Wisconsin protests: updates and discussion

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."

Juan Conatz

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I guess the disruption was organized by Voces de la Frontera, an immigrants rights group whose executive director talked favorably about strike action months ago at a AFL-CIO group founding that some fellow travelers and IWWers interrupted. This is the press release.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

JUNE 2, 2011

COMMUNITY ALLIES HOLD CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE TO DEFEND PUBLIC EDUCATION AND IN-STATE TUITION RIGHTS

MADISON- Today fifty concerned Wisconsinites engaged in an organized, non-violent civil disobedience to halt passage of the state budget, demanding restoration of the cuts to eduction and in-state tuition for immigrant youth.

(Please see the statement that was read out loud by each participant at the bottom of the page)

Joined by hundreds of supporters, a coalition of parents, students, educators, teaching assistants and members of the interfaith community were dragged from a public Joint Finance Committee hearing while reading statements calling for economic and educational justice.

Kicking off the action were four prominent community leaders: Jesus Salas, former UW Regent; Larry Miller, Director on the Milwaukee Public School Board; Al Levie, Racine high school teacher and REA union member; and Christine Neumann-Ortíz, Voces de la Frontera executive director.

The disruption stopped the committee for an extended period of time as police carried off speaker after speaker, who refused to let injustice and austerity become law without resistance.

For three months the JFC has railroaded their vision of a deeply unequal Wisconsin through the budget process.

They have disregarded widespread opposition to their proposed cuts to education, environment, workers, healthcare and other vital public services. Today the Republicans on the committee delayed the hearing for 5 hours, afraid to face the public backlash.

Inspired by the direct action taken by the coalition, an interfaith community rally on the Capitol steps spontaneously marched inside to further disrupt the JFC hearing.

Led by Minister Greg Lewis of St Gabriel's Church of God and Christ, Rev Willie Brisco of MICAH, and Rabbi Renee Bauer of the Interfaith Coalition for Worker Justice, this crowd of 200 packed the hallway, sang, and held a prayer service outside the locked committee room. The spontaneous decision to take up direct action signals Wisconsinites desire to escalate the struggle.

The call has been raised for Wisconsinities to take direct action and civil disobedience to stop the vote on Walker's budget.

It is imperative for us to return to the Capitol to continue to take action against the passage of this destructive budget. The action today is a call to you to join us at the Joint Finance Committee meeting tomorrow and every day that it reconvenes.

and here is what people got up and yelled before being arrested or dragged out

STATEMENT READ BY EACH PARTICIPANT IN TODAY'S ACTION

Senator Darling and Senator Vos:

You are complicit in moving Governor Walker's anti-public education budget forward.

We are here today to vehemently oppose this education budget and the process by which you have rammed this budget forward. Holding four public hearings in remote areas during work and school hours is not democracy.

Slashing funds for public education and removing the ability for undocumented students to pay instate tuition rates is mean spirited and immoral.

We demand that public education dollars be restored and that all students living in our state pay in-state tuition rates.

You are taking from the poor to give to the rich. Your actions are unconscionable. Shame on you. You take food out of the mouths of children by cutting reduced breakfast programs while at the same time transferring public money from public schools through an expanded voucher program for the education of wealthy families.

This budget is a budget of the have nots and the have mores.

You are destroying the American Dream for working class and immigrant children in our state.

You justify your actions claiming there is not enough money. You justify your actions claiming immigrant children are taking limited resources from US citizen children.

These claims are unfounded. You refuse to implement a fair taxation for large corporations and the wealthy that would address the budget gap-that is not even that big. You are willing to deny opportunity to immigrant youth who are struggling to study hard to achieve college admission and pay their own way.

You are violating the norms of a civilized society when you invest more in incarceration than in public education.

You promised job creation, yet your budget forces school districts to give pink slips to teachers, school nurses, educational assistants, teaching assistants, social workers, maintenance workers, food workers, among many others.

You promise job creation yet you undermine our ability to produce an educated, diverse, and talented workforce.

To the people of Wisconsin, join us-it is our duty as citizens to resist the passage and implementation of this unjust budget.

Surtrsflame

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Today's statement by the student group which yesterday was so quick to denounce these protests. I think between the flak that a number of their supporters gave them, and then Jeremy Ryan's (the director of 'Defending Wisconsin' a reformist PAC formed to work on the recalls) harsh treatment of the establishment twits who were so quick to condemn Voces de la Frontera's action, ASO realized that they made a strategic mistake. I think they showed their true colors.

On Thursday afternoon, Voces De La Frontera organized an act of civil disobedience at the Wisconsin State Capitol to bring the Republicans’ attack on education to the forefront of public attention. During Thursday’s Joint Finance Committee meeting, dozens of citizens were removed for peacefully reading statements and voicing their support for public education—an institution which our founders helped create and protect.

During this direct action, members of the Autonomous Solidarity Organization were among those removed from the Joint Finance Committee hearing. Their actions were not officially sanctioned by the ASO. However, some of our members decided to speak up as a way of autonomously acting in solidarity with other citizens who share our struggle. As an organization dedicated to protecting people’s rights and achieving social justice, we stand behind any peaceful effort to ensure that the public becomes aware of our government’s actions when those actions attack our most vulnerable citizens and the future leaders of our great nation. It is reprehensible to deny anyone their right to an education or to construct obstacles that all but ensure that higher education is out of reach for lower and middle-class families.

We encourage those of you who value our state’s education system to take advantage of your first amendment right to peaceably assemble and tell our legislators that education must be protected.

Samotnaf

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

the future leaders of our great nation.

Yeah - didn't SuperBill Clinton arselick his way up from fairly humble beginnings through the State edoocashun system to become one? Grate indeed (and inafterdinnerspeaking).....

Juan Conatz

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

What's hilarious is that the group was formed by students who were occupying the damn capitol building! It's not like a small disruption of a joint finance committee meeting is out of left field compared to that. I think though it has more to do with the fact that it pissed off Democrats. ASO does stray into electoral stuff, and like I said, its an eclectic group. There's some pretty solid people in there, but there's also people I spotted right away as future Democrat operatives. During the short-lived occupation at the university here, some of those people erased the group's name off a chalkboard with all the various organizations that were taking part in the occupation. There's folks that are very paranoid about being associated with any action that is out of the norm or could be controversial.

There's also a general sentiment from liberals that we shouldn't do anything that might mess up the recall efforts.

It's going to be interesting to see what happens in the coming days and weeks with this. While the recall tactic has reached near dominance, there are still a number of active people in the coalition groups who are annoyed at its dominance. Some of these folks were against all the concessions from the start and some of them were pro-general strike. It seems as if the demobilization and the dominance of the recall disorientated them for a while, but now they're regrouping and willing to do stuff outside that. But the atmosphere is different than it was March 12. And people within the movement's willingness to condemn others who step out of line is more prevalent, as we've seen.

The city approved the planned 'Walkerville' tent city. Notable that the group that requested the permit pretty much came out and said they were going to violate the restrictions on the permit.

The JFC meeting last night voted on various changes to police and firefighters benefits and I think approved a two tier system with them too.

Surtrsflame

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Those who are firm members of the Dems were pissed simply as a matter of party line and following because it was condemned on the floor by Jauch and Taylor. There's a lot of people mad because it's negative attention, and this could lose some independents and former Republicans. While on the surface it's all about the recalls, this runs deeper, and is a part of the liberals and progressives being part of the establishment.

From what I've experienced in progressive and liberal groups, people are scared shitless of direct action. They don't understand it. They may understand the motives, but they just can't imagine breaking with the establishment and going against it to make gains. The way they were condemning Voces is very disturbing. People I expected to at least show some sense of solidarity were adamantly against it. I think the aftermath of this shows how weak we truly are.

