Wisconsin protests: updates and discussion

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Juan Conatz's picture
Juan Conatz
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Aug 10 2011 06:46

Juan Conatz's picture
Juan Conatz
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Aug 18 2011 20:27

The recall against the 2 democrats failed.

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Juan Conatz
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Aug 19 2011 06:21

Been keeping an eye on the Wisconsin media and any different opinions on the strike option that once existed now that the recalls have failed in their objective.

This appeared in one of the free papers in Madison's website

Quote:
Honestly, after everything that's happened this year, I'm beginning to seriously wonder if a general strike wouldn't have been a more effective means of stopping the still-steamrolling right-wing agenda in Wisconsin.

I've been flipping through the pages of an excellent compilation book put together by Erica Sagrans documenting the writing and tweeting that came out of the initial protests -- it's pretty comprehensive, and put together in such a way as to give me serious flashbacks -- and remembering just how energized everyone was in those first weeks. (You can support and pre-order the book, We Are Wisconsin.)

I can't help but wonder how that energy might have been yet more constructively harnessed. I still believe strongly in the recalls and believe a campaign to kick Walker out of office will be viable. It may be instructive, however, to examine other methods of resistance that might have -- and might still be -- more effective in terms of keeping up momentum, making sure no one group takes over the movement and that everyone's voices are heard, and getting the point across. Maybe that's a general strike, maybe not... I'd simply like to advocate for the serious discussion.

Wisconsin stands up to far-right: Be proud

Quote:
Winning two of the state Senate recall elections was extraordinary. Recall elections seldom occur or succeed. So this is big. But it is only a first step. It's going to be a long and tough fight. There is no silver bullet or magic wand (foolish talk about a general strike or the perfect slogan is only distracting). My advice is dig in, be smart, stay angry (but not crazy) and remember what this is all about - dignity, respect and a shot at the American dream.

Also...
Wisconsin state employees brace for lower paychecks
http://www.isthmus.com/isthmus/article.php?article=34402

Surtrsflame
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Aug 22 2011 19:01

It's really interesting to see this in The Isthmus, a paper whose contributers were such opponents to anything that didn't fit in with a democrat strategy. I think this is a good sign.

Surtrsflame
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Aug 26 2011 06:56

http://www.youtube.com/embed/BvYV9zAdl60

http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=10150766943550403&comments

Couple good videos. It seems like a few more people are waving black and reds.

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Aug 26 2011 08:06

Nah it's the same folks as before, from what I can tell. lol, is that a RAAN banner on the second vid, though?

This is the first march in a while, huh? I heard is around 1,000, and a bunch of people refused to leave the capitol and 13 got arrested.

Surtrsflame
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Aug 26 2011 17:19

I recognized a couple of the Madison wobs, but I don't remember any RAAN guys at anything before, and I'm pretty sure that is a RAAN banner.

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Aug 26 2011 17:34

One of the IWW people is in the Socialist Party.....and RAAN. Don't ask me how. I guess he found others or just made the banner himself.

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klas batalo
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Aug 29 2011 07:28

There is a RAAN faction/tendency with the SP. No I'm serious. Search RevLeft.

Surtrsflame
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Aug 30 2011 02:40

I guess while it seems really strange, having anarchist factions in the SP makes a bit sense considering that SP is a multi-tendency party

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Aug 30 2011 09:46

This is well off topic by this point, but that doesn't make sense. Why would anarchists join a Trot party that seeks (and has achieved some small degree of) state power? Makes no more sense than a Trot faction in a synthesis anarchist group.

Surtrsflame
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Aug 30 2011 20:30

SP-USA is not a trot party, it is a multi-tendency party with democratic socialism as the general unifying ideology, although members cover a range of ideologies from leninism to left communism, and apparently anarchism also.

If anarchism is looked at within a spectrum of socialist though, then it makes a bit of sense, which I am figuring is the idea behind such a faction. If anarchism is looked at as separate from the rest of communism and socialist thought, then it doesn't.

