Wisconsin protests: updates and discussion

447 posts / 0 new
Last post
Juan Conatz's picture
Juan Conatz
Offline
Joined: 29-04-08
Feb 23 2011 01:35

Bunch of photos I took
http://s275.photobucket.com/albums/jj292/conatz/Madison%20February%2021%202011%20Protests/

petey
Offline
Joined: 13-10-05
Feb 23 2011 14:15

among jc's pictures is one of 'cops for labor'. i've been impressed that the groups excluded from the collective bargaining wrecking bill have shown up:

there's also a youtube of the firefighters bagpipe band marching into the state house

syndicalist
Offline
Joined: 15-04-06
Feb 23 2011 15:14

Here's what the Labor Council actually passed:

Quote:
"Around 10:50PM Wisconsin Time on February 21st the South Central Federation of Labor endorsed the following motions:

Motion 1: The SCFL endorses a general strike, possibly for the day Walker signs his “budget repair bill,” and requests the Education Committee immediately begin educating affiliates and members on the organization and function of a general strike."

Motion 2: The SCFL goes on record as opposing all provisions contained in Walker’s “budget repair bill,” including but not limited to, curtailed bargaining rights and reduced wages, benefits, pensions, funding for public education, changes to medical assistance programs, and politicization of state government agencies.

The wbsite of the Southern Central Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO (with 45,000 members)covering the Madison and Southern Central Wisconsin then qualified what they mean by the concept of a general strike:

Quote:
"GENERAL STRIKE ENDORSEMENT: At SCFL’s monthly meeting Monday, Feb. 21, delegates endorsed the following: "The SCFL endorses a general strike, possibly for the day Walker signs his 'budget repair bill.'" An ad hoc committee was formed to explore the details. SCFL did not CALL for a general strike because it does not have that authority.

Also passed was the following motion: "The SCFL goes on record as opposing all provisions contained in Walker’s 'budget repair bill,' including but not limited to, curtailed bargaining rights and reduced wages, benefits, pensions, funding for public education, changes to medical assistance programs, and politicization of state government agencies."

http://www.scfl.org/

PS: Check this out --- http://www.facebook.com/pages/General-Strike-in-Wisconsin/166547476728383

Juan Conatz's picture
Juan Conatz
Offline
Joined: 29-04-08
Feb 23 2011 19:13

Indiana Official: "Use Live Ammunition" Against Wisconsin Protesters
http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/02/indiana-official-jeff-cox-live-ammunition-against-wisconsin-protesters

From http://twitter.com/SarahESloan

Quote:
#Madison Capitol Bldg is packed at 12:45pm #killthebill #wiunion #notmywi #solidaritywi #wisconsin http://yfrog.com/h2lhbezj

Tom Morello - Wisconsin Protests - Speech and Union Song - Madison, WI 2-21-11
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_8qrlyZKx4&feature=player_embedded#at=46

Samotnaf
Offline
Joined: 9-06-09
Feb 23 2011 21:22

petey:quote]among jc's pictures is one of 'cops for labor'. i've been impressed that the groups excluded from the collective bargaining wrecking bill have shown up

Obviously cops are for labor - it's when people refuse to labor that the cops hit out.

Are there any others here who find these "cops for labor" ever so slightly hypocritical, or is this movement so far so tame (laboring for the cops) that cops feel ok about being nice about it? I know cops are deserting their designated roles in various parts of North Africa (and even here, most of them merely want to continue laboring for different masters), but that's certainly not happening in Wisconsin and to be "impressed" by cops merely demonstrating is hardly trying to take a critical stance on the situation. In France, magistrates and judges have been on strike against Sarkozy recently - but they're still scumbags and I, for one, am not impressed (even if it's quite funny).

Juan Conatz's picture
Juan Conatz
Offline
Joined: 29-04-08
Feb 23 2011 21:33

Just to be clear, there has been no general strike called. The SCLF is made up of representatives and has endorsed the idea of a general strike. The affiliate unions have to actually decide this. While it's an exciting development nonetheless, it seems some people haven't picked up on this (judging by my Facebook...lol). I'm curious to see how it breaks down or how the affiliate unions react. My impression is that regional labor federation bodies have a much higher proportion of activists and radicals and thus are not necessarily reflective of the affiliate unions' bureaucracy or membership...

