Submitted by Malcy on February 13, 2011

Wisconsin governor threatens to use National Guard

Just saw this on Labourstart. Republican Wisconsin governor, Scott Walker, threatening to draft in National Guard to maintain state services in the event of any resistance to his plan. Does anyone close, or in, Wisconsin know what the mood is among the state workers? Uill they strike?

admin: thread title changed from "Wisconsin withdrawing collective bargaining rights from state workers. Governor threatens to use National Guard."

Chilli Sauce

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

That is fucking mental. I mean, I have no love for the trade unions, but this is just next level. This is a serious ruling class offensive and, man, if they can do that in Wisconsin, I can only imagine what the knock-on effect will be in other states.

Seriously tho, does anyone have contacts in Wisconsin? I want to hear more.

Plumber

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I'll be posting information here about what is going on as it develops. The tiny left minority is trying to quickly organize the rank-n-file into a more cohesive form. Please ask questions and I'll check back and try to answer them. All I can say is that shit is hitting the fan in a way I've never seen.

Steven.

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Cheers plumber

gypsy

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

what a mess

Tojiah

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

If it works in Wisconsin it can only spread further. The Cuomo, the new governor of New York (a Democrat, of all things) has targeting the nasty State employee unions as a main part of his agenda, for the same reason: to reduce the State deficit. He'll only be goaded on by a success over there.

Chilli Sauce

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Thanks Plumber, please keep us updated with articles, thoughts, impressions, etc.

Plumber

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

A mish-mash of Rank-n-Filers are organizing this to call for militant actions. If the legislation goes through we'll use this to push a city wide general strike...........Democratic union leaders are telling us we can turn this around by lobbing on Tuesday and Wednesday at the Capital building. We'll see......

Tuesday
February 15, 2011
5 to 9 p.m.
Orpheum Theatre
216 State Street, Madison, Wisconsin
5-7 open mic
7-8 panel discussion
8-9 open mic

jesuithitsquad

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I agree with Chili Sauce that this is a full-frontal offensive. Most public sector unions (the article didn't say, but it's gotta be AFSCME, right?) are contractually restricted from striking. However, as it appears from the article Gov. Walker intends to nullify the contract in March, I would think the no-strike provision of the contract would go by the wayside as well (unless the no-strike piece is mandated by law? honestly idk).

This is part of a nationwide trend as mentioned by Tojah. In Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels is doing his level best to destroy the teacher's unions. Fortunately, he has presidential pretensions which will probably limit a full out assault on unions like we're seeing in Wisconsin. To think most people thought Tommy Thompson was a far-out extremist, yet, he would have never dared go this far. Wisconsin's electoral politics are very schizophrenic.

As an aside, I wonder if things start kicking off in a major way if some of the midwest/great lakes libcom posters here (myself, Nate, Juan Conatz to think of a few) could see if we can do some coordinated activity. Just something to think about . .

jesuithitsquad

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

More detailed information in this New York Times article.
NY Times

His proposal would make it harder for unions to collect dues because the state would stop collecting the money from employee paychecks.

He would further weaken union treasuries by giving members of public-sector unions the right not to pay dues. In an unusual move, he would require secret-ballot votes each year at every public-sector union to determine whether a majority of workers still want to be unionized.

He would require public-employee unions to negotiate new contracts every year, an often lengthy process. And he would limit the raises of state employees and teachers to the consumer price index, unless the public approves higher raises through a referendum. Exempted from those changes would be firefighters and law enforcement personnel.

Yes, clearly this is all about saving money and not at all about breaking the union. :roll:

jesuithitsquad

As an aside, I wonder if things start kicking off in a major way if some of the midwest/great lakes libcom posters here (myself, Nate, Juan Conatz to think of a few) could see if we can do some coordinated activity. Just something to think about . .

I grew up in the tri state/Dubuque area where Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin meet. Don't have many contacts in Wisconsin, though. I know there's a Madison IWW branch, but I'm not sure what they do (besides the Just Coffee shop) and past attempts at contacting them here in Iowa (from Eastern Iowa branch of 2006-2007) rarely amounted in replies. That was before my time though.

There's also some Crimethincers that work in the Miller Brewing factories in Milwaukee, but not sure if they are still around or what they do now.

NY Times

Exempted from those changes would be firefighters and law enforcement personnel

hoooo-boyyyyy

devoration1

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

For what it's worth, I'm in one of the few states in the US that doesn't give public workers the right to collectively bargain (West Virginia; the rest being mostly Right-To-Work strongholds like Texas and the deep South)- however, the issue has come up every year in the local government (House and Senate) since the early 1970's. On the one hand, it wouldn't surprise me if (assuming this measure gets passed in full by the state gov't in Wisconsin) the Democrats put forward a bill giving the right to collectively bargain back to public workers every year until it passes like they've been doing here in WV (another measure could be to piecemeal it out- a bill is currently before the WV House to give public education workers the right to collective bargaining only; doing so may eventually put the status quo back for sections of the public sector workforce).

Most public sector unions (the article didn't say, but it's gotta be AFSCME, right?) are contractually restricted from striking.

Instead of just 1 public sector union you've got a whole bunch of formerly industry or craft-specific unions who will now organize just about anybody (I bet if you called the Painters or Longshoremans or Machinists unions to organize a county clerks office they'd let you join and call an NLRB vote). NYC is a prime example- theres probably over a dozen different unions (some craft, some industrial, some general) all organizing the public sector and overlapping eachother. I'm sure Wisconsin has this same trend as the rest of the US.

Plumber

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Madison IWW
I am the secretary of the branch, feel free to contact me here.

syndicalist

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

This is "interesting" in a state that used to have a large trade union and social democratic movment (WI used to be the home of "sewer socialism")...... I suspect NJ will jump on board as well....the Christie admin has been going hard at public workers, teachers......

Schwarz

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Tojiah

If it works in Wisconsin it can only spread further. The Cuomo, the new governor of New York (a Democrat, of all things) has targeting the nasty State employee unions as a main part of his agenda, for the same reason: to reduce the State deficit. He'll only be goaded on by a success over there.

Ugh, Cuomo doesn't even need goading. He came out a couple weeks before he even won the election (after all, Paladino was beyond crackpot with no chance of winning) saying in an interview with the Times that his tactic to break the gridlock in Albany was to - I think this is a direct quote - "break the backs of the unions."

My union is negotiating a new contract with the state and with all the cuts I'm not sure how it's going to shake out. Will they cut our wages? Will we lose our benefits? Fuck...

It's funny, because for those of us who lived here in the 80's, we remember his father (the former governor) as the sort of standard bearer for New Deal liberalism. I mean, yeah a piece of shit, but he actually paid lip service... Cuomo the Younger won't even consider raising taxes on the investment banker scumbags that dominate our city and have turned Manhattan into basically a gated community. Oh how the tide has turned.

I was at a talk the other day and some guy called the latest offensive on public sector unions in the US capital's 'final solution'. He may be right..

Good luck you folks in Wisconsin.

Schwarz

Ugh, Cuomo doesn't even need goading. He came out a couple weeks before he even won the election (after all, Paladino was beyond crackpot with no chance of winning) saying in an interview with the Times that his tactic to break the gridlock in Albany was to - I think this is a direct quote - "break the backs of the unions."

right, and then stuck this in the face of the working families party and got their endorsement anyway.

who are the working families party?

Affiliate Member Organizations:

Amalgamated Lithographers Association – Local 1, GCC/IBT
Amalgamated Transit Union – Locals 580, 1056
American Federation of Musicians – Local 802
American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees – Locals SSEU 371, 983, 1549, 1930
Buffalo Teachers Federation, NEA
Citizen Action of New York
Communication Workers of America – District Council 1 & Local 1180, Mailers 6, NABET 16
Graphic Communications Union/IBT – Locals 119B-43B, 51-23
International Association of Machinists – Local 9 Limo Drivers
International Brotherhood of Teamsters – Joint Council 16 & Locals 111, 202, 282, 317, 445, 522, 805, 808, 812, 813, 1205
Laborers International Union of North America – Mason Tenders District Council of NYC/LI & Locals 147, 754
Long Island Progressive Coalition, CANY
National Education Association, NYS
New York Professional Nurses Union
Office & Professional Employees International Union – Local 153
Public Employees Federation, NYS
Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union – International & Local 338
Service Employees International Union – Locals 32B-32J, 74, 200United, 758, 1199 Healthcare Workers East
Sheet Metal Workers International Union – Locals 74, 137 Social Service Employees Union Local 371
Transit Workers Union – International & Locals 100, 101
United Auto Workers – Regions 9, 9A & Locals 2110, 2320, 2325
United Association of Plumbers & Steam Pipe Fitters – NYS Council & Locals 1, 773
United Federation of Teachers, AFT – Local 2
United Food and Commercial Workers – Region 1 & Local 1500
United Steel Workers of America – Local 9265
UNITE HERE! – Laundry, Dry Cleaning and Allied Workers Joint Board, Metropolitan Joint Board, New York Regional Joint Board, and NYS Council

http://www.workingfamiliesparty.org/about/who-we-are/

Blackhawk

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I'll try to keep you all posted as things happen. I just finished writing this bit below with a rough overview of the situation.

War Declared on State Sector Workers
http://libcom.org/news/wisconsin-war-declared-state-workers-15022011

admin: article moved to news section

Cleishbotham

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

"The states' bond ratings are heavily based upon the state regimes willingness to attack state workers."

Is this not the global story right now? The starvation fo funds to the local states (or in the UK to local authorities) is another feature being replicated everywhere. Wisconsin - vanguard of the bourgeoisie...

Steven.

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Blackhawk, thanks for that article, I moved it into our news section. If you write any more articles about these developments please feel free to post them to our news or library sections as appropriate (library is for comment/opinion as opposed to news)

petey

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

he may fail, on a very practical level:

Veterans are strongly objecting to Governor Scott Walker's inappropriate threat to activate the National Guard to intimidate state workers, as his administration moves forward with plans to break up workers' unions.

"Maybe the new governor doesn't understand yet - but the National Guard is not his own personal intimidation force to be mobilized to quash political dissent," said Robin Eckstein, a former Wisconsin National Guard member, Iraq War Veteran from Appleton, WI, and member of VoteVets.org. "The Guard is to be used in case of true emergencies and disasters, to help the people of Wisconsin, not to bully political opponents. Considering many veterans and Guard members are union members, it's even more inappropriate to use the Guard in this way. This is a very dangerous line the Governor is about to cross."

http://www.votevets.org/news?id=0409

jesuithitsquad

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

this is awesome

About 100 high school students in Stoughton walked out of class yesterday, to support their teachers who are trying to hang onto their union bargaining rights. Junior Theron Luhn helped organize the protest. He said quote, “Let’s show Governor Walker that we care about learning – and the teachers are worth every cent that we pay to them.” Walker wants public employee unions throughout the state to drop all of their bargaining rights except for pay raises at-or-below inflation. And he wants them to pay more toward their pensions and health insurance. It would apply to teacher unions, but not local police-and-fire unions. There are reports that Walker will propose a reduction of state aid to public schools and local governments in his next state budget, in exchange for more flexibility in bringing down labor costs. At Sun Prairie High School, about 10 students cheered for teachers as they walked in the door yesterday morning. Madison East High School students plan a protest march to the State Capitol today. And the Wisconsin State Journal says there’s a Facebook group started by Platteville students which called for a statewide student walkout today. State Public School Superintendent Tony Evers wrote to legislative leaders asking them to reject the Walker budget plan.

Juan Conatz

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

source?

jesuithitsquad

this is awesome

About 100 high school students in Stoughton walked out of class yesterday, to support their teachers who are trying to hang onto their union bargaining rights. Junior Theron Luhn helped organize the protest. He said quote, “Let’s show Governor Walker that we care about learning – and the teachers are worth every cent that we pay to them.” Walker wants public employee unions throughout the state to drop all of their bargaining rights except for pay raises at-or-below inflation. And he wants them to pay more toward their pensions and health insurance. It would apply to teacher unions, but not local police-and-fire unions. There are reports that Walker will propose a reduction of state aid to public schools and local governments in his next state budget, in exchange for more flexibility in bringing down labor costs. At Sun Prairie High School, about 10 students cheered for teachers as they walked in the door yesterday morning. Madison East High School students plan a protest march to the State Capitol today. And the Wisconsin State Journal says there’s a Facebook group started by Platteville students which called for a statewide student walkout today. State Public School Superintendent Tony Evers wrote to legislative leaders asking them to reject the Walker budget plan.

hope more students follow suit.

jesuithitsquad

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Sorry, it's a news round-up: Lots of other interesting things in there:

-Rallies at UW and UW-M.

-Walker says national guard will only be used for prisons in case of work stoppage.

-No Wisconsin govenor has used troops against public employees as far back as the '30s.

-Passage of bill not a certainty despite GOP majorities in both houses.

-State union workers say they will swallow 8% cut but won't accept loss of bargaining rights.

-Administration getting daily agency attendance reports by 10a in order to monitor potential work stoppage.

-Security beefed up at state capitol by using DNR wardens for patrols.

-State's FMLA to be gutted in new budget. Part-time workers to lose access to family leave.

And the most depressing news:

State union leaders have emphasized that they won’t strike, slow down their work, or hold sick-ins in response to Governor Scott Walker’s proposed cuts in union benefits and bargaining power.

Hopefully, this is just a misdirection thing, but somehow I doubt it. If I were to guess I'd say the unions are going to eschew direct action in favor of legal challenges but time will tell. . . hope I'm wrong.

Blackhawk

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The pay cut of 8% is on top of the 17-18% that is set to be taken out of workers paychecks and put into the pension and benefit schemes.

The unions have precluded a strike from the start, that doesn't mean a strike wont happen, but it isn't likely. It also isn't likely that the army will be called out given that strike action has been ruled out. Depending on how things go this could change by the end of the week. The thing with the national guard threat is mostly bluster, as he can't send the army to surround every single government related building in the state--there aren't that many soldiers in the Wisconsin National Guard. It could be that they would be called on the prison guards union, but I doubt they will go on strike either. It is the first time such a threat has been aimed at state workers here ever.

There is no "right to strike" for government employees. That "right" was decided by legislation on a state by state basis. The only "right" state sector workers have is this right to collective bargaining and union representation. They can either lobby the bosses, or go wildcat. The current tactic of the unions is to lobby the state legislature to attempt to scale back the parts of the bill that are the worst for them. They might be forced to change this tactic as it will kill the unions guaranteed, there is no way workers will waste the time paying dues to an organization that can't collectively bargain on working conditions, or bargain for wages above the CPI adjusted inflation rate index. What is more state sector unions will subsequently be wiped out nationwide eliminating the last major portion of workers organized into unions.

Also, the current Obama federal budget is going to cut federal funds to the local UW Synchroton Radiation Research Laboratory, with about thirty workers facing immanent layoffs and the end of the research program.

Blackhawk

There is no "right to strike" for government employees. That "right" was decided by legislation on a state by state basis.

in NYS, e.g., there's the hated Taylor Law.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taylor_Law

The Public Employees Fair Employment Act (the Taylor Law) is a New York State statute named after labor researcher George W. Taylor which authorizes a governor-appointed State Public Employment Relations Board to resolve contract disputes for public employees while curtailing their right to strike. The law provides for mediation and binding arbitration to give voice to unions, while work stoppages are made punishable with fines and jail time. The United Federation of Teachers and the Uniformed Sanitationmen’s Association challenged the Taylor Law at its 1967 inception. Following a 2005 strike, Transit Workers’ president Roger Toussaint was incarcerated for three days as per a Taylor Law ruling.

jesuithitsquad

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

There is no "right to strike" for government employees. That "right" was decided by legislation on a state by state basis. The only "right" state sector workers have is this right to collective bargaining and union representation. They can either lobby the bosses, or go wildcat.

Right, I was pretty sure this was the case, but my surprise is that if the actual existance of the union is on the line, I figured they might try to be a bit more militant. I mean, Jesus, if you can't be counted on to take some manner of action when they are actively trying to break the union, what's the point of having a union, like you say.

Blackhawk

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Well, they might not have a choice but to strike. I'm not sure exactly if the official word of no strike was just the unions "playing their cards close to their chest" in the event a strike becomes necessary or if they really mean no strike action will be taken at all. My feeling is that locals that go out will find themselves isolated and without support from the unions or the public.

I should qualify the cuts and higher contributions currently being floated about actually add up to a 16% greater bite out of take home pay.

gypsy

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

cheers blackhawk for all the info.

jesuithitsquad

it's gotta be AFSCME, right?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3mw49mk_x0 (sorry)

I just caught up with the thread, does this about summarise it?

- There's no legal ability to strike for public sector workers in most states.
- Several states are going to try to do this, but on different timetables.
- There have already been some small student walkouts (and teachers too?)
- This rally/march in the previous comment - was that a union organised 'lobby' or was it a bit less standard than that?

Mike Harman

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Video: http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/govt-and-politics/article_de45ba12-3935-11e0-9b64-001cc4c002e0.html?mode=video

Also, whoah - a sick for today has closed the entire school district!

http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/govt-and-politics/article_acba30f4-398a-11e0-b927-001cc4c03286.html

Madison schools will be closed Wednesday as teachers planned a district-wide absence to attend protests against Gov. Scott Walker's proposal to limit union bargaining.
District Superintendent Dan Nerad made the announcement at 11 p.m. Tuesday after 40 percent of the 2,600 members of the teacher's union had called in sick and more were expected to do so through Wednesday morning.
"At this ratio we have serious concerns about our ability to maintain safe and secure school environments," Nerad said in the announcement.
Although classes won't be held for students, all district staff members will be expected to report to the school, Nerad said in a statement.
Earlier Tuesday, Nerad said teachers who take a sick day will be asked to show proof of a medical reason. Those who don't could face sanctions such as docked pay. Teachers aren't able to take a personal day with less than three days' notice.

Spikymike

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

On a slightly related note there was a top official from Wisconsin on BBC's Newsnight last night for a long session in the studio and on location in Liverpool describing their 'no work- no benefits' regime and promoting it here without any opposition response but a favourable reply from a Tory spokesperson - it's basically an even tougher regime than here trying to force people into very low paid jobs. So attacks on all fronts it seems.

petey

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

MADISON, Wis. – Thousands of people descended on the Wisconsin state Capitol again Wednesday to protest a bill that would strip most public employees of their collective bargaining rights, but Gov. Scott Walker insisted he has the votes to pass the measure.

...

If adopted, the bill would mark an especially dramatic shift for Wisconsin, which was the first state to pass a comprehensive collective bargaining law in 1959. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees — the national union representing all non-federal public employees — was founded in 1936 in Madison.

There were some signs that support for the plan may be waning among Republicans who control the Legislature. Senate Republicans met in secret Wednesday morning to discuss the bill. Asked where Republicans stood on Walker's proposal, Sen. Dan Kapanke of La Crosse told The Associated Press, "That's a really good question. I don't know."

The protests have been larger and more sustained than any in Madison in decades. More than 1,000 protesters, many of whom spent the night in sleeping bags on the floor of the Rotunda, shouted "Kill this bill!" on Wednesday.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110216/ap_on_re_us/us_wisconsin_budget_unions

jesuithitsquad

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

[youtube]qCsG4g0dzJo[/youtube]Apparently there were another 10k on the statehouse lawn.

I read somewhere--can't recall where atm--that protesters took over the committee room where the legislation is being discussed. It was referred to as a "citizen's fillibuster" which has a nice ring to it.

scottydont

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Live updates here:
http://www.alternet.org/newsandviews/article/478537/live_reporting_from_the_massive_protests_in_wisconsin_--_over_30,000_assemble_at_the_capitol/

Also unconfirmed news (via a friend of a friend) of 400 people occupying Bolton Hall at UW. Will get a source on that as soon as I can...

aloeveraone

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Democratic senators have boycotted the vote to prevent a quorum, and they've supposedly left the state after the majority leader said the State Patrol could be used to "round up" the dems. Head of the State Patrol is the father of the majority leader.

Report: Wis. Dem State Senators Leave State To Block Budget Quorum

aloeveraone

Democratic senators have boycotted the vote to prevent a quorum, and they've supposedly left the state after the majority leader said the State Patrol could be used to "round up" the dems. Head of the State Patrol is the father of the majority leader.

Report: Wis. Dem State Senators Leave State To Block Budget Quorum

Can they be "fired", as it were, for leaving the State for a prolonged span of time? A gutsy move, in any case.

RedHughs

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Well, after the democrats have rolled-over in every other imaginable way, a bit of opposition is ... well, I'm not sure... I suppose you could give them some credit or some small, plastic prize... Anyone closer to the area might have an opinion.

Anyway, I'm pretty sure that the democrats could not be removed from office for leaving the state to escape quorum.

On the other hand, no occupation of the capital or refusal of the electoral process is going to change the war plan outlined by capital. I'd cynically expect the democrats want some share of the retirement funds the republicans plan to loot and once that share is negotiated, the whole democratic process can continue...

Still, things are certainly `in flux`...

jesuithitsquad

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Yeah, no way would they try to remove all dems from office. The same thing happened in Texas a few years ago where the Democrats fled the state to avoid a quorum on redistricting where they were going to lose 5 congressional seats. As I recall, Tom DeLay was involved in trying to get the Texas Rangers (the cops, not the baseball team, obv) to unsuccessfully arrest members as they left the state, and I believe that whole process was part of the beginning of the end for DeLay who is now facing a prison sentence for corruption or something of the sort.

Eh, on the Democrats though it is surprising to find out some of them might actually be vertebrates. Funny thing to say the bravest thing any democrat has done in years is run away from a fight.

Anyway, even though the occupations are unlikely to change the the 'war plan' it is good to see some fight back.

aloeveraone

Democratic senators have boycotted the vote to prevent a quorum, and they've supposedly left the state after the majority leader said the State Patrol could be used to "round up" the dems. Head of the State Patrol is the father of the majority leader.
[/url]

So they can't win the vote but if they refuse to vote then the vote is invalid because it doesn't meet quorum?

jef costello

So they can't win the vote but if they refuse to vote then the vote is invalid because it doesn't meet quorum?

right.

from today's nyt:

The protests along the Capitol square have grown enormous. On Friday, Richard Trumka, the president of the A.F.L.-C.I.O., was expected to appear at a rally, while counterdemonstrators said they were planning their own rally over the weekend.

On Thursday, the drama had risen to a boil with the prospect of a vote seemingly imminent. Protesters blocked a door to the Senate chambers. They sat down, body against body, filling a corridor. They chanted “Freedom, democracy, unions!” in the stately gallery as the senators convened.

Then there was a new twist: the Democrats disappeared.

That left Republicans, who control the Capitol and had expected to push through the bill, in limbo. Although Republicans control the State Senate by 19 to 14, 20 senators — and thus, at least a single Democrat — must be in the room to call a vote on such fiscal matters.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/19/us/19wisconsin.html?hp

huli

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I don't want to promote Socialist Worker, but these two reports contain some good information and good quotes:

http://socialistworker.org/2011/02/18/class-war-in-wisconsin
http://socialistworker.org/2011/02/17/wisconsin-unions-turn-up-heat

redsdisease

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

It makes sense to me that the democrats would do whatever they could to keep this bill from passing. As much as it's an attempt to break the unions, I imagine that this would also really hurt the democratic party. If I remember correctly, the teachers unions and the government employees unions (less sure on that one) tended to be the Democratic party's two largest financial donors.

gram negative

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

ignoring the rhetoric, this is the first that i have heard of anything happening in ohio

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/02/18/ohios-turn-to-revolt-thousands-flood-statehouse-over-anti-union-bill/

Malcy

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

"counterdemonstrators" WTF?

jesuithitsquad

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Tea Party.

waslax

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

From the rawstory article:

Without collective bargaining, the power of unionized workers would be reduced to their last and most extreme tool in their set: the general strike.

You don't see that claim made very often in either mainstream or even leftist media coverage. The usual claim is that without collective bargaining, workers are left with ... nothing.

syndicalist

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

National Call to Madison

This is a national call out..............................

