all the layoffs, downsizing, outsourcing, slashing of benefits and wages, pension wipeouts, etc. that has been going on for years.

    Instead, the abused have now become the abusers.

    The signs from the Tea Party protesters in Madison yesterday basically said "we took our beatings, now you take yours."

    Guess what, when people are organized, they don't have to take the beatings.

    I find it so stunning and so tragic how the Right has been able to twist the facts and the public dialogue so much that working people are  now lashing out against other working people --- instead of those who actually caused the economic crisis other working people. What kind of sheep are we????? Somehow a $45,000/yr. teacher is being blamed for our economic crisis? Really?

    We all know who is really to blame for the budget crisis going on in this country. Where is their "sacrifice", where are their benefits, pay and bonus cuts??? Why aren't they giving the money they stole back to us? Why aren't they in jail for the crimes they committed?

    I hope when the unions end up opening their can of whoop ass on Governor Walker, they come to Washington and Wall Street where the real abusers are.

  •  Coincidental confluence - my morning's surfing (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dirtfarmer, FrankSpoke, GypsyT

    Before even reloading 'Kos to bring Sumner's piece I had been looking over discussions on and descriptions of two pertinent SCOTUS cases:

    National League of Cities, and the ensuing decision about a decade later of Garcia v. SAMTA.

    What struck me in going through the various analyses (a very interesting discussion from an historical perspective on NLC is at  South Carolina Law Review which was written shortly after the NLC decision) was the absence of any invocation of 1st Amendment rights.

    So, you can imagine how pleasant it was to reload 'Kos and find exactly that issue touched upon in Sumner's piece. Beyond the obvious "union" and what it means in the context of the 1st amendment right to assembly, is there not another guiding principle Walker's bill would trample underfoot? If WI strips worker's rights to collectively bargain, moreover if they do such selectively, are they not also seeking to limit or eliminate the right to redress?

  •  A moment lost (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    flavor411, Catsmeat

    I keep looking at the pictures of these huge crowds and envisioning our President standing in front of them giving a speech that would remind all of us how important the common man and woman is to this country.

  •  Thanks for a great essay. (7+ / 0-)

    I was a teacher here in WI for 7 years on the high school level and my husband taught for 32 years here.  We believe strongly in unions and have been very disheartened to see them weakened over the past several years.  This coming together in Madison, however, has restored our hope and firm belief that the unions here will prevail and if the Republicans don't get a clue very soon, they will not get control of the governorship OR legislature for a generation.  Mess with people's right to bargain and they WILL remember.

    If the people stay united, they cannot be defeated. Solidarity!

    by 3goldens on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 09:46:03 AM PST

  •  Viralize This Document (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    emal, David Kaib, Catsmeat

    Disseminate this excellent writing to as many folks as you can reach. Thoughtful Americans must understand what's under assault by the Repubs, right-wingers, tea baggers, and others seriously impaired.

  •  considering... (4+ / 0-)

    ..the importance of Unions to the standard of living and to the election of Democrats it is really surprising how little our Democratic politicians do for unions.

    Obama went all out, well sort of, for the health insurance reform but not a peep about card check or any other Union friendly legislation.  Which was also a campaign pledge.  Then there is yet more trade deals with other countries to the detriment of the US working class.

    Considering how many union members work for campaigns you would think helping out unions would be job one.  It amazes me how unions still help out even though they are taken for granted so much.

    We Glory in war, in the shedding of human blood. What fools we are.

    by delver rootnose on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 09:59:02 AM PST

    •  Obama will be funded by the 'Finance Industry' (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      emal, delver rootnose, esquimaux, Catsmeat

      in the 2012 election.
      That explains a lot.

      btw Interesting term "finance industry".
      It's an industry that produces almost nothing these days, but increasingly seems to profit by causing damage to the U.S. economy.

      A blood sucking leech on the American people.

    •  That's one reason (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      delver rootnose

      why I'm not really interested in Obama or Herb Kohl saying anything.

      On the one hand, we progressives need to get out of our silos, but on the other hand I don't want our interests - in this case labor - to just become an appendage of the Democratic Party.

      We need to organize outside of the party apparatus - even if we do GOTV drives for Democrats and vote for them on election day.

      liberal bias = failure to validate or sufficiently flatter the conservative narrative on any given subject

      by RockyMtnLib on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 11:31:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is one of the best things I've read in a... (0+ / 0-)

    long time. Thank you Mark. Great work.

  •  Other Unions (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    flavor411

    Do we know to what extent other unions around the country are helping to support the people in WI?  I belong to AFSME in PA and haven't heard anything from them about it.  I'd much prefer that the dues I pay to helping the people in WI continue the struggle versus subsidizing another trip to Atlantic City or an X-mas party.  