Django's picture
Django
Offline
Joined: 18-01-08
Feb 23 2011 22:06

Journalist impersonates Koch brother on phone to Gov Walker, who admits discussing use of agent provocateurs, amongst other things.

Link

petey
Offline
Joined: 13-10-05
Feb 23 2011 22:49

i guess i shouldn't be surprised

Quote:
Obviously cops are for labor - it's when people refuse to labor that the cops hit out.

that's for libcommunity please

Quote:
cops merely demonstrating

well seeing as they've been explicitly exempted from the collective bargaining takeaway, that they should go public with others doing exactly the same thing - "merely" demonstrating - for the sake of worker unity when their own interests aren't affected is, yes, impressive. they were exempted no doubt so that walker could (try to) split labor's stance, and (try to) keep them happy for when he wants them to "hit out." looks like he failed, at least so far.

ps - maybe i "lied" somewhere in there. go find it, that's a good boy.

Juan Conatz's picture
Juan Conatz
Offline
Joined: 29-04-08
Feb 23 2011 22:49

I'm kinda curious about the reports that Madison police are outstretched so they've been bringing in out of city Department of Natural Resource and State Trooper officers. Is it really because they're outstretched or is the brass worried the cops who've been in the capitol building all week, some of who have been protesters as well, will be hesitant to obey the possible order to clear people out?

Juan Conatz's picture
Juan Conatz
Offline
Joined: 29-04-08
Feb 23 2011 23:59
Juan Conatz wrote:
Indiana Official: "Use Live Ammunition" Against Wisconsin Protesters
http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/02/indiana-official-jeff-cox-live-ammunition-against-wisconsin-protesters

He was removed
http://www.in.gov/portal/news_events/67393.htm

Midwest IWW Facebook Page
facebook.com/midwestiww

From http://twitter.com//iwwflysquad

Quote:
Working on list of action items 4 folks who can't b in Madison. If you can help, contact FW Zenke on FB or msg Midwest IWW in earlier tweets
Chilli Sauce's picture
Chilli Sauce
Offline
Joined: 5-10-07
Feb 24 2011 00:20

The North London Local of the Solidarity Federation would like to show our deepest solidarity with the Wisconsin working class. While we, like the IWW to whom this statement is directly addressed, share a critique of the trade unions we also recognize that the attack on public sector collective bargaining is much larger than the AFL-CIO. It is full frontal assault on all workers in Wisconsin and will reverberate not only in that state but across the entire country. Such a move will put downward pressure on the wages of private sector workers, organized and unorganized alike, will embolden employers to demand concessions, and, if successful, will likely be copied by state and local governments across the US.

We are heartened by the spontaneous forms of industrial action already being witnessed in Wisconsin: sick-ins by teachers supported by student walkouts; mass protests, demonstrations and disruptions in Madison; and the occupation of the capitol building. These actions must continue and build. Pressure must be stepped up on the state government, private-sector companies, and the entire employing class. The power is our hands.

Finally, we agree with the IWW that a total general strike is the best defence the Wisconsin working class has against these draconian laws. Much like the fact that the emancipation of the working class can only be achieved by the working class itself, the defense of the working class can not be left to union bureaucrats, politicians, or pressure groups. It is working class power, exercised through class solidarity, that will beat back SB11. You have our fullest support and solidarity.

Therefore NLSF is glad to donate £x (approximately $x) to the Madison Wisconsin branch of the Industrial Workers of the World.

what ever
Offline
Joined: 20-07-10
Feb 24 2011 00:26

It seems pretty safe to assume that police in support of labor will have to chose sides when anything else besides a docile crowd amasses in around the Capitol in Madison.

They still remain at all the doors and making sure that nothing gets out of hand in and outside the building.

Self-policing remains the largest obstacle to overcome.

Juan Conatz's picture
Juan Conatz
Offline
Joined: 29-04-08
Feb 24 2011 00:40
what ever wrote:
It seems pretty safe to assume that police in support of labor will have to chose sides when anything else besides a docile crowd amasses in around the Capitol in Madison.

They still remain at all the doors and making sure that nothing gets out of hand in and outside the building.

Self-policing remains the largest obstacle to overcome.