Juan Conatz

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Some more condemning

Disruption of Joint Finance Committee hurts #wiunion protest movement
http://www.thedailypage.com/daily/article.php?article=33712

Juan Conatz

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Budget bill passed the JFC, now it will be sent to the assembly, then the senate. It cuts spending on public schools and the university system, gives tax breaks to businesses, and provides an increase in capitol security funding. It also introduces a two tier pay system for police and fire fighters.

Pictures of 'Walkerville': http://www.flickr.com/photos/wisaflcio/sets/72157626762209285/

Surtrsflame

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

That Isthmus editorial was was painful to read. Theres a long line of people commenting "cosigned", Mr. Communications director of the ASO is one of them. Of those not simply writing "Cosigned", many are stating that condemning Voces is not a smart maneuver. I think having Ryan come out in favor of Voces' action was helpful, and may have swung a number of the liberals who are closely following the events at the capitol. I think those that watched it on the nightly news, as well as the party line fuckers, are primarily the ones against it.

Juan Conatz

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

One of the leaders of Defending Wisconsin PAC, who also was a delegate at the Democrat convention this weekend I believe, has been the target of other Dems pissed at him for his supposed leading role in the disruption. There;s been some sort of campaign to get him removed from a number of liberal Facebook groups, plus some other stuff I don't know about. It's weird to know about such things at that level.

OliverTwister

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Surtrsflame

Today's statement by the student group which yesterday was so quick to denounce these protests. I think between the flak that a number of their supporters gave them, and then Jeremy Ryan's (the director of 'Defending Wisconsin' a reformist PAC formed to work on the recalls) harsh treatment of the establishment twits who were so quick to condemn Voces de la Frontera's action, ASO realized that they made a strategic mistake. I think they showed their true colors.

On Thursday afternoon, Voces De La Frontera organized an act of civil disobedience at the Wisconsin State Capitol to bring the Republicans’ attack on education to the forefront of public attention. During Thursday’s Joint Finance Committee meeting, dozens of citizens were removed for peacefully reading statements and voicing their support for public education—an institution which our founders helped create and protect.

During this direct action, members of the Autonomous Solidarity Organization were among those removed from the Joint Finance Committee hearing. Their actions were not officially sanctioned by the ASO. However, some of our members decided to speak up as a way of autonomously acting in solidarity with other citizens who share our struggle. As an organization dedicated to protecting people’s rights and achieving social justice, we stand behind any peaceful effort to ensure that the public becomes aware of our government’s actions when those actions attack our most vulnerable citizens and the future leaders of our great nation. It is reprehensible to deny anyone their right to an education or to construct obstacles that all but ensure that higher education is out of reach for lower and middle-class families.

We encourage those of you who value our state’s education system to take advantage of your first amendment right to peaceably assemble and tell our legislators that education must be protected.

What liberal garbage. One of the biggest problems of Walker's education plan is to remove almost all opportunites for non-"citizens".

syndicalist

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

removed by syndicalist

Juan Conatz

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Wisconsin activists create Walkerville to taunt governor, tout change

(CNN) -- Eighty years after Hoovervilles sprung up around the county, and four months after tens of thousands descended on the Wisconsin state capitol, progressives have a new home in what they're calling Walkerville.

The Madison tent city is named in honor -- or, more accurately, in defiance -- of Gov. Scott Walker, who became an icon for conservatives and lightning rod for liberals after he pushed through a controversial new collective bargaining law earlier this year.

David Boetcher, one of Walkerville's coordinators, said the aim is to recapture the spirit of Hoovervilles, the shanty towns that popped up and were named to tweak President Herbert Hoover's perceived inaction in the Great Depression's early years. Since Saturday night's kick-off, about 80 tents have sprung up in and around State Street in Madison, with a handful of people sticking it out throughout but mostly fresh rounds of activists rotating through on a daily basis.

"Just like the original Hoovervilles in the 1930s, we wanted to create that type of atmosphere without being destructive," said Boetcher, a government affairs coordinator for the IBEW union.

Some major differences, of course, are that Walkerville will only be up for two weeks, its participants generally can go home, and it is more of a staged political event. Boetcher noted that, unlike the February protests, this edition is carefully planned with permits, rules, a schedule of speakers and a conscious effort to make a point without disrupting local businesses.

There's a new theme each day: On Sunday, for instance, protests focused on planned $800 million cuts to K-12 education. And one of the most anticipated moments will be Monday, when hundreds of firefighters -- who were exempted from Walker's original collective bargaining law, but could see cuts in its more recent incarnation -- are expected to march in Madison.

It is highly unlikely that organizers, at any point, will match the tens of thousands who, at times, occupied the capitol building in protest this winter. Times have changed, as have public sentiments and strategies. Much of their efforts recently centered around recall petitions aimed at ousting several Republican senators and turning the chamber over to Democrats.

"There was this immediacy and a real intensity at the beginning," recalled Kerry Motoviloff, the head of Madison's teachers' union. "That intensity is still in people's hearts, but now we've entered the next phase for the long term. ... And Walkerville is just another way for us to get the message out."

One major goal, and challenge, with events like Walkerville is to keep up pressure on Walker and other Republican leaders without alienating independents who will eventually decide whether to affirm or reject their decisions, Boetcher said.

"The idea is to balance between a group's right to protest vs. acting in such a manner that people this is too irritating, we don't agree with it," he said. "(The general public) doesn't want to talk about people being arrested. And (demonstrators) know what the rules are this time."

Progressive leaders in Wisconsin insist their message is getting through, including among independents who might have voted for Walker but have since soured on his and Republican tactics in addressing the budget situation.

"There's an incredible amount of frustration," said Steve Hanson, a progressive blogger in northwest Wisconsin. "There is a basic feeling that all these laws are going to be rammed through the legislature, and there's nothing you can do about it."

Yet for all this talk on the left, there's been no change in who controls Madison -- Republicans -- nor any indication that they intend to back down. Whether it has to do with collective bargaining, voting requirements or a host of other matters, the GOP still has the upper hand as it's proven in pushing through a host of measures in the months after the February confrontation.

And Walker, especially, continues to be a darling of the nationwide conservative movement, as does like-minded Wisconsin Republican U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan. In April, Sarah Palin urged others nationwide to follow Madison's example in targeting the benefits and pay of unions, despite intense pressure.

"This is where real courage and real solidarity can be found," the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee said. "You saw these violent rent-a-mobs trash your capital and vandalize businesses. You held your ground. Your governor did the same thing. And you won."

The law that sharply curbs the collective bargaining rights of most state employees remains the biggest, most critical piece in the fight.

Republicans insist that the measure is necessary to control skyrocketing public employee benefit costs and close a $137 million budget shortfall. Democrats argue that it is little more than an attempt to gut public-sector labor unions, one of their core constituencies.

On Monday, Wisconsin's Supreme Court is set to weigh whether or not they will take up the battle over the law, weeks after Wisconsin Judge Maryann Sumi struck it down. State Democratic leaders claim that Republican legislators violated the state's open meetings law by calling a committee meeting to amend Walker's budget bill without providing the necessary public 24-hour advance notice. Democrats say they were given only two hours' notice.

While the court will have their say, Boetcher says the long-term vision is to use events like Walkerville to reach those in the middle and convince them that they're better off voting out Republicans like the governor.

"This isn't about changing the minds of the Republican legislature," said Boetcher, claiming they've turned a "deaf ear" to such protests. "The ear we want to reach is the Wisconsin voter."

Still for all the speeches, events and acrimony on all sides of the debate -- and for all the twists and turns that have marked the past six months -- even diehard political junkies like Hanson say it is nearly impossible to predict how this political saga will unfold.

"I wake up every morning and there are surprises," Hanson said. "So I'm not sure at all, where we'll be six months from now, or one year or two years."

http://www.cnn.com/2011/POLITICS/06/05/wisconsin.walkerville/index.html

x359594

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Surtrsflame

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...