I will not expound on the details here but the last few days have seen
a massive upsurge of rank-n-file activity. At this very moment the
public schools are closed and huge demonstrations are occurring. This
energy is directly concerned with stopping anti-union legislation.
However, it looks as if the bill may go through ( in do time) but may
also be piecemealed out in the next 6 months. Either way, the militant
rank n file are organizing events and trying to push this past the
union issue, further into our society.

With that said the political situation is heating up in Wisconsin and
Madison seems to be ground zero. Please consider spending your weekend
in Madison and working with other unionists to stop this legislation
while at the same time pushing for a more radical action. Things are
moving very quickly and we are in need of strong organizers who are
experienced in every facet of the trade. Please distribute this far
and wide as we'll need as much support as possible. The Madison IWW is
small but has a core of active members who can and will push hard for
rank n file empowerment. Please let us know before you decide to make
the trip as we don't want to make any false moves right now and want
as many people as possible to come. If you do come, we'll be centering
our activity around Saturday and will be trying to coordinate our
activities with the existing events. Our goal is solidarity, not
competition, as we try to find common ground with the more militant
members of the public sector. We will most likely have a large,
chaired meeting, in the early afternoon which will then dictate our
actions on Saturday. Please be advised that news is coming in as we
speak and no one is in complete control. Spontaneous actions are
everywhere as this has caught us off guard.

Please consider our needs:

Delegates who can sign folks up
Your contacts and who you can bring with
Coming prepared to act in coordination with other other work class members
Your communication devices
Money - Checks can be written out to Madison IWW - We will be renting
meeting spaces,printing...ect.., which takes money!
Layout skills/printing skills
Creativity and a solid political analysis past the individual - Don't
bother showing up and talking about purges or charges

admin: details deleted at the individual's request. When posting people's personal details online, can people please make sure they have the relevant individual's consent?

scottydont

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Updates form burnt bookmobile

-The Milwaukee public school district union, the MTEA and its teachers have made a decision to hold a “sick out” and join the building demonstrations happening in Madison. MPS is shut down for teachers and students. (more info here)

-The numbers of anti-austerity and anti-bill protesters tomorrow at the Union are estimated to be the largest of all of the days so far. Some estimates are as high as 60,000 plus people.

-The Wisconsin Tea Party, which largely supports Governor Walker and could be held to be responsible for his election victory, are calling for counter-protests tomorrow as well “to clear the pigsty” that has occupied the Capitol in Madison. With this comes the possibility for confrontation between counter-protesters and occupiers, and between the police who will attempt to keep the situation under control. At the same time, there is an attempt to keep things contained and peaceful on the part of Union leadership, marshals, etc as well, as an immense effort of proliferating self-policing.

-Meanwhile the leadership of the Wisconsin State Employees Union, with 23,000 members, is making offers to betray their workers by declaring they are willing talk about concessions. (more info) This move hopefully opens up room for wildcat strikes to take shape amongst their less docile members.

Juan Conatz

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Thousands of protesters surround Wisconsin Capitol
http://newssun.suntimes.com/news/3911607-418/thousands-of-protesters-surround-wisconsin-capitol.html

Doctors from numerous hospitals set up a station near the Capitol to provide notes covering public employees’ absences. Family physician Lou Sanner, 59, of Madison, said he had given out hundreds of notes. Many of the people he spoke with seemed to be suffering from stress, he said.

“What employers have a right to know is if the patient was assessed by a duly licensed physician about time off of work,” Sanner said. “Employers don’t have a right to know the nature of that conversation or the nature of that illness. So it’s as valid as every other work note that I’ve written for the last 30 years.”

and

Nearby, nearly two dozen cabs blocked a major intersection near the Capitol. The driver of the lead cab leaned out of the window and played a trumpet, while others attempted to honk their car horns in sync with a chant from pro-labor protesters: “This is what democracy looks like.”

“One of the reasons the company decided to support the protesters is because the members of this company started off striking their employer for better wages and that employer . . . refused to allow them to bargain collectively,” said John McNamara, the marketing director of Union Cab.

Pictures (think ya gotta log on to FB)
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2910874&id=8630002

Video of protests with cheesy and overly dramatic music
http://vimeo.com/20089255

jesuithitsquad

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The report about the doctor is amazing!

Malcy

"counterdemonstrators" WTF?

For once, they aren't paid by the government. They're just idiots. Yes, I know the whole Freedomworks story of how they were created to look like they're the majority, but Freedomworks is not the government.

What do we know about the actual militancy of the protesters? How far will they go, and for what? Will they be content if the bill isn't passed, or are they looking for something more? This is obviously the most militant labor action in America in possibly decades. Not a very high bar to meet, but it's better than nothing.

Jazzhands

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Story about public sector unions vs. private sector unions in the US.

Bear in mind, the reason for the counterdemonstrations is likely the Tea Party noise about the idea that public sector employees are paid so much better than private sector employees. In terms of raw numbers, that's true. But the reason for that is because there are so many public sector jobs that don't compare with the private sector. The private sector includes people who cook at McDonald's and janitors. All the jobs the public sector has that are equivalent to those low-paying, no-benefits, unskilled jobs are contracted out to the private sector anyway. The other reason is that public employees are more unionized, and therefore are screwed out of their pay less.

That's something nobody seems to grasp, and the reason the media is even pushing this stupid shit instead of finding this out on their own like real journalists is because the higher-ups in the media don't want private sector employees (including rank-and-file cubicle journalists, presumably) figuring out that even the most minor concessions are even possible or beneficial. To say nothing about an actual challenge to the system, which it doesn't look like the Wisconsin thing even qualifies as.

Hieronymous

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by Jazzhands

Jazzhands

This is obviously the most militant labor action in America in possibly decades.

I'd contest that and say that the cycle of struggles of immigrants workers against the "The Border Protection, Anti-terrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005" (H.R. 4437), also called the Sensenbrenner Bill after its author, was the most militant. It really took everyone by surprise on March 25, 2006 when at least 500,000 Latinos marched in Los Angeles. Remember, L.A. is a notoriously anti-union, anti-labor city dating back to the open-shop drives of the Merchants and Manufacturers Association at their founding in 1893.

Soon after the L.A. action, other cities across the U.S. started having mass marches and demos. By the main action on May Day 2006, millions of Latino workers walked off the job for the day in perhaps the biggest ever one-day general strike in U.S. history. It worked, because H.R. 4437 was withdrawn. Cities like L.A., Chicago and Houston had hundreds of thousands of strikers in the streets, with hundreds of other cities having tens of thousands.

syndicalistcat

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

the degree of solidarity hasn't been shown in direct self-activity, not by native-born workers, in a long time. there were private sector as well as public sector workers in the protests in WI, along with students. today 55,000 people surrounded the capitol building, which has remained occupied for six days. a drumming circle is going on nonstop in the legislative chambers. lots of people made signs with comparisons to Egypt. they called the governor "the Mubarak of the midwest." supposedly an even bigger mobilization is planned for monday and tuesday.

Remember, L.A. is a notoriously anti-union, anti-labor city dating back to the open-shop drives of the Merchants and Manufacturers Association at their founding in 1893.

your info is outdated. the open shop regime was broken in 1938. L.A. has a fairly high rate of unionization by current U.S. standards (around 15 percent or so).

the big immigrant general strike of may 1 2006 was very impressive. but there's not been much action lately despite the continuing repressive regime by the feds. the sessenbrenner bill was stopped, but there's been no amnesty.

syndicalistcat

your info is outdated. the open shop regime was broken in 1938. L.A. has a fairly high rate of unionization by current U.S. standards (around 15 percent or so).

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it's actually 16.5% and is going down more rapidly than anywhere else in the U.S. due to the loss of manufacturing jobs.

On June 15, 1990, striking janitors in the SEIU "Justice for Janitors" campaign held a legally-permitted march and demonstration in Century City area of Los Angeles, where they were seeking a union contract with the cleaning contractors for the massive office towers there. The campaign had been underway in L.A. for about two years, and many demos like this had been occurring frequently. But this time the LAPD brutally attacked the mostly Latino marchers, seriously wounding several people and causing a pregnant woman to miscarry. A video of the event shows how merciless the pigs were.

LAPD was notorious for it's anti-communist "Red Squad," its Metro squad of elite goons, and other special units like the anti-gang CRASH (Community Resources Against Street Hoodlums) unit, as well documented in Mike Davis' many writings about the apartheid-esque attacks on black and brown communities under the guise of controlling gangs.

Add to that the 2007 May Day unprovoked police attacks at MacArthur Park, and the LAPD starts looking like Egyptian baltagiya.

Throw in the ever-present police helicopters and Los Angeles seems like it's on its way to becoming the dystopian nightmare in films like Bladerunner. The only changes I've personally witnessed from the open-shop mentality was the community solidarity offered to grocery workers during the bitterly defeated 2003-2004 Southern California supermarket strike. Also the way 16,500 short-haul troqueros at the L.A./Long Beach port complex (the busiest for containers in the Western Hemisphere) shut whole thing down on May Day 2006. Besides some exceptional moments like those, the norm in L.A. seems the brutalization of the working class. In the first half of the 20th century it was the bosses, their Pinkertons, and the open shop; since then it's been the cops making anyone non-white feel like Rodney King. None of that is ameliorated by slightly above average rates of unionization.

Anyway, my point about May Day 2006 in Los Angeles was that there had never been that many working class people on the streets before. It was 10 times bigger than any previous demo, mostly because public actions like that simply weren't tolerated by the ruling class, who use the thuggery of the pigs to prevent them.

Hieronymous

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Working Class Internationalism

syndicalistcat

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Anyway, my point about May Day 2006 in Los Angeles was that there had never been that many working class people on the streets before. It was 10 times bigger than any previous demo, mostly because public actions like that simply weren't tolerated by the ruling class, who use the thuggery of the pigs to prevent them.
.

Hmm. I doubt it. If there had been that many working class people on the street before, the police would not have been able to prevent it. I don't think simple repression explains why there has tended to be relative quiescence in the American working class.

Growing up in L.A. it was my experience that the LAPD did act as an "army of occupation"...in all working class areas, but in a more nasty way in communities of color. But they didn't prevent things like the mass picketing in 1970 in support of the Teamster wild cat strike. altho the LADP attacked the janitors in 1990, the janitors carried out a successful strike without police violence in 2000.

The "Red Squad" existed back in the '30s. It's suppression of unions was overt. But, as I say, that was broken in 1938. that's why union organizing in L.A. didn't really start til 1938. Officially there was no "Red Squad" after 1938.

Of course the LAPD has continued in a more covert way to do infiltration of the left...but many police departments do this throughout the country.

soyonstout

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I haven't seen this mentioned specifically on this thread yet (other than speculation) but:

Marty Beil, head of WSEU/AFSCME

We are prepared to implement the financial concessions proposed to help bring our state's budget into balance, but we will not be denied our God-given right to join a real union . . .  we will not - I repeat we will not - be denied our rights to collectively bargain,"

and

Mary Bell, the president of the Wisconsin Education Association Council, the state's largest teachers union, said her group also would make the financial concessions to keep its bargaining rights.

"This is not about money," Bell said in a phone conference. "We understand the need to sacrifice."

From the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel Assembly’s abrupt adjournment caps chaotic day in Capitol

And then, a retired teacher quoted at the end of a WSWS article (Protestors in Madison denounce attack on public employees) said:
retired Madison teacher

Mary Bell spoke two times yesterday. They always give her the mic to say how much they are fighting for teachers. What she didn’t say is that the Wisconsin Education Association just accepted merit pay.

I'm not trying to plug the WSWS, but on this issue they seem to, once again, have their classic strengths (denunciation of AFL-CIO maneuvering) and myriad weaknesses (dogmatic, chapter-and-verse repetition of Trotsky's Transitional Program of 1938; inability to see the degrees of self-organization involved between following union orders and creating a strike committee with a mandate from an assembly; fixation with finance capital; etc, etc), but there may be some information that can be gleaned from their coverage.

For the future, I'm wondering in what ways the attacks coming to the rest of the states will follow any sort of pattern set up here. Specifically, economic cuts being pushed through along with plans to push AFSCME/AFL-CIO (or SEIU/Unite HERE, etc. where applicable) out of the austerity-administration business--followed by the rank-and-file fighting mostly or partially in the name of 'defending the union,' because they associate this with fighting the cuts, even though the union is perfectly willing to implement any cut that keeps the dues money coming in.

Interestingly, this fight has captured the attention of many in my union (and probably public sector workers all across the country), mostly around mischaracterizations and myths about Republicans vs. Democrats, and fully under the umbrella of the AFL-CIO/Democrats coalition, but I think it is posing the question of action again in the minds of many workers throughout the US.

Marty Beil, head of WSEU/AFSCME

our God-given right to join a real union

:)

Juan Conatz

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Any of ya'll in Madison right now? If so, how long you gonna be there and what are options for housing or things to do to help out with stuff? Might be headed there...

EDIT: Got everything figured out. Headed up early tomorrow morning.

Juan Conatz

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

State trooper union:

I VALUE THE CAPITOL POLICE, AND THE U. W. POLICE. I VALUE ALL OF THE POLICE COMMUNICATIONS OFFICERS OF ALL OF THE AGENCIES IN OUR UNION, AND THE STATE TROOPERS, AND THE INSPECTORS OF THE STATE PATROL. I VALUE “ALL” OF THE SUPPORT STAFF OF ALL OF THE AGENCIES AROUND THE STATE. I DON’T KNOW HOW ANY OF US COULD FUNCTION WITHOUT ANY OF US AROUND THE STATE WE ALL NEED EACH OTHER.

I VALUE THE BUREAU OF FIELD SERVICES, FIELD AGENTS OF LOCAL THREE, NO LESS THAN ANY OF THE OTHER MEMBERS IN THE UNION. I AM HERE FOR EVERY MEMBER OF THIS UNION AND ALWAYS THOUGHT I HAD BEEN UNTIL THIS WEEK.

I SPECIFICALLY REGRET THE ENDORSEMENT OF THE WISCONSIN TROOPER’S ASSOCIATION FOR GOVERNOR SCOTT WALKER. I REGRET THE GOVERNOR’S DECISION TO “ENDORSE” THE TROOPERS AND INSPECTORS OF THE WISCONSIN STATE PATROL. I REGRET BEING THE RECIPIENT OF ANY OF THE PERCIEVED BENEFITS PROVIDED BY THE GOVERNOR’S ANNOINTING.

I THINK EVERYONE’S JOB AND CAREER IS JUST AS SIGNIFICANT AS THE OTHERS. EVERYONES FAMILY IS JUST AS VALUABLE AS MINE OR ANY OTHER PERSONS, ESPECIALLY MINE. EVERYONES NEEDS ARE JUST AS VALUABLE. WE ARE ALL GREAT PEOPLE!!

http://www.wlea.org/

Juan Conatz

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Labor leaders drag out Jesse Jackson, intensify efforts to temper Wisconsin protests
http://twincities.indymedia.org/2011/feb/labor-leaders-drag-out-jesse-jackson-intensify-efforts-temper-wisconsin-protests

Interesting, although M-L flavoured article

Mark.

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

'We stand with you as you stood with us': Statement to workers of Wisconsin by Kamal Abbas of Egypt's Centre for Trade Unions and Workers Services

Follow link for video. Transcript:

Kamal Abbas

I am speaking to you from a place very close to Tahrir Square in Cairo, "Liberation Square", which was the heart of the Revolution in Egypt. This is the place were many of our youth paid with their lives and blood in the struggle for our just rights.

From this place, I want you to know that we stand with you as you stood with us.

I want you to know that no power can challenge the will of the people when they believe in their rights. When they raise their voices loud and clear and struggle against exploitation.

No one believed that our revolution could succeed against the strongest dictatorship in the region. But in 18 days the revolution achieved the victory of the people. When the working class of Egypt joined the revolution on 9 and 10 February, the dictatorship was doomed and the victory of the people became inevitable.

We want you to know that we stand on your side. Stand firm and don't waiver. Don't give up on your rights. Victory always belongs to the people who stand firm and demand their just rights.

We and all the people of the world stand on your side and give you our full support.

As our just struggle for freedom, democracy and justice succeeded, your struggle will succeed. Victory belongs to you when you stand firm and remain steadfast in demanding your just rights.

We support you. we support the struggle of the peoples of Libya, Bahrain and Algeria, who are fighting for their just rights and falling martyrs in the face of the autocratic regimes. The peoples are determined to succeed no matter the sacrifices and they will be victorious.

Today is the day of the American workers. We salute you American workers! You will be victorious. Victory belongs to all the people of the world, who are fighting against exploitation, and for their just rights.

Arabist

About Kamal Abbas and the Centre for Trade Unions and Workers Services: Kamal Abbas is General Coordinator of the CTUWS, an umbrella advocacy organization for independent unions in Egypt. The CTUWS, which was awarded the 1999 French Republic's Human Rights Prize, suffered repeated harassment and attack by the Mubarak regime, and played a leading role in its overthrow. Abbas, who witnessed friends killed by the regime during the 1989 Helwan steel strike and was himself arrested and threatened numerous times, has received extensive international recognition for his union and civil society leadership.

John1

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

This isn't anything to do with Anarchism and it's not revolutionary either but I thought it was interesting to see someone grappling with what's going on, sadly in another video he blames everything on aliens, no joke.

Wisconsin cuts & some opinions.

Beltov

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

What's happening there today? I gather it's a public holiday today in the US. Are there still occupations? Have the Democrats come out of hiding?

Internationalism has published an article on the protests in Wisconsin with our analysis...

Chilli Sauce

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

On post #52 someone should break that email address.

All, keep the updates coming please!

Juan Conatz

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Just got back from the capitol staying in Madison due to some helpful Wobs. Got a bunch of pictures and stuff to say, but that will have to come later as I'm tired as all hell.

p.s. - picked up an 'International Review' from lefty bookstore :hand:

Juan Conatz

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Ok, real quickly some interesting things

-Demonstrations seem to be mainly organized by the Teachers union, SEIU and AFSCME. People from a ton of other unions were there though. IBEW, Teamsters, UE, Ironworkers, Steelworkers, etc etc etc. Even the prison guard and cop unions...

-Didn't seem to be much an overt radical presence besides Party for Socialism & Liberation, Progressive Labor Party and Socialist Alternative street preachers. Saw a bunch of IWW stuff pasted on wall inside the capitol, but never met any Wobs, I even had three buttons on my hat , hopin someone would see me. There was also a not attended anarchyist lending library on the floor with a bunch of dumb ass shit that had little context with the situation.

-Think Joe Tessone (IWW) was supposed to speak as part of the main platform, and this either didn't happen or I missed it

-Never seen so many 'parade marshals' in my life. Seemed more than even the 2008 RNC.

-There was TONS of free food, particularly pizza, with some nearby place actually not charging for food or drink the whole day.

-The capitol building is like a mini-city, with cleaning crews, cell phone charging stations, free food areas, lost and found, ride boards, etc. Even yoga classes. Supposedly some of the assembly rooms, unions, student groups, socialists and anarchists are using to meet in.

-The sound inside the marble building of thousands of people screaming, vuvazuelas bellowing and 5 gallon bucket drums banging is like nothing I've ever heard before. Amazing really.

-They sung the national anthem inside the building, that was bizarre to me.

-Atmosphere inside is less assembly and more concert. As in, less talking between people and more student leaders and whoever talking to people. Maybe other stuff is happening later at night or earlier, but I don't know.

-Hearing rumors of the possibility of a strike, but not sure by who, when or if its actually legit. Can't confirm it.

Kdog

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Statement from First of May Anarchist Alliance:

On Wisconsin!
For Mass Actions, Occupations & a General Strike!
Spread the Struggle! Power to the People!

http://libcom.org/news/wisconsin-first-may-anarchist-alliance-statement-22022011

Juan Conatz

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Ok, so, the South Central Federation of Labor in Wisconsin has issued an endorsement of a national general strike if the bill goes through and has instructed its education committee to "begin educating affiliates and members on the organization and function of a General Strike"...

Juan Conatz

Ok, so, the South Central Federation of Labor in Wisconsin has issued an endorsement of a national general strike if the bill goes through and has instructed its education committee to "begin educating affiliates and members on the organization and function of a General Strike"...

Wow. Link please?

Schwarz

Wow. Link please?

Sorry, don't have one. This is from a Wob still downtown and someone involved in a progressive lefty non-profit type group.

EDIT: http://ricksmithshow.com/south-central-federation-labor-endorses-general-strike.

There's also two threads in Democratic Underground that link back to that.

Hopefully something more legit will pop up in the morning

Chilli Sauce

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Ok, so, the South Central Federation of Labor in Wisconsin has issued an endorsement of a national general strike if the bill goes through and has instructed its education committee to "begin educating affiliates and members on the organization and function of a General Strike"...

Fuck me! I mean, a trade union general strike is still problematic, but there hasn't even been the rhetoric of a general strike in the US for how many decades?

Chilli Sauce

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

!!!!!!!!!!Please Forward Widely!!!!!!!!!!!

As I'm sure most people have heard, in the American state of Wisconsin the government has introduced a bill to strip public sector workers of their rights to collective bargaining. Of course, us in the IWW have no love for the trade unions, but this represents a vicious and coordinated attack on the working conditions and living standards of public sector workers that will ripple through the private sector as well. Plus, Wisconsin has historically been a bastion of organized labor. If the bosses can do this there, similar measures are sure to follow elsewhere.

The Madison, Wisconsin IWW along with local labor councils has begun calling for a one-day general strike in the state to oppose this. Public sectors workers, who've been without the right to strike for the past 40 years, have already begun taking action. Teachers have staged sick-ins and students have walked out in support. There's been occupations of the capitol building with tens of thousands of protestors supporting them from the outside. It is time to build on this momentum!

Please consider making a donation to the Madison IWW to help them and help the workers of Wisconsin win this important battle.

http://store.iww.org/madison-donations.html

Juan Conatz

Ok, so, the South Central Federation of Labor in Wisconsin has issued an endorsement of a national general strike if the bill goes through and has instructed its education committee to "begin educating affiliates and members on the organization and function of a General Strike"...

Actually, it's not an endorsement for a national general strike. I think it is an endorsement for a general strike within their region only, i.e. south central Wisconsin. Also, it would seem that it would be a strike for just one day.

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.

Still, it is amazing. Makes one wonder what would have happened (in Wisconsin) if it weren't for the uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, etc.

Juan Conatz

-Atmosphere inside is less assembly and more concert. As in, less talking between people and more student leaders and whoever talking to people. Maybe other stuff is happening later at night or earlier, but I don't know.

I listened to the video of the interview with the leader of the firefighters union, and that background music is terrible. Can't someone tell them to shut up and allow more discussion? It's a real barrier.

AnnieSocial

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Admin: comment removed, user banned for repeated inflammatory comments.

AnnieSocial

The poor wisconsin workers! What next? Perhaps they will stop them drinking beer at work next?

http://libcom.org/news/carlsberg-workers-walk-job-retain-right-drink-beer-work-09042010

Mike Harman

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Third trolling post this hour, banned 'AnnieSocial'.

Juan Conatz

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Yeah, so it wasn't national. Sorry, just goin on the info I had at the time...

From Facebook

At SCFL’s monthly meeting last night 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 at last night's meeting: "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."

Also, I guess they deployed riot cops last night and today to open up a section of the capitol building, presumably for Walker?

Chilli Sauce

Fuck me! I mean, a trade union general strike is still problematic, but there hasn't even been the rhetoric of a general strike in the US for how many decades?

The one-day anti-Sensenbrenner Bill (H.R. 4437) strike by Latino workers on May Day 2006 involved several million workers walking out across the U.S. Ex post facto we can call it a general strike, especially in places like Los Angeles.

And this depends where in the U.S. because in the Bay Area appeals for a general strike are made frequently, totally without any basis in reality, especially by Trotskyites.

Juan Conatz

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Labor group calls for general strike if budget bill is approved
http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/govt-and-politics/article_64c8d7a8-3e8c-11e0-9911-001cc4c002e0.html

Madison Area AFL CIO Votes to Prepare For General Strike

This evening in a press release from IBEW Local 2304 President Dave Pokilinski, I received word that the 45,000 member Southern Central Federation of Labor, the local chapter of the AFL-CIO for the Madison and Southern Central Wisconsin area, has voted to make preparations for a general strike.

The press release reads as follows:

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.