The also were restricting the amount of people going in to match the people coming out due to structural concerns. Supposedly the building is rated for 6,700 people inside. Couldn't tell if there was actually that many people though, I'm bad at crowd estimation

petey
Offline
Joined: 13-10-05
Feb 24 2011 02:37
what ever wrote:
It seems pretty safe to assume that police in support of labor will have to chose sides when anything else besides a docile crowd amasses in around the Capitol in Madison.

there's no doubt of that. i'm still happy that some of them in the first instance know where their interests really are.

Juan Conatz wrote:
is the brass worried the cops who've been in the capitol building all week, some of who have been protesters as well, will be hesitant to obey the possible order to clear people out?
what ever
Offline
Joined: 20-07-10
Feb 24 2011 02:38

Yeah, crowd numbers have been really difficult to estimate. But I wouldn't doubt that there could have easily been more than 7,000 people inside the building at different peak times (especially when there were at least 60,000 marching and mulling about outside).

I've heard that there have been a lot of discussions regarding what to do if an eviction is attempted. It seems that this would not currently be a intelligent strategy on the part of state forces, because of how angry crowd may respond.

Juan Conatz's picture
Juan Conatz
Offline
Joined: 29-04-08
Feb 24 2011 03:40

jesuithitsquad's picture
jesuithitsquad
Offline
Joined: 11-10-08
Feb 24 2011 17:45
Juan Conatz wrote:
Juan Conatz wrote:
Indiana Official: "Use Live Ammunition" Against Wisconsin Protesters
http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/02/indiana-official-jeff-cox-live-ammunition-against-wisconsin-protesters

He was removed
http://www.in.gov/portal/news_events/67393.htm

At the statehouse in Indianapolis this morning, there was a guy with a bull-horn saying "Don't shoot us!"

Alf's picture
Alf
Offline
Joined: 6-07-05
Feb 24 2011 18:42

There is an article about this on our website and a leaflet in PDF, which we invite people to help distribute

http://en.internationalism.org/icconline/2011/02/wisconsin

http://en.internationalism.org/files/en/wisconsin-leaflet-final.pdf

Hieronymous's picture
Hieronymous
Offline
Joined: 27-07-07
Feb 25 2011 08:19

Wis. Assembly passes bill taking away union rights

By TODD RICHMOND, Associated Press Todd Richmond, Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Assembly early Friday passed a bill that would strip most public workers of their collective bargaining rights — the first significant action on the new Republican governor's plan.

The vote put an end to three straight days of punishing debate, but the political standoff over the bill is far from over. The measure now goes to the Senate, where minority Democrats have been missing for a week, preventing a vote in that chamber.

No one knows when — or if — the Senate Democrats will return from their hideout in Illinois. Republicans who control the chamber sent state troopers out looking for them at their homes on Thursday, but they turned up nothing.

Gov. Scott Walker's proposal contains a number of provisions he says are designed to fill the state's $137 million deficit and lay the groundwork for fixing a projected $3.6 billion shortfall in the upcoming 2011-13 budget. The flashpoint is language that would strip almost all public sector workers of their right to collectively bargain benefits and work conditions.

Democrats and unions see the measure as an attack on workers' rights and an attempt to cripple union support for Democrats. Unions have said they would be willing to accept a provision that would increase workers' contributions to their pensions and health care, provided they could still bargain collectively. But Walker has refused to compromise.

Tens of thousands of people have jammed the state Capitol since last week to protest, pounding on drums and chanting so loudly that police who are providing security have resorted to ear plugs. Hundreds have taken to sleeping in the building overnight, dragging in air mattresses and blankets.

While Senate Democrats fled to prevent a vote, Assembly Democrats had been filibustering.

After more than 60 hours in which Democrats threw out dozens of amendments and delivered rambling speeches, Republicans halted debate early Friday. In a matter of seconds, they had approved the bill. Only a few Democrats realized what was going on and managed to vote before the roll was closed.

The Democrats rose from their seats and rushed at the Republicans shouting, "Shame!" as the Republicans exited the chamber.

"I'm incensed. I'm shocked," said Rep. John Richards, D-Milwaukee. "What a terrible, terrible day for Wisconsin."

Republicans refused to speak to reporters, though Majority Leader Scott Suder did issue a written statement.

"The vote we took wasn't the easy thing to do, but it was the right thing to do," Suder, R-Abbotsford, said.

