Fighting for justice is lifetime commitment; a long walk for the long haul. Victories take months, years, and decades. Public employee workers in Wisconsin suffered a bitter, bitter defeat when fifty years of labor gains were wiped out by Walker and the Republicans who, yesterday, illegally passed, arguably, the most draconian anti-union bill in Wisconsin’s history. Next will be a court challenge, recall efforts, and a key vote on a Wisconsin Supreme Court election. One should expect strikes to be called. If not, labor will go down without a fight. Four weeks of demonstrating and a two week occupation of the State Capitol Building did not produce a victory.
The next coming weeks will be key and will determine the future of labor and the middle class in Wisconsin and beyond. People are still fighting mad. The Midwest, once a stronghold for unions, has become witness to a calculated attack by Republicans aimed at destroying public unions, public education, and public health care programs. In short time, the Midwest, already home to massive unemployment and foreclosure rates, is heading the direction of southern states where wages are suppressed and unions are in rapid decline.
In three short months, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio have seen an unprecedented attack on collective bargaining rights. Democracy has been trampled upon by lawmakers. In Michigan, Republican Gov. Snyder passed a law that allows him to dissolve an entire city’s government and replace elected officials with anyone of his choosing, including a corporation. How far are these rat bastards going to go in their quest to hoard every last dollar? How can this be legal? How can this not spark a major uprising?
In Wisconsin, a small, but symbolic action began today. Roughly 60-80 people – teachers, students, workers – began a three day walk from Milwaukee to Madison to join the protests in Madison. (100,000 are expected to demonstrate on Saturday, including farmers on tractors.) The march was the idea of students at Riverside High School in Milwaukee who watched a documentary film on Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers Movement and were inspired to set out on the long walk for justice. So, today, at 6:00am, marchers set out on a 40 mile walk west on a 90 mile journey that will take three days to get to Madison.
Learn more about P.O.W.E.R. (People Organizing Wisconsin for Education and Workers’ Rights) here