It’s important to note that this is just a threat and not actually going out on a general strike. Under the Taft-Hartley Act a general strike in support of other workers is illegal; therefore the key word is the phrase “begin educating affiliates and members on the organization and function of a general strike”. In addition, only individual unions, not the central labor federation has the ability to call a strike.

Many private sector unions would not go out on a general strike out of fear of being of sued by their employers. However, local labor observers say many public sector unions and some of the construction unions would go out on a strike. Threatening a general strike creates even more pressure for Scott Walker in the business community. The business community in Wisconsin already appears to bucking under the intense pressure of the mass labor mobilization as I noted here last week. .

http://www.michaelmoore.com/words/mike-friends-blog/madison-area-afl-cio-votes-to-prepare-for-general-strike

klas batalo

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

http://www.facebook.com/pages/General-Strike-in-Wisconsin/166547476728383

Schwarz

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

OK, so it's unequivocal that having a general strike on the table in the USA is big fucking deal. Still, the limits of this proposed action and, indeed, the defensive nature of public sector unions are pretty clear.

With a bunch of momentum on the side of workers right now, why wait until the bill is signed to strike? Wouldn't the horse have left the barn by that point? I don't see the point in displaying the latent power of the working class after the cuts and the dissolution of collective bargaining rights have already been signed into law.

Juan and others have been on the ground, so they know better than any of us what the scene is in WI. Since the most radical workers action has already ended (the sick-outs by teachers) and the situation is now one of political stalemate between Democrats and Republicans, I find it hard to believe that the level of intense solidarity we've seen will increase or even stay at the current level. I saw on the news that Walker gave the deadline of April 1st to resolve this matter before he starts laying off workers. That is over a month away.

Will there be IBEW, Teamsters and Steelworkers left in the capital by that point? After all, the SCFL is a public/private sector labor council. An effective general strike would have to include clerical workers, building trades workers, teachers, etc. It would also have to be open-ended and start before the bill was passed.

I know that this seems abstract and is possibly beyond the limits of what's attainable in WI... or the USA in general. At the same time, an action like this would be the only way that Motion 1 (endorsing and preparing for a general strike) and Motion 2 (no to ALL the cuts and anti-labor provisions) can be reconciled. After all, the unions have already conceded on cuts and it doesn't look like self-serving Democratic politicians can do anything but filibuster at this point. A general strike is an escalation, but to what end?

I think the piece that Hieronymus posted does a great job of outlining the intractable limits of public sector unions in the face of austerity.

The role of unions is contradictory: In a crunch, in an open confrontation with capital or the State, unions demonstrate they cannot defend workers, their “programs” patently offer nothing by way of alternative. At best unions abandon “their” workers (as experience confirms over and again, recently for us, occurring with the flight attendants at Northwest before it was absorbed by Delta Airlines), but more often than not actively subvert our efforts (the situation across Europe over the past year). In Madison, the unions are relying on their Democratic party allies in the senate who left the state Wednesday for a location undisclosed in Illinois to prevent a quorum necessary for a vote on the bill's passage. That is a defense doomed to failure. The unions are engaged in an exclusivist, purely defensive struggle effectively without perspective and strategy. It is a position that offers no hope.

I think this is spot on.

I'll repeat that a general strike would still be instrumental in forging solidarity among workers across sectors and building working class confidence. I just think it's important to recognize the limits of such an action.

I'm probably preaching to the choir here anyways...

Schwarz

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

As an important addendum, whatever happens in Wisconsin it is of course liable to affect other struggles... for example: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/23/us/23ohio.html?hp

COLUMBUS — Protestors packed into Ohio’s State Capitol building and several thousand more gathered outside on Tuesday, as its legislature planned new hearings on a bill that would effectively end collective bargaining for state workers and dramatically reduce its power for local workers, like police officers and firefighters.

The bill, known as Senate Bill 5, was introduced on Feb. 8 by a Republican state senator, Shannon Jones, who said it was designed to give state and local governments more control over their finances during troubled economic times. It outraged unions who saw it as a direct attack on their workers, and as in Wisconsin, where a similar bill has drawn protestors for more than a week, union members came to the State Capitol to demonstrate.

Last week, protests swelled from a few hundred to about 4,000 on Thursday, buoyed in part by demonstrations in Wisconsin, which have made national news.

Hopes springs eternal.

Juan Conatz

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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

petey

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Here's what the Labor Council actually passed:

"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:

"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

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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

#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

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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[/quote]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

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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

Link

i guess i shouldn't be surprised

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

that's for libcommunity please

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

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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

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

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

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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.

what ever

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

what ever

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

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

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Juan Conatz

Juan Conatz

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

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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

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

klas batalo

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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.

Jazzhands

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. ;) Most polls show that union supporters vs. detractors is roughly a 50-50 split in the states.

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

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by jesuithitsquad

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

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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

Kinglear

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.

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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/

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

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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...

Samotnaf

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Steven and my posts crossed, hence my

- 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.

seems to have been superceded by this:

“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!’

Strange bedfellows...sleeping with the enemy or what?

Maybe the cops there have loads of friends and family who'll be effected by Scott Walker's moves...?

Joseph Kay

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

[youtube]HVE_rLjxnfU[/youtube]

jesuithitsquad

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

lots of 'solidarity with wisconsin' signs at today's rally in indianapolis. probably around 3,000 on statehouse steps.

jesuithitsquad

lots of 'solidarity with wisconsin' signs at today's rally in indianapolis. probably around 3,000 on statehouse steps.

Lots of solidarity means we're finding our feet and feeling our power. Don't give it away to the Unions though. They're on the other side.

Juan Conatz

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Just got back from Madison. Word on the street was there was over 100,000 people there today, and that's police estimates. This was probably more than 10x the amount than when I was up there on Monday. Despite, this, personally, it was a lot more underwhelming than Monday. It was just a sea of liberal Democratic patriotic talk of the "middle class" and all that. No anarchist presence at all. Very little IWW presence, and what was there could not be differentiated from any other contingent, except for the one guy with the "General Strike Now" sign. ISO probably had the biggest red precense. Socialist Workers Party and RCP were also there in lesser amounts.

Police stopped letting people into the capitol building after 6pm. Supposedly at 4pm Sunday, every has to leave. Couldn't even get in today because the line was 45minutes-90minute wait and it was 20 something degrees out and snowing, wasn't gonna go through that...lol

Far from disrupting things there, if anything, these protests have injected what I imagine equals millions of dollars into the local economy through all the shops and restaurants surrounding the capitol. Special points awarded if there's a sign in the window indicating some level of support with the protesters, even if its slave wage labor chain bullshit like Quiznos...

Don't know how I feel about this situation right now. I don't really see any good coming out of it. Even if the bill is killed, nothing in the form of working class activity would have seemed to have been done at this point.

Unfortunately, what Juan describes reminds me a lot of what I've seen at the solidarity with Wisconsin workers rallies I attended on the East Coast, called by the unions or different "progressive" democrat groups, most of the signs I saw that weren't handed out by the unions were all about the Tea Party (one guy in a union that hasn't had a contract in a couple years was holding one saying "where's OUR contract"). There were Trots all around with cheerleading leaflets and one of my coworkers (who isn't a socialist, I don't think) took one of them, but the second rally was officially "To Save the American Dream."

I think this IS something that has made a lot of workers (and high schoolers and pensioners) want to do something to defend themselves and their class brothers, and was a serious class struggle, but I don't think it's been able to brake out of being manipulated by different parts of the ruling class for their faction-fight. It looks like the attempts to do that may be on the wane as well. I hope I'm wrong.

Chilli Sauce

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Not in the WSA (but respect them) and this came into my inbox today:

WSA extends solidarity and our most sincere wishes for victory to the workers of Wisconsin in their current fight. And to all public sector workers now struggling against attacks on their pensions and their rights.

The rank-and-file workers have demonstrated the best aspects of the combative spirit of the working class, and may help ramp up the lagging spirit of solidarity in the American labor movement.

We also condemn the actions of top union officials to control and suppress the fighting spirit of the workers involved. The official’s desire to narrow the struggle has come at a time when
broadening the struggle is most needed. Instead of limiting the struggle to the public sector, it must be expanded to encompass the entire working class. Instead of accepting the concessionary demands of the state, it should be attacking the state’s corporate masters.

For many years those in power have tried to paint the term “class war” as dirty words. For the past 30 years the bosses assaulted workers in the private sector. Year after year, decade after decade workers have seen their jobs decimated, whole communities destroyed and union
bureaucrat after union bureaucrat surrendering to the boss class. After rendering most private sector industrial unions weak and almost useless, the assault now turns on to public sector workers. “Class war” can only be the way to describe wave after wave of attacks on
working people.

The class war being waged by the capitalists against working people is not limited to the public sector. The public sector is only the latest target. The politicians and their masters will not be satisfied until ALL working people are reduced to the level of indentured servants. We recognize that the fight in Wisconsin, and elsewhere, is a defensive fight. A fight to stave off the worst of the bosses attacks. We also recognize the potential of rank-and-file workers from different worksites, institutions, agencies and industries and services informally talking together, networking, building
worker-to-worker relationships, bonds and solidarity. These relations are key and cornerstones for building a fight-back. But rank-and-file workplace organization linking workplaces is also needed to carry the struggle forward and deepen the relationships. Whatever form these inter-workplace organizations may take, the key to enhancing our power is by making sure they are membership controlled and organized from the bottom up.

We call on all workers, public sector and private, to unite in solidarity and fight back against the politicians, the capitalists and union bureaucrats, to build a grassroots workers movement from below that demands nothing less than everything.

The fight will not end in Wisconsin. It's only the beginning.

Workers Solidarity Alliance (W.S.A.)

Juan Conatz

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Wobs are printing 15,000 of these for tomorrow
http://www.iww.org/sites/default/files/GSpamphlet.pdf

Poster from burntbookmobile on general strike
http://burntbookmobile.wordpress.com/2011/02/27/poster-general-strike-means-nobody-and-nothing-works/

Police said everyone had to go by 4PM, but around 700-1000 stayed, now:

MotherJones Mother Jones
Police spox says ppl can stay overnight. No sleeping bags, air mattresses. Can't leave and reenter. Limited food avail #wiunion #wearewi

Juan Conatz

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Could a general strike happen here? Experts say maybe

The confrontation between labor and politics at the Wisconsin Capitol was just starting as workers in Egypt who left their jobs and took to the streets toppled a government, and it wasn't long before activists in Madison began invoking the spirit of that uprising. "Fight like an Egyptian" emerged one cry as picket signs cheering the people's revolt half a world away were raised in protests on the Capitol Square.

Thousands have thronged the Capitol daily since large scale demonstrations began Feb. 14. Madison school teachers called in sick for several days to protest and on Feb. 21, the Madison-based South Central Federation of Labor took the unprecedented step of endorsing a general strike among its 45,000 members if Gov. Scott Walker's controversial budget repair bill is made law.

Could such a radical action get off the ground here?

Local labor leaders are careful to point out that no strikes have been called; the federation does not have the authority to call a strike and several union leaders stressed that job actions would be individual workers' decisions. But students of labor point to a confluence of circumstances in Madison with dramatic potential.

It is just possible, they say, that it could happen here.

General strikes have been very rare in the United States. Strikes widespread enough to interrupt general commerce date back to the Great Depression of the 1930s when longshoremen in San Francisco, autoworkers in Toledo, Ohio, and teamsters in Minneapolis touched off protests that helped establish industrial unions.

And while the labor struggle in Madison is unfolding in the context of budget deficits exacerbated by the severest economic downturn since the Depression, labor activists say the real conflict is over union power and partisan political influence.

It is dissatisfaction with the political system, not economic desperation, that sets the stage for a general strike, says Reza Rezazadeh, a professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville who has studied revolutionary strikes against repressive regimes in his native Iran and elsewhere. In the United States, he says, activists are challenging a political system that, despite freedom of the press and freedom of speech, is shaped by the influence of the economic elite and corporations.

Walker's challenge to union power is part of an established movement by the Republican Party to cripple unions, the most influential funding source for Democratic candidates and causes, say analysts of the showdown in Wisconsin. Aside from increasing contributions by employees for pension and health care costs, Walker's budget repair bill would also sharply restrict the power of most public unions to bargain with their employers. "It is viewed nationally and correctly as a decisive turning point for the future of labor nationally and for the Democratic Party more broadly," says Harley Shaiken, a labor expert and professor at the University of California-Berkeley.

Whether a general strike would be an effective tool for labor, local leaders will have to decide, Shaiken says. But the likely public reaction to any widespread job action would be an important consideration, and polls show a majority are opposed to stripping public workers of collective bargaining rights, he points out. A nationwide Gallup poll released last week found 61 percent of respondents opposed to an erosion of collective bargaining rights among public unions, and even a Wisconsin poll funded by the conservative-leaning Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity found 56 percent in favor of public unions' collective bargaining powers.

To mount a general strike, labor unions would have to take a more unified stance than is usual, with truck drivers and food service workers finding common cause with public sector workers, says Gene Carroll, director of the Union Leadership Institute at the New York City campus of Cornell University. To gain public support to allow it to be effective, an even more embracing class perspective would need to take shape, he says. "In Wisconsin, to the extent that people who are not in the public sector begin to understand that the designs of the government to break collective unions' bargaining rights are in fact an attack on the economic and political rights of anyone working for a living - the possibility of a general strike is conceivable."

On the other hand, a strike that does not win public support can be a public relations disaster, says Don Taylor, an assistant professor at the School for Workers at University of Wisconsin-Extension. But in Madison, where the battle over collective bargaining is centered, circumstances favor support for widespread job actions, he says.

Not only does the area have many public workers whose families have a direct interest in the issue, but it also has many other residents who are sticking up for their rights. "A lot of people not connected to the labor movement have a strong progressive outlook on issues of people's rights and social justice," Taylor says.

"Do I anticipate every worker in and out of a union would walk off the job? No. Could a strike be large enough to have significant leverage? Yes," he says.

Even the prospect of such an action might unnerve business leaders and other citizens, prompting them to call the governor's office and say "fix this thing," says Taylor.

The political standoff over workers' rights continues into a third week, but some of the urgency for labor unions locally has been relieved by the actions of their public employers. The Madison School District delayed until May the issuance of pink slips for teachers despite looming state funding cuts; the Madison City Council met in special session on Feb. 17 to approve outstanding labor contracts.

Nonetheless, David Poklinkoski, president of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 2304, says area labor is more united than it ever has been. Meetings of the Labor Federation -- which covers 97 labor organizations in six counties -- can be tense over competing interests, he says, but the vote to endorse a general strike was unanimous. "The breadth and depth of solidarity in the labor movement right now is unbelievable," says Poklinkoski, whose union represents employees of Madison Gas & Electric.

"We know the private sector is next," he says of efforts to strip workers' rights. "Local unions are trying to figure out what to do if the governor doesn't change his mind and work out a reasonable solution to this." That includes studying general strike actions of the past, as well as the budget repair bill's impacts beyond collective bargaining.

"The local union will not call a general strike - it would be each person's individual decision," he says.

Leaders of Local 60 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which includes many city of Madison and some non-teacher Madison Metropolitan School District employees, are asking their members to think about a general strike.

"We've been asking people to think about what they would do," says President Donald Coyier, so that if the union calls for a job action, they are ready.

Idling transportation is a key element of general strike efforts, Rezazadeh says, but there's no sense yet if that could happen in Madison. Teamsters Local 695, the union that represents Madison bus drivers, is not a member of the Labor Federation. Recording secretary Gene Gowey says union members are protesting and transporting other protesters to the Capitol Square, but as to a strike, he says his members are "attempting to address issues in a peaceful, law-abiding way."

The stakes are high for strikers. State law restricts strikes by public employees, but job actions in protest of proposed legislation might not be considered a "strike" under state law. Private sector workers might not be protected by federal law in general strikes not related to contract provisions or unfair labor practices, meaning that they could be fired.

Meanwhile, some Madison residents are beginning to meet and talk about how the community might respond to a general strike. One of them, union supporter Judith Zukerman-Kaufman, recalls how during a 1960s parent protest that kept Chicago schoolchildren out of classrooms, alternative schools were established. Creating similar set-ups to teach children about civil rights or labor history is one thing people are starting to talk about here, she says. "There are seeds of some ideas."

Madison teacher Susan Stern says that the focus of her union continues to be legal protest. "But people are starting to ask: ‘What if?'"

http://host.madison.com/ct/news/local/govt-and-politics/article_6e4ebcb8-422c-11e0-81c2-001cc4c002e0.html

Juan Conatz

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Police are not allowing anyone inside and windows have been bolted shut to apparently prevent people seeking food to people inside?
http://twitpic.com/44ssy1
http://twitpic.com/44stct

Live stream from Fox News
http://interactive.foxnews.com/livestream/live.html?chanId=1

Capitol Building Still Closed, Windows Welded Shut, Other Shenanigans
http://news.firedoglake.com/2011/02/28/capitol-building-still-closed-windows-welded-shut-other-shenanigans/

Meanwhile, Capitol Police staff are welding the windows shut. The lack of access to the Capitol means that food and supplies cannot be sent in to those who remain. People inside can leave the Capitol building but not return, at least for the moment. So people had been passing food and other supplies through the windows. So according to multiple witnesses, the windows are being welded shut to break down the supply line. Attorneys for labor unions are collecting affidavits on this, as well as the illegal denial of access into a public building, which under the Wisconsin state constitution is prohibited. The victory of last night is turning into a very bitter one indeed.

From Twitter

IWW_News Industrial Worker
Call 608 266-8797 and demand that protesters be let in to the capital. Please share widely!

Samotnaf

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Cops for Labor!
So what happened to those speeches by cops in "solidarity"? Talk is cheap...

As for the

Wobs are printing 15,000 of these for tomorrow
http://www.iww.org/sites/default/files/GSpamphlet.pdf

Distributing 15,000 sleeping pills might be better. It's just anarcho-leftist voluntarism as opposed to insurrectionist voluntarism (which is a bit better, imo).

Without collective bargaining,
we have no legally-recognized way to influence
how we are treated at our jobs. Workers with ac-
cess to a union have an opportunity to make their
workplaces more democratic...Trade unions enable large groups of people a
powerful, unified voice, from the local and its of-
ficers, representatives, stewards, and negotiators
up to the level of a union

No mention of how the union has already agreed to accept all the health insurance and pension crap that Walker's demanded. As has already been mentioned. 100 years of the unions integration into the capitalist system never gets mentioned by the IWW - for good reason because, iirc, a section of the IWW agreed to a no strike deal a few years back. Anybody who wants things to go further in Madison and Wisconsin are going to have to take on the IWW as well as the other cops, I reckon. Or have I missed something here? (I admit, I've followed very little about the modern IWW, but it just seems like another obstacle, part of the spectacle of opposition, no integrity whatsoever).

Juan Conatz

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Yeah, I don't think you know what you're talking about in reference to the IWW. As I believe has been stated probably a million times in the last 10 years in which insurrectionary and left communism has been a little less marginal than usual, the IWW is NOT an anarchist organization nor a communist one. There is a variety of tendencies within the union and that is reflected by the contracts, tactics and propaganda that are produced at any given time in a given place.

If someone is looking for ideological purity in the IWW to align with their anarchist or communist viewpoints, you'd be better off being a rugged individual or joining a political organization. That's fine. I don't care if abstention from unpure organizations is something people feel is fine. But to turn that into claiming the Wobs are something that needs to be "taken on", well that is batshit forum posturing.

The Wobs are basically THE only libertarian group doing anything worth speaking of in Madison. Their dual carders pushed for the SCLF's endorsement of a general strike and they've basically provided housing for a lot of other Wobs and libertarians headed to Madison to help out. They are one of the few entities that have both been pushing for more radical tactics and are actually connected to the situation, unlike the ebbs and flows of out of state detached Trotskyist students or the insurrectionaries with their one-size-fits-all badly xeroxed 'zines'. Even the anarchist political organizations have a detached relationship to this situation.

I don't agree with the language in a number of their press releases or propaganda, but I recognize their role is a positive one. Particularly because, as over tasked and under-resourced as they are, they're in a better position than all of the anarchist or left communist political organizations, "affinity groups" and lone individuals to actually have a positive effect on this situation.

syndicalist

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I'm not IWW, think their leaflet is missing something.... but I agree with Dead End here on the role of the madision IWW (and all the midwest Wobs going to Madison):

"I recognize their role is a positive one. Particularly because, as over tasked and under-resourced as they are, they're in a better position than all of the anarchist or left communist political organizations, "affinity groups" and lone individuals to actually have a positive effect on this situation. "

Ed

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I agree with Juan and syndicalist here, but I think Samotnaf's view isn't groundless even if I'd say his post doesn't pick up on the nuances within the IWW, the different tendencies within it etc.. def wouldn't say the IWW needs to be 'taken on' but I'd hazard a guess Sam is talking without knowing rather than any ideological purism.. could be wrong like, but that's my assumption.

That said, Sam is spot on about the 'Cops for Labour'.. where the fuck did they go? :confused:

Ed

That said, Sam is spot on about the 'Cops for Labour'.. where the fuck did they go? :confused:

They went to get their welders torches.

Samotnaf

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Well, I did say

Or have I missed something here? (I admit, I've followed very little about the modern IWW, but it just seems like another obstacle, part of the spectacle of opposition, no integrity whatsoever).

I'll withdraw some of what i said, and reserve judgement on them for the moment - practically they seem to do some good stuff, but their propaganda is dire and reflects the repression of their disgust and anger. If they don't criticise the unions stance, I'd guess it's for populist reasons - don't potentially antagonise their potential constituents/recruits. If things are to develop in the States (and elsewhere), it seems patently obvious that the unions' blatant complicity with/submission to the attacks of the ruling class are part of the problem, and have to be confronted.

Chilli Sauce

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I wouldn't say dire, but there are some things that I think are flawed in there. That said, it's practical activity and practical advice that's important here and the leaflet seems like a pretty good starting point for that.

Juan Conatz

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

From SDSer @ University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

100 people occupying UW-Milwaukee theater to demand end to budget bill and no privatization of our schools! #wiunion

I think there was a walk-out, as well.

Some of the unions also filed temporary restraining orders to keep the capitol open to the public and some Republcian state rep or senator was chased down protesters and confronted, but then he got away.

Nate

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

in actual activity one simply does not compare anyone else to the cops as people who need to be 'dealt with' without some information first, doing so based on lazy conjecture plus whatever theoretical framework you're operating from is despicable.

As for the rest, well, y'all who want to name call what we in the IWW have put out should write and layout some better stuff. I mean, the criticisms here - Sama helped set the tone - most definitely don't appear constructive, at best even y'all who are being nice are like "oh, I wish this was better." Well no shit sherlock, who doesn't? Lay out some specifics of how, or better yet, help suggest some additional language for leaflets. It's not like these events are over yet. This stuff is hard to write and get done, especially on short notice in response to circumstances that it's hard to understand. These events came up really fast, everyone in the damn world was taken by surprise and a great many people have put a ton of time and energy into this stuff on top of everything else in our lives in response to a situation that most of us (the ones under 40 anyway, which is by far the majority) have never seen up close and personal. Absolutely everything we've done has been deeply flawed and last minute. I'd like to see any of the rest of you show me anything you've done that's been otherwise.

I also want to say that part of why we felt compelled to respond is that there was a massive vacuum in these events. I happend to be in Madison for my job the second day or so of the protests so I went up to the capital several times, there were tons of people there, it was entirely run by the officials of the unions and there was literally zero left presence in anything I saw. Perhaps there was some inside the capital building itself but I walked around in a crowd of 10-15,000 people and saw nothing. The next day or two I saw two people from vanguardist groups putting out stuff. Madison has a population of about 200,000 people with what I'm told is a fairly well developed left. The thing is a well developed left for a town of 200,000 is not going to be prepared for mobilizations of 10,000 let alone the 70-100,000 people that things turned into. So the view of several of the individual IWW members who plugged in (and I think I know all the ones who pushed hard to get others to come out) was that this was really important to get involved in if anything at all was going to happen beyond a very typical union-called protest of union members. Hence the additional urgency and the need to put out some material.