The governor has said that if the bill does not pass by Friday, the state will miss a deadline to refinance $165 million of debt and will be forced to start issuing layoff notices next week. However, the deadline may not as strict as he says.

The nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau said earlier this week that the debt refinancing could be pushed back as late as Tuesday to achieve the savings Walker wants. Based on a similar refinancing in 2004, about two weeks are needed after the bill becomes law to complete the deal. That means if the bill is adopted by the middle of next week, the state can still meet a March 16 deadline, the Fiscal Bureau said.

Democratic Sen. Jon Erpenbach said he and his colleagues wouldn't return until Walker compromised.

Frustrated by the delay, Senate Republican Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, Jeff Fitzgerald's brother, ordered state troopers to find the missing Democrats, but they came up empty. Wisconsin law doesn't allow police to arrest the lawmakers, but Fitzgerald said he hoped the show of authority would have pressured them to return.

Erpenbach, who was in the Chicago area, said all 14 senators remained outside of Wisconsin.

"It's not so much the Democrats holding things up," Erpenbach said. "It's really a matter of Gov. Walker holding things up."

syndicalist
Offline
Joined: 15-04-06
Feb 25 2011 14:26

Here's a bit more on the "general strike" call.....

http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/govt-and-politics/article_64c8d7a8-3e8c-11e0-9911-001cc4c002e0.html

Mike Harman
Offline
Joined: 7-02-06
Feb 25 2011 14:58

Providence, RI just voted to sack every teacher in the city:

http://www.670kboi.com/rssItem.asp?feedid=118&itemid=29637447

klas batalo's picture
klas batalo
Offline
Joined: 5-07-09
Feb 25 2011 16:30

yeah i was at the meeting last night where they assembled all the teachers to let them vent on TV and then get dismissed after the vote…

the rank and file were really more militant than i thought they were gonna be. some university students came in support. a lot of folks called out the school board and heckled.

Jazzhands's picture
Jazzhands
Offline
Joined: 28-01-11
Feb 25 2011 23:17

I'm watching a Democracy Now feature on the inside of the occupied Capital building. The worker they chose to show them around and stuff just used the phrase "An injury to one is an insult to all." You know, from the Wobblies. Apparently, they've also gotten food donations from people in New York, the Midwest, and EGYPT. That's exciting.

I didn't expect the House to not pass the bill, but that'll definitely make it clear to at least a few people in the unions that nothing will change in their lives unless they change it themselves, which hopefully will lead to a radicalization of workers in the unions. Maybe even the union leaders themselves, but that seems laughably unlikely. They'll just do the thing that'll allow them to remain in the good graces of the Democrats by taking the route of least resistance.

Unfortunately, that doesn't take care of the 80something% of the population that isn't in a union. The group that's convinced that the unionized workers are somehow prima donnas because they have any benefits at all, and because they've rejected the race to the bottom that has characterized the economy from the 1980s onward.

I honestly have no idea how to make the blind majority open their eyes to the idea that maybe they should be a little bit pissed off that they get paid in peanuts instead of raging against people who've started to figure things out. Revolutionary action in America is not even remotely possible unless that happens.

jesuithitsquad's picture
jesuithitsquad
Offline
Joined: 11-10-08
Feb 25 2011 23:56
Jazzhands wrote:
Unfortunately, that doesn't take care of the 80something% of the population that isn't in a union. The group that's convinced that the unionized workers are somehow prima donnas because they have any benefits at all, and because they've rejected the race to the bottom that has characterized the economy from the 1980s onward.

I think this is grossly overstated. You've been watching too much Fox News or something. wink Most polls show that union supporters vs. detractors is roughly a 50-50 split in the states.

Quote:
I honestly have no idea how to make the blind majority open their eyes to the idea that maybe they should be a little bit pissed off that they get paid in peanuts instead of raging against people who've started to figure things out. Revolutionary action in America is not even remotely possible unless that happens.

Respectfully, this comes across as incredibly elitist though I'm sure you don't intend it that way. Most people I know are incredibly pissed about their working conditions. It's just that we're all so atomised and feel so powerless that no one knows quite what to do--including most pro-revolutionaries, if they're honest. And, like most pissed off people, we look for someone to blame. In the absence of a wide-spread critique of capitalism, it's pretty easy to blame the wrong group. I'm sure you didn't wake up one day with immaculate politics.