Back on topic though - apparently the NSM is holding a march in the town of West Allis, a suburb of Milwaukee. The liberal coalitions that have built up since February are planning some counter demonstrations.

radicalgraffiti
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Aug 30 2011 21:05

i don't think that anarchists are part of the left, and i don't see how anarchists could do anything of value in a political organisation that is so broad it includes trots.

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Aug 30 2011 21:45

Agree with RG above, but, my apologies, I was confusing the US SP with the UK SP.

syndicalist
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Aug 30 2011 22:07

On the SPUSA, years ago (1970s), there were quite a few folks who considered themselves libertarian socialists within the party. Some of them were real good comrades, very supportive of revoltuionary syndicalism and so forth. I've no clue about today's SPUSA though, other than there being folks in the SPUSA who are also in the IWW.

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Tojiah
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Aug 30 2011 23:45

Representatives of the SPUSA were handing out their magazine explaining in depth the importance of electoral politics just a few weeks ago. Specifically, they were handing out Issue #6 2010 seen here; the PDF is not available at the moment, but here's the table of contents:

Quote:
  • Socialists and Elections
  • Why We Run - Todd Vachon
  • A Jersey Socialist - Greg Pason
  • A Socialist Prez in 2012 - Stewart Alexander
  • On Standing for Office - David McReynolds
  • Socialist Campaign & Movement - Dan La Botz
  • Socialist Feminist Campaign - Mal Herbert
  • From Tiny to Victory - Interview w/ David Hill
  • Independent Campaigns - Peter Moody
  • Don't Forget the Class Struggle - Billy Wharton
  • Letters

I don't see how anarchists can be party to such a party.

Surtrsflame
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Aug 31 2011 00:25
Chilli Sauce wrote:
Agree with RG above, but, my apologies, I was confusing the US SP with the UK SP.

No worries. It seems that 9/10 parties with the word 'socialist' in the name are trot parties. For all I know SPUSA might be lead by trots.

syndicalist wrote:
On the SPUSA, years ago (1970s), there were quite a few folks who considered themselves libertarian socialists within the party. Some of them were real good comrades, very supportive of revoltuionary syndicalism and so forth. I've no clue about today's SPUSA though, other than there being folks in the SPUSA who are also in the IWW.

I think most of it is tradition largely due to SPUSA being the continuation of the early 20th century Socialist Party of America. In the past 90 years enough has changed between the two groups that I don't think being a SPUSA member and an anarchist useful. A lot of wobblies are in SPUSA and are not necessarily anarchists, given that the IWW is not strictly an anarcho-syndicalist union.

syndicalist
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Aug 31 2011 02:04

One last walk down memory lane ..... in the mid-1970s....a number of socialists embraced one form or another of libertarian socialism and syndicalism.....some were members of the SPUSA, some ex-members of the SLP. The general medium for communication was through "Synthesis." A discussion iniative kicked off by the
ex-de leonists of the San Pedro, CA League for Economic Democracy. Participants ranged from SPUSA folks, situationists, libertarian communists, anarcho-syndicalists, wobblies and others.

Sorry for being off topic.

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Aug 31 2011 17:38
radicalgraffiti wrote:
i don't think that anarchists are part of the left, and i don't see how anarchists could do anything of value in a political organisation that is so broad it includes trots.

they are crazy RAANistas that why, who knows why they are doing it. probably cause they are the only people they could find talking class struggle in their town, or being equally nerdy.

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Sep 22 2011 14:37
Quote:
Largest state unions won't seek recertification by Thursday deadline

Madison - By the end of Thursday, the major state employee unions covering tens of thousands of workers will have effectively lost their official status.

Top leaders for those unions say they won't seek to meet the high hurdle for keeping that current status as laid out in Gov. Scott Walker's union bargaining law. With a deadline set for the close of business Thursday, so far only four smaller state unions have said they are seeking to keep their status by winning a difficult recertification vote.

Marty Beil, executive director of the 23,000-member Wisconsin State Employees Union representing largely blue-collar workers, said none of the units in his group will seek recertification.

"We looked at the law and we find the law at best an exercise in wasted resources," Beil said. "We've chosen to use our resources to organize our members and advocate for our members."