Civil disobedience and occupations are what's been called collective bargaining by other means.

x359594

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

x359594

Surtrsflame

...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...

Civil disobedience and occupations are what's been called collective bargaining by other means.

Chilli Sauce

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

"Progressives", eh....

David in Atlanta

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

From what Juan and another friend on facebook just posted via mobile, they just reoccupied the capitol!

Juan Conatz

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Clusterfuck today. Blockades wilted away, lots of confusion and plans changed with little communication. Protesters and police got into a shoving match at a bank. Some students got left out to hang at a blockade and 2 of them were arrested.

People went back into the capitol. The entrance got open and people ran in and police started slamming people to the ground, including journalists. 6 detained at the capitol. Everyone has been cited and released by now.

Keep in mind this is way more people arrested than any time before.

Don't think anyone is at the capitol anymore

Pix: http://on.fb.me/iCAKcn

Juan Conatz

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Video of two arrests at the capitol
http://youtu.be/Zsdhsi8EswE

Juan Conatz

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Pic of people pushin the doors that the cops were holdin to get in capitol

Five arrested at state Capitol on Monday

Five people were arrested at the state Capitol on Monday as the Supreme Court heard arguments over whether a bill taking away collective bargaining rights legally passed the Legislature.

Capitol Police Chief Charles Tubbs said four people were arrested and cited for disorderly conduct after trying to enter the building without stopping for police clearance through metal detectors.

A fifth person was arrested and cited for trying to prop open a door presumably so others could enter later to avoid police, Tubbs said.

There were no reports of weapons or violence, said Capitol police spokeswoman Lori Getter.

Also on Monday, Madison police cited two people for disorderly conduct following a disturbance inside the foyer of M&I bank, 1 W. Main St. Police said about 30 protesters entered the area between two doors leading into the bank and were told they needed to leave or be arrested. One officer suffered a sprained wrist during a struggle with a demonstrator.

Three demonstrators also were cited for obstructing a roadway after they refused to get out of the street, police said.

Tubbs said 27 people were arrested and cited for disorderly conduct for interrupting Friday’s session of the Joint Finance Committee. All received warnings before their arrests, he said, adding, “They felt they had a passion and they had to do it.”

No problems had been reported in the Supreme Court chamber where legal arguments took place Monday, he said. Passage of the bill at issue had attracted tens of thousands of people to the Capitol in February and March.

About 75 people listened to the arguments, but most were attorneys.

Tubbs said Capitol Police have not had any problems associated with the “Walkerville” protest encampment that began Saturday on city property across from the Capitol.

“People seem to understand our responsibility as law enforcement,” he said.

“What we’re doing is trying to maintain a high degree of security for the Capitol,” Tubbs said, including knowing who’s going in and out and what they’re bringing into the building.

“We are looking into the possibility of opening more doors,” he said, adding, “We have not reached that point.”

Currently, just two of the Capitol’s doors are open.

Tubbs also said the metal detectors installed during the height of the protests might be here to stay.

With temperatures in the 90s expected to continue through Wednesday, Tubbs said, there are concerns that tensions could also heat up. He stressed the importance for people who are out in the heat to have adequate food and fresh water and to limit alcohol consumption.

Tubbs said Capitol Police will be re-evaluating staffing needs with 10 vacancies from recent retirements and officers leaving for other jobs. Currently, 41 out of 51½ full-time positions are filled.

The number of retirements this year is greater than in the past three years, he said, adding that the unrest surrounding Gov. Scott Walker’s efforts to eliminate most collective bargaining rights for most public employees and other budget proposals has likely contributed to some retirements.

http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/govt-and-politics/article_af1275b6-9081-11e0-8525-001cc4c002e0.html

Juan Conatz

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

So, I'm not sure exactly what happened, as everything and everybody was a bit confused, but here goes, based on what I've heard.

There were blockades planned for today at various intersections around the capitol, the aim was to shut down the streets and block traffic in the area around the capitol. Not sure how long this had been planned, but apparently not long enough. Of course, from my experience at the RNC, you don't know exactly what you're getting into with this stuff without doing it or doing a lot of planning with more experienced people

Two mistakes I think were made off the bat: The police and mayor were given the heads up but the plans weren't publicly put out there, which meant a minority of people even knew blockades were planned.

I think also certain union locals and others who committed to doing stuff backed down earlier today. It was also pretty hot, felt like 90-95 degrees. So going around the capitol twice lost some people.

There was action at a bank which is known as supporter of Walker where there was a confrontation and shoving matches between police and protesters. That changed the tone of the police completely towards everyone. Where previously they were going to be lenient with the blockades, they turned against them. At some point, 2 people in the group that planned this seemingly called the blockades off, with no consulting of others and little explanation.

I don't even think all the planned blockades happened, but the one I saw, which consisted of a Steelworker RV and a private car blocking an intersection melted away after a brief conversation with police. This was right about the time the bulk of the crowd showed up. I think at some point the police ordered the street to be cleared and everyone melted away, except a core of mostly students who were wondering why they weren't being backed up. 3 of them got arrested (2 of them were black of course). I think they're pissed at the whole situation.

At some point some plans changed or some of the planner's plans changed and then people were rushing the capitol building. Somehow they got the doors open and people started running inside. Police started slamming people to the ground and arrested 6 people, including 2 journalists and 2 medics. Keep in mind that there were whole weeks here in the past with 100,000 protesters on the weekend and regularly 1,000-20,000 on the weekdays with 0-2 arrests. Today there were probably 2,000-3,000 people at noon on a Monday, so not bad. By the time I got to the capitol, the police got control, and there was a line to get in, with metal detectors and all that. There was maybe 30-40 people in there singing. A left after 20 minutes or so.

Really I think a lot of this comes down to those that planned this have never done anything like this before. I'm not saying the RNC blockades were super succesful (although we did run downtown for like 3 hours) or even the same thing (there were National Guard, rubber bullets, violence, property destruction, mass arrests), but why tell the cops and mayor your plans, but not make them public. Seems like a certain element of using people as canon fodder to me. Also, this means there was not separation of time and space. Doing illegal actions requires a certain amount of preparation. Legal, mental, etc. You can't just say in the middle of permitted, regular march, "Oh, we're doing blockades, wanna join?" There may be some circumstances in which this will work, but I would guess this would be a minority.

Anyway, while I think today was a failure, I think it's more because of inexperience and im curious to see where everything goes from here.

Samotnaf

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I'm not saying the RNC blockades were super succesful (although we did run downtown for like 3 hours) or even the same thing (there were National Guard, rubber bullets, violence, property destruction, mass arrests)

I missed this: when did this happen?

Juan Conatz

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Samotnaf

I'm not saying the RNC blockades were super succesful (although we did run downtown for like 3 hours) or even the same thing (there were National Guard, rubber bullets, violence, property destruction, mass arrests)

I missed this: when did this happen?

2008 in Minnesota

Surtrsflame

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I was able to make it down for today, and it was a major change from the other protests I had been able to go to. The last one of those was late March. The march starting at the firestation was tense even before it started. The first time the march passed the M&I bank there were 3 officers standing by the doors. On the second pass, the fire department appeared to initiate the anti-M&I actions. After a while, there was a scuffle, which I had a hard time seeing. The cops were wearing fluorescent vests which could be seen and were making violent motions. One protester was lying on his back and had clearly been knocked down by a cop, he was yelling at them for their actions but they were busy kicking out the protesters. It seemed to me that the cops initiated, and some of the protestors fought back, ending in a couple arrests. 3 other police ran in from the streets to help out. An officer was overheard when I was entering the capitol stating that the state patrol had arrived a half hour ago, which would correspond to just after the the M&I incident.