Kinglear
Offline
Joined: 18-01-11
Feb 26 2011 02:56

Jesuithitsquad says that we're all incredibly pissed and that 'we're all so atomized and feel so powerless'. Yes, we're pissed but we're only atomized because we don't pull together and we feel powerless because we only do what the Union says, or the Democrats, or the Tea Party,or whoever else happens to be speaking for the defense of the capitalist system. But we are the working class, and if it wasn't for us there'd be no capitalist system because it gets it's profits from drinking our blood. So why feel powerless? The future of the whole lousy, idiotic, murderous capitalist system is in our hands. Without our continuous support it will collapse at our feet. It cannot survive without us. If we would just admit it, we workers are the most powerful class on the planet. We keep the world going - but give away all the benefits to the bosses, the rich, the elected politicians, and all the rest who love to screw us.. So no wonder we're incredibly pissed. But we're certainly not powerless.

huli
Offline
Joined: 15-04-10
Feb 26 2011 03:04

Update:

"Police union official urges officers to sleep among protesters, keep Capitol open":

http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/govt-and-politics/article_b785247a-404d-11e0-91f6-001cc4c03286.html

Juan Conatz's picture
Juan Conatz
Offline
Joined: 29-04-08
Feb 26 2011 07:12

Headed up to Madison in the morning (6-7 hours after this post). Tried to configure my phone so I could send pix on it, but no luck. If people are interested I got a Twiitter, so I'll update anything interesting I see or hear

http://twitter.com/juanconatz

jesuithitsquad's picture
jesuithitsquad
Offline
Joined: 11-10-08
Feb 26 2011 18:45
Kinglear wrote:
Jesuithitsquad says that we're all incredibly pissed and that 'we're all so atomized and feel so powerless'. Yes, we're pissed but we're only atomized because we don't pull together and we feel powerless because we only do what the Union says, or the Democrats, or the Tea Party,or whoever else happens to be speaking for the defense of the capitalist system. But we are the working class, and if it wasn't for us there'd be no capitalist system because it gets it's profits from drinking our blood. So why feel powerless? The future of the whole lousy, idiotic, murderous capitalist system is in our hands. Without our continuous support it will collapse at our feet. It cannot survive without us. If we would just admit it, we workers are the most powerful class on the planet. We keep the world going - but give away all the benefits to the bosses, the rich, the elected politicians, and all the rest who love to screw us.. So no wonder we're incredibly pissed. But we're certainly not powerless.

if you would re-read my post, you might notice i never said we are powerless only that we feel that way.

Steven.'s picture
Steven.
Offline
Joined: 27-06-06
Feb 26 2011 19:29

This report claims that police refused to clear out the protesters and instead joined them inside capitol building:
http://understory.ran.org/2011/02/25/breaking-wisconsin-police-have-joined-protest-inside-state-capitol/

Quote:
Hundreds of cops have just marched into the Wisconsin state capitol building to protest the anti-Union bill, to massive applause. They now join up to 600 people who are inside.”

Ryan reported on his Facebook page earlier today:

“Police have just announced to the crowds inside the occupied State Capitol of Wisconsin: ‘We have been ordered by the legislature to kick you all out at 4:00 today. But we know what’s right from wrong. We will not be kicking anyone out, in fact, we will be sleeping here with you!’ Unreal

any confirmation or more information?

Samotnaf
Offline
Joined: 9-06-09
Feb 26 2011 19:32

Got this from a friend. Not really sure if this has been covered or not, but it doesn't seem so:

- faculty at a university in lacrosse (western wisconsin) voted 24th Feb. to unionize in the face of the growing tension in the state.

- disabled people took part in a protest- with some union workers - at the republican headquarters in madison (first madison protest away from the capital i've heard of) against health care cuts that are in the bill.

- madison police chief is acting concerned that the governor wanted to plant troublemakers in the demonstrations without consulting him first.

- police are saying today that the occupation of the capitol ends today - Saturday night at 6p.m. for security reasons. we'll see if this generates some resistance or new arenas of struggle...or just passive acqiescence.

- and hundreds of layoffs were announced Thursday (24th) for the Madison State schools...