So far, only three smaller state unions representing building trades workers, prosecutors and other attorneys have filed with the state seeking to keep their official status. A fourth union representing a small number of state research employees will file Thursday. School and local government unions don't have to make their decisions yet.

In March, Walker signed legislation ending all union bargaining for public employees except for limited negotiations over wages. Union employees can't bargain for raises larger than the rate of inflation unless approved by voters in a referendum.

The legislation also requires that unions go through yearly recertification votes to keep their official status rather than retain that status indefinitely after an initial vote creating the union, as had been done in the past. Unions can still exist without that official status, but government employers, such as schools and the state, don't have to recognize them or bargain with them over anything.

To win the recertification election, unions must get 51% of the vote of all the members of their bargaining unit, not just the ones who take the time to cast ballots - a much higher bar than state elected officials have to clear to win their offices.

A spokesman for Walker had no comment.

Sen. Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend), a vocal critic of unions, hailed the news.

"It means that in the future decisions will be made in the best interest of the public and the best state employees, but the radical employees or the underperforming employees will have much less say," he said.

Separately, the union legislation also ended the practice of government employers collecting union dues from employees' paychecks and of all workers in a unit being required to pay some money to the union, even if they don't belong to it.

Since then, Beil said WSEU has cut spending but not laid off any of its seven field staff or three administrators. He said some members were now paying their dues voluntarily but declined to say how many.

Bryan Kennedy, president of the American Federation of Teachers-Wisconsin, said so far only a small local state union within his larger umbrella group is seeking a recertification election. AFT-Wisconsin and its member unions as of June represented about 17,500 largely white-collar workers who are mostly employed by the state.

Kennedy said that one of his member unions has workers in 700 locations around the state and would need to spend large amounts of time and money to win a recertification vote.

"You go through all that and all you get to do is bargain (for limited raises)," Kennedy said.

One AFT-Wisconsin member union that is seeking recertification is the Professional Employees in Research, Statistics and Analysis, a union of 58 workers who do research for state agencies and have always paid voluntary dues. Jeff Richter, the president of the union and a telecommunications analyst for the Public Service Commission, said the union will file with the state on Thursday.

"We have a little different viewpoint. We see there's a value in being recognized as a union," he said.

But Richter also acknowledged that his small union is able to communicate with its members one-on-one, leaving him confident that enough members will show up and vote to recertify.

State unions have to file a petition seeking a recertification election and pay a fee to the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission by 4:30 p.m. Thursday or they will be decertified, agency chairman James Scott said.

Scott said so far three state unions have filed with the commission seeking a recertification election: the Wisconsin State Building Trades; the Association of State Prosecutors; and the State Attorneys Association.

The decertification won't happen, however, until it's requested by either the employer or a citizen, Scott said. That's in part because the agency doesn't have a master list of all the public employee unions in the state, he said.

"We're not going to know if they don't file unless somebody tells us," Scott said.

State employee unions have no current contracts with the state that might trump Walker's law and its recertification provisions. Some school and local government employees have outstanding contracts and won't have to vote to recertify until these current contracts run out.

Unions for teachers and other school district employees without contracts have until Sept. 30 to file for a recertification election. Municipal employees without contracts have until Jan. 30.

Besides the state unions, 13 other local government and school district unions so far have also filed with the state seeking a recertification election.

Only three of those are in the Milwaukee area - two in the Pewaukee School District and one in the St. Francis School District.

http://www.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/Largest-state-unions-wont-seek-recertification-by-Thursday-deadline.html

Samotnaf
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Nov 5 2011 08:32

Check out this, written by the chief cop in Madison,Wisconsin: http://improvingpolice.wordpress.com/

It not only mentions the policing of Madison, but also Oakland, Dr.Who's The Crowd blog and other stuff. "Cops For Labor" meet "Cops for communism".

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Dec 30 2011 07:52

For those interested, right now they're in the process of collecting signatures to trigger a recall against Walker. They've gotten tons of sigs too and volunteers are pretty much everywhere. A comrade (who I believe posts here) went home for Christmas in WI and said he was asked to sign a recall petition outside a Fleet Farm (a hunting, sportwear, etc etc store).