I also want to add, I suspect that some of y'all mostly think of written materials (I'm looking at you Sama) in abstraction and isolation. The paper is largely an excuse to have a conversation as part of working with people face to face and building relationships as well as a way to layout some points to think about afterward and for people to use to open up further conversations. Written words on paper (and even less, on screen) no matter how brilliant they are matter a lot less than real time interactions tied in with them, that was also part of the push to get these done, to help with conversations - I believe about 20 of us from out of town have been in and out of Madison since this started (I live about a 5 hour drive from there), a few are staying long term for the duration of these events or are commuting up regularly after work, in addition to the IWW members who live there.

Admin edit - no flaming, play nice.

syndicalist

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

My comment was based on the fact that I think the IWW leafflet and even the WSA are both missing something.

Here's from an internal conversation WSA members were having relative to WI written material. For the record, I laid no specific criticism on the leaflet, just thought it was "missing something"..... as with the WSA statement.

M wrote:

I think there's good stuff in the flier, but even when we were
writing the WSA statement, there seemed (to me) something else
missing.

S. askes:

"M. , did you have particular criticisms beyond the lead slogan of
'kill the bill'?"

My reply to Ss question would be to pose the same things I wrote
in my last email:

".... A "kill the bill" slogan simply means killing the
aspect of revoking collective bargaining....the trade unions have
already announced they would grant major economic concessions.
....

Realistically, what do we have to say? What do we have to suggest? How
do we try and rachet stuff up (where we can) without seeming to be
aliens from Mars or one of it's trotskyists orbiting planets. I guess
this is where I always get a bit hamstrung."

So maybe, at times, a tactical leaflet is all's that required. Maybe
this is one of those times. But the broader questions (concessions)
beyond a defensive strike is defered. I don't think there's an easy
answer and, like I said, one wants to be constructive in suggestions
and not be like the Martian trots.

Anyways, some of what I'm doing is thinking out loud, some to have a discussion.

Soli.,

Jazzhands

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

If the problem is that the left isn't getting enough of a presence over there, I saw a video where a protester took a few journalists on a tour of the occupied capitol.

For those of you too lazy to look at the link, they have this board where they list places they're getting supply donations from. I know this sounds ridiculous, but maybe the IWW could organize a supply donation drive so they can get their name on the board? Obviously this is in addition to all their leaflet and on-site agitation work, not replacing it. The reason is, every Trot org in the US is going to be shipping leaflets out by the hundreds, but the reason nobody cares about them is that their actual help to workers' causes is limited to their own newspapers nobody reads.

But if the key is to make a splash in Wisconsin so we can get people listening to a leftist message, getting our name in as many places as possible is the way to go. But we have to make sure that we have something CONCRETE we can point to to show that we're actually helping the workers.

Juan Conatz

General strikes have been very rare in the United States. Strikes widespread enough to interrupt general commerce date back to the Great Depression of the 1930s when longshoremen in San Francisco, autoworkers in Toledo, Ohio, and teamsters in Minneapolis touched off protests that helped establish industrial unions.

I beg to differ.

According to my research, the following general strikes have occurred in the U.S.:

1835 Philadelphia, the first
1877 St. Louis General Strike as part of The Great Upheaval Railroad Strike
1886 May Day strikes, Haymarket affair in Chicago
1892 New Orleans
1894 Pullman Strike, especially in Chicago
1910 Philadelphia
1919 Seattle
1934 (3) San Francisco, Minneapolis and Toledo
1935 Terre Haute, Indiana
1936 Pekin, Illinois
1946 (6) Stamford, Connecticut; Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Houston, Texas; Rochester, New York; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Oakland, California

Taft-Hartley was passed 6 months after Oakland, making illegal the kind of sympathy strikes that made all those general strikes possible.

We've only come near a nationwide general strike twice; the first time was the 1877 Great Upheaval on the railroads that spread from coast to coast. The second was in the spring of 1946 when soft-coal miners went on strike at the same time as railroad engineers and trainmen, bringing national commerce to standstill -- that was furthered when striking bituminous coal miners caused national brown-outs. When President Truman threatened to break the strike with the National Guard, the famous reply was "you can't mine coal with bayonets." The 1946 strikes were a continuation of the post-war strike wave where oil workers, coal miners, textile workers, autoworkers, electrical workers, and meat packers went out in 1945. In January 1946, 750,000 steel workers walked out in the largest single-industry strike in U.S. history.

Juan Conatz

To gain public support to allow it to be effective, an even more embracing class perspective would need to take shape

All of the above general strikes did exactly that; they were based on a class perspective where sectoral divisions evaporated and the strikers' solidarity was based on the principle "an injury to one is an injury to all."

Ed

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Nate, seriously, what's wrong with the air where you are? Read again the key part that Juan wrote (and that me and syndicalist are agreeing with):

I recognize their role is a positive one. Particularly because, as over tasked and under-resourced as they are, they're in a better position than all of the anarchist or left communist political organizations, "affinity groups" and lone individuals to actually have a positive effect on this situation.

I'd say this was very praising (though maybe I'll have children with severe emotional problems, who knows..).. what more do you want? I think what you say about the leaflet is true; it's an 'in', a way to start a conversation, not something that will transform people into libertarian communist militants on reading and hence why, even if there are bits of the leaflet people don't like, the IWWs "role is a positive one".

Fuck man, even within an organisation you probably won't get everyone saying "shit, that leaflet was perfect" so I don't get what your problem is. In Solfed, we had a newsletter published with a shite headline, someone called us out on libcom and when we looked at it, most of SFers on libcom thought, "yeah, actually that's pretty shit" and said so. I mean, you've got your criticisms of aspects of the IWW, I don't get why those outside can't have some as well.

As for constructive criticism, I dunno, I think Sam was in his last post: a little more on the unions. Sam probably also wanted more pictures of rioting ;) Anyway, maybe the anti-union thing was avoided so as to play the populist card? I dunno, I'm asking, not saying, you're in a better position than me to know but I just don't think there's anything to get so defensive about. Generally, I think that people here view the IWW as doing some great work in the US and are glad to see them active in Wisconsin..

Awesome Dude

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

It might help if comrades remained focused on reporting whats going on the ground and those far from events focus using 'non-aggresive' measured constructive suggestions.

We all go into heated class warfair with the army we've got and not the army we would love to have (which I'd guess would be a mass working class movement with a significant libertarian communist tendency).

Mike Harman

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

As for constructive criticism, I dunno, I think Sam was in his last post: a little more on the unions. Sam probably also wanted more pictures of rioting Anyway, maybe the anti-union thing was avoided so as to play the populist card? I dunno, I'm asking, not saying, you're in a better position than me to know but I just don't think there's anything to get so defensive about.

Yeah I don't think getting defensive like that is useful, in the same way I don't think straight sniping is useful (but I don't think that's what's happened here - at least with Sam retracting some of his post).

As well as populism, they may just have left that out because it's relatively difficult to talk introduce a critique of the unions in the middle of something that is explicitly pro-union. From this distance it looks like much, much more emphasis is on union rights than the rest of the package - not just from the union leadership and the media, but I don't see many signs of dissent against this from the reports here either. Now if there's any chance for it to go beyond that, then this is precisely the sort of thing that would need to be dealt with. But equally, while I'd disagree with it, I could understand why someone would leave 'anti-union' things out of a leaflet in those circumstances - because it's very easy for liberals and leftists (not to mention common assumptions) to paint any kind of criticism of the unions that as anti-worker - "the governer is 'anti-union' too!".

syndicalist

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

As well as populism, they may just have left that out because it's relatively difficult to talk introduce a critique of the unions in the middle of something that is explicitly pro-union. From this distance it looks like much, much more emphasis is on union rights than the rest of the package - not just from the union leadership and the media, but I don't see many signs of dissent against this from the reports here either. Now if there's any chance for it to go beyond that, then this is precisely the sort of thing that would need to be dealt with. But equally, while I'd disagree with it, I could understand why someone would leave 'anti-union' things out of a leaflet in those circumstances - because it's very easy for liberals and leftists (not to mention common assumptions) to paint any kind of criticism of the unions that as anti-worker - "the governer is 'anti-union' too!".

I think a number of us have struggled with this many times over. A WI conversation going forth, after the fight over rights, may very well be on the other issues. As an anarcho-syndicalist, sometimes you walk a fine line. You want to be constructive and critical at the same time. You want to gain a hearing, but you don't want to be soppy.

The struggle is not just in WI, but is happening elsewhere. WI is ground zero, but there are many other struggles throught the land now. Perhaps there are lessons that other workers may be learning from WI elsewhere and different nature of fights may occur. And from that I suspect all of us will adopt our general approaches, leaflets, press and so forth.

syndicalist

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Ohio Senate Bill 5 passes, restricting unions
Bargaining rights of public workers in Ohio would be dramatically reduced and strikes would be banned under bill
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/03/02/national/main20038584.shtml

syndicalist

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

You knew this was coming:

Stand with Wisconsin
Support Working Men and Women
in Wisconsin. Take Action Now!
www.DSCC.org

And the AFL-CIO version to follow, no doubt.

Well, the AFL-CIO version has indeed followed. Yesterday, union staffers from sea to shining sea received the following:

"Today, the AFL-CIO concluded a two-day Executive Council meeting dedicated almost entirely to the events in Wisconsin and what the labor movement response should be. There is a widespread belief, which I share, that we are in a pivotal moment. For the first time in my memory, America is talking about union rights.

As a start, the Unions of the AFL-CIO have decided to make April 4th a national day of action in the U.S. You will recall that April 4th marks the tragic day in history when Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated while in Memphis Tennessee supporting sanitation workers – public employees – in their fight for respect and dignity.

I ask that all of us in our Local Unions and Joint Boards take part with your CLC’s in planning and participating in this day of action. We will provide you with information as we get it, but don’t wait to get involved locally.

For those Local Unions closer geographically to Wisconsin, I will be contacting you shortly about sending your members to Madison on April 4th.

This is an important time for all of us to act."

And there's this also. Leave it to the Left to make a funeral out of the most exciting and sustained worker rebellion in the US in decades. At least they're saying "no concessions," though:

STOP WALKER’S ATTACKS ON WISCONSIN

No Cuts or Concessions!

MARCH 3 • THURSDAY 5:00 PM • Funeral Procession From Library Mall to the Capitol 5:30 PM • Rally and Press Conference, State Street side of the Capitol

Scott Walker’s bill and budget proposal threaten the future of Wisconsin and would be devastating to Wisconsin families. Walker has created this crisis by granting tax breaks to his corporate backers. Now, he seeks to cut education and state employee pensions, pay and health benefits, end collective bargaining rights, and undermine regulations and social programs like BadgerCare, that protect Wisconsin’s most vulnerable citizens.

We are tired of being blamed for a crisis that was caused by Wall Street greed —and the expectation that workers and their families, already struggling in the current economic crisis, continue to make concessions. Working people did not create the recession or the budget crisis, and there can be no more concessions, period.

Endorsers:

J. Eric Cobb, Building Trades Council of South Central Wisconsin*; Phil Neuenfeldt, President of WI AFL-CIO*; Jim Cavanaugh, President, South Central Federation of Labor*; Kill the Whole Bill Coalition; Shannon Maier, President, AFSCME Local 720 Dane County Courthouse Employees*; Elizabeth Wrigley-Field, TAA*; Dave Poklinkoski, President and Business Manager, IBEW 2304*; Jack Trudell, RN, UW Hospital, SEIU 1199WI*; Tim Birkley, First Vice President, AFSCME Local 60*; Joe Schirmer, SEIU Health Care WI District 1199*; Ariel Ford, Department of Civil Rights*; Eric Robson, AFSCME Local 171*; Joe Balkis, Steward Teamsters Local 705*; Mike Imbrogno, Executive Board, AFSCME Local 171*; Ben Rattliffe, Steward, AFSCME Local 60*; Jane Schirmer, Registered Nurse; Liberty Tree; Mindy Trudell, MSW, MTI*; Minnesota Nurses Association; Michigan Nurses Association; National Nurses United *Organization for identification purposes only

Join Us to Say No to All Cuts andConcessions!

March up State St. in a funeral procession symbolizing all that is worth defending against Walker’s attacks on working people! Come dressed for a funeral, and ready to dance!

To endorse this event or for more information, please contact Pilar Schiavo at (510) 385-4213 or [email protected]

Samotnaf

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Don't have time to go into my responses to the arguments about the IWW here, at least for the moment....But...

...Just heard some interesting information, which was mentioned in post 138, about the lobby of the theater building at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee which was occupied a couple of days ago.

There'd been a march in which some people tried to start a "everyone out - general strike" chant but it didn't go anywhere, but they shouted over chants like "tax the rich" by yelling "kill the rich" , which, while not being taken up by much of the crowd, was at least greeted by smirks and laughter. The march passed a high school that butts up on the campus and teachers were seen in the windows smiling and cheering.

After some tedious speeches by sds and union speakers they had invited, some people started yelling "it's cold" and "let's go inside" which got the crowd (about 150 remaining after the drift away from the soul-destroying speeches) moving again. They went back into the student union through the cafeteria wing, and chants of "class war" and "an eye for an eye - walker must die" were all you could hear in the cafeteria while they passed through it. After a discussion about which part of the Uni to occupy, the theater lobby of the arts building was decided on, because it stays open late, technically some students can be in it after hours and it was thought that the students and faculty there would be sympathetic, possibly engaged by the occupation. And so an occupation took place, though there were a lot of angry arguments with authoritarian killjoys who tied to manipulate things so that drinking alcohol and graffiti were banned, and arguments about filming for "alternative media".

So far I don't know if the occupation has continued or not. Maybe someone who directly participated in this has some things to add...?

Mike Harman

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

That April 4th day of action, do you think they deliberately avoided calling it the week before when it'd coincide with March 26th in the UK?

Either way while it's being called by the AFL-CIO, a 'day of action' could go lots of different ways at the moment. The first student demo in London where MIllbank got smashed in was called by the NUS ffs.

scottydont

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

There are relatively continuous updates here: http://burntbookmobile.wordpress.com/
looks like the building was still occupied last night at least.

Also, list of "demands" from the occupation.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-3Qd17WwfJo
(Also, just to get it out of the way: anyone who says that they should be more serious should grow a heart/sense of humor)

what ever

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The occupation is continuing into its third day. For now it is a completely open, similar to the Capitol building. People come and go. About 30 regularly sleep in the building. How open it is may change depending on how the administration decides to react to it. It may appear poorly for them to arrest many students and this is why they are "allowing" it to continue.

blackrainbow

We all go into heated class warfair with the army we've got and not the army we would love to have (which I'd guess would be a mass working class movement with a significant libertarian communist tendency).

Didn't Donald Rumsfeld say that about Iraq?

Anyway, the army the anti-bill movement's got is basically the IWW, a working-class movement in Wisconsin with no political direction or leadership beyond "Kill the Bill", and a bunch of well-wishes from the AFL-CIO. But wishes don't help in the real world.

On the other side, Walker and the Koch brothers have the entire Tea Party, Fox News, the general anti-union malaise that's always hanging over our worthless media, the Wisconsin National Guard, and the financial backing of two oil gods, half the blogosphere, and the Republican Party.

EDIT: Also, if anyone hasn't heard of this, a DC nurses' union went on a strike on Friday that was supposed to last only a day. But the hospital has locked them out, so it's going to last at least until Tuesday or Wednesday. Now some of the more recent stuff from the union expresses solidarity with Wisconsin. I think they might be becoming more aware of their position as workers.

It seems Wisconsin is either inspiring strike movements elsewhere or forcing unionized workers to ponder what they're striking for: a chance to eat crumbs off the master's table. When they should be striking for a chance to sit at the table with all their fellow workers. I believe this one was a case of the latter.

scottydont

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

In terms of circulation of struggles: there have been somewhat spontaneous school walkouts over closures and layoffs in Dallas and Idaho

Obviously, hard to tell how much Wisconsin is effecting these, but with the amount of attention its getting wouldn't surprise me if there is some inspiration, as well as the common conditions of austerity, of course.

Juan Conatz

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

edit

Schwarz

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

It looks like I may have a free ride out to WI from NYC with the union I work for. They have chartered a bus and we would make it for the rally on Saturday in Madison. I am not in the IWW loop, so I will PM the appropriate folks.

Excited!

Jazzhands

Didn't Donald Rumsfeld say that about Iraq?.

Yup it was Rumsfeld who said that to his critics about the state of the US army preparations in the middle of a combat situation in Iraq (in particular lack of adequate kit for ground troops).[

Jazzhands

Anyway, the army the anti-bill movement's got is basically the IWW, a working-class movement in Wisconsin with no political direction or leadership beyond "Kill the Bill", and a bunch of well-wishes from the AFL-CIO. But wishes don't help in the real world..

So just where the f**k are you and your army of the 'politically clued up'?

Jazzhands

On the other side, Walker and the Koch brothers have the entire Tea Party, Fox News, the general anti-union malaise that's always hanging over our worthless media, the Wisconsin National Guard, and the financial backing of two oil gods, half the blogosphere, and the Republican Party..

Hmmm. So lets see. Is this the same Fox News owned by Rupert Murdochs' multi billion revenue News International Corporation? The same capitalist press owner who helped Margaret Thatchers' Tory government decisively defeat the strong holds of the British workers movement 25 odd years ago? Up against that multi billion revenue workers organisation with access to a sophisticated media network the IWW.?

Jazzhands

It seems Wisconsin is either inspiring strike movements elsewhere or forcing unionized workers to ponder what they're striking for: a chance to eat crumbs off the master's table. When they should be striking for a chance to sit at the table with all their fellow workers. I believe this one was a case of the latter.

Isn't it curious how far left wing armchair critics (of the 'theyre not adequite' school) pop up every time workers go into a major dispute, without clearly setting out how they would go about it. Even better, why haven't you got off your arse to do it?

blackrainbow

So just where the f**k are you and your army of the 'politically clued up'?
...

Even better, why haven't you got off your arse to do it?

These kinds of comments are not at all reasonable. They are used to try to shut someone up, to intimidate them, like shouting someone down in a meeting.

waslax

...like shouting someone down in a meeting.

This isn't a f**ing meeting. It's an opinion on a overtly opinionated forum.

Chilli Sauce

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Guys, let's keep this thread productive. Argue privately please.

Any updates?

Schwarz, if you don't hear anything back, PM me and I'll try to send you in the right direction...ch

what ever

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Schwarz, if you're interested in meeting up in Milwaukee that would be cool. It's about an hour away from Madison. There is a general assembly here tomorrow about how to support strikes being called by a neighborhood. It may be interesting. We may also be coming up for the weekend to participate in a discussion in Madison about how to support a General Strike.

blackrainbow

Jazzhands

Anyway, the army the anti-bill movement's got is basically the IWW, a working-class movement in Wisconsin with no political direction or leadership beyond "Kill the Bill", and a bunch of well-wishes from the AFL-CIO. But wishes don't help in the real world..

So just where the f**k are you and your army of the 'politically clued up'?

Look, I'm not saying that we have to be some kind of political Rambo. I'm just saying that the AFL-CIO should be doing more to plan other strikes and protests around the country. Which it won't, because their leaders are more concerned with their political clout with the Democrats than with being a real union. But come on, it's them.

blackrainbow

Jazzhands

On the other side, Walker and the Koch brothers have the entire Tea Party, Fox News, the general anti-union malaise that's always hanging over our worthless media, the Wisconsin National Guard, and the financial backing of two oil gods, half the blogosphere, and the Republican Party..

Hmmm. So lets see. Is this the same Fox News owned by Rupert Murdochs' multi billion revenue News International Corporation? The same capitalist press owner who helped Margaret Thatchers' Tory government decisively defeat the strong holds of the British workers movement 25 odd years ago? Up against that multi billion revenue workers organisation with access to a sophisticated media network the IWW.?

The same one. But when was the last time the IWW got mainstream media attention? Devil's advocate. I'm not saying I'm waiting for Marx to come back from the dead and kick Walker's ass. Also, I had no idea the IWW had that much money. You never hear from them down on the East Coast where I am.

blackrainbow

Jazzhands

It seems Wisconsin is either inspiring strike movements elsewhere or forcing unionized workers to ponder what they're striking for: a chance to eat crumbs off the master's table. When they should be striking for a chance to sit at the table with all their fellow workers. I believe this one was a case of the latter.

Isn't it curious how far left wing armchair critics (of the 'theyre not adequite' school) pop up every time workers go into a major dispute, without clearly setting out how they would go about it. Even better, why haven't you got off your arse to do it?

Maybe you oughta read that post again and figure out where I said "They're not adequate" or that I don't support them. I'm saying that it's a good thing that Wisconsin is inspiring either new labor actions or a new and more revolutionary perspective in the working class. And the reason I haven't done anything substantial about it is because I'M IN THE ASS END OF NOWHERE. Not everyone can be fucking Banksy, you know. You best shape up that attitude. You're just so busy looking for a fight instead of being constructive that you have no fucking clue what to do when someone agrees with you. So you twist their words and start barking at them.

Juan Conatz

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

So here's some updates:

-The Democrats are being fined $100 every day that they're gone.

-There was a Wall Street Journal article that said the Dems were coming back "soon", but then they went on TV saying the WSJ article took stuff out of context and that no such plan existed.

-Yesterday, Walker indicated, through a release of emails, that he was willing to "compromise" on some aspects of collective bargaining. However, he has been accused of selectively releasing emails that make him seem more moderate than he really is.

-The once lively capitol building is now governed by a set of new rules aimed at making sure people are out by closing time and calm and quiet when they are.

-Here are some IWW General strike posters that have recently been made.

-Check out what a right-wing blog has to say about the IWW general strike call

Oh, also, I hate saying stuff before everything is concrete...in fact I don't like mentioning things till they've already happened, but it looks like I'm going to be moving up to Madison on Sunday for maybe a month primarily to help out with IWW stuff.

blackrainbow

waslax

...like shouting someone down in a meeting.

This isn't a f**ing meeting. It's an opinion on a overtly opinionated forum.

there is no need for that sort of tone. Please be polite.

Juan Conatz

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Republicans maneuvering....

GOP senators say they can advance collective bargaining bill without Democrats present

MARY SPICUZZA | [email protected] | 608-252-6122 | Posted: Wednesday, March 9, 2011 4:45 pm

In a surprise move late Wednesday, Senate Republicans voted to move forward with the governor's controversial budget repair bill, sending the measure into a conference committee scheduled for later in the day.

Republican leaders would only say the Senate bill differed from the Assembly bill and indicated it was possible lawmakers could strip fiscal elements from the proposal and pass only the measures dealing with collective bargaining.

Such a move would allow Republicans to pass the governor's bill without the 20 Senate members needed to vote on fiscal matters. Currently 14 Democratic senators remain in Illinois, hiding out in an effort to deny the quorum and stall the vote.

If the Republicans move forward with their plans, it would be a major reversal for Gov. Scott Walker and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau. Both have contended that the bill is fiscal in nature and thus the collective bargaining could not be stripped from the measure.

Democratic Senators on Wednesday immediately criticized the move, saying it proves Republican attempts to end collective bargaining for public employees are not about balancing the budget.

"They have been saying all along that this is a fiscal item, we've been saying it is not," said Sen. Jon Erpenbach, D-Waunakee, from Illinois. "They have been lying. Their goal is to bust up the unions."

http://m.host.madison.com/mobile/article_8747fa04-4a74-11e0-8e6b-001cc4c03286.html

From the South Central Federation of Labor's Facebook

REPORT TO THE STATE CAPITOL NOW!! Breaking - Tonight at 6 pm in the Senate Parlor we are hearing that Senate GOP is going to split the budget repair bill, fiscal from non-fiscal, and ram it through in the dark of night. We wanted to let you know that very important developments are likely to occur tonight at 6:00 pm in the Senate Parlor.

Juan Conatz

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Retweeted by AFTWisconsin

Republicans just approved separating out provisions of the budget repair bill. They are now headed to the Senate floor. #wiunion

Juan Conatz

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

It passed the Senate

GOP rams anti-union bill through Wis. Senate

MADISON, Wis. — Republicans pushed a provision stripping public employees of their collective bargaining rights through the state Senate Wednesday evening by separating it from Gov. Scott Walker's controversial budget bill.

The action, if it stand, would have the effect of rendering moot a Democratic attempt to keep the provision from passing the Senate. The vote in the Senate was 18-1. No Democrats were present.