Just after I entered the capitol, I saw the journalist being hauled away by the cop, as shown in the video posted above by Juan. There is a point in that video where a guy off camera is saying "don't touch me I'm just standing here" (he may have been the guy taping that upload). What's not seen is that he starts being harassed by a State Patrol. The state patrol let him alone and 'helped' the bald cop get the two journalists in the elevator.

Juan Conatz

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Yeah, I concur, the atmosphere was a lot more angrier and tense, although that might have had to do with the confusion and apprehension though.

I think the supreme court election might have pushed those who were on the fence with the electoral stuff towards direct action. I've kind of dropped out of the wider movement for the most part (lot of personal stuff goin on), so its hard to gauge.

I do see various points of separation emerging though. The problem is that I'm not sure if people are prepared to be called out by the recall folks. I think there's a real possibility of the type of stuff we've seen in the past, most recently with the Oscar Grant stuff, where liberals attempt to marginalize those outside their agreement.

A part of me is in favor of pushing something like the St.Paul Principles:

At an anti-RNC conference held over the weekend of February 9th and 10th, a broad spectrum of groups revealed what are being called the “St. Paul Principles” of unity for resisting the 2008 Republican National Convention (RNC).

Key organizations including the RNC Welcoming Committee and The Coalition to March on the RNC and Stop the War are signed onto the principles which seek to unite and strengthen the partnerships amongst those planning to confront the RNC.

This is a departure from the sectarian squabbles that have plagued past years’ anti-convention organizing. Pitting groups of differing political beliefs against each other has been a frequent tactic of state repression since the days of COINTELPRO.

By drafting the principles together, the co-signing organizations are taking historic steps to actively extinguish divisiveness from their respective groups. The principles will ensure respect for the soon-to-be-permitted march on September 1 by people planning non-permitted activities, and in turn, participants in the September 1 march will adhere to the principles and do nothing to sow division among the many activists coming to the Twin Cities to protest the RNC.

The principles are:

1. Our solidarity will be based on respect for a diversity of tactics and the plans of other groups.

2. The actions and tactics used will be organized to maintain a separation of time or space.

3. Any debates or criticisms will stay internal to the movement, avoiding any public or media denunciations of fellow activists and events.

4. We oppose any state repression of dissent, including surveillance, infiltration, disruption and violence. We agree not to assist law enforcement actions against activists and others.

The RNC Welcoming Committee, The Coalition to March on the RNC and Stop the War, The Anti-war Committee, SDS-U of MN, Communities United Against Police Brutality, The Welfare Rights Committee, and Unconventional Action – Chicago were among the first to sign on to these principles. As other groups sign on to these principles, a unified, effective, and radical front will form.

But this was for a different purpose and event and has problems of its own. I guess I'm just worried that this emerging direct action tendency is too weak to survive condemnations and attempted isolation efforts by the dominant recall faction.

Chilli Sauce

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

So wait, who organized these actions? And who gave the cops/mayor the plans first?

Juan Conatz

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Chilli Sauce

So wait, who organized these actions? And who gave the cops/mayor the plans first?

The group who organized the march, the blockades and the bank action is a coalition group that's been around as long as I've been here. It's a pretty loose group, actually reminds me of most synthesis anarchist groups. Most of the people heavily involved are union local staff or elected position holders, but with a lot of involvement from some nonprofit staff, rank and file union members and nonunion workers who are involved in other groups. It's pretty much one of those groups where people with visibility or 'cred' are listened to and given more talking time, while unknowns, etc have a hard time getting their word in. Whoever shows up to ameeting can vote, etc.

This group gave the cops/mayor the heads up

Juan Conatz

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Why Did Soglin Call in the Cops on Union Protesters?

Yesterday’s march from Madison’s Fire Station 1 to the Walkerville camp and around the Capitol – stopping by the criminal M&I Bank along the way – was an inspiring spectacle, but things should have turned out better.

Among the marchers were dozens of participating vehicles – fire trucks, union cabs, tractors, AFSCME vehicles – that drove around the Capitol Square. The original plan was to use these vehicles to surround the square, blockading it and utilizing it as a space for political protest in the same way it was during the original protests over the collective bargaining law.

The story hasn’t been recounted in any local media outlets that I’ve seen, but this outline of the day’s activities had been approved by Mayor Paul Soglin in discussion with union leaders. The agreement was that the protest vehicles would be allowed to to block off the various entrances to the the Capitol Square, not allowing any other traffic in the area for most of the day. The agreement stipulated that the police would not interfere in this activity.

However, upon entering the square, protesters quickly learned this is not how things were going to play out. Union Cabs were told to leave the square after circling it one time. Other vehicles were ticketed. At the State St entrance, two protesters were arrested.

What happened?

From the various accounts, it’s become clear that Soglin, who was at the march’s starting point at the fire station, reneged on his promises to the unions, directing the Madison police of the change in plans about 30 minutes before the march began. Naturally, he made this call without talking with any of the protest organizers.

I can only conclude that, given the relatively small size of the protest (perhaps a thousand people or so), Soglin decided that the resistance to his reversal wouldn’t be particularly potent, and so his political calculation was to side with “law and order” over those resisting the governor’s agenda. From a purely political standpoint, his decision was probably the right one (in the near-term at least), given the right-wing criticism of Walkerville and increasingly numerous voices opposed to civil disobedience.

I think yesterday’s turn of events serve as a reminder that, for those resisting the Walker agenda, protest (of various sorts) is our only reliable and most powerful tool. It was protest that gave the Democratic senators cover to flee the state; it was protest that exposed the Republican arrogance and forced them into illegally passing the collective bargaining law. Similarly, when our protests aren’t as large and/or confrontational as they should be, we allow our politician “allies” – be they Soglin or Democratic legislators – to betray us.

In short, if our sole instrument for change is the Democratic Party, well, forgive me for not exactly being hopeful about our prospects.

But regardless of what one thinks about this strategy debate, the fact remains that Soglin lied to yesterday’s protesters. I voted for the man, and I certainly applaud many of his actions during his early days as mayor, but this development is hardly encouraging and, frankly, says some discouraging things about his integrity.

http://www.forwardlookout.com/2011/06/why-did-soglin-call-in-the-cops-on-union-protesters/11127

Refused

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Thank you for the updates, Juan Conatz.

Juan Conatz

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The national media has pretty much ignored Wisconsin since March 12-13, even though since then there have still been days where tens of thousands marched. There's nothing close to that amount in Walkerville (probably 50-100) when I was downtown on Monday, so I'm assuming CNN is covering this for the novelty...

http://inthearena.blogs.cnn.com/2011/06/08/walkerville-a-tent-city-grows-in-madison-wisconsin-as-budget-protests-continue/

Juan Conatz

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Defeating Walker and the GOP's agenda will require patient vigilance
http://www.isthmus.com/isthmus/article.php?article=33750

Rock stars, movie stars and the venerable Jesse Jackson stood by our side in solidarity.

Seeing that rotting professional dinosaur, Jesse, was very depressing.

If an election were held today between Walker and Tom Barrett, polls indicate that Walker would likely lose.

I wouldn't be so sure. The Democrats and "left" here pushed Kloppenberg for Supreme Court as a mandate on Scott Walker. Part of the start of demobilization was shoving everyone and all the unions into campaigning for her. She lost by tens of thousands of votes.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald has admitted as much. What we've seen in Wisconsin is part of a national strategy to defund the left and take down Obama in 2012. Both sides know that. It's politics, not economics, stupid.

This is part of the whole thing, but austerity would, will and is being pushed by the Democrats elsewhere and people either don't know this or just ignore it.

Sometime later this month, the budget repair bill will likely be attached to the budget proper, subject to an up or down vote. Ending collective bargaining is not a fiscal matter, as the governor admitted, but that will not stop the GOP-controlled Legislature from sticking it into the budget bill and ramming it through.

This is a very wide spread fear here.

Some are beginning to talk again of a general strike.

Interesting, I haven't noticed this.