    "If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy" - James Madison

    by Hotspur18 on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 10:07:39 AM PST

  •  I am as convinced of this (5+ / 0-)

    being true as almost anything in my lifetime.  It was the strength of the unions that  built the American middle and working class from the '30's through the '80's.  My father was a Steelworker in the '50's and '60's.  As a young boy I learned at my mother's knee about the hard won battles for wages and benefits.  Sometimes there were deaths of strikers and gunshots were fired at or near the picket line at the steel plant.  The unions had to continually fight to maintain gains and help workers and families live decent lives with fair wages and good benefits.  My mother told me about strikes that were risky and that she and my father had to set enough money aside for a six month period of time to cover possible strikes.  We lived a good life.  Five siblings went to Catholic schools.  We had  a stay at home Mom.  We had new cars and pickups often.  We had Sunday drives - just driving through the countryside. We enjoyed life.  We had the latest electronic and consumer goods (remember console stereos?).  We had an idyllic life.  

    The future for my son and his wife and two children is bleak.  Though he has a g reat employer and a solid job and has purchased a modest home, he needs financial help from extended familymembers  to just get by.  

    I remember well when the black days began for American workers.  The clouds rolled in when Reagan busted the Air Traffic Controllers' union (PATCO) strike in 1981.  Reagan had some of the leaders jailed and broke that union.  From some of the research I have done, much of the American public admired Reagan for that "leadership."

    It has been downhill for American workers ever since.

    •  That alone (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tommyfocus2003

      should have sparked impeachment proceedings. Democrats still had the U.S. House. Republicans had the Senate, but I'm not sure that the vast majority of them were like the Teabaggers of today.

      Even if the proceedings wouldn't have ultimately led to his removal from office, it could have weakened his presidency.

      liberal bias = failure to validate or sufficiently flatter the conservative narrative on any given subject

      by RockyMtnLib on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 12:57:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I actually became anti-union due to open left. (0+ / 0-)

    I had no real feelings on unions before that because I had never seen one.  

    I don't believe any of the untrue things about them (For example germany has strong unions and it is doing quite well economically.

    However I don't think that they are the way forward.  I think that nothing bad will happen if teachers, etc lose their union.

    Some may argue that I am just jealous of their union status.  And I think that may be a part of it.  But I am jealous of rich people too and I do think that they should be less rich.

    To be fair though I think a large part of it is just cultural beliefs.  I think northeasteners really aren't good at connecting with the rest of the country.

  •  Unions have become known a lot more... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hmi

    for getting big raises and excessive protectionism than battling corporate evils. The fact that unions have also been fertile ground for corruption, backdoor deals and associations with the Mafia doesn't help their cause.

    Unions have become better known for extracting huge pay raises, bonuses and benefits than fighting for worker rights.

    And the fact is that unions caused many headaches for the govt in WWII.

    So it's time for unions to realize it's not 1911 any more and those battles - while historic and imoprtant - are over.

    •  Seen in the movies (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      esquimaux

      When people get their information about unions from the movies . . .

      The CLEAR Act would sell carbon shares to fuel producers and return 75 percent of the revenue in checks of $1,100 per year to every American. - Sen. Maria Cantwell

      by mrobinson on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 11:04:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  yecch (0+ / 0-)

      what a nasty collection of right wing propaganda.

      "Great is the guilt of an unnecessary war" - John Adams

      by esquimaux on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 11:28:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Are you lost? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      David Kaib

      This is a progressive blog.

    •  Got any credible links with facts (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GypsyT

      to support those beliefs? Especially anything from the past decade.

      I'm laughing at the "extracting huge pay raises, bonuses and benefits" part.... You do realize that facts tell quite a different story about the middle class here...and you know that wages for these people have been stagnant for the past 3 decades. ...and that would include most union members....

      That said then you go onto "corruption, back door deals"...Zomg...You want corruption and back door deals regarding something non union related that absolutely blows away anything you could ever point to regarding any union anywhere...any day and within the last decade.

      It's called see the FCIC report about how the greedy selfish corporate banksters/ politicians/regulators/ and financial insurance real estate  industry basically caused the worst global economic collapse ever.  All occurring within the last decade and coming to a head in 2008. Yeah we're talking billions/trillions of cost here in terms of rigging and back room deals...and this caused the financial budget crisis in our country, other nations,  state and local budgets, and with every family. And yet none of those responsible involved in it have been held accountable or lost their money, lost their job, been jailed, prosecuted in any meaningful way ...no they're rewarded, still running things, still raking in bonuses and record profits and pay....asked to pay some slap on the hand fines (at the corporations expense) with no admission of wrong doing.  We're talking trillions.