All 14 Democrats had left the state to prevent passage of the overall budget bill in opposition to the collective bargaining rights.

The Senate is split 19-14 with Republicans in the majority. Because the union provision was part of a budget bill, Republicans in the Senate needed at least 20 senators present for a quorum.

By separating the anti-union measure from the budget bill, Republicans did not need 20 senators for a quorum.

Before the Senate floor vote, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald read the bill to a hastily created joint conference committee. Rep. Peter Barca, D-Kenosha, objected, saying the committee's meeting was in violation of the state's open meetings law. But Fitzgerald went ahead with the vote, which was seen live on WisconsinEye, and the measure was approved.

Senate Democrats reportedly were meeting to decide how to respond. Some argue that Senate Republicans were violating legislative rules with the vote.

The stand-alone measure would have to be approved by both the Senate and the Assembly, the lower chamber. The Assembly was not in session Wednesday and it was not clear that it could be convened until Thursday.

Stripping out the collective-bargaining provisions into a "non-fiscal" bill raises questions about the governor's and the Republicans' argument that the issue of collective bargaining rights is crucial to the budget.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/41996994/ns/politics-more_politics/

Malcy

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Watching this from afar I keep waiting expectantly for a tipping point. Hopefully this is it. If this does not trigger a mass walkout then I cannot see any hope of turning back the GOP's attacks on public sector workers and the class in general.

jesuithitsquad

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

That's a really ballsy move. Agree with above this will be a make or break point. It will be interesting if they try something similar in Indiana.

Hieronymous

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Sorry, redundant post.

Juan Conatz

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

For those of you on Twitter...

http://twitter.com/AndrewKroll (Journalist for Mother Jones)
http://twitter.com/danielmke (SDS/FRSO guy from Milwaukee that's been in Madison frequently)
http://twitter.com/AFTwisconsin (public sector union)
http://twitter.com/DefendWisconsin (liberal info clearinghouse)
http://twitter.com/EricAntiFa (IWW organizer)
http://twitter.com/juanconatz (me)

Samotnaf

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

If I got it right - the Capitol has been re-occupied, yes...? What's going on?

Juan Conatz

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

From what people have been texting me or what info I've seen, there's anywhere from several hundred to a couple thousand inside the capitol with several hundred outside. Police weren't allowing people in, but eventually let the doors open for some period of time and the shut them (unsure about this). Inside, the most common chant is 'general strike'.

People have also been getting in through windows as well. Some people are 'blockading' the assembly room (where the bill would have to pass before it tomorrow or Friday) and singing Solidarity Forever.

Live stream here: http://www.livestream.com/theuptake

Chilli Sauce

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Thanks Juan, keep us in the loop and good luck with your move.

is it true about the calls for a general strike?

Jared

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

We in New Zealand faced a similar thing in 1991, when the National Government introduced the Employments Contract Act: essentially individualising contracts. The fight was lost because the popular protests were co-opted and damped by the trade-unions.

From 'The Myth Of Passivity':

In 1991, the National government prepared to introduce the draconian Employment Contracts Act and severe benefit cuts at the same time. These were both designed to drive wages down and reduce living standards. It was expected that unions and beneficiaries would put up a tough fight. Capitalists and state bureaucrats expected a struggle comparable to the Miners’ Strike in Britain – except in Aotearoa, capitalists attacked the entire union movement in one foul swoop, rather than targeting and isolating militant unions as was the tactic used against the Miners’ in Britain. In the end, capitalists were pleasantly surprised. A mass movement to stop the ECA was co-opted by union bureaucrats

and...

The week of action against the ECA put increasing pressure on the CTU to call for a general strike. Yet on April 18, the bureaucracy of the CTU voted 250 122 to 190 910 against holding a general strike against the ECA. This move went against the wishes of the majority of its members. For example, as noted above, 87% of nurses voted for a general strike, yet the Nurses Association representative at the CTU meeting voted against a general strike. CTU bureaucrats wrongly assumed there was insufficient support to sustain confrontational and effective nationwide action. Most CTU bureaucrats wished to avoid any large-scale confrontation with capital partially because of their experience in 1951, when the militant wing of the union movement was obliterated during the Waterfront lockout. They believed confrontation would lead to an inevitable defeat and decimation of the union movement. Yet surely the ECA aimed to do that anyway! Ken Douglas, the CTU President, ironically said at a time when hundreds of thousands of people were marching in the streets against benefit cuts and the ECA that the era of confrontational class struggle had passed! Minister of Labour Bill Birch praised the CTU for the “realism” of “positioning themselves to work with the new legislation”.

Not only did union bureaucrats reject the call for a general strike, they also sabotaged the efforts of those who did. For example, Bill Andersen, a CTU bureaucrat and member of the Stalinist Socialist Unity Party (SUP), prevented or ignored people from the floor putting forward resolutions to defeat the bill at union meetings.16 John Ryall of the Service Workers’ Federation said, “The CTU leadership were opposed to doing anything” yet to be fair the CTU did oppose the ECA, and organised a campaign against it, including protests, strike activity and stopwork meetings. However, this campaign was mild, largely symbolic, and aimed to cause little disruption. The most effective way of opposing the bill was a nationally co-ordinated general strike. Perhaps the ECA could not have been defeated by even a general strike. But such a move may have forced the state to retract some of the more draconian proposals contained in the ECA, and perhaps if the strike was lengthy, widespread and well organised, it may have actually defeated the bill.

I post this so that you guys may learn from our failures, and to be wary of union bureaucracy trying to manage the protests into acceptable forms....

Juan Conatz

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

A large group of 8th graders from #Madison walked out today in support of #wiunion today #wisconsin http://yfrog.com/h0wv0faj

Wisconsin GOP Bill Allows State to Fire Employees for Strikes, Walk-Outs
http://motherjones.com/mojo/2011/03/wisconsin-walker-union-republican-senate-budget-bill

Live video of Assembly debate on the bill
http://www.channel3000.com/localvideo/index.html?v=live

Dumb-ass Jesse Jackson was in Madison, as well, telling people not to be mad at the police. Fuck that guy. Sick of hearing about these professional leeches saying their BS.

Wisc. Conservatives Trample Democracy: State Troopers Dragging Protesters Out; Wisc. Dems Head Home After GOP Union-Busting Measure Rammed Through
http://www.alternet.org/economy/150192/wisc._conservatives_trample_democracy%3A_state_troopers_dragging_protestors_out%3B_wisc._dems_head_home_after_gop_union-busting_measure_rammed_through/

Malcy

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Anyone in Wisconsin, have you seen any evidence of the wildcat strikes that Mike Elk has been referring to?

Malcy

Anyone in Wisconsin, have you seen any evidence of the wildcat strikes that Mike Elk has been referring to?

You're gonna have to be more specific. Who is Mike Elk and what wildcat strikes has he been referring to?

Juan Conatz

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Firing Provision in Wisconsin Bill Could Chill General Strike Talk

One of the loudest and most persistent slogans from protesters last night in the Capitol in Madison, beyond “Recall,” was “General strike.” The Capitol Times looks into that possibility:

Representatives of the union that represents blue-collar, technical and safety officers at UW-Madison said the possibility of a general strike has been discussed. “Anything is possible,” said Local 171 steward Carl Aniel.

Aniel said only locals can call a strike, and it would be up to each one to do so individually.
Anne Habel, a steward with AFSCME Local 171, said Wednesday’s action will further inflame the unions, which have staged repeated protests since Walker introduced his budget repair bill in mid-February.

“Every time something happens, people become more militant,” Habel said.

But some labor leaders did not join the call for a general strike. WEAC (the teacher’s union in Wisconsin) Mary Bell said, “I ask Wisconsin’s educators to be at work tomorrow. We will not back down…we will continue this fight.” Leaders with Madison Teachers Inc. also asked teachers to be in the classroom tomorrow.

Part of this is a pose. Most people don’t realize how the federal Taft-Hartley Act makes general strikes extremely difficult. And there are state statutes governing this as well. Reasons for striking are extremely limited. Labor can only endorse the general concept, rather than explicitly calling for a general strike. However, there are two items working in labor’s favor. First, labor contracts for most state employees expire March 13. Really all bets are off after that. Second, while under Wisconsin Statute 111.70(4), public employees are unable to strike during negotiations with an employer, a recent court ruling stipulated that the legislature is not the employer of public workers, and therefore workers could go out on strike against them.

However, there’s a part of the bill passed by the Senate last night that would make a general strike nearly impossible. Thomas Bird of the ASO (Autonomous Solidarity Organization) caught it:

In the Legislative Financial Bureau’s memo on modifications to SB 11, page 16, there is a provision titled “Discharge of State Employees.” It states that under current law, “the Governor may issue an executive order declaring a state of emergency for the state or any portion of the state if he or she determines that an emergency resulting from a disaster or imminent threat of a disaster exists.” Remember that the Wisconsin Republicans have shown a disturbing penchant for complying with existing law in the most limited sense. In the event of a Governor declaring a state of emergency, the new SB 11 would allow an appointing authority to discharge any employee who fails to “(a) report to work for any three days during the state of emergency, (b) participates in a strike, work stoppage, sit- down, stay-in, slowdown, or other concerted activities to interrupt the operations or services of state government.” There is a clear coordination between the language used to vilify those exercising their 1st amendment rights and the language used to activate this provision. The Republicans very clearly are interested in giving Governor Walker the ability to wield unreasonable, unprecedented power.

I don’t see any reason why Scott Walker would not call a state of emergency upon the first attempt of the general strike, and fire all the workers. He worships Reagan for firing the air traffic controllers. The threat of this is probably holding many labor leaders back. As Marty Beil of the Wisconsin State Employees Union said last night, “Tonight, Scott Walker and his cronies in the Senate Republicans turned our proud state of Wisconsin into a banana republic.” That rider is certainly a banana republic kind of move.

So this fight will probably be taken to the ballot box in recall elections. That’s what Mary Bell and Marty Beil discussed last night and what many are discussing this morning. Labor leaders must figure that Democrats would return the favor very quickly and restore bargaining rights if and when they regain control of the Governor’s position and Legislature. However, with all the union-crushing provisions in the bill, they’d better hope they can survive long enough.

I should note that all this does not mean that there won’t be some actions of disobedience occurring today. from the CapTimes:

Outside the Assembly chambers, about 50 protesters were sleeping and planned to remain until the body takes up the Senate’s amended budget-repair bill, scheduled for 11 a.m. Thursday. Police and protesters continued to get along, with no incidents reported and no arrests.

http://news.firedoglake.com/2011/03/10/firing-provision-in-wisconsin-bill-could-chill-general-strike-talk/

scottydont

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Thanks for update Jaun!

Also:
Analysis of the UWM occupation here

Jared

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The old 'vote 'em out' trick.... stick to the law and maybe you can vote in another bunch of cronies who may or may not 'return the favour'...

Juan, do you think people are in the mood to disregard both the law that can fire workers, or their union officials sending them back to work?

Raw Video: Protesters Hauled From Wis. Capitol
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p07UGL5fVd8&tracker=False

Do We Need a General Strike?
http://www.thenation.com/blog/159152/do-we-need-general-strike

Jared

The old 'vote 'em out' trick.... stick to the law and maybe you can vote in another bunch of cronies who may or may not 'return the favour'...

Juan, do you think people are in the mood to disregard both the law that can fire workers, or their union officials sending them back to work?

I couldn't tell ya. It's been 2 weeks since I've been up there and I won't be back until Saturday.

syndicalist

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Thanks Juan for all the postings!

Malcy

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Juan, Mike Elk is a labor journalist.

I was referring to one of the articles you posted a link to. The alternet.org one ....

Malcy

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

One of Elk's tweets says that the mayor of Madison was leading a walkout by public workers. That was 9 hours ago.

Alaric Malgraith

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

As far as Facebook goes, this page has grown by over a thousand people in less than two days.

http://www.facebook.com/wigeneralstrike#!/wigeneralstrike

Intifada1988

is it true about the calls for a general strike?

oh HELL YES IT'S TRUE!
We're like Charlie Sheen now.

We're winning here,
we're winning there,
we're winning here too!

I guess we could say...we're tri-winning?

Anyway, it seems the generally accepted strike date is March 31. The IWW has a series of posters for the General Strike that came out before the specific date was set. I've seen those in English, Spanish and Arabic. Put those up around your school/place of work, be sure not to get caught. You can't strike if you don't have a job. so fuck yeah, let's do this.

Juan Conatz

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Well, as far as who has called for a general strike. Well, no one....

The SCLF has endorsed the idea of one and begun educating its affiliates on what that means. There have been a number of individuals who have said that a general strike is needed. The IWW of course has been putting out a lot of propaganda on the subject and have been actively involved in talking to people about it.

But as far as I know, no actual labor union has voted on a general strike. I also haven't heard about this March 31st date, either. Where's that from?

Juan Conatz

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Calls, preparations for general strike grow

Calls for a general strike are growing among union members and supporters as the state Legislature advanced a law stripping public sector unions of almost all bargaining rights, but it remains unclear whether strikes or pickets will appear soon.

Union leaders say the Republicans' fast-track passage of the bill has fueled strike talk, but for now most are urging legal measures such as recall of Republican legislators as a way to repeal the law.

"A general strike would be playing the trump card, and you don't play the trump right away, you build up to that," said Jim Cavanaugh, president of the 45,000-member South Central Federal of Labor in Madison.

The federation endorsed a general strike on Feb. 21 and on Thursday began distributing educational materials on how such a strike can be accomplished.

"To do it right, there's a lot of preparation," Cavanaugh said. "If you do it lightly you're going to end up with more problems. You're exposing people to job loss and other repercussions if appropriate steps aren't taken."

Among the materials are two pages of logistical issues that were dealt with in series of general strikes in Ontario in the late 1990s, and a memorandum on how to strike and picket without risking discipline, fines or jail.

"General strike" has been one of the chants that resounded through the Capitol during massive protests Wednesday and Thursday after the Legislature passed a bill that would remove bargaining rights for about 175,000 workers and create major obstacles to basic operations for unions representing teachers, state workers and local government employees.

Gov. Scott Walker said the measures will help governments cut costs and resolve a state budget deficit.

Sick teachers

Many teachers called in sick for one or more days last month after Walker announced his plan, but this week Wisconsin Education Association Council president Mary Bell urged the union's 98,000 members to go to work.

"There are lots of things that can happen when people feel their rights have been trampled," Bell said. "We've asked people to be in class."

Sun Prairie teachers walked out for a day in February, and their union leader said he hopes it doesn't happen again.

"That was desperate move at a desperate time," said Brad Lutes, president of the Sun Prairie Education Association teachers union. "People are upset."

Recall campaigns against Walker and his supporters in the Legislature, public support for unions and court challenges to the law itself are offering hope, Lutes said.

Widespread and selective

In almost all cases, a strike could be authorized only by a vote of local union members.

A successful strike would need to be both widespread and selective in order to show strength without alienating the public, union leaders said.

"That's a decision that has to be made with a lot of other unions," Laura Peterson, a member of the AFSCME Local 171 executive board.

Madison firefighters union leader Joe Conway Jr. said he believes a general strike would be effective, but his union is looking for ways to participate that wouldn't endanger the public, such as violating work rules by wearing uniforms during off-duty protests.

Union members have been aroused by the collective bargaining law, accusations that it was passed without proper public notice and the belief that it's an attempt by Republicans to bust unions and gain a permanent upper hand over the Democratic Party, Conway said.

"We don't mind a fair fight, but when someone chooses to break the law, and we're still playing within the rules, it gives you cause to notice," Conway said.

— State Journal reporters Matt DeFour and Sandy Cullen contributed to this article.

http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/govt-and-politics/article_db0d20d0-4b80-11e0-b664-001cc4c002e0.html

Thanks for the comradely welcome, Chilli, what ever and Juan. Unfortunately my union postponed the trip at the last minute. I really wish I could be out there, but c'est la vie.

Thanks again and solidarity from NYC!

Intifada1988

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Thanks for the credible info Juan I always look to digest objective info myself before I read the papers...Jazzhands thanks for the links as well

Anyways seeing how Striking is grounds for firing now this should get really interesting. If there is a strike this whole thing could get very interesting and volatile very quickly. And I mean inna class war kinda way.

bootsy

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Just saw this:

Martial Law in Michigan and Republicans’ End Game

While we were venting our outrage at shenanigans in Wisconsin politics, in fact while Republicans were planning last night’s attempted coup, the Michigan state legislature quietly passed a bill giving the Governor of Michigan martial control over the state. Except instead of using actual military, the Governor is more likely to use private security. But make no mistake–rights would be suspended.

Here’s how it works:

The governor, on his own initiative, can declare an economic emergency in any town and appoint an administrator. The administrator can be any person, including a corporate person.

The administrator has the power to do anything in the name of economic stability, including void contracts, void collective bargaining agreements, dissolve the town council, dissolve the school board, fire anyone including elected officials, hire private security, unincorporate the town, and sell off public property.

http://www.politicususa.com/en/martial-law-michigan

huli

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Union local leaderships are law-and-order types. It sucks, but it's realistic. Labor law places so many restrictions on strike action that under almost every circumstance, unions stand to face significant economic consequences by sanctioning strikes. (I'm not clear how this works for public sector unions, but in the private sector, unions can be sued by corporations for damages if they engage in secondary strikes or pickets. I don't know how a secondary strike in support of public workers would potentially affect private-sector unions. If anybody knows, please fill me in!)

It's true that careerist union bureaucrats have their own self-preservation in mind when they hold back militancy, but they also - for better or worse - have a kind of fiduciary responsibility to the institution, the dues-payers, etc.

This is precisely why a general strike at this point has to be the result of workers moving beyond the union institution.

In general, union staff will not call for it or publicly endorse it (though I am certain that many of them will privately support it.)

I am reminded, for example, of an unsanctioned sick-out by public workers in a neighboring city last year. Union officials publicly stated that they did not sanction it, though one did say to the press that he believed everyone got sick because they were "suffering from stress and anxiety" over the city's attack on the workers. I predict that this is an example of the furthest union officials will go to support a general strike.

But this only poses a problem if workers aren't willing to leave their leaders in the dust and do what needs to be done. I hope that happens. We'll see.

flaneur

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Sharp as you like.

Chilli Sauce

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Where did that come from Flan and what are the symbols on the bottom?

Chilli Sauce

Where did that come from Flan and what are the symbols on the bottom?

Well one's the IWW (obviously), one's the outline of the State of Wisconsin, one's the Rebel Alliance from Star Wars and I don't know the last one. :p

Yorkie Bar

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Fucking ace!

Convert

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Not to discount the actions workers are already bravely taking but is it too cynical to suggest that class struggle can't really advance until the unions are dead (which surely is only a matter of time)?

Perhaps wildcats, direct action, workers councils can only be a possibility when the notion held by workers that we can fight this through the legally sanctioned dead ends?

Samotnaf

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Just some information from a friend (not sure if any of this has been said on any of the large amounts of links here, as I've not checked everything, but nothing's been said in the posts directly, unless I missed them):

-Wednesday night: People blocking the doors to the assembly with their bodies and furniture were dragged out into the crowds by police.

-Wednesday night: Republicans were escorted out through the crowds by state patrolman. In a video of them first leaving the chambers (where only official people were allowed- Democrats, journalists, etc) someone says to a Republican over the noise of the nearby crowds, "You better hurry up and leave before the mob gets you.".

-Yesterday, over a thousand students from 6 different middle schools and high schools walked out and to the capitol (police in tow) even after principals warned them it might be different this time because there were "very, very angry people there." Kids said they planned for the same today. Anybody know what happened?

-The ACLU posted a photo of police readying in riot gear yesterday morning in a garage area (it was never used).

-State Republicans have received numerous death threat emails (some include their families!). If you that like that sort of thing, more details (like drinking their blood and heads on pikes in townsquares!) can be found here: http://www.jsonline.com/blogs/news/117738098.html

-Earlier this week police arrested a woman who banged on the windows of the home of the Republican Senate Majority Leader early in the morning.

-The M&I bank next to the Capitol was swarmed by crowds (hundreds) after their ties to the Republican Party was made known. Several people went into the bank and withdrew money in protest. But it was the growing crowds that worried them enough to close down the bank and call police.

-Wednesday night, 200 gathered (through social networking, the media says) on a few hours notice and marched through Milwaukee to the County Courthouse.

-In Janesville, 40 miles south of Madison, 100 teachers and students protested against impending cuts outside a school district board meeting. On Feb. 24, 600 students had already walked out in Janesville in support of the teachers and against the cuts.

-At UW-Stout (northwestern Wisconsin) on Wednesday, faculty there voted to
unionize.

-Media says non-unionized teaching assistants are discussing strikes at both UW-Madison and UW-Milwaukee.

-Massive rally scheduled in Madison tomorrow.

-Headline of major Madison newspaper: "Calls, preparations for general strike grow" - it's almost no longer an "if" question, but a "when" (and "how") it seems. The article is here:
http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/govt-and-politics/article_db0d20d0-4b80-11e0-b664-001cc4c002e0.html

-Meanwhile across the country in Atlanta, while most students were on Spring Break, small protests and arrests erupted in the State Senate as legislators made cuts to a widely-used state scholarship fund. Protests also targeted the largest state university in Atlanta (Georgia State Univ.) over the passage of a measure banning all undocumented youth from attending. Some chants were clearly borrowed from Madison.

There's something here on the strange Milwaukee occupation:
http://burntbookmobile.wordpress.com/2011/03/10/warts-and-all-on-the-occupation-at-the-university-of-wisconsin/

Seems like they are still there "occupying" the space and had an emergency meeting there last night to prepare for a general strike.

The 9-year-old daughter of my friend's girlfriend announced yesterday that she would walkout if similar things were happening at her school!!! When things start to move, everyone starts to move.

Juan Conatz

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Reports of walkouts in CA, ID, IL, KY, MA, MN, NJ, NY, OR, TX, so far. http://bit.ly/fo5NQW #wiunion #wiwalkout

Chilli Sauce

Where did that come from Flan and what are the symbols on the bottom?

Spotted it on the Facebook wall this morning. If you right click and view image, it comes up larger. 4th symbol looks like a capitol building with Dream City on it.

That's what anarchist propaganda should look like. Creative and funny, and you can't go wrong with a pop culture reference neither.

syndicalist

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I found the solidarity of the firefighters to be interesting. They were not cut out by Walker.

Anyway, I hope this wasn't posted here already (sorry if so).

http://www.alternet.org/newsandviews/article/515607/awesome%3A_wisconsin_firefighters_shut_down_bank_that_funded_walker/#paragraph3

Awesome: Wisconsin Firefighters Shut Down Bank That Funded Walker
Everybody knows the GOP's biggest weakness is money, so why not hit 'em in the sweet spot? That's what many amazing Wisconsin firefighters did yesterday when they collectively began withdrawing their funds from Madison's M&I Bank -- whose executives and board members were among the highest donors to Governor Scott Walker's campaign.

Heeding a call by Firefighters Local 311 President Joe Conway to 'Move your money,' union members withdrew over $100,000 from the bank, with some reports stating that number is as high as $192,000. Either way, it was a hefty enough chunk of change that M&I shut its doors and closed for the day at 3PM.

This is a very simple, very peaceful way to inflict some serious damage on the money-grubbers; super kudos to the Firefighters Union.

Anecdoctally -- 'M&I Bank received $1.7 billion in bailout money via President George W. Bush's Troubled Assets Relief Program. The bank was acquired by the Bank of Montreal in December of 2010 for $4.1 billion in stock,' reports Dane101.

UPDATE: Stranded Wind over at DailyKos has photos of the protest outside M&I, and says the ante has been upped to $600,000! 'What these pictures show are six hundred ordinary citizens descending on the M&I branch near the Wisconsin Capitol after learning of their purchase of the gubernatorial election last November. Two firefighters with old school ideas about saving had over $600,000 between the two of them and they demanded cashier's checks on the spot.'

By Julianne Escobedo Shepherd | Sourced from AlterNet

Posted at March 11, 2011, 7:23 am

Convert

Not to discount the actions workers are already bravely taking but is it too cynical to suggest that class struggle can't really advance until the unions are dead (which surely is only a matter of time)?