There are random, irresponsible calls for violence, the cathartic expression of which would play beautifully into Walker's hands.

This is bullshit. I wonder what this person is talking about?

Even nonviolent direct action, if poorly conceived, could cost votes in a closely contested recall election.

Right here, boiled down, is the nonsense that is going on here. The recall people want everything to be done with the "middle", the moderate" and the "center" in mind.

The same resolve that kept the protests peaceful in the early days is just as necessary now, perhaps more so.

This was not resolve, this was self-policing initiated and encouraged by the AFL-CIO and Democratic police.

Samotnaf

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Strange to post this without any critical comment - or do you feel the critiques are too obvious?

Juan Conatz

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

What do you think?

Anyway, I edited the post with comments.

Also...

State emergency team monitoring protest-related communication and action

Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you. Dane101 has learned through a direct, anonymous source that a state emergency response team has been operating out of the GEF-2 (101 S. Webster St.) building downtown specifically to monitor protest related activity on social media sites and elsewhere.

The team is allegedly coordinating with law enforcement to identify and shut down any major direct actions planned by protesters at the capitol, by watching things like the #wiunion hashtag on Twitter and related Facebook groups, etc.

The team is apparently preparing for more major actions next week, which they believe will be big as the state budget goes to the floors of the Senate and Assembly for final votes.

An important question that arises from this revelation is whether or not the information being looked for by the team is then being collected (i.e. spying) in a more central database.

Early last year documents uncovered by the Electronic Frontier Foundation through aa open records request from the Federal Government revealed that the Department of Homeland Security had "conducted a threat assessment of local pro- and anti-abortion activists" including Planned Parenthood in Wisconsin. According to the ACLU Madison:

“Without probable cause that a crime is being committed or is about to be committed, police or the federal government don't have the right to snoop on activists,” says Stacy Harbaugh, the community advocate of the Madison-area office of the ACLU of Wisconsin. “Having the feds investigate organizations on both sides of the abortion debate doesn't make us all safer: it simply victimizes more individuals' freedom and privacy rights.”

The Electronic Frontier Foundation’s lawsuit against the Defense Department has uncovered “hundreds of reports of possibly illegal intelligence activities,” the group says.

Further examples of this activity are listed in the link above. There is currently no evidence to connect the emergency response team's social media suveillance with these programs, but little information yet exists on what all they are doing.

More information on this as it becomes available.

http://www.dane101.com/current/2011/06/09/state_emergency_team_monitoring_protestrelated_communication_and_action

Juan Conatz

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Helping the cause?Assessing the impact of Walkerville

On a grassy hill spilling from the state Capitol down toward Carroll Street, two dozen protesters — a mother and her eighth-grade daughter among them — sat around a lantern for a nightly "town council" meeting led by a large, bearded man in a "Vets for Peace" T-shirt.

A younger man with a spiked mohawk walked by on the sidewalk holding a "Free Solidarity Hugs" sign. Across the street, a UW-Madison graduate student sat beside a four-person tent brushing his teeth while reading Hunter S. Thompson by headlamp.

Welcome to bedtime in Walkerville.

"It's been quite the circus around here," said Ken Weaver, a state engineering technician and treasurer of AFSCME Council 24.

The dozens of tents and hundreds of campers assembled to protest Gov. Scott Walker's budget proposal and plan to curtail public sector collective bargaining so far are a shadow of the thousands of protesters who converged on the Capitol earlier this year.

And while Walkerville has attracted union leaders, nurses and teachers — many of the same people who loudly but peacefully called the Capitol's marble hallways home four months ago — it also has attracted protesters whose more aggressive tactics stand out.

In the past week, students dressed as zombies interrupted a Special Olympics ceremony featuring Walker before occupying the office of Rep. Robin Vos, R-Rochester, a move that prompted their arrests. Police say others tried to bypass police checkpoints in the Capitol and were arrested. Still others disrupted a speech by Walker on the UW-Madison campus. Previously, protesters interrupted the work of the Legislature's budget committee.

Of the 59 Capitol arrests since protests started in February, 17 came in the last week, according to the state Department of Administration. Many were against repeat offenders: four protesters have racked up almost a third of the total Capitol arrests since February.

Also called 'Entitledtown'

Walkerville, now in its second week, and the events surrounding it inspired sneers from conservatives — some call it "Entitledtown" — and shrugs from Republican leaders.

"Gov. Walker and legislative leaders are going to continue to enact pro-jobs and budget-balancing legislation no matter who decides to sleep on the Capitol lawn or dress up as zombies," said Cullen Werwie, spokesman for Walker.

Even some Democrats have been dismayed.

"Sadly, there have been recent instances in the Capitol where enthusiasm to express a difference of opinion has crossed the line and endangered the safety of those working in the Capitol," said Sen. Tim Carpenter, D-Milwaukee. His colleague, Sen. Robert Jauch, D-Poplar, expressed similar misgivings when protesters shouted down lawmakers during a Joint Finance Committee hearing.

Jauch said many people in Walkerville came up and apologized for the behavior when he took a walk through the tents this week.

"People do feel pride in what they're doing and want it to be seen in a positive light," he said.

Walkerville has inspired those living there, who call the late-night talks and daily entertainment rejuvenating after a winter and spring when, some admitted, they were feeling "outrage fatigue."

It has drawn willing acceptance from some Downtown businesses and anger from others, including John Taylor, owner of a North Carroll Street antiques gallery.

A stuffed, full-size lion in the storefront window next door — already a conversation starter — competes with another unusual sight: tents pitched just feet away, in the shadow of the Capitol. The tents come down by dawn most days, as required by city permit.

Organizers say they expect the tent city to be up through June 20, while lawmakers debate the state budget bill. State officials expect big protests this week, but it's unclear if they'll materialize.

Mary Bell, president of the Wisconsin Education Association Council, said she would not rule out large teacher protests at the Capitol in the coming days, as teachers and students start summer break.

"People are very concerned," she said.

'Disappointed by turnout'

While protests and arrests occurred outside the tent city, Walkerville has remained peaceful, save for reports of a Downtown condo owner raining poorly aimed eggs down on the village and drunks shaking tents.

In many ways, it is an outdoor version of what was happening inside the Capitol in February and March: solidarity singalongs, communal meals, teach-ins, drum circles, impromptu chants and privacy-light group sleepovers. It also serves as a base camp for organizing and planning protests.

Tents have numbered in the range of 40 to 60 nightly, with perhaps 100 to 200 campers.

"I was disappointed by the turnout, honestly," said Brent Nelson, a concrete contractor from Onalaska who along with his girlfriend camped on a patch of grass on Mifflin Street. "Gov. Walker is probably up there laughing, thinking, 'If a hundred thousand people didn't stop me, you think a couple hundred will?'"

Organizers say that's not the point, that they never expected the hordes that converged on the Capitol in February and March and put Madison in the national spotlight.

Capitol protests nothing new

Others have used overnight stays Downtown as a staging ground for Capitol protests: to protest the Vietnam War in the late 1960s, high Milwaukee unemployment in 1976, state labor negotiations in 1977, nuclear power in 1979 and state investment in apartheid South Africa in 1985 and 1986, according to State Journal archives.

But this campout and a much smaller Walkerville that preceded it in March are believed to be the first to occur on the sidewalks across from the Capitol. Tents and campers in are direct contact with the usual Downtown denizens: by day, people in suits, vendors, runners and rollerbladers; by night, bachelorettes and their entourages, State Street drunks, homeless people and random visitors.

Some tents are packed up in the morning and set up again in the evening, although permanent clusters remain throughout the day on Mifflin Street, their bright rounded shells resembling sails.

A delegation of civic and business leaders from 17 African nations happened to be staying at a Downtown hotel for the first couple of days, and they were amazed by what they saw.

