Wisconsin IWW international solidarity letter

Appeal for solidarity from the Madison, Wisconsin Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) branch.

Submitted by Juan Conatz on March 16, 2011

Fellow Workers – Students – Supporters

International Capital is confronting International Labor on the world stage. Our neighbors in Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia have recently shown the world how to bring governments and rulers to their knees. As the struggle unfolds, we are learning from each other minute-to-minute.

Despotic rule and repression take many forms
In Madison, The Industrial Workers of the World are active in a fight against Governor Scott Walker, who serves the infamous Koch brothers and the wider corporate interests. We believe it will take a General Strike to stop Walker's legislation and strengthen the labor movement.

Governor Walker and conservative legislators have pushed through a plan that will virtually destroy all unions for public employees, except for firefighters, police, and the state patrol. They also plan to severely cut welfare and medical programs, and reduce rights for immigrants.

Before the deal could pass, rank-and-file union members and supporters occupied the capitol en masse and protested outside, teachers staged sick-outs, students walked out and occupied buildings. This is a level of sustained militancy that has not been seen for a long time in the US. Furthermore, the labor federation in Madison endorsed a general strike and no concessions, putting the idea of a general strike into the public debate. This mobilization continued for weeks while opposition lawmakers fled the state, preventing the bill from being approved.

However, despite the outpouring of support for Wisconsin public workers, Walker and his supporters found a parliamentary loophole that allowed them to bypass this stalemate. There is a strong push to recall the politicians who supported the bill. However, we believe that this course of action will only neutralize the righteous anger of the people. In order to produce actual change, we must commit to using the strength that we hold as workers: the power to stop work.

Therefore, the Industrial Workers of the World is calling for a General Strike as the first step to combating these austerity measures. Through cross-racial unity we can smash the divisions that divide us. Through a general strike, workers and students can maximize this movement.

We need to let union and non-union workers, the unemployed, and all disenfranchised people of the world know that true power does not rest in the marble halls of the capitol building or corporate boardrooms. It is through unity and action that our hearts and minds become the pathways of power and resistance.

Today and for the struggle ahead, we are asking for your support
● Write letters of support for the rank-and-file militancy and mobilization.
● Hold solidarity rallies. Look for days of mobilization. Remember us on May 1.
● Donate for organizing: http://donate.iww.org

Through solidarity and direct action, we can stop this legislation and reinvigorate the working class worldwide. We hope you will come to our aid in the battle we are fighting today, and we will never forget the unity and spirit that you show us.

Madison IWW
PO Box 2442
Madison, WI, 53703