Perhaps wildcats, direct action, workers councils can only be a possibility when the notion held by workers that we can fight this through the legally sanctioned dead ends?

i think this only works if workers go beyond legalism etc of their own accord. if collective bargaining is axed and unions de facto decrecognised, struggles may well become struggles for 'union rights' etc rather than direct struggles over living conditions. e.g. in places like egypt the push for independent unions is among the demands of the more militant workers. i wouldn't propose a strict stagist idea of first struggle for legal unions, then push them to their limits, then go beyond them (the russian revolution kinda skipped most of that, and in spain legality was never a precondition of the CNT's activity), but i think unions dying is only positive when it's militiant workers doing the killing. in Wisconsin, it's clearly the bosses on the offensive.

Juan Conatz

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Community Forum on the General Strike

This Saturday, March 12th at 6pm, the Madison IWW and UTI (immigrant worker's union) Madison will be cosponsoring a community forum discussing the current crisis and ways to address it.

The event will take place at the Madison Labor Temple (Second Floor), 1602 S. Park, Madison, WI

There will be time for community groups and members of the public to voice their concerns and ideas relating to a General Strike or the general struggles we face in our communities. This is a forum to discuss tactics, practical paths to direct action, and ways to unite disparate communities with the message:

"The People United Will Never Be Defeated".

translators will be present.

Feel free to forward this flyer.

solidarity
Midwest IWW

OliverTwister

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I've been in Wisconsin and was at the re-occupation. Here is an excerpt from a reflection I wrote for the IWW:

People were chanting for the police to let them inside, which began shortly after I got there. The police allowed people in through one revolving door, very slowly, and they had to line up to be searched. After ~500 people got inside, the police closed that door so it was just us.

We tried mobbing to other entrances to open the doors. The first place that I saw people doing this at, I ended up in front with about 9 other people in a small entrance hall, with ~8 cops behind us holding back everyone else, and ~8 cops in front keeping the doors closed. We were stuck there for a few minutes and I thought the cops were going to arrest us so I passed the couple-hundred G/S pamphlets I had brought back to the rest of the crowd and asked them to pass around. A minute later the police ended up pushing me into the crowd and I noticed that everyone in that area was holding one and many were reading them.

At some point people were able to get past cops or trick them or something, get numbers up to about 1000 inside, and then finally get a bunch more to about 2000, at which point the cops gave up on the entrances.

There was a "people's mic" in the center and I got to it pretty early, imagine how happy I was when the speaker two spots before me called very eloquently for a general strike and had the crowd chanting. I did this, and several other speakers throughout the night did.

Fellow Worker X came to bring a bunch more G/S pamphlets and help distribute them. We probably distributed about 1,000. By the time I was running out every other person I tried to give one too already had one. Many were very interested/sympathetic, several offered to help distribute them.

A bit later people started discussing that the best place to occupy overnight would be the antechamber to the assembly chamber so that we could block it in the morning. People began organizing to pack it so that the cops would have a harder time cutting it off. Eventually they tried to block hundreds of people from coming up stairs to the chamber, until they somehow found another way up (I suspect that some cops may have found something better to do than guard the stairs).

A bit afterwards we tucked in for the night. In the morning it seemed like the best place to blockade would be a hallway going between the antechamber, the chamber, and the Assembly majority leader's office. We fit about 30 people into there with others still in the antechamber. I think it took them a long time to deal with the rest of the crowd and get it under control; the Assembly sergeant was supposed to have it ready at 9, they didn't come for us until after 11. MSNBC (I believe) interviewed one of the blockaders (who wasn't a part of any political group) and asked her what people would do if this bill passed and everything failed, to which she answered (with the support of the rest of us) "General Strike!" Eventually, though we were doing our best to link arms and go limp they were ale to drag us out with no arrests (I think - there was a rumor of one arrest in the antechamber). Right after I was led out people were chanting "General Strike". Shortly after that point it turned into a liberal rally of people "yelling at closed doors" (thanks FW Y for the great quote) and talking about getting out the vote, although FW Y and I did make interventions on the "People's Mic" calling for resistance outside the capitol and a general strike.

Reflections:
I think the gathering at the capitol last night was largely spontaneous and fueled by anger. Once people were inside there was a collective wisdom that the next step was to get all the doors open and as many people inside as possible. People were willing to confront the cops (peacefully), up to a degree. This occurred at various points during the night and each time people were able to push past or outsmart the cops.

The idea of a general strike had a lot of resonance. People really liked our fliers, and apparently they were read on a livefeed. I remembered this morning that I still had ~50 leaflets for our forum on Saturday, and passed them out telling people straight-up that it was a "open forum to discuss a general strike", with a lot of earnest-seeming "thank yous" in response.

The Left groups it seems have all started calling for, or at least supporting, a general strike. It would be good to think about what differentiates us from them and not just from the democrats - if a G/S occurs these groups will play varying roles, some good or ineffectual, others (in my opinion) divisive or pro-bureaucratic (in the sense of supporting factions of the AFL-CIO or Democrats).

Juan Conatz

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

From UE Facebook

Resolution from UE Northeast Region Council reads as follows:
"UE Northeast Region endorses the Wisconsin South Central Federation of Labor's AFL-CIO's resolution supporting a general strike to protest the attempts by Governor Walker and his corporate allies to destroy public workers' right to collective bargaining."

Samotnaf

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

OliverTwister:

The Left groups it seems have all started calling for, or at least supporting, a general strike. It would be good to think about what differentiates us from them and not just from the democrats - if a G/S occurs these groups will play varying roles, some good or ineffectual, others (in my opinion) divisive or pro-bureaucratic (in the sense of supporting factions of the AFL-CIO or Democrats).

This, from the Milwaukee occupation, begins to outline some of the problems of the "General Strike" slogan:

Without any sign of disagreement or even a discussion of its implications, the participants accepted the slogan of “Strike, Occupy, Takeover!” Yet the first step in that simplistic equation wasn’t taken seriously as something we could collectively enact. Similarly, the assembled approved a statement calling for a general strike, and this without much of a discussion about just how a general strike could come about.
Due to the nature of the laws regulating labor disputes in the US, a general strike cannot be declared from on high by the large labor federations. For a generalized strike to occur here it would necessarily involve some degree of self-organization whether through discussion and activity at the local union level, the forging of complicit relationships at non-unionized workplaces (which are by far the majority), sabotage at non-participating workplaces, or some other form perhaps completely outside and unrepresentable by the familiar apparatuses.
Yet within much of the assembled body of students, a general strike was not understood as something that everyone would have to create together, a festival of disruption, but rather as something that would just happen; a disheartening attitude that reduces the likelihood of a meaningful and widespread stoppage. Perhaps other forums will be created in which this necessary conversation can be taken up in greater depth.

Juan Conatz

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Yeah, I can't remember who told me this, it might have been my roommate or one of the Twin Cities Wobs, but they either saw or talked to a teacher in Madison and they said (paraphrasing)

"Yeah, we're all for a general strike, we're just waiting for someone to tell us to do it"

Or something along those lines.

That's what we're dealing with though. No one here has experienced a general strike or even know what it takes to do one. Our job is to try and fill that gap as much as possible, but are numbers are tragically small. All we can do is encourage the activities we see as beneficial while advocating for new ones that are just being whispered and talked about between the participants in a "What if?" framework.

Ed

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

For a little light relief, Glenn Beck doing a mental (again):
http://www.politicususa.com/en/wisconsin-glenn-beck-meltdown

Chilli Sauce

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Media says non-unionized teaching assistants are discussing strikes at both UW-Madison and UW-Milwaukee.

Link?!

redsdisease

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

http://www.jsonline.com/news/education/117734548.html

Chilli Sauce

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Thanks reds

Juan Conatz

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

In Madison right now pretty much being fulltime IWW organizer. There was a community forum on a general strike on Saturday. I believe Indymedia recorded it. Was a Wob presence at Saturday's massive rally, which unfortunately consisted of jerking off the 14 Democrats who fled the state.

Going to Milwaukee tomorrow for a rally to pass out general strike pamphlets and get contacts. Also hope to connect with some of the occupiers.

Hieronymous

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Typical class-collaborationist bullshit:

Milwaukee Labor Leader: Union To 'Redirect' Efforts To Recalls -- And No Talk Of Strikes

By Eric Kleefeld | March 14, 2011, 11:40AM

A public employee union leader in Wisconsin has declared that organized labor will dedicate its efforts to recalling state Senate Republicans this year, and recalling Gov. Walker next year, in response to Walker's newly-passed bill curtailing public employee unions. He says they are not talking about strikes.

Rich Abelson, executive director of AFSCME Council 48 in Milwaukee, appeared Friday on the local public affairs show UpFront with Mike Gousha, with guest host Kent Wainscott.

"Obviously this was a very disappointing loss for us, with regards to the collective bargaining changes that were made. However, it's not the end of our fight," said Abelson. "We have -- we're a union. What we do is we represent workers at the workplace, give them a voice, and we will continue to do so. It is our mission, it is what we believe, it is who we are.

"And now it's time to redirect those efforts, it is time to take back the Wisconsin Senate. We are very much engaged in the recall efforts that are taking place with the eight Republican senators. We think a significant number of those are gonna be successful recalls, we think by summer we will have changed the face of the Wisconsin Senate."

Abelson acknowledged that rolling back the law would be "a much longer term struggle" than just winning the state Senate for the Democrats, as Republicans would still control the Assembly and the governor's mansion.

"But again, I want to just make this very clear. If the intent was by Governor Walker and his fellow De-- Republicans, excuse me, in the legislature, to destroy the union movement in the public sector in Wisconsin, it's going to fail," he said. "We are going to change, and we are going to adapt, and we will continue to do what we do, and that is represent people in the workplace. And if the bargaining table is taken away from us, we will replace that with much more political and legislative activity."

Wainscott asked Abelson whether one particular activity could be undertaken by public unions: strikes.

"No. I mean, look, public sector workers in Wisconsin are committed and dedicated to the citizens we serve," said Abelson. "And there has been no talk of a general strike, there has been no talk of targeted strikes, or job actions or anything else. Our dispute is not with our employers. Our dispute is with the Republicans in the Wisconsin Senate, the Republicans in the Wisconsin Assembly, and Governor Walker."

He later added: "We think this energy and the dedication that people are showing now is gonna continue into next year, and we think that it is a very strong likelihood, as difficult as it is, that we will be successful in recalling Governor Walker next year."

huli

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

"No. I mean, look, public sector workers in Wisconsin are committed and dedicated to the citizens we serve," said Abelson. "And there has been no talk of a general strike, there has been no talk of targeted strikes, or job actions or anything else. Our dispute is not with our employers. Our dispute is with the Republicans in the Wisconsin Senate, the Republicans in the Wisconsin Assembly, and Governor Walker."

Aaaagh!

It looks like union leaders are more threatened by working class self-activity than they are by the loss of collective bargaining and dues check-off! It's amazing.

Juan Conatz

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

So I got into town on Saturday. This was supposedly the biggest crowd
yet, with estimates ranging from 85,000 (media) to 100,000 (police) to
300,000 (SEIU). The main theme that day was pretty much jerking off
the 14 Democrats who had fled the state, but who had just returned.
The IWW had (for the first time) a visible presence with two tables on
two different intersections, a large banner in the parade and teams of
people gathering people's contact info and passing out general strike
pamphlets.

Compared to the other two times I've been up here, the calls or
reception for a general strike or job actions was significantly
greater. This is to me, without a doubt, due to the Madison IWW
branch's connections in the labor movement and the efforts they and
other Midwest Wobs have put in to spread this concept. All the
authoritarian parties are also calling for a general strike now, too,
although their actual connection to workplace agitators seems tenuous,
if not nonexistent.

Later on in the night there was a forum on a general strike sponsored
by the IWW and the Immigrant Workers Union. There were a number of
speakers, from numerous groups including obviously Wobs, MECHA, an
immigrant youth nonprofit, folks from public sector unions and a guy
from UE who was involved in Republic Windows & Door occupation. To me,
this forum seemed to be more about 'laying everything on the table'
type of thing. Most of the speakers from Latino/a organizations seemed
to have some real problems with how organized labor has conducted
itself in the past and in the current struggle. While overall, I
thought the event was a valuable experience and can't really be
compared to anything I've been a part of before, there were some
issues. Some people, mostly old white dudes did a lot of rambling on
and there were the inevitable 'traveling progressives/leftists' that
are more interested in pontificating rather than actual work. The
meeting dragged on a bit and a noticeable amount of people started to
leave as it did. However, it seems like we got a bunch of contacts of
people who are serious about pushing a general strike.

Sunday pretty much consisted of me hanging out with my parents, who
came up and attended a (my first) IWW meeting.

Today (Monday), I was going to wake up early to get on a bus to
Milwaukee for a rally to pass out pamphlets, get contacts, and connect
with SDS, the student occupiers or Burnt Bookmobile people.
Unfortunately I stayed up too late doing spreadsheets and also slept
in an actual bed for only the third time in the last two months and
was in a dead sleep. Hopefully, I get another chance to make it up
there though.

Because I didn't go to MKE, I went to this AFL-CIO circle jerk at a
convention center. It was pretty much an attempt to attract non-profit
staff (and it a lesser extent, union staff) to form a new liberal
political action group type thing. It was scheduled from 1-5pm, which
was probably done purposefully to make it inaccessible to anybody but
paid staff.

One particularly predictable yet disgusting aspect of the meeting was
a video that they showed. It was a 5 minute clip about the last 4
weeks. A numbered.timeline of sorts. The first one being "Leaders
Speak Out", which showed clips of executive staffs and politicians
speaking at rallies days or weeks after this shit fucking popped off.
The second thing in the timeline was "The People Rise Up". Hilarious,
and seeing people watch this with a straight face was disconcerting.

After a couple of speakers, one from an immigrant groups being the
only one who even mentioned the word "strike", we went to breakgroups.
At the 7 person table I was at, 5 were non-profit/union staff and 2
were executive staff. I mentioned what you would expect I would and of
course was met with disinterest.

Near the end, some comrades tried to break the pre-packaged format of
the event and got up and asked why we were talking about failed
tactics (the recall, electoral) instead of stuff the our forefathers
did and worked, advocated for strikes and walkouts and pointed out
that the scheduling of the conference automatically excluded the very
people everyone is claiming to want to represent. About half the room
clapped after this comrade said this.

The event ended soon after this. Overall I didn't think it was worth
much and I'm glad we didn't spend too much time on it. The vast
majority of the people there are not people we should be talking to.

Anyway, that's it for now. ttyl

Samotnaf

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

One particularly predictable yet disgusting aspect of the meeting was
a video that they showed. It was a 5 minute clip about the last 4
weeks. A numbered.timeline of sorts. The first one being "Leaders
Speak Out", which showed clips of executive staffs and politicians
speaking at rallies days or weeks after this shit fucking popped off.
The second thing in the timeline was "The People Rise Up". Hilarious,
and seeing people watch this with a straight face was disconcerting.

Did you or anybody else attack this re-writing of history? If so, what was the reaction?

About half the room clapped after this comrade said this.
The event ended soon after this. Overall I didn't think it was worth
much and I'm glad we didn't spend too much time on it. The vast
majority of the people there are not people we should be talking to.

If half the room clapped, surely they are people you should be talking to? Not saying this to point-score but just that sometimes one misses opportunities and then finds ways of justifying these missed opportunities to oneself, which means they'll be repeated.

I was wondering if non-union workers are going to risk striking; here in France, non-union workers who struck in the autumn lost out afterwards (disciplined, didn't get strike pay, etc.) . Would have thought it would require collections for non-union workers to have a chance of surviving a strike unless there was mass looting of the supermarkets. Any contact with non-union workers (I imagine the vast majority in Wisconsin, no?).

Samotnaf

Did you or anybody else attack this re-writing of history? If so, what was the reaction?

No, no one mentioned this.

If half the room clapped, surely they are people you should be talking to? Not saying this to point-score but just that sometimes one misses opportunities and then finds ways of justifying these missed opportunities to oneself, which means they'll be repeated.

We did talk to some sympathetic people and got contact info.

I was wondering if non-union workers are going to risk striking; here in France, non-union workers who struck in the autumn lost out afterwards (disciplined, didn't get strike pay, etc.) . Would have thought it would require collections for non-union workers to have a chance of surviving a strike unless there was mass looting of the supermarkets. Any contact with non-union workers (I imagine the vast majority in Wisconsin, no?).

This is something I think everyone who is wanting a general strike realizes. The question is an age-old one: How to spread and intensify the struggle? We'll see what happens.

Samotnaf

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Thanks for the quick reply.

Juan Conatz

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Also, to add a bit more, the atmosphere in Madison cannot be compared to anything I've ever experienced before. And I'm not just talking about the fact that I'm dedicating my entire day mostly on the topic of how to advance the struggle. There is a sense of solidarity and interacting between people I've never seen before. Even the random poor white woman at the busstop will say things like "The motherfucker Walker needs to be hanged."

A man who I assumed was homeless, instead of walking up to me to ask for a cigarette which in other places I've been in would have happened, closely looks at my general strike pins, congratulated me, agrees and states that even though he's a Republican, he hates Walker with a passion.

People are sharing their experiences with employment, the protests,etc in a way that makes it obvious that they are exited about something for the first time in a while and want to share what they've done/seen or their views, no matter how awkward or difficult it is for them.

Things that in the past I would have been a bit nervous doing, I don't even think about twice. THis atmosphere makes your confidence skyrocket. For instance, before the comrade spoke up at the afl-cio thing, I had just been furiosuly writing points to mention on a scrap of paper to say to 150-200 (mostly bureacrats) people I've never met before in my life.

I'm not trying to be a misty eyed optimist or anything, but I guess I'm just pointing out how collective struggle, whatever its shortcomings etc, really does change people. Something we probably all need to be reminded of from time to time.

Samotnaf

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Never experienced that on a city-wide basis, though little glimpses in France during the anti-CPE movement and in autumn last year. And in Brixton 30 years ago. Great feeling.

The problem though is to keep this going after movements retreat - to get that energy to voice one's opposition to this world with strangers even when ostensibly contestation has become invisible again; but it's worth doing - you learn from it, build your confidence, begin to recognise the difference between what's a role and a bit ideological and what connects and comes from the heart.

syndicalist

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Um, how to say this without being trashed...... The struggle in Madison and by WI public sector workers has been unique and a bit more "advanced" than other struggles elsewhere.
I think some of that contxt gets lost when speaking about where the general struggle is outside WI.

I realize my comments are general and that there are many folks doing bunches of things. Hats off to the Wobs in WI for their work there.

A major question, as always, is how to go forward on a very, very uneven terrain? And let me stress uneven terrian.

As much as I'm not on board with the mainstream trade unions, I would probably
suggest that the days leading up to (and beyond )the nationwide April 4th "Days of Action"
be used for educational and agitiational purposes.

While raising the slogan of a general strike is important, what does it mean to most workers public or private? What is being sought from a general strike? Simply killing legislative bills? Is there something else "we" would like to try and see come from this? What are the pratical steps up this ladder that anarcho-syndicalists, wubblies, libertarian socialists can pose?

I'm neither opposed to raising the slogan --- as part of something broader at this point --- nor working towards one or more general orsectoral strike.I think by simply putting something out on FB with a day and call for a nation-wide general strike --- at this time --- is a bit hollow. Perhaps I'm wrong, but I don't think we are at an "Mideast" point, where there's so much massive grass roots anger under the surfca e that millions will strike based on a FB --- but I hope I am proven wrong and support all efforts to build towards a general strike....we're long overdue.

Tactically or strategically speaking, it may well only be possible for there to be sector
"general" strikes or even sectoral rolling strikes..... of course most public sector workers do not have the right to strike in general, so strong organization would be key. That said, perhaps in WI a one day general strike might happen. It might not, at this time, happen elsewhere.

Beyond the general strike call and beyond demostrations, perhaps our generalized tendency (cause there aint unity on all points) can at least have conversations, perhaps do joint activities and perhaps issue some joint leaflets on the matters of militant, rank-and-file unionism, inter-union/inter-work collobaration/cooperation, calling what the attacks on workers these past 30 years has been "a class war" (even to workers who don't think they're workers)
and so forth.

Anyway, I think I've rambled on enough here. Continued solidarity to all engaged and in struggle!

Joseph Kay

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Juan Conatz

the atmosphere in Madison cannot be compared to anything I've ever experienced before. And I'm not just talking about the fact that I'm dedicating my entire day mostly on the topic of how to advance the struggle. There is a sense of solidarity and interacting between people I've never seen before.

Nearest i've known was during the big Sussex uni occupation last year, about 1,000 people directly involved in defiance of the high court. there was a subjective change that's really hard to put into words, a kinda different way of relating to one another. never felt it on a citywide scale either, but reminds me of Orwell's account of revolutionary Barcelona, where Vd. was abolished and replaced solely with Tú etc.

Hieronymous

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I've got to agree with the concerns expressed by Syndicalist.

If you look at Egypt over the last few months, their uprising was the culmination of a wave of economic strikes and political protests that really gained force with the "Winter of Labor's Discontent" in 2006-2007. Not unlike those economic and political strikes that Rosa Luxemburg so eloquently detailed in The Mass Strike. The latter took place in Poland and Russia from 1896 and culminated in the St. Petersburg Soviet in 1905.

Even the possibility of a general strike would have to -- based on historical examples -- have been preceded by a series of smaller actions building up towards it. A statewide general strike is not impossible, but most of us in the U.S. don't have any personal experience to draw upon.

And a comrade who visited Madison at the end of the first week, then again last Saturday, said that the it was only in that first week -- with 18 school districts across Wisconsin shut down by a wildcat strike of teachers and students -- that a general strike could have sprung off those dispersed strike actions, generalizing into a statewide general strike. The union bureaucrats would have been caught off-guard and could only have played a tail-ending role in trying to contain it.

But I'm in complete solidarity with whatever the the working class sisters and brothers can pull off in Wisconsin.

Good Luck!

Juan Conatz

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Being here it's hard to have a unbiased or objective perspective on it really. I would say the odds are against us, but anything is possible, particularly as contracts expire and the law goes into effect. Also, in my opinion if there were job actions here, even if unrelated, it could snowball possibly. The atmosphere here is such that if you called for a picket of a place, so many folks would come the business would be shutdown in less than an hour.

Also, keep in mind that there's stuff, conversations, ideas, whatever that I'm not going to mention to people online for obvious reasons, but a lot of what has been said as far as concerns are concerned, are things being actively discussed here, and not just by anti-capitalists alone.

syndicalist

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Juan....my comments were meant in a broad way and beyond WI. And I agree that it would be sorta dumb to discuss specifics on line (other than what folks may have already posted and circulated).

Juan Conatz

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Wis. GOPer Whose Home Was Picketed To Propose Bill Outlawing Pickets At Homes
http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/03/wis-goper-whose-home-was-picketed-to-propose-bill-outlawing-pickets-at-homes.php

This is pretty insane when you think about it:

Olive branch to GOP? Dem senator proposes change for fiscal votes
http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/govt-and-politics/article_36919d54-4f29-11e0-804b-001cc4c002e0.html

Right there's a bunch of public sector unions scrambling to agree to contracts before the law goes into effect. (Which happens on March 25th)
http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/govt-and-politics/article_d04b3a58-4f39-11e0-9fc6-001cc4c002e0.html

New Wildcat poster made by UW-M occupiers

Paulappaul

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I hear alot of Libertarian Communists calling for a General Strike right now in both England and in Wisconsin. Here's my thoughts:

A General strike is not a Wildcat Strike. Looking at the most revolutionary advances of the working last in the last 50 or 60 so years we've seen everything from city wide, state wide and nation wide Wildcat strikes which have crippled the national capitalist. We seen a redefining of the traditional tactics of striking. What separates in large part, the Mass Strike or Wildcat Strike from the General Strike? Chiefly the Trade Union form. Such unions are themselves, parts of the Capitalist system, inherently tied to it for its survival and reproducing its formations, specifically through abiding by the Division of Labor and in producing a system of hierarchy reflecting Bourgeois Democracy and with it, all its bureaucracy which we've seen to fatal to revolutionary movements . General Strikes are approved forms of action by the Ruling Class themselves. They are predetermined, prefigured and inherently antithetical to working class spontaneity and the goal for anything beyond reform.