There's been all sorts of reports of violence against people hawking recall petitions. Volunteers have been spit at, assaulted, threatened, yelled at, etc. Folks with recall signs in their yard have had them ripped down, burned, their property vandalized, etc.

Not very related, but there's a strike going on in Manitowoc that I've been hearing has gotten a lot of support, most likely because of the atmosphere in WI since the movement.

http://www.iamlodge516.org/

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Dec 30 2011 10:52
Samotnaf wrote:
Check out this, written by the chief cop in Madison,Wisconsin: http://improving police.wordpress.com/

So I just clicked on this link (which I've broken--ACAB!111) and the lead article is about how, um, cops should be community organisers and how hierarchy is bad confused

Quote:
FIRST VISION: COLLABORATIVE ORGANIZATIONS

“My vision is for a less-hierarchical and more collaborative police organizational structure that is able to implement the good ideas that rank and file people have concerning how the organization can be improved. Hierarchical organizations are not very good at listening to or implementing the ideas of those who work within it.

SECOND VISION: COMMUNITY ORGANIZERS

“The future of our great democracy rests on how well local police departments in multi-cultural urban areas develop and sustain close, intimate relationship between police officers and those whom they police. This means that police officers of the future will, in effect, have to be effective community organizers.

Emphasis mine.

syndicalist
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Dec 30 2011 15:16
Juan Conatz wrote:
.....

Not very related, but there's a strike going on in Manitowoc that I've been hearing has gotten a lot of support, most likely because of the atmosphere in WI since the movement.

http://www.iamlodge516.org/

Also, not very related but.... Another midwest struggle of some note is the American Crystal workers lockout since August.2011.
http://www.bctgm.org/ACS_news.html
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=367x32915
http://labornotes.org/blogs/2011/08/sugar-workers-bitter-over-lockout
http://www.themilitant.com/2012/7601/760103.html

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Jan 1 2012 23:28

Yeah, someone from that union spoke at a Labor Notes thing in St.Paul back in the fall. Seemed like a really bizarre situation. The owners of the company are the farmers, so in some cases people's own family are the ones locking them out.

But yeah, that's not even in Wisconsin and is actually closer to North Dakota than WI.

S. Artesian
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Jan 2 2012 00:10
Juan Conatz wrote:

There's been all sorts of reports of violence against people hawking recall petitions. Volunteers have been spit at, assaulted, threatened, yelled at, etc. Folks with recall signs in their yard have had them ripped down, burned, their property vandalized, etc.

Not very related, but there's a strike going on in Manitowoc that I've been hearing has gotten a lot of support, most likely because of the atmosphere in WI since the movement.

http://www.iamlodge516.org/

Any meetings being held to establish collective defense?

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Jan 2 2012 07:56
S. Artesian wrote:
Any meetings being held to establish collective defense?

Not sure. I've only been through Wisconsin very briefly since I left in July. I do know people have been arrested, as ripping up recall petitions and stuff like this is pretty against the law. Might be a federal offense, possibly.

There's been a smaller amount of violence from anti-Walker people, too. A bar owner pulled out a gun on 2 patrons for refusing to sign a petition that was going around. At least that's what the news said. Could be bullshit.

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Jan 3 2012 21:03

Small town Wisconsin high school marching band sneaks in Guthrie's "Union Maid" at the Rose Bowl Parade
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/01/03/1051043/-Pulaski-WI-Marching-Band-Sticking-to-the-Union-in-Rose-Bowl-Parade

syndicalist
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Jan 20 2012 22:30
Juan Conatz wrote:
....Not very related, but there's a strike going on in Manitowoc that I've been hearing has gotten a lot of support, most likely because of the atmosphere in WI since the movement.

http://www.iamlodge516.org/

And in the end: http://labornotes.org/blogs/2012/01/wisconsin-crane-strike-crumples

syndicalist
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Jan 31 2012 13:52

Anyone see/read this book yet? For US readers, many of the authors are prolly predictable in their analysis and perspectives.

Wisconsin Uprising -Labor Fights Back edited by Michael D. Yates with a foreword by Robert W. McChesney

http://monthlyreview.org/press/books/pb2808/