"They don't throw stones or burn tires," said Saar Mamadou, who works in environmental development in Senegal. "It looks like artistic expression in the way of fighting for their rights. That is very interesting."

As with the overnight occupation of the Capitol in February, the Teaching Assistants Association has a strong presence at the campout, as have other large public employee unions including AFSCME, WEAC and Service Employees International Union. Other campers have no union ties.

Jeremiah Donohue, a graduate student at UW-Madison originally from Fond du Lac, shared a Carroll Street tent with friends Luke Bassuener, a Madison elementary school teacher, and Audre Krull, a self-employed photographer.

Donohue doesn't belong to a union, nor does anyone in his family.

"It's just a matter of right and wrong to me," he said.
http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/govt-and-politics/article_d0dc8e22-94f3-11e0-bb2a-001cc4c002e0.html

Juan Conatz

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

From Madison lawyer on Facebook

The Assembly Organization Committee has placed the state budget into an "Extraordinary Session" scheduled to begin 11 a.m. Tuesday June 14th.

Extraordinary Sessions are very rare and seldom used for the Budget. In an Extraordinary Session action can not be postponed, points of order are decided within one hour, the daily calendar is ef...fective immediately upon posting and does not have to be distributed, motion to advance legislation and message it to the other house only required a majority vote of those present, the session can be expanded to include any other legislation, including new legislation (financial martial law?) and "No notice of hearing before a committee shall be required other than posting on the legislative bulletin board, and no bulletin of committee hearing shall be published.

In other words the Republicans can do anything they want to and do it very quickly with the only notice being a piece of paper on the bulletin board outside the chamber. Next they will decide that for the good of the public they will close the sessions.

Juan Conatz

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Looks like they're adding the collective bargaining amendment in right now. Forgone conclusion that it will pass. There's a rally at 530pm.

Juan Conatz

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Supreme court clear way for collective bargaining law to take effect
http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/govt-and-politics/article_a97180be-96d2-11e0-a26f-001cc4c03286.html

i'm down at the capitol right now, there's some thousands here with all the regular speechmakers

Juan Conatz

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I was down at the capitol earlier. Maybe 7,000-10,000 people. We got rid of a bunch of general strike posters and stickers. Probably the most I've seen the posters out in a while.

It was the regular union bureaucrats, politicians and PAC staff giving their bullshit speeches. People come up, stand around, then leave. Same old, same old.

A circle was formed around the capitol with "Hey hey, ho ho, Scott Walker has got to go" chants and "We Shall Overcome" was sung.

I left a little while after that. Assembly comes back tonight to discuss the budget more. Not sure what will happen now. I imagine a slow death of demobilization and some court challenges. I've heard talk of challenging the law on first amendment grounds. That seems pretty desperate and weak, though.

what ever

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

It seems like it could only get weaker.

If there was a way to connect those who have been frustrated by this and want to act differently, but are constrained and humiliated to have the official way of doing things loom over them, how would that happen? How do people who are not satisfied by this meet each other and change/redefine the narrative?

Juan Conatz

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Something I emailed to folks

So the GOP is trying to throw in a bunch of stuff in the budget bill, which is in the assembly right now and will hit the senate later this week. They're in a 'Extraordinary Session' or something with similar terminology, which means the Democrats can't draw it out with amendments and speeches. Not that it would matter, everything would eventually pass because GOP has got the majority in both houses.

Supreme Court in a 4-3 vote struck down a lower judges blocking of the collective bargaining law yesterday. It was probably going to be added by the GOP regardless of what the Supreme Court did, but this is probably the worst way it could have happened. People are going to think 'Well, we did what we could and it went through the legal stuff..."

There's probably going to be a bunch of lawsuits once the law goes into effect. One of the angles I believe the public sector unions are going to challenge it on is first amendment grounds and that this is a de facto banning of public sector unions. I think that's a pretty weak argument and more a sign of desperation than anything.

Yesterday there was a rally. Cops said 2-3K, but I think it was more like 7-10K. That's another thing. Before, the police estimate usually matched or exceeded the protest groups estimate and always exceeded the media's. Now it's below them.

Anyway, at the march, there was the usual bureaucrat and politician pieces of shit giving their talks for the upcoming recall elections. There will probably be more rallies in the coming weeks, but in my opinion, this is the nail in the coffin for anything outside the electoral system. There might be other groups doing "direct action", but it will be in the role of activism, outside the spheres of workplace or community life. And it will be a small minority that gets castigated by the recall faction until they stop.

Our best bet is to keep an eye on the public sector workers and help where we can. This law may require the type of unionism that the IWW always talks about and unions used to do before the major labor laws. For instance, at least 1 of the major public sector unions has no plans to go along with the law's yearly recertification thing, so they're going to decertify and try and get people to voluntarily pay dues, which will either be a flat $40 a month or 1 hour of wages from each paycheck (I've heard both). If it's the latter, that would mean some people's dues would rise drastically. Ironically, the biggest "organizing" drive this union has done in decades (maybe ever?) is trying to prepare people to pay dues voluntarily. Also, once this law goes into effect, everything outside of basic wages is off the table for bargaining. Which means, people are going to have to figure out other ways to address benefits and working conditions.

Juan Conatz

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

what ever

It seems like it could only get weaker.

If there was a way to connect those who have been frustrated by this and want to act differently, but are constrained and humiliated to have the official way of doing things loom over them, how would that happen? How do people who are not satisfied by this meet each other and change/redefine the narrative?

That's the million dollar question, isn't it? :confused:

Well elements of the labor left, which I'll define as the following (taken from the pamphlet me and OliverTwister are writing, hope you don't mind, bruh!)

By ‘labor-left’ we mean that group which tends to coalesce around established union structures and is composed of an assortment of rank-and-file workers, low-level officers, and the occasional staff member, with members of leftist, generally Trotskyist, groups sprinkled in at all levels. This group can be seen as a spectrum, with one end that represents a real opposition to the class-collaborationist policies of the union leadership while the other represents a mere pseudo-opposition, acting as what one IWW member who was expelled from the Carpenters for leading a wildcat strike calls “the left cover for the union bureaucracy”. What unites this group is that they seek to improve or capture the existing unions as they are and very rarely focus on workers’ self-activity, nor the structural issues that have built a chasm between the business unions and workers’ self-activity.

Anyway, elements of the labor left, specifically the independent ones probably need to coalesce around something. Some of them did around the general strike when that was being pushed within the unions, but the strategy was fragmented and I don't think they knew how to go about it. Some of them when they realized what it was going to take, become frightened, as well. The prospect of going to jail is not something everyone can easily digest.1

Possibly starting industrial networks or public sector networks grouped around something like commitments to:

1)Organize within our workplaces and communities, instead of primarily outside them in activist activity that merely lobbies bosses or politicians through protests.
2)Direct action instead of electoral solutions, which includes the recall
3)Opposition to all austerity measures.

It's not something I've really developed or thought about heavily, but it could be a start. While, it's necessary that the movement expands, and that this whole situation isn't just about collective bargaining...if the public sector workers don't move, no one is.

For anarchists or the libertarian left or whatever you want to call it, material against the recall and for the things listed should be done more as well. In Madison, maybe it's just how this town is, but there has been really no anarchist presence at anything most of the time I've been here. It seems anarchists that are here are in the IWW, just participate in the other groups uncritically, not involved in any group or are abstaining. Really the only exceptions where the lackluster 'mobile infoshop' at the capitol occupation and the general strike posters from burnt bookmobile. It's weird, actually.

I don't know, what do you think?

  • 1Which is ironic, when you think about it. American society is a violent one. Violence is glorified here, but protesting and organizing is one of the only realms where pacifism and nonviolence is a near principle.

    Best friend fuck your girlfriend? Kick his ass.
    Bullied at school? Kill everyone.
    Someone disrespects you at the club? Fucking shoot them.
    No money? Rob a gas station.
    Government tries to slash funds for programs you need to live on and restricts your rights on the job? Calmly ask them not to.