      It's that corruption that is even the reason we're  talking about unions today...because of that corruption. Unions have nothing to do with this crisis...many public union members have already taken unpaid furlough days, seen their wages frozen, seen their work demands increase, seen their contribution to health insurance increase for at least the past decade so please...just stop and get educated with some facts before you spout such nonsense.

      It will not matter how much money was in my bank account, but the world may be a better place because I was important in the life of a child.

      by emal on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 02:18:37 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  "these beliefs"? (0+ / 0-)

        I deal in facts, not propaganda.

        No, I use real live actual facts - like the fact that Boeing's aircraft workers wrangled a $3K bonus just for signing their last contract.

        Like the various stories about places like NYC, Newark and Jersey City where union officials were on the take. Do some research and find out.

        I SUPPORT the WI unions. I support their right to bargain with the govt in good faith.

        What I don't support is idiotic propaganda that union leaders are as innocent as newborn babes. And that perception of corrupt greedy leadership is what's hurting them in the public forum.

        •  You think that is exorbitant (0+ / 0-)

          they signed a bonus for 3 thousand dollars.... versus 3 TRillion dollars for bankstahs/corporations financial insurance and real estate people...one drop of water compared to a whole ocean....

          But more importantly you still couldn't provide a link so I could understand exactly what else was in that contract when you're the one making that claim. Plus you tell me to do some research when I'm not the one making the claim, you are. Plus You provide no other context surrounding the deals of the contract whatsoever...that's meaningless.

          You're talking the right wing talking points and belief system here based on your one remembrance of one instance or at most even just a handful of instances compared to millions of people with union membership and thousands of contracts. You get angry because I'm suppose to blindly believe and just trust you're correct because you say so...sorry.

          And yes what idiotic propaganda would union leaders be spouting? Links please...and make it relevant.

          You make comments you treat as factual you need to provide links with facts.

          It will not matter how much money was in my bank account, but the world may be a better place because I was important in the life of a child.

          by emal on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 03:45:43 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  No, I think it's damned unfair to... (0+ / 0-)

            non-represented employees who don't get the same. THAT'S what.

            Obviously you think that IS fair. So much for the left's belief that we're all equal.

            •  The benefits (0+ / 0-)

              those "non-represented" employees have and take for granted... like a 40 hour work week and paid vacation and sick leave, etc... exist only because of unions. Historically there was once a time when none of those existed... then they only existed if you could get a union job... now they are ubiquitous... but the corporate puppetmasters of the Gov. Walkers of the world want, despite record profits, to return to the days where employment was a step above being a slave... where worker safety is irrelevant (something usually addressed in collective bargaining of the type they are trying to  eliminate in WI); where continued employment is at the whim of management; where health care is limited to "don't get sick" or "get sick and get fired"; where there is no 401K where one can save for retirement; where you can be paid less if you are a woman or a minority with impunity, etc.

              And you think they are being "fair" in wanting to roll this back? Seriously?

              Fear doesn't just breed incomprehension. It also breeds a spiteful, resentful hate of anyone and everyone who is in any way different from you.

              by awesumtenor on Tue Feb 22, 2011 at 06:55:33 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  Mark, I've read some of your fiction, but (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dirtfarmer

    I have to say, none of it was as good as this piece of prose.

    On Wisconsin!
    #solidarity

    "in Order to form a more perfect Union"
    Basta de Guerra. No más. Enough War. No more.

    by Angie in WA State on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 10:38:27 AM PST

  •  Time for general strike (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bernardpliers, RockyMtnLib

    this battle is big and comprehensive and requires actions that starkly illustrate the issues at risk. Unions, women, minorities...need to call a general strike in the US and show we will not take this laying down.

  •  Walker On Fox "I Have No Fucking Clue" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dirtfarmer, GypsyT

    He says the disupute is not about collective bargaining, which was not affected.

    Even Chris Wallace wasn't buying that and soon Walker was talking out of both sides of his mouth.

    Walker more or less admits he has no clue why people are striking.

  •  Totally recommend this article. (0+ / 0-)

    Everyone on the Kos should follow suit.

    One other note: Solidarity in Poland was a union effort. Lech Walesa was the founder of this union. This union caused some of the first dominoes to fall in the breakup of the former Soviet Union.  