A Wildcat strike is a strike by an Industry of Workers without the consent of the State or Unions. A Mass Strike is an extension to this wherein a Wildcat Strike is adopted by an entire class, rather then by a single industry. Such a Strike is carried out by the whole Class and is exercised through a Workers' Council or Workers' Union.

The tactic for revolution lies in the Mass Strike of Wisconsin workers. In taking the issue into their own hands and with it, disposing the Capitalist System of Rulership. Stop advocating for a General Strike and call for real action that will truly awaken the workers.

I'm sure most people are quite familiar with all that leftist terminology and will conduct themselves according to how you define them. :)

Paulappaul

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

It was also for another board where people don't know quite as much. The point is still there, we shouldn't be advocating a General Strike. oh and :)

Juan Conatz

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Again, I think it's just leftist terminology. Most people don't even know what a general strike is and 85% of the Wisconsin workforce is non-unionized. Merely advocating for a general strike in the private sector automatically means it is free of the trade union form which negates your definition of what a general strike is.

Now if you want to see that what you described is what a general strike has been historically, I would agree (besides some of the ultraleft ideology)

Paulappaul

General Strikes are approved forms of action by the Ruling Class themselves. They are predetermined, prefigured and inherently antithetical to working class spontaneity and the goal for anything beyond reform.

Not according to history.

The most militant year in U.S. history, with more strikes, more strikers, and longer strikes occurred in 1946, marking the peak at the end of the post-war strike wave.

Here are the stats for 1946:

4,985 strikes

4,600,000 strikers

116,000,000 “man-days” lost to industrial production

750,000 steel workers walk out in January (largest single industry strike in U.S. history)

(Each of these stats remains the all-time record in the U.S.)

Citywide general strikes in 1946 (and the sectors that sparked them):

Machinists in Stamford, Connecticut

Transit workers in Lancaster, Pennsylvania

City employees in Houston, Texas

City employees in Rochester, New York

Electrical workers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Retail clerks in Oakland, California

Nearly all of these were spontaneous wildcats based on class consciousness and widespread rage that spread across the U.S. like wildfire, leading to a near-general strike when a bituminous coal strike caused a national brown-out in the spring; then soft-coal miners went on strike at same time as railroad engineers and trainmen, bringing national commerce to standstill and it was the closest to a nationwide general strike ever—the only other time that was even close was the Great Upheaval Railroad Strike of 1877.

Unions bureaucrats had grown comfortable with the no-strike pledge in World War II and completely failed in reigning in working class militancy -- and self-activity -- in these strikes. Sadly, it also marked the end of the era of near-insurrectionary class-against-class struggles in the U.S.

And why is 1946 so little remembered, while 1919, 1934 or the late 1930s sit-down strikes were so well-documented? I'd say because the actions of the 1945-1946 post-war strike wave were not union-sanctioned, so they didn't get written up in "official" histories.

Samotnaf

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Seem to remember reading about the post-war strike wave in the States in the Brecher book ("Strike!") but in my head (haven't checked) it was '45 that had the largest amount of days lost (to capital) through strikes...? So who got it wrong? me? you? or Brecher?

Joseph Kay

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

You know what this thread needs? A left communist interjecting with a long-discredited caricature that nobody on the ground even gives a shit about (in brief Engels slandered the general strike to advocate political action over direct action; Luxemburg repeated Engels to say the opposite without being accused of anarchism by the social democrats). Although tbh, I'm derailing too now :(

flaneur

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Funny that the biggest wildcat in history was a general strike.

syndicalist

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

On the historical question: US general strikes took place in 1946 (as quoted above). I believe those were the last general strikes. Clearly workers were much more organized nationally than today.

Could a public sector general strike happen in WI or in Madison, prolly. But it seems like municipal workers and Madison city government have reached a deal that incorporate all the nasty give-backs that they gave Walker's state government: http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/govt-and-politics/article_d04b3a58-4f39-11e0-9fc6-001cc4c002e0.html (link lifted from one of Juan's postings)...... So other tactics and forms of rank-and-file organization will prolly be in order to maintain some form of momentum and begin a push back process on the "shopfloor".

Juan Conatz

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Some updates...

-The recall thing is now dominating the discourse. There are now efforts by the unions and Democrats to recall 8 Republicans and also there are efforts by Republicans to recall the 14 Democrats. The former seems far more likely.

-A political organization that I won't mention initiated a strike faction in a union here and organized a meeting to push for a strike within the union, which was then taken over by a recall faction (maybe in a planned and concerted fashion?)

-There's gonna be what I imagine is another larger rally this Saturday, which is also going to tie into the Iraq war anniversary.


Article by liberal who came to Madison last weekend

On the union side, many were anticipating some sort of general strike or mass labor action, as had been discussed a few weeks back, and many workers wore that message proudly on their signs on Saturday. But the unions have not announced any major steps yet.

The word on the street is that folks are giving the legal process a few weeks to see if there isn't a way to repeal the law on the grounds that it was rammed through illegally, without an adequate public hearing.

If that legal process fails, some are looking toward strikes as an option. Others believe a mass strike could be damaging at this point.

Even with a strike, a point of struggle will be overturning the bill, which, unless challenged effectively on legal grounds, could be hard to do. Some worry that it could be four years before political process could allow for that to happen.

http://libcom.org/news/portugal-12th-march-2011-15032011

this article seems interesting. it seems these calls could work if they are tied down to a place/time. less so the general calls for national ones that are random.

just saying, giving some defining characteristics to the event/demonstration could get some people out? even better if committed orgs call for it probably.

Juan Conatz

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

This Sunday, March 20th, there will be two events discussing ways to take action against cuts, concessions, and other attacks on workers' rights.
The first event, 1-5pm at the Madison Labor Temple (1602 S. Park, room 201), is a strategy meeting sponsored by National Nurses United. This meeting is a place to discuss what our agenda, demands, and plans should be against Walker's bill and other similar attacks.

The second event, starting at 5pm at the Orpheum Theater (Stage Door, 216 State St., Downtown Madison), is a training event sponsored by the Madison I.W.W. and the Immigrant Workers' Union. This meeting will be led by trained organizers and it will cover ways to organize within your workplace and/or union for greater power among rank and file workers, as well as a discussion of possible job actions / industrial actions against the bill.

The first meeting is a strategy discussion, while the second meeting is a training on how to transform strategy into action.

hope to see you at one or both of these events. You are welcome to come to one, both, or even just parts of each event.

Solidarity
Madison I.W.W.

http://madison.iww.org/content/march-20th-madison-strategy-meeting-and-organizer-training

Interesting Tweet I think is indicative of a lot here

@AFLCIO hey, question: why isn't there a general strike in WI? i'm in the UW grad student union, & i'd support a strike #wiunion

And here's the website for the AFL-CIO's April 4th Day of "Action"
http://www.we-r-1.org/

Samotnaf

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

edit

Samotnaf

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

edit

Chilli Sauce

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The second event, starting at 5pm at the Orpheum Theater (Stage Door, 216 State St., Downtown Madison), is a training event sponsored by the Madison I.W.W. and the Immigrant Workers' Union. This meeting will be led by trained organizers and it will cover ways to organize within your workplace and/or union for greater power among rank and file workers, as well as a discussion of possible job actions / industrial actions against the bill.

I'd like hear how this went when it's complete if you don't mind.

(I'll be leading a workplace training myself on saturday, so training solidarity!)

jesuithitsquad

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The law has been temporarily blocked due to a judge's determination that it violated Wisconsin's open meetings law. Here's the story.

what ever

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

http://burntbookmobile.wordpress.com/2011/03/16/doors-superglued-before-uwm-protests-over-walker-budget/

Juan Conatz

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Direct action gets the goods

Tuesday afternoon, several Madison Police officers were monitoring a crowd of around 100 protesting outside of the M&I Bank, 1 W. Main St., when Sen. Glenn Grothman approached. Demonstrators allowed Sen. Grothman to pass, but some were verbally abusive to the lawmaker. When Sen. Grothman exited the bank, he was also subjected to angry words, but as he walked away a man hugged Sen. Grothman. An officer reported that Grothman did not appear to enjoy the embrace, and was able to squirm away. The officer came up to the man and told him it is not okay to put hands on people who do not wish contact. The man told the officer he had no idea who Sen. Gorthman was, but that he hugged him because,” I loved him." He added that he loves "everyone," and that he decided to hug Grothman because he was wearing a suit, like the one the man used to wear when he worked in insurance. The man told the officer that he is the "peace walker,” that he had trekked here from Las Vegas, and that he is considering running for president. He also asked the officer if he knew "Snoop Dog." The officer said he did not, and again told the man not to touch people who do not want to be touched.

Juan Conatz

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

We handed out quite a few leaflets for No Concessions/Nurses United event tomorrow as well as the IWW one, of course.

Significantly less people today than last Saturday. Maybe 5,000-7,000 at most. Lot of petitioning, signs and chants for recall. The scale from recall to more militant actions seems to correspond a lot with race and job to a certain extent. The strongest calls for recall are white public sector workers, while the strongest calls for further actions come from immigrant groups, Latino student organizations, non-public sector workers, etc.

Juan Conatz

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I don't think I need to say the intent of this.
http://socialistworker.org/2011/03/18/injury-to-one-is-injury-to-all

Juan Conatz

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Some pictures from the last 7 days

Chilli Sauce

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

What about Labor and Elephant Poop!?!

Samotnaf

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Over a week ago I posted:

The 9-year-old daughter of my friend's girlfriend announced yesterday that she would walkout if similar things were happening at her school!!! When things start to move, everyone starts to move.

Correction: she was 7 years old.
Let's hope that soon 5 year-olds'll be chanting "No classes today - no class society tomorrow!"

Samotnaf

Let's hope that soon 5 year-olds'll be chanting "No classes today - no class society tomorrow!"

that would be the CUTEST THING EVER.

today the 5 year olds...tomorrow the kittens.

Chilli Sauce

What about Labor and Elephant Poop!?!

"Labor cleaning up the elephant poop."

Juan Conatz

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

No strike vote from UW-Madison teaching assistants

The union for teaching and project assistants at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on Sunday voted against a proposal from Gov. Scott Walker to separate Madison from the UW system, but members did not vote to authorize a strike, the group announced Monday.

It had been anticipated that the union, which represents about 3,000 teaching assistants and project assistants at UW-Madison, might consider striking in opposition to the proposals in Walker's budget bill.

"Don't hold your breath for that vote," Teaching Assistants' Association Co-President Kevin Gibbons said Monday. He said people have talked about striking, but it's hard to see how a strike would be strategically helpful right now.

As for the vote the union took Sunday, the approved motion says the union is "against the formation of a public authority model, and the threat to affordability and accessibility it poses to public education and the lack of protection for labor unions on campus."

It also says the members object to the "non-transparent and undemocratic process by which the New Badger Partnership was designed."

Gibbons said the union is still against the massive budget cuts the governor has proposed for K-12 education and higher education.

The AFL-CIO's April 4th "Day of Action" is being described as "not business as usual". Although, from what I've heard about locally this means a rally at 5PM at the capitol.

Also, check out these 360 views of some of the protests
http://www.tourdeforce360.com/madison_protest/

Ed

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

"Don't hold your breath for that vote," Teaching Assistants' Association Co-President Kevin Gibbons said Monday. He said people have talked about striking, but it's hard to see how a strike would be strategically helpful right now.

Is that the union backing out before it's even started?

Juan Conatz

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Real quickly, the recall campaign and the effort to elect a new Supreme Court judge on April 5th is sucking the life out of everything right now. I think the high point of general strike talk was right when the bill was passed in the Senate and people rushed to the capitol. Since then, and particularly since the 14 Democrats returned, there has been a demobilization. The informal or formal strike factions within the public sector unions that I know of seemed to have been defeated either through their inability to gain strength or a recall faction smacking them down.

Many of the public sector unions are trying to sign contracts before the bill becomes law, which was supposed to be yesterday when it was published, but there's been a court order against it, so I'm not sure if it's law as of now (even though they did go ahead and publish it, despite the court order to delay).

There is a new pamphlet that we wrote that will hopefully be out in the next week or week and a half. It steps away a bit from the talk of a general strike and talks more about specific job actions, etc, that can be done, while also addressing the recall and other stuff. There's a real potential that solidarity unionism may have to be a default for state workers depending on whether their unions even attept to do the yearly re-certification stuff outlined in Walker's bill.

Right now, me and the other 2 out of town organizers are on a statewide trip to try and connect with contacts/lapsed members we have, as well has hitting up some retail stores. We're also out slapping posters and leaflets at the universities.

p.s. - I was just in Duluth, where there was a Finnish language IWW paper until 1975. Unfortunately I didn't have enough time to dig for these or find out people who could talk about the town's past. Seemed like a really interesting city. Arguably where the Rust Belt started, but in 2011, still more heavy industrial working than other Rust Belt areas I've been to

Juan Conatz

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

There's confusion on whether the law restricted collective bargaining is in effect yet or not.
http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/govt-and-politics/article_74859b5a-580d-11e0-9bee-001cc4c03286.html

Also, some students at the University of Minnesota are occupying a building there, partially in solidarity with us in Wisconsin.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: [email protected]

Outrage over Soaring Tuition Boils Over with Student Walkout, Rally, March, and General Assembly at University of Minnesota

Wisconsin Labor Unrest Inspires Action

Rally and March: 11:30am Monday, March 28th, Coffman Union, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities East Bank

MINNEAPOLIS- On Monday, March 28th, students at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus will walk out of class at 11:30 am for a rally and march at Coffman Memorial Union. Students are outraged over soaring tuition, budget cuts, sky-rocketing administrative salaries, mounting student debt, attacks on cultural-diversity groups on campus, and blatant disregard for workers’ rights across the nation. In light of recent student and worker uprisings around the world, students in the Twin Cities are no longer willing to bear the burdens of the economic crisis while the rich only get richer. Inspired by the actions of students at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, Madison, and other campuses around the state, U of M students are standing up against injustices in their own state and their own university.

In-state tuition at the Twin Cities campus has increased 150% over the past 10 years, but students are not receiving a better quality education for their money: class sizes are increasing, student-to-teacher ratios are rising, more classes are taught by contingent and part-time faculty instead of professors, and available financial aid is decreasing. “If more and more services are being cut, then where is my tuition money going?” asked undergraduate student Jacob Niewald. “From what I’ve seen at the University, the only people who are improving their economic standing are upper-administrators and star faculty.” Additionally, the Minnesota house just presented their version of a budget bill that would cut $161.9 million of state funding for the university, placing even more financial burden on students and workers in the University of Minnesota system.

These proposed cuts would also force the university to freeze wages for faculty and staff, a group that, according to graduate student Eli Meyerhoff, has already had to make too many concessions. “These are hard-working people with families to support and student loans to pay off. What will happen if they have their wages cut, their benefits decreased, or their jobs eliminated? The results of these attacks on the livelihoods of university workers will be felt by everyone, from students to faculty to the greater Minnesota community.”

It is for these reasons that students have decided that enough is enough. Together, members of the University of Minnesota community are walking out and marching in order to:

-Foster worker-student solidarity and unity
-Oppose increases in tuition, wage cuts and salary freezes for staff and faculty, and continued salary increases for upper-administration
-Call for a tuition freeze, across the board raises for university workers making less than $50,000 a year, and pay cuts for administrators making more than $200,000
-Stand in solidarity with students and workers everywhere, particularly with those involved in current struggles in Wisconsin and other states with similar bills, as well as in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, and numerous others.
-Stand in solidarity with students in Milwaukee and support their ongoing occupation on the UWM campus
-Support the idea of a general strike in Wisconsin as the most effective means to stop Governor Scott Walker’s attack on students and working people in that state

syndicalist

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Jun Gonatz: "p.s. - I was just in Duluth, where there was a Finnish language IWW paper until 1975. Unfortunately I didn't have enough time to dig for these or find out people who could talk about the town's past. Seemed like a really interesting city. "

Home of the 1990s WSA wreckers and entryists. Real nice people there. Yup. Wouldn't bother me if a few of em slip in while ice fishing. Yup.

syndicalist

Jun Gonatz: "p.s. - I was just in Duluth, where there was a Finnish language IWW paper until 1975. Unfortunately I didn't have enough time to dig for these or find out people who could talk about the town's past. Seemed like a really interesting city. "

Home of the 1990s WSA wreckers and entryists. Real nice people there. Yup. Wouldn't bother me if a few of em slip in while ice fishing. Yup.

Yeah, me and another guy (IWW organizer that I was with) were talking about that when we were in the town, too.

But doubt they (Duluth entryists into WSA) had anything to do with the old Finnish IWW, though...

syndicalist

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

At least one of the Duluth entryists would claim he has had something to do with everyone since the time of Moses.....so......

Juan Conatz

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Inside the capitol building there is now a "free speech zone". Go outside it with a sign and be arrested or given a $200 fine.
http://eyedance.blogspot.com/2011/03/what-words-exactly-big-brother.html

On the bullshit recall

SHOREWOOD — Matthew Dunn had barely started knocking on doors Saturday in this village next to Milwaukee when the reality of the task ahead of him became apparent.

"Oh, I've already signed," said resident Sandra Hays, a writing instructor at Milwaukee Area Technical College.

The two chatted amiably, but Dunn, 36, a high school counselor who lives in the village, left the woman's doorstep without getting any closer to his goal of triggering a recall election against Sen. Alberta Darling, R-River Hills.

"I think most of the easy signatures have been grabbed," he said. "Now, it's a slog."

Across Wisconsin, recall efforts are underway against 16 state senators — eight Democrats and eight Republicans. Each effort has just 60 days to gather enough signatures to force an election.

The clock starts ticking the day the recall committee registers with the state. Almost all of the efforts are now approaching the halfway point of the 60-day window or are already there — a critical juncture.

"The longer (a recall effort) goes on, the harder it is to get people's attention and to keep volunteers motivated," said Michael Kraft, a political science professor at UW-Green Bay.

For that reason, a recall effort ideally should have banked a disproportionate number of signatures by the halfway point, because the pace typically slows, he said.

The number of signatures gathered must be at least 25 percent of the number of votes cast for governor in that district in the most recent gubernatorial election. Given that relatively high bar, experts have said it is unlikely that even half of the 16 efforts will lead to recall elections.

Hitting the ground

In Shorewood Saturday, Dunn spent a chilly afternoon going door to door with another volunteer, Ronni Endemann, 37, of Burlington, an account services employee at a medical facility.

Dunn, a union member, said he was motivated by Darling's support of Republican Gov. Scott Walker's effort to end most collective bargaining rights for public sector workers. Endemann, not a union member, said she sympathizes with the labor movement and is concerned about proposed cuts to education and state health-care programs.

They were given a map of specific houses to approach from the recall effort's headquarters. Three hours later, they had knocked on 98 doors and acquired five signatures.

No one answered the door at 68 homes, 21 people already had signed a petition and four people refused.

The results were not unexpected because the campaign is in the "super-saturation" phase of going back over some neighborhoods two or more times, said Kristopher Rowe, 32, of Sherwood, a respiratory therapist who started the recall effort with a Facebook page.

The Darling recall effort needs at least 20,343 signatures by May 2. Rowe wouldn't say where the campaign is at, but he told one volunteer Saturday, "I guarantee you we will have more than enough signatures by that day."

'Not giving up'

Monday in Sun Prairie, homemaker Kate Ploessl, 48, stood on the public sidewalk outside the U.S. Postal Service office collecting signatures in the recall effort against Sen. Mark Miller, D-Monona.

She described herself as a "conservative independent" who became irritated when the 14 Senate Democrats, including Miller, left the state to delay the vote on Walker's budget repair bill. "I see them as people who neglected to do their jobs," she said.

She has collected nearly 80 signatures herself, she said, but the two-hour stint Monday netted only three more. "That's how it goes sometimes," she said afterward. "I'm not giving up."

The Miller effort needs at least 20,352 signatures by April 26 but hopes to get 25,000 to have a cushion, said Jeff Horn, 43, a computer programmer from DeForest and the effort's leader. The campaign has not yet passed the halfway point to reach 25,000, he said.

"It's going to be close," he said. "I'm not saying we're ahead of the game, but I'm not despondent."

Horn said he was encouraged Saturday when he and several volunteers collected about 75 signatures in three hours at a stationary site along Monona Drive in "the heart of Miller country" in Monona.

Both he and Rowe said all of the people collecting signatures for them are unpaid volunteers.

Difficult task

The work isn't easy.

Ploessl first tried to gather signatures while parked in the lot of a residential complex across from the post office but was asked to leave. Then she parked at the post office and was told by an employee that she had to either leave the parking lot or take down a large "Recall Miller" poster on her vehicle. (She chose the latter.)

Dunn and Endemann had their own challenges Saturday. While most people were friendly, three homeowners ripped into them.

One man told Endemann that what she was doing was "horrible" and that she should "reexamine her life." A woman told Dunn she had voted for Darling "forever" and that he had "a lot of nerve knocking on my door and making me answer it."

"There are strong feelings on both sides," Dunn said afterward. "I fully expect to be verbally berated at times."

First I've heard of it, but supposably there is a hunger strike going on too

tastybrain

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Juan did you get my PM?

I'm in Wisconsin, looking for the best ways to get involved. Any WI wobs or others who know what's going on right now? I've tried contacting the Madison infoshop and they just directed me to the Wisconsin wave website, also tried emailing the Madison wobs but no reply from them. Anyone in the far south, like near the Illinois border? Or know anyone around that region? Pm me if you have any info or contacts for me.

tastybrain

Juan did you get my PM?

I'm in Wisconsin, looking for the best ways to get involved. Any WI wobs or others who know what's going on right now? I've tried contacting the Madison infoshop and they just directed me to the Wisconsin wave website, also tried emailing the Madison wobs but no reply from them. Anyone in the far south, like near the Illinois border? Or know anyone around that region? Pm me if you have any info or contacts for me.

Ah, yes, sorry, it got lost in the flurry of messages in my email. I'll find it and message you back.

Samotnaf

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Just seen this - from Milwaukee Indymedia:

“The night of March 15th, a group of roughly forty students, workers, the unemployed and other uncontrollables marched to the Milwaukee County Jail, carrying banners and black flags. The banners at the front of the march read “Burn All Prisons” and “No Control”. Upon arriving at the front doors of the jail, demonstrators chanted “Free them all” and launched dozens of fireworks through the air in an effort to communicate with those locked inside.

The demonstration was called for by participants in the occupation of the Theatre building at UW-Milwaukee as a part of the ongoing struggle against the “Budget Repair Bill”. The bill, proposed by the hated governor of Wisconsin, contains a provision that will institute a Truth-in-Sentencing policy. This measure removes the possibility for those locked away in Wisconsin’s jails and prisons to qualify for early release for good behavior or ‘good time’. For inmates this means a dramatic increase in the time spent in jail – more time in captivity, kept away from their families and loved ones, kept in abject misery and isolation. The Truth-in-Sentencing provisions of the bill highlight specifically how the economic attacks on working and unemployed people throughout the state goes hand in hand with the criminalization and imprisonment of the working class). The economic system that exploits our labor, deprives our benefits, and throws us on the street is the very same system that keeps us in cages and behind barbed wire.

In the past weeks of resistance to Walker’s austerity measures, the politicians and police unions have been remarkably silent about this provision. They’ve built a mythology that “we’re all in this together” or that “they’re on our side”. It is more convenient for them to simply ignore the ways that the bill they purportedly oppose dramatically expands the prison system they faithfully defend. It’s no coincidence that the bill both extends prison sentences while also protecting the Police Union from the elimination of collective bargaining rights. The role of politicians and the police is to maintain the dreadful economy and the prison system necessary to it. It should come as no surprise to us that those who fail to criticize this system are the same who encourage us to continue working and scold those who step outside the lines they’ve defined.