Juan Conatz

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Looks like what I heard was right

Worker groups file suit to block collective bargaining law

A coalition of Wisconsin worker rights groups is going to court to block Gov. Scott Walker's budget repair bill.

The groups are filing a federal lawsuit against the governor's plan to strip most public workers of their collective bargaining rights.

The groups are challenging the bill's constitutionality. The lawsuit contends the bill violates the First and 14th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution by stripping away workers' rights to organize and bargain.

Organizations filing the challenge include councils of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO, the American Federation of Teachers, the Wisconsin Education Association Council, the Wisconsin State Employees Union and the Service Employees International Union-Health Care Wisconsin.

Walker contends the law is needed to help address the state's $3.6 billion budget shortfall.

http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/govt-and-politics/article_e0810a92-9782-11e0-a27f-001cc4c002e0.html

Chilli Sauce

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Thanks for the updates Juan.

Looking forward to that piece by you and Twister. If you want editing or feedback prior to publication, you know my email 8-)

Juan Conatz

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Before the budget bill passed, 2 people bikelocked their heads to an area in the senate. And 6 people got arrested blocking the doors to the senate. Today, some Teabaggers took a swing at protestor singers inside the capitol.

I'm moving from Madison in a couple days, so probably won't be many more updates. :eek:

Steven.

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Well they have been invaluable so far, so thank you! Before you leave you should try to bully another local into replacing you!

Where are you moving to?

Juan Conatz

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

There's at least 4 people who have posted in this thread that are from Madison, so if they see this and have the time, I'd recommend they take over if they want.

I'm moving to the Twin Cities as I've run out of places to stay in Madison and having trouble finding a job in this college town.

Chilli Sauce

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Juan in the TC?!! The city will be under workers control in month, no doubt.

Juan Conatz

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Looks like I'm gonna be interviewed on California radio station KPFK tomorrow at 7pm Pacific time about Wisconsin and anarchism and such. I believe it's for the LA Anarchist Bookfair or ties into it.

Also, lol @ Chilli

Juan Conatz

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Haven't been keeping track of what's happening as much because I'm not there but on the recall front, there were 6 Democratic primaries recently. The GOP fielded 'fake' Democratic candidates in each one, but they were all defeated by the 'real' Democrats. The first actual recall election, on a Democratic state senator, failed and he kept his seat.

Also, a Voter ID bill was passed a couple months back requiring state issued ID to vote, and now supposedly Walker is closing 10 DMV offices in Democratic districts while extending the hours for DMV's in Republican districts.

Samotnaf

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

How did they 'fake' the Democrat candidates? And what's "DMV"? ( I suppose it's some voting registration office...). Is this form of crude manipulation of bourgeois democracy common in the States?

petey

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Juan Conatz

Also, a Voter ID bill was passed a couple months back requiring state issued ID to vote, and now supposedly Walker is closing 10 DMV offices in Democratic districts while extending the hours for DMV's in Republican districts.

he's trying, but it doesn't take effect until january? the recall elections are this november, i'm assuming.

http://www.htrnews.com/article/20110725/MAN0101/307260018/DMV-Office-closure-decisions-around-state-aren-t-final

ludd

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

DMV is Department of Motor Vehicles. If you want to get a drivers license or a photo ID card, you need to go to DMV. Depending on how crowded the place gets there is some waiting involved (worst case I know of is my friend in California once had to wait for 4 hours) and usually there is a fee.

As far as I know, this kind of manipulation has not been widely employed after the civil rights movements, but it's becoming far more common and Wisconsin is definitely the vanguard here. Other US posters might know more about recent election manipulation. There are other ways they do it too. For example, sometimes a politician's campaign office will call Latino voters to scare them about immigration status on the voting day. There is some evidence about use and manipulation of electronic voting machines that happen to be easy to cheat (one manufacturer of them claimed his goals was to "deliver votes to George Bush" although he of course meant this would be the effect of his campaign donations - not the machines). All of this is mostly done by the Republican Party. This gives a lot of fuel for the democratic party supporters to feel righteous and so it is just another thing that seems to drive almost all common political discussion towards the topic of two parties and their differences.

Juan Conatz

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

[quote=petey]Juan Conatz

he's trying, but it doesn't take effect until january? the recall elections are this november, i'm assuming.

http://www.htrnews.com/article/20110725/MAN0101/307260018/DMV-Office-closure-decisions-around-state-aren-t-final

The recall elections are all within the next month I believe, but January is when the recall process against Walker can begin. Plus there's the 2012 elections, as well.

redsdisease

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Samotnaf

How did they 'fake' the Democrat candidates? And what's "DMV"? ( I suppose it's some voting registration office...). Is this form of crude manipulation of bourgeois democracy common in the States?

US political parties are way less formal than in a lot of other countries. Politicians don't have to be nominated or okayed by the parties in order to run for office in their name. So, theoretically (and I guess now, practically) Republicans can run as Democrats simply by declaring so. Usually there'd be no point to doing this, since everybody would probably know anyways. However, apparently by running a second democrat, they can force a primary election to choose which democrat can run in the real recall election (at least that's what I can gather, it's possible that I misunderstood). I guess it's mainly a move to buy a little more time.

petey

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Juan Conatz

January is when the recall process against Walker can begin.

ahhh, didn't know that.

Surtrsflame

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Even though parties have limited control over who can run, it was illegal to run fraudulently for a different party in Wisconsin. This law was quietly changed in April. Anybody who wants to run for a party runs in a party election to decide he candidate, which in many states is limited to party members, but is a state controlled election. Wisconsin however has open primaries, so people can vote for the other party candidates. This was the goal of the fake dems. However, such forms of voting is done in many major elections with the hope of getting the weaker candidate on the main ballot.

Juan Conatz

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

6 recall elections today. 2 of them of have been called and the GOP has won both of them.
http://www.channel3000.com/politics/28818377/detail.html
http://www.channel3000.com/politics/28818270/detail.html

Surtrsflame

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

2 seats flipped, with a 3rd being contested. Looks like it was won by the GOP under questionable circumstances. The same woman that pulled shenanigans in the Supreme Court election was involved and is being accused of possibly pulling shenanigans in this election too.

Juan Conatz

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Recall failed. GOP maintains control of WI state senate. 2 recall elections on Democrats next week. So there's a possibility that the composition of the senate could end up completely unchanged after all this.

Surtrsflame

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

For what it's worth, these were seats that went GOP in the democrat wave of 2008. This still shows that there has been a distinct shift to the left for the voter. Whether this means anything tangible for a possibility of an anarchist movement at some point in the States or not only time can tell.

Juan Conatz

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Just got this email.

Dear [my name],

Once again, the fate of our state, at a center of the global storm, has been dictated not by the voters of Wisconsin, but by election tampering in Waukesha County and elsewhere.

We don't know what tomorrow will bring. But we are getting ready for it. Please be ready to mobilize on Wednesday, August 10th. We will let you know what we know, and what action is being taken, when we know it.
.
The Wisconsin Wave

and

Dem spokesman accuses GOP of dirty tricks in Waukesha vote count
e-mail print By Larry Sandler of the Journal Sentinel
Updated: Aug. 9, 2011 11:25 p.m. |(144) COMMENTS

A state Democratic Party spokesman accused a Republican official Tuesday night of tampering with votes in the tight 8th Senate District recall race.

With 10 of 11 Waukesha County wards still out -- including all of those in Menomonee Falls -- party spokesman Graeme Zielinski said, "We believe the election in this contest has been tampered with by Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus.

"She’s sitting on votes. We believe that right now, there are severe irregularities in Waukesha County once again. We believe the very fate of the Wisconsin Senate hangs in the balance and is in the hands of a woman who has already shown extreme incompetence.”

“We believe there’s dirty tricks afoot.”