  •  Great story - Republican Hypocrisy (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dsb, dirtfarmer, GypsyT

    Seven new Oregon Republican legislators have refused their elilgibility to participate in PERS (Public Employee Retirement System) because they are part of the movement here to change agreements made over 30 years ago in lieu of wage increases.  The state and other government agreed to pay 6% of their salaries into the penion fund. Sounds noble, doesn't it?

    The catch - they are still taking the money!  Instead of PERS they "elected to have their 6% contribution put into the Oregon Savings Growth Plan, a deferred compensation plan that allows individuals to direct the money into stock indexes or other investment funds. That doesn't save the state any money, but allows them to say they refused to be part of PERS."

  •  Related to this (0+ / 0-)

    George Lakoff yesterday wrote an outstanding piece on the overall conservative worldview:

     What conservatives really want

    liberal bias = failure to validate or sufficiently flatter the conservative narrative on any given subject

    by RockyMtnLib on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 11:57:00 AM PST

  •  F.D.R. Warned Us (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hmi

    “It is impossible to bargain collectively with the government.”

    That wasn’t Newt Gingrich, or Ron Paul, or Ronald Reagan talking. That was George Meany -- the former president of the A.F.L.-C.I.O -- in 1955. Government unions are unremarkable today, but the labor movement once thought the idea absurd.

    Public sector unions insist on laws that serve their interests -- at the expense of the common good. .The founders of the labor movement viewed unions as a vehicle to get workers more of the profits they help create. Government workers, however, don’t generate profits. They merely negotiate for more tax money. When government unions strike, they strike against taxpayers. F.D.R. considered this “unthinkable and intolerable.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/...

    •  FDR also interned the Japanese (0+ / 0-)

      And there is a reason union supporters rarely call on George Meany to back up their arguments.  Next you can tell us how Samuel Gompers didn't like industrial unions.  

      Please stop with the nonsense appeals to authority.  

      Politics is the art of the possible, but that means you have to think about changing what is possible, not that you have to accept it in perpetuity.

      by David Kaib on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 12:09:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  That's why public unions have the STRIKE CLAUSE! (0+ / 0-)
      When government unions strike, they strike against taxpayers.

      "...I just want you to know there are BILLIONS of us rooting for you..." Sir Paul McCartney

      by eden4barack08 on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 05:02:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Mark - superb (typo?=citizens to "treat " -line 6) (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GAladybug

    I wanted to point that out since so many, myself included, think this is a strikingly (sorry..) concise argument highlighting the significance of the current attack on all working citizens of this country.

    And if it goes viral, you wanna look your best.. ;-)

    ..now, where did I leave my torches and villagers?

    by FrankSpoke on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 12:00:46 PM PST

  •  Perfectly written, and to the point. (0+ / 0-)

    I tried to touch on this a bit in my post, and I'd love it if the lovely community of the Kos tore it up so that I can comfortably send it to the more conservative members of my family without fear that I overlooked something in my argument: http://www.dailykos.com/...

  •  Tea Party plans to infiltrate (0+ / 0-)

    Please inform as many people as you can about the following. The "Patriot Action Network" is planning to infiltrate union rallies across the country (and really hope Kos sees this.)

    Here are the instructions:

    Here is what I am doing in Sacramento, where they are holding a 5:30 PM event this coming Tuesday:  (1) I signed up as an organizer (2) with any luck they will contact me and I will have an “in”  (3) in or not I will be there and am asking as many other people as can get there to come with, all of us in SEIU shirts (those who don’t have them we can possibly buy some from vendors likely to be there)  (4) we are going to target the many TV cameras and reporters looking for comments from the members there  (5) we will approach the cameras to make good pictures… signs under our shirts that say things like “screw the taxpayer!”  and “you OWE me!” to be pulled out for the camera (timing is important because the signs will be taken away from us) (6) we will echo those slogans in angry sounding tones to the cameras and the reporters.  (7) if I do get the ‘in’ I am going to do my darnedest to get podium access and take the mic to do that rant from there…with any luck and if I can manage the moments to build up to it, I can probably get a cheer out of the crowd for something extreme.

    Our goal is to make the gathering look as greedy and goonish as we know that it is, ding their credibility with the media and exploit the lazy reporters who just want dramatic shots and outrageous quotes for headlines.  Even if it becomes known that we are plants the quotes and pictures will linger as defacto truth.

    http://www.patriotactionnetwork.com/...

    Here is the instigator's website:

    http://www.marktalk.com/...

