Progressives everywhere should be very proud, and stand in solidarity with Wisconsin public servants and their supporters, who have rallied at the state capitol in Madison for the past three days to protest Republican Governor Scott Walker’s plan to strip workers of long held rights to collective bargaining, and to stop the raid on the salaries and benefits earned by hard won efforts over many years by thousands of dedicated teachers, nurses, police officers, paramedics, firefighters, prison guards, librarians, sanitation workers, social workers and others!
Wisconsin is the home of the progressive movement of a century ago, begun by Governor and Senator and third party presidential candidate Robert LaFollette, Sr. Wisconsin has had many great political leaders, including LaFollette’s two sons, Senator Robert LaFollette, Jr and Governor Philip LaFollette; Russ Feingold; William Proxmire; Gaylord Nelson; Herb Kohl; David Obey; and Patrick Lucey among others.
Democratic lawmakers in the State Senate have fled to Illinois, in order to prevent a 3/5th quorum needed to pass legislation, and we should support their refusal to come back and participate in what is seen as a union busting tactic encouraged by conservative talk show hosts and conservative think tanks and the billionaire Koch Brothers who have been conspiring to stop all reforms and promote corporate power as part of the Republican takeover of many state governorships and the House of Representatives!
The battle in Wisconsin is also the battle in Ohio, Florida, New Jersey and other states, as Wisconsin is simply the first in a long struggle to preserve the great reforms of the New Deal and Great Society. Middle class Americans are seeing their status destroyed, as the elite upper class sets out to concentrate wealth even more, which will lead to a growing underclass, and the wiping out of the middle class!
It is encouraging that President Obama has now come to the defense of public service employees, and it is making very clear where Democrats stand against the Republican onslaught against labor and the middle class!