It is time for new lines to be drawn. On the one side: the governor, politicians, police, bureaucrats, professional activists. On the other: prisoners, workers, students, the unemployed, the enraged. If the spontaneous struggle against this bill were to generalize and become a movement against this economic system and its prisons, it would mean that those affected by the bill would need to extend their actions and gestures of solidarity through all the walls that separate them. December’s historic strike by prisoners in Georgia shows us what such action could look like. For us, this means that the strikes, occupations and sabotage – the generalized disruption of the economy – needs to spread through the walls of the prison, to generalize, and to intensify. In this, we need to build complicit relationships and revolt inside and outside those walls.

Towards an unlimited strike, for a world without prison.”

-The enraged

(my emphases).

Samotnaf

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

And just seen this as well:

Q: “How has the situation in Wisconsin changed, if at all, in the weeks since you initially conducted the interview?”
A: It’s certainly devious in how imperceptible that change is and was, both for when there was a “change” and after. You had to seek it out or you have to have been effected, forced to pay attention. Most areas of life were on the surface in no way effected by “the events in Madison.” They were too easy to ignore. And this imperceptibility demonstrates the immense power of the apparatus that keeps everything the same and also the weakness of a struggle that either must change everything or will return to normal.
I’m tempted to compare the situation of seeming powerlessness, the general strike that was threatened and existed in many minds as a slumbering yet awakening beast of a bygone age, and which remains present in many minds specifically as a lack, to a phantom limb. We feel, and are witness to the presence of our absence of power.
What I can share are frustrations, and a kind of shock that corresponds with any subservient march back to work, and that forgets the most important fact of these events, which is that it was not the unions or politicians which made us something to be feared. It was the constitution as a force, however briefly and however foolish, that shocked many, especially those who participated, with fear. Where else did the constant calls for non-violence come from? A million tiny failures repulse us with the horror of our powerlessness, specifically after we glimpsed or dared think otherwise. Not only time will tell how well we will retain this dream, because within a world that has every interest in our forgetting, it would sooner have never happened. Either we will feel the shame of taking part in our own forgetting or we will have to fight and through conflict remember more and more what is at stake in the present.
So yes, a lot has changed, but if one weren’t part of it then it’s as if nothing has and never did. It’s a news story. It’s a protest to be ignored. Life goes on. Now instead of a general strike, or strikes, or sick outs, or walk outs, what remains overwhelmingly are recall campaigns, and talk of electoral politics, which channel and subdue these events into processes that manage them, contain them, count them, and include them in the calculus of the democratic party. One must wait for their turn to put a piece of paper in a box and then go back to work, go back home, go to the mall – all places which we’ve been produced to fit perfectly within. Our presence within them contests nothing, and where contestation is ignored politics hides – the beast slumbers.

- from here.

Juan Conatz

Ah, yes, sorry, it got lost in the flurry of messages in my email. I'll find it and message you back.

No worries, sounds like you're busy with a lot of interesting stuff.

syndicalist

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Gov. Walker Will Bow to Court Order, Halt Implementation of Anti-Union Bill
By Lindsay Beyerstein
A spokesman for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said Thursday that the state will comply with a court order to temporarily halt the implementation of a notorious anti-union law, pending a court challenge....

http://inthesetimes.com/working/

Ohio is the latest state to roll back the strike & bargaining rights.

The NY Times writes:

"... The bill would bar public employees from striking and would
prohibit binding arbitration for police officers and firefighters. It
would allow bargaining over wages, but not health coverage and
pensions and would allow public-employee unions to bargain only when
the public employer chose to do so.
...

"Under the Ohio bill, when there is public-sector bargaining and
management and union fail to reach a settlement, the legislative body,
such as a county or school board, would make the final decision on
what offer to accept. But if the legislative body refrains from
selecting either side’s last best offer, the public employer’s last
offer would become the agreement between the parties.
...

The bill would bar any union contract that limited a public employer’s
ability to privatize operations. It eliminates statutory schedules and
steps that automatically increase salaries year by year, and it bars
seniority, by itself, from determining who is to be laid off. "

Juan Conatz

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

On 3-12-11 the IWW (Industrial Workers of the World)organized a meeting at the Madison Labor Temple in Madison Wisconsin to discuss the possibility of a general strike in Wisconsin in response to Governor Scott Walker's stripping public sector workers of most of their bargaining rights. Some of the speakers have been edited out as they asked that their comments not be aired in public. The audience dialog session that followed the speeches was also not recorded.

http://www.archive.org/details/IWWGeneralStrikeMeetingMadison3-12-11

Juan Conatz

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Elections were yesterday. Record turnout in Madison and other places. The 'anti-Walker' candidate for Supreme Court, Kloppenberg, seems to have won by 233 votes.

I believe 2 of the Republican state senators have had 20,000 + recall signatures signed against them. I think a recall requires 15,000.

The AFL-CIO April 4th "Day of Action" was pretty much just a get-out-the-vote rally, with Jesse Jackson and other people I didn't give a fuck about speaking to a crowd of around 4-5,000.

Mouzone

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

thanks for the updates Juan, very interesting to hear whats happening in Wisconsin...

Juan Conatz

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Oh forgot to mention that there was a Labor Notes Troublemaker's School last weekend. I missed most of it because I chose to table rather than attend (having meeting exhaustion), but a lot of it I think was about what we should do next.

There's been a couple organizations that have formed or become more known in the last couple of weeks.
Wisconsin Resists (not sure who or what this is right now)
Wisconsin WAVE (seems mostly older liberals who do somewhat clever publicity stunt actions)
We Are Wisconsin (AFL-CIO backed)
No Cuts, No Concessions (Nurses United and some others)

Juan Conatz

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

For anyone who's interested, here's what some of the socialist groups are saying. I picked out some notable stuff. Although it's hard to be certain, really the only ones who have people in Madison, actually do shit and are open about their involvement are the ISO, Solidarity, Socialist Alternative and Workers International League.

I've seen the RCP, SWP and even the ancient Progressive Labor Party around, but I think they're from out of town, or all they do is table or they are not open about their politics/membership in the wider movements, so it's harder to identify.

International Socialist Organization
-The labor movement after Wisconsin

-What do we do next? (Union nurse advocating road blockades and strike action.)

-Lessons of the Capitol struggle (TA union member on the last days of the capitol occupation)

-Injury to one is an injury to all (I view this as an attack article. Republished from 1989 and makes it seem as if the IWW doesn't exist anymore or had some good ideas then, but not so much anymore...)

Solidarity
-
The Next Phase in Wisconsin: Veering Away From the Democrats

Socialist Alternative
-Interview with Wisconsin Student Activist
-FAQ About Strike Action

Workers International League
-Report on the March 12th Mega Rally in Madison, WI (Mentions the IWW/UTI general strike forum)

Juan Conatz

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

ILWU Sued After Solidarity Work Stoppage Shut Ports on April 4th

The San Francisco Labor Council has called for the full support of ILWU Local 10 after it was sued by the PMA (Pacific Maritime Association) for the participation of its members in a "We Are One" solidarity action with Wisconsin workers which shut down the ports in Oakland and San Francisco on April 4, 2011. A resolution was passed unanimously at the San Francisco Labor Council on April 11th and the first emergency defense meeting to organize for action and solidarity will take place on Thursday, April 14th at 7pm. Individuals and other unions are encouraged to come and show support.

On April 12th, approximately 18 ILWU members from locals 10, 6, 54, and SEIU 1021 held a sit-in at the offices of the PMA in Oakland in response to the lawsuit and to protest the lockout of their members in Concord. The PMA refused to meet with the delegation. After several hours demonstrators decided to leave for a rally at the entrance of the building. They were joined by other members who had left the docks to support them.

Steven.

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

It's a shame about them being sued - have they been sued before over any of their stoppages?

Thanks for the continued updates.

By the way, have the 18-odd percent pay/benefit cuts actually come into being yet?

Steven.

By the way, have the 18-odd percent pay/benefit cuts actually come into being yet?

For the public sector in Wisconsin?

Juan Conatz

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Gov. Scott Walker Reportedly Planning Financial Martial Law In Wisconsin

Reports are surfacing that Scott Walker is now preparing his next assault on the democratic political process in the State of Wisconsin.

Following the lead of Michigan GOP Governor Rick Snyder, Walker is said to be preparing a plan that would allow him to force local governments to submit to a financial stress test with an eye towards permitting the governor to take over municipalities that fail to meet with Walker’s approval.

According to the reports, should a locality’s financial position come up short, the Walker legislation would empower the governor to insert a financial manager of his choosing into local government with the ability to cancel union contracts, push aside duly elected local government officials and school board members and take control of Wisconsin cities and towns whenever he sees fit to do so.

Such a law would additionally give Walker unchallenged power to end municipal services of which he disapproves, including safety net assistance to those in need.

According to my sources, the plan is being written by the legal offices of Foley & Lardner, the largest law firm in the state, and is scheduled to be introduced to the legislature in May of this year.

The story first came to public attention yesterday during an interview with Madison, Wisconsin attorney and activist, Ed Garvey, on Wisconsin Public Radio.

While Mr. Garvey is a familiar player in Wisconsin politics, some of you who are football fans may recognize his name from his days as the Executive Director of the NFL Players’ Association, where Garvey is credited with making extraordinary strides in the protection of player rights and improving their earning opportunities.

I spoke with Mr. Garvey today to gain insight into his information, which led me to Mr. Nate Kimm – a Wisconsin based political organizer who is a leader in the effort to recall eight GOP Wisconsin State Senators who voted in favor of Gov. Walker’s anti-collective bargaining legislation.

While Kimm was unwilling to reveal his source, he was able to confirm that he had received the information regarding Walker’s plans from a highly placed GOP source, very much in a position to know what the Governor has in the works.

Should these reports prove accurate, Walker’s plan would resemble-if not directly mirror- the legislation signed into law by Gov. Snyder of Michigan which gives Snyder extraordinary powers to take over municipalities when he determines them to be in financial trouble, further permitting him to actually fire locally elected public officials when he deems it desirable.

Gov. Snyder’s extraordinary law became all too real this week when Emergency Financial Manager, Joseph Harris, appointed by the Governor to take charge of Benton Harbor, Michigan, issued an order which took away all powers of the city’s elected officials.

Yes, this has really happened right here in the United States of America.

Walker’s plans give further credence to the notion that the efforts of the GOP governors with Republican majorities in their state legislative bodies are part of a coordinated plan to enforce a right-wing agenda designed to not only destroy state, county and municipal employee unions, but to take control of local governments by replacing elected officials with appointees, both corporate and individual, of the state’s highest executive officer.

More on this as it becomes available.

Thanks to Wisconsinite Doug Olson for his help with this story.

Contact Rick at [email protected]

Juan Conatz

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Occupation just started at UW-Madison. Not sure how long they are planning to do this, but I'm gonna head down there in an hour or so. Check my twitter for updates. http://twitter.com/juanconatz

Juan Conatz

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Headed over to the occupation yesterday. Got there around 5:00pm or so, I believe. There were around 30-40 people occupying the hallway and lecture hall in front of the Chancellor's office. The building (Bascom hall) is traditionally where occupations take place, since the 60s. The most recent one was in 2001 and done by Student Against Sweatshops, I think.

When I got there, they were (and had been for a while, apparantly) discussing whether they were going to try and spend the night with so 'few' people. Eventually it went to a vote and the pro-spend the night people won.

There was a very shy, nervous and awkward vice dean of students (or something similar) that was afraid to ask us to leave. Eventually his boss, the dean of students, came and said we needed to leave. We were told the police were coming to talk to us.

Eventually they did come..around 25-30 of them and said we had 60 seconds to leave because the building closes at 6pm and we were there at 7:30pm. They wouldn't let us discuss it as a group very long. Vote to disperse passed pretty quickly and everyone left.

This short lived occupation had demands around the planned splitting off of UW-Madison from the UW system and privatization of some of the university workforce.

Before I got there they had talked/argued with the Chancellor and there's supposed to be some meeting or open forum of some sort on Friday.

Juan Conatz

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

May Day march tomorrow.

ULTIMA HORA! BOMBEROS Y GRANJEROS SE UNIRAN A LA MARCHA: Trabajadores bomberos se uniran a la marcha de uniforme y con sus Gaitas y varios granjeros vendran con sus tractores para unirse la marcha.
LAST NEWS! FIREFIGHTERS AND FARMERS TO JOIN THE RALLY: Firefighters union workers will join the rallywith their pipebags! and farmers will bring their tractors to the rally!

TENTATIVE PROGRAM
Gather Brittingham Park: 1:00pm
Organizers Get the People Excited! Lead Folks Out of Park.
1:07pm. Ben Manski: Wisconsin Wave (invited)
1:10pm Allen Ruff: Solidarity
1:13pm. Anthony Schaeve: Madison IWW
1:16pm. Taylan Acar: Wisconsin Resists
1:19pm. UTI Youth
1:22pm. Seth Tristan: Groundwork
1:25pm. Damon Terrell: ASO
1:28pm. TJ Mertz Progressive Dane
Depart Brittingham: 1:30pm
LEAD BY TRACTORS AND FIREFIGHTERS
Arrive at Capitol: 2:00pm
Welcome: 2:25pm
2:30pm: Jim Cavanaugh. President SCFL
2:33pm: Will Williams. MAPC
2:36pm: Peg Coyne. Madison Teachers, Inc.
2:39pm: Jean Ross. National Co-President. NNU
2:39pm: Marisol Gonzalez, Alex Gillis, Youth UTI, Clarissa Pearson
2:45pm: Eric Cobb. BCTC of SCW
2:48pm: Bill Franks. (Invited)
2:51pm: Mario Marin & Ibed. Worker's United
2:54pm: Mike Imbrogno. AFSCME Local 171
2:57pm: Andy Heidt. AFSCME Local 1871
3:00pm: Randy Jasper. Family Farm Defenders
Closing Remarks. Immigrant Workers Union.

Juan Conatz

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Collective bargaining bit is still held up in the courts over procedural issues. There's rumors that the GOP may try to reintroduce it, but not sure on the likelihood of that.

Some Republican and Democrat senators have had recall petitions filed against them.

Jesus fucking christ...
Walker wants private sector to run assistance programs
http://host.madison.com/ct/news/local/govt-and-politics/capitol-report/article_84bef97d-12eb-52c8-801e-09fbded43a66.html

Also,
More than 80 threats made against Walker, lawmakers and others, records show
http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/govt-and-politics/article_884e3352-7cf4-11e0-98ed-001cc4c03286.html

Juan Conatz

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Last weekend, there was an action at an M&I bank (big backers of the GOP) that resulted in the bank branch being shut down and some protesters being grabbed and shoved by security. This is all on word of mouth though.

Today there were 7,000-10,000 protesting down at the capitol again. It's really crazy how the national media has virtually ignored these continuing protests for a while now. Meanwhile, every time 20 Tea baggers show up somewhere, there's a media frenzy.

A voter ID bill just passed, too, which was probably intended as a legal form of voter disenfranchisement right ahead of the possibility of recall elections. Voter ID usually affects the poor, who vote Democrat by a wide margin.

Faculty at UW-Green Bay voted 117-2 faculty to unionize. This is the 3rd or 4th university in the state that's had a yes vote since Walker's bill was introduced.

Surtrsflame

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Academic staff at University of Wisconsin-Superior voted 89-5 to unionize this morning. Faculty at UWS unionized about a year ago, and is one of 7 campuses to have unionized faculty. UWS is now the first with unionized academic staff.

Article from Wisconsin AFL-CIO

Juan Conatz

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

This is not going to have a postive impact on people's inclination towards action

Wis. protest update: Groups want teacher names

School districts across Wisconsin are being asked to release the names of teachers who called in sick during protests in February at the Capitol, a move that led to closures for a day or more in many districts.

Some districts had to close for a day or more after teachers went to Madison to protest against Gov. Scott Walker's plan to end collective bargaining for most state employees.

The Wisconsin State Journal reports that it's unclear how many of the state's 424 districts received requests for names, but that many have released them.

Topics
Health and Safety at School
Government
Unions
See more topics »

The Madison School District has denied several requests, saying it could risk the safety of teachers and students, and disrupt morale and learning in schools.

The Wisconsin Education Association Council, or WEAC, the state's largest teachers union, used a similar argument in asking a La Crosse county judge to quash the release of names in the La Crosse and Holmen districts.

The judge recently blocked the release of names in Holmen and may rule soon on the La Crosse case.

Madison attorney Bob Dreps, an open records expert, said the issue pits the public's right to information about how their government works against a perceived threat to public safety.

Under the state's open records law, there is a presumption that government records are open to the public. But in some cases, the governmental agency may consider whether there is a stronger argument for secrecy.

"The strength of their justification depends on how persuasive this threat of disruption is," Dreps said of districts that don't release the names. "That there's heated rhetoric over the dispute, over the budget repair bill, doesn't justify secrecy."

Larry Gamble, a retired pilot and Tea Party member from Franklin, estimates he filed about 50 records requests, including one for the names of Madison teachers.

But legal counsel Dylan Pauly said the district doesn't want to release the names after board members and administrators received "a number of threats" against themselves and district employees.

Brett Healy, president of the MacIver Institute, a conservative think tank that requested the Madison names, said taxpayers have the right to know which teachers left the classroom to protest.

"No one really believes that someone would use the information to do something that crosses the line," Healy said. "To use that logic to prevent the releasing of the names is a stretch, at best."

WEAC spokeswoman Christina Brey said the issue has distracted from the governor's proposal to cut more than $800 million in education funding.

"It's really unfortunate seeing educators being demonized for their decision" to attend the protests, Brey said.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chibrknews-wis-school-districts-asked-for-teacher-names-20110524,0,251948.story

Juan Conatz

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Judge strikes down Walker's collective bargaining law

A judge has struck down Gov. Scott Walker's controversial new collective bargaining law.

Dane County Judge MaryAnn Sumi issued a permanent injunction against the law Thursday morning. This means the law is effectively dead until the Wisconsin Supreme Court acts on the law.

Juan Conatz

10 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I hate to be cryptic, but within the next 5 days, something may happen of some significance that may or may not change things. I'm not sure if this is just exaggeration by some comrades or not, but I'll be going to a meeting tonight to find out for myself.

Steven.

10 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Sounds intriguing!

But you know on what basis the law has been blocked for the time being?

It's funny though, now that it seems the whole discussion is only around the issue of collective bargaining - it seems that the actual issue of the 20-odd percent pay cuts has just been forgotten about. Have those come into effect yet?

Juan Conatz

10 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The law was blocked because the way it whick it was pushed through violated open meetings laws I believe. So it wasn't blocked because of what it was, but because of how it was passed. That means that the GOP could reintroduce it. And there's rumors they may attempt it in the next week, but we'll see. It's headed towards the Supreme Court now, and whatever the result, they can still reintoduce it.

I think the pay cuts depend on where you're working. Before the bill was about to be enacted, every public sector union was scrambling wildly to get a new contract that would be in effect before the bill. Some did, I think others are working without a contract.

In any case, it's always been about collective bargaining to the unions. They put it pretty clear that they were willing to accept concessions of all kinds.

Juan Conatz

10 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Protesters disrupt budget committee meeting, several carried out

Chaos erupted at Thursday night's budget committee meeting as lawmakers tried to start debating funding cuts to cities and counties, recycling and money for "choice schools."

As the meeting began, protesters tried to speak over lawmakers and began chanting "Whose house? Our house!" Some argued with Republican and Democratic lawmakers alike. Others tried to give speeches about the budget and were carried out by police to the chants of "police state."

"You could be doing more harm than good," Sen. Bob Jauch, D-Poplar warned them as the pandemonium continued.

He and other Democrats urged them to allow the meeting to continue.

More than a dozen were carried out by police officers and state troopers. It's not yet clear whether any were arrested.

The first issue to come up was cuts to municipalities. Republican leaders said they were reducing cuts by about $20 million, a net reduction of about $76 million rather than $96 million.

Rep. Robin Vos, R-Rochester, said the move was "helping municipalities" by restoring money that would have been cut under Gov. Scott Walker's original proposal.

But Democrats said poor communities would face the worst budget cuts.

"This is a pattern of giving to the rich and taking from the poor," said Sen. Lena Taylor, D-Milwaukee.

The motion passed 11 to 4 on a party line vote.

Lawmakers have begun their discussion of choice schools.

http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/govt-and-politics/article_70483420-8d7e-11e0-a40c-001cc4c03286.html

This must have been on live TV, because Twitter erupted with a bunch of spineless liberal fuckwits screaming about "these actions are playing into the GOP's hands", "they must be GOP operatives", "this is not how WI is!" and similar nonsense.

I was downtown when this started, but couldn't figure out what was happening. There was a 100 or so people waiting in line to get into the capitol.

There's a 'Walkerville' tent city planned to start this weekend, but the permit hasn't been granted yet, so we'll see.

Monday there's a bunch of stuff planned as well, some of which could be significant.

Juan Conatz

10 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

looks like this disruption is becoming controversial, with one of the main student groups here1 almost coming out and publicly condemning it and threatening to possibly expel members if they were involved. Ridiculous.

The actions tonight at the JFC were not planned, supported or endorsed by the ASO in any fashion. We as an organization are extremely disappointed in those who took part in this action. If any members of the ASO were involved they were acting without our consent and we will be investigating their actions and will strongly reconsider their membership in our organization.

[name removed]
Communication & Messaging Chair

Picture from Joint Finance Committee

2 arrested, 30 removed
http://budget.wispolitics.com/2011/06/tubbs-2-arrests-25-30-removed.html

  • 1This group uses anarchist code words and some imagery, but is actually an eclectic mix of liberals, future career Democrats, stock lefties, and nonaligned socialists, it seems. They were created out of the capitol occupation and are pretty active and at almost everything

Juan Conatz

10 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I called that student group out on that statement and it was taken down.

Surtrsflame

10 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Sumi (the judge) issued a permanent injunction due to the way that open meetings law wasn't followed, and the GOP is going to appeal it so that the conservative-dominated supreme court can look at it. Sumi was smart, and based her whole ruling off of previous supreme court rulings.They may reverse it, but they are going to have to squirm around their own rulings, which would further erode public confidence in government in this state (and maybe as a whole). She was put in her seat by Tommy Thompson, a former republican governor, so the GOP's constant bitching about her is reminiscent of Israel's outrage over the Goldstone report. I'm not sure the GOP would get the senate votes to take collective bargaining with 6 of their senators facing a recall election in July.

Juan, thanks for the updates. If it's something big I may be able to get a carpool of people from the still frigid far north of the state.

Also, do you have any information about people being arrested outside the Joint Finance meeting today?

Juan Conatz

10 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

From what I've heard there were 2 people arrested and 30 removed. The disruption was continuous for over an hour, I believe. One person would be removed, and then another would walk up to yell a statement. There's a link in one of my posts above.

Juan Conatz

10 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

New statement from student group

The Autonomous Solidarity Organization will not condone any actions that were taken at the Joint Finance Committee Meeting this afternoon without reviewing the events that transpired. We as an organization did not plan or organize any of the events that occurred today at the Capitol. We do not condemn members of our group or any other group without a full understanding of the situation.

- ASO

I think, along with this, the next couple days we're going to see stuff like this more often. There's a real disconnect between the Democrats/union leadership and their liberal allies and those becoming disillusioned with the recall.

It's a pretty good example of something that was unsaid 2 months ago: We Democrats came back, now shut up and let everything go through us and only come out when we say so.

Tojiah

10 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Juan Conatz

New statement from student group

The Autonomous Solidarity Organization will not condone any actions that were taken at the Joint Finance Committee Meeting this afternoon without reviewing the events that transpired. We as an organization did not plan or organize any of the events that occurred today at the Capitol. We do not condemn members of our group or any other group without a full understanding of the situation.

- ASO

I think, along with this, the next couple days we're going to see stuff like this more often. There's a real disconnect between the Democrats/union leadership and their liberal allies and those becoming disillusioned with the recall.

It's a pretty good example of something that was unsaid 2 months ago: We Democrats came back, now shut up and let everything go through us and only come out when we say so.

Be militant until we come to power, then shut up. It's been the Trade Union/Democrat way since time immemorial.

Surtrsflame

10 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Sorry about missing that, I clicked reply after #293 and then got distracted before posting.

I'm rather angry about the ASO's post against civil disobedience. I thought maybe by coming out of the capitol occupation they wouldn't be quite so lame. The way the supreme court election went (completely stolen), I think that a lot of people are going to be more militant and stop listening to establishment democrats. Good.