    •  What awful people (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GypsyT

      are on those sites.  I find it difficult to believe that we inhabit the same planet, let alone the same country.  For all that they claim to be christians, they have so much bitter fear and hatred in them - they hate people who don't look like them, they hate people who have more than they do, they hate people who have less than they do, because they might get something the hater doesn't get, they hate people who don't march in lock-step with them - no, that's fear, because if everyone isn't in lock-step, there is room for doubt and doubt terrifies them.

      They are such sad little people - I pity them, but I don't deserve the world they would create and I will fight them to keep it from happening.

  •  Thank you Mr Sumner! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GypsyT

    Brilliant piece! The best I've ever read on what "Unions" truly are. Inspiring, it really moved me.
    Excuse me for gushing, but I just truly LOVED reading this.
    Thank you so much. Well done!

    "...I just want you to know there are BILLIONS of us rooting for you..." Sir Paul McCartney

    by eden4barack08 on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 03:09:44 PM PST

  •  A beautiful piece of writing. (0+ / 0-)

    This needs to be read by everyone in the USA.

    "Don't bring that horse in here!" -- Cassandra

    by tc59 on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 03:32:42 PM PST

  •  Way to own the word! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dsb

    This is exactly what we need to learn to do and do constantly:  define and own the terms of the debate.

    The Republicans made a huge tactical mistake when they read the Constitution into the Congressional Record.  It gives every Democrat a chance to counter one of their proposals with the following simple opening:

    "I remind my colleague that his Party suggested we read the glorious Constitution of the United States into the Congressional Record.  That great document states (insert powerful quote here) which is clearly contrary to the current proposal.  When did my colleague decide to abandon the Constitution we have all sworn to uphold?"

    I've written a little about this in a diary on owning the term "National Security"; the same principles apply. (I assume that including a link one of you own diaries is permissible under DKos etiquette?):

    http://www.dailykos.com/...

    Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. -Frank Zappa

    by TheGrandWazoo on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 04:53:52 PM PST

  •  When will the Kochs (0+ / 0-)

    Be held responsible for what they've done to this country?

    When will people take them directly to task?

  •  So what about the 2nd Amendment? (0+ / 0-)

    What I don't understand is how the gun rights people have so fearlessly held on to their notion that they have a guaranteed right written into the constitution no matter how garbled the language, and  workers no longer seem to understand that the right to organize is equally protected.  

    Business organizes in the form of chambers and clubs and associations and PACs and any and every way to promote their interest and this is never questioned.  Never has been, never will be.  However even workers question the need to stand together to promote their interests.  

    It totally amazes me.  When do workers take the stupid pill?  And more importantly since facts no longer seem to impress anybody, how do we get through to them?  

    One of the best written diaries I've see so far.  

    DK-3 it's been good to know you.

    by YellerDog on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 09:29:48 PM PST

  •  Bravo! (0+ / 0-)

    Thank you for this post.

  •  I died laughing (0+ / 0-)

    when I read this line:

    "The outlawing of independent unions is the clearest and most consistent marker of despotism around the world."

    Actually, the clearest and most consistent marker of despotism is the disarming of the public.  Furthermore, isn't it a bit much to start accusing a US State of despotism, as you are by implication?

    •  Name me the country... (0+ / 0-)

      where indivudual gun ownership has contributed significantly to the overthrow of a dictatorship.

    •  If it walks (0+ / 0-)
      Furthermore, isn't it a bit much to start accusing a US State of despotism, as you are by implication?

      like a duck... Or, as Bill Parcells put it, you are what your record says you are.

      Fact is, there is a long history of despotic behavoir by American governments at every level... ask the 50,000+ black and hispanic youth stopped and frisked by NYPD in a 4 block area of Brooklyn in 3 years with the only probable cause being they were black or hispanic and out in public... Citywide, NYPD stopped and frisked 10 blacks and hispanics for every caucasian stopped and frisked... yet the muber of caucasians  found  with weapons and/or drugs and arrested after such stops was equal to the number of blacks and hispanics.

      The arrest numbers say they should be stopping more caucasians and fewer blacks and hispanics; their choosing to do it the other way around is a despotic action...

      so if you think it a bit much to accuse  US government at the federal,state, county or municipal level of despotism, maybe you should try getting out of Mayberry once in a while.

      Fear doesn't just breed incomprehension. It also breeds a spiteful, resentful hate of anyone and everyone who is in any way different from you.

      by awesumtenor on Tue Feb 22, 2011 at 07:07:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Beautifully said! (0+ / 0-)

    "Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world." - Howard Zimm

  •  Solidarity: Tunisia, Egypt, Wisc. and Libya n/t (0+ / 0-)

    The Top 1% and the United States of Inequality http://tinyurl.com/2bxg8tp

    by FIREeconomy on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 08:27:31 PM PST

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