Democrats are demanding an investigation or at least an explanation, Zielinski said, and he added the party’s legal team is looking into it.

Shortly after Zielinski made that statement, results came in from nine Menomonee Falls wards, swinging the lead to incumbent Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills).

Nickolaus came under scrutiny in the state Supreme Court race, when she reported a vote total that omitted the entire city of Brookfield.

http://www.jsonline.com/blogs/news/127434893.html

Juan Conatz

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Juan Conatz

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The recall against the 2 democrats failed.

Juan Conatz

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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

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

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

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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.

Juan Conatz

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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.

Juan Conatz

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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.

klas batalo

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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

Surtrsflame

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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

Chilli Sauce

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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.

Chilli Sauce

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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

syndicalist

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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.

Tojiah

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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:

[*]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

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Chilli Sauce

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

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

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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.

klas batalo

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

radicalgraffiti

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.

Juan Conatz

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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

10 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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".

Juan Conatz

10 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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/

Chilli Sauce

10 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Samotnaf

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:

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

10 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Juan Conatz

.....

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

Juan Conatz

10 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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

10 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Juan Conatz

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?

Juan Conatz

10 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

S. Artesian

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.

Juan Conatz

10 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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

10 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Juan Conatz

....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

10 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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/

Juan Conatz

10 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

There's a 'zine' put out about the capitol occupation, now available online. Haven't read it yet.
http://occupationzine.org/download/

Juan Conatz

10 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Pretty much gotta read it to believe it...

Randy Hopper Found Not Guilty Of DUI Charge, After Union-Conspiracy Defense
http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/03/randy_hopper_found_not_guilty_of_dui_charge_after.php?m=1

In other news, there's a number of different candidates that have announced or are suspected of announcing soon their candancy for governer in the recall election against Walker. One of them, seemingly the most popular, is one of the Democrats who fled to Illinois. Russ Feingold, a former Congressman who was also one of the most left in Congress for a while, was a favorite, but he has continuously declined.

OliverTwister

10 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

That Randy Hopper thing is pretty amazing to read.

Is his wife the one who met a crowd outside their house by saying that he was with his girlfriend and that she'd sign the recall petition?

boozemonarchy

10 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Melowski did admit at trial that Hopper drank as many as three and a half beers at a Green Bay Packers game on October 16, 2011, before driving home to Fond du Lac with his girlfriend, Valerie Cass.

Remarkable, this guy has amazing shit-head credentials.
-Anti union legislation
-Drunk Driver
-gets away with it via conspiracy theory
and perhaps worse of all. . .
he is that guy leaving half-empties laying aorund

Juan Conatz

10 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

OliverTwister

That Randy Hopper thing is pretty amazing to read.

Is his wife the one who met a crowd outside their house by saying that he was with his girlfriend and that she'd sign the recall petition?

Hahaha, I forgot about that, not sure.

Surtrsflame

10 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Yup, that'd be him - it earned him the nickname BedHopper. His girlfriend (in the car with him when he got the DUI) also got a nice spoils position in the Walker administration with something like double the salary of the positions previous occupant.

Juan Conatz

10 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The following is from a pamphlet recently put out by Socialist Alternative. I haven't read it all, but zeroed in on what seemed relevent to my experience. Here's some excerpts.

Politically a disagree with SA quite a bit, but they were one of the first groups to call for a general strike and put out a lot of material for that. They also had a grouping in the TAA union that attempted to organize for strike action but got outmaneuvered by pro-recall people.

The International Socialist Organization

The group in the best position to have an impact on the struggle was the International Socialist Organization (ISO). The ISO was the largest revolutionary socialist organization in the United States and Madison was one of its flagship branches. In addition to a sizeable student presence, the ISO had active members in AFSCME locals 60 and 171 and a good concentration of members in the TAA.

The ISO also had an extensive journalism apparatus, including the newspaper Socialist Worker, the journal International Socialist Review, and the website SocialistWorker.org. Throughout the protests, the ISO engaged in extensive reporting. While the mainstream media, run by big business, generally attacked or ignored the protests, the ISO's coverage of events proved useful for activists across the country eager to find the truth about what was going on.

On the ground, the ISO played an important role in the occupation of the Capitol, challenging the positions of the union leaders and the Democratic politicians. Their members, along with the NNU, were among the most energetic and effective at popularizing the "No Cuts, No Concessions" demand. They also helped set up the Kill the Whole Bill Coalition to challenge the concessionary positions of the union leaders. It is to their merit that they took a lead in organizing a section of the most left-wing part of the anti-Walker movement. Their main energies went into building support for the movement around this coalition. The coalition has changed its name and survives today as Wisconsin Resists.

The ISO showed their commitment to building the movement on the ground. However, the role of socialists is not only to build the movement but to point a way forward and raise what strategy, tactics, and policies are needed for the movement to be successful. When it came to providing a strategy for the movement beyond the Capitol occupation, they were found wanting. This becomes clear when one looks at their position on the general strike.

Throughout the crucial period of the struggle, a review of the articles and flyers of the ISO finds no call or support for a general strike.

The following is the most concrete proposal the ISO put forward for the movement:

The challenge now is for public-sector union members in Wisconsin to show their unity and power in the workplace. This can be done in a number of ways - from wearing union T-shirts and buttons, holding meetings during breaks and lunch periods, and organizing informational pickets before work.

If there are to be further job actions - or more decisive measures - they will be all the more effective if union members take the organization and initiative they have shown in Madison back to their cities and towns around the state. That's the only kind of pressure that politicians like Walker will ever understand.

At the same time, rank-and-file members should tell union officials that workers won't accept any concessions - at meetings, through petitions and leaflets, and with signs and banners on protests. After the greatest show of union strength and solidarity in decades, it would be a crime to waste it on a deal that lets workers' pay be cut ("Time to show our power," SocialistWorker.org, 2/24/2011).

While no one can argue against such proposals, they fail to touch on the crucial issue - the need for strike action, especially a one-day public sector general strike as a first step. Their first real discussion of the general strike only came in their theoretical magazine in the aftermath of the events:

The idea of a general strike, usually discussed by labor history professors and socialists, was discussed from day one of the struggle. The difficulty was that the low level of politics and organization in the unions prior to the movement made it difficult for militants who favored such a strategy even to find one another, let alone organize themselves to challenge the strategy of union leaders ("The lessons of Wisconsin's labor revolt," International Socialist Review, Issue 77, May-June 2011).

This paragraph shows the flaw of the ISO's approach to this struggle. Socialists cannot limit themselves to the prevailing mood, demands, or consciousness in the movement. Instead, while taking into account the current level of consciousness, it is necessary to honestly point toward the measures that are needed to win. The issue was that a general strike was necessary and, as Socialist Alternative argued, the best way to build such a movement was through a 24-hour public sector general strike.

Furthermore, as the ISO itself acknowledges in the above quote, "The idea of a general strike ... was discussed from day one of the struggle." In fact, there was a raging debate on the issue throughout the Wisconsin labor movement. Socialists have a duty to engage in this debate and weigh in with what we think. Clearly, the tasks of socialists under the conditions that existed in Wisconsin during the struggle in February and March was to link up with the big layer of workers and activists who supported a general strike and help push it forward.

The claim that general strike supporters couldn't find each other is astonishing considering the SCFL motion, the vast support for a general strike at the protests, and the large number of ISO members with "General Strike" buttons made by the IWW. Socialist Alternative members gave out 15,000 flyers agitating for general strike action and found broad support for such a demand. Our tables were approached with throngs attracted by the idea, many making firm declarations of support for it, some in fact boggled at the fact one hadn't been called already.

At the same time, it is true that Wisconsin demonstrated the lack of a strong activist layer in the unions or among working people more generally, which was why the strong mood for strike action was not able to be translated into an organized struggle to force the union leaders to take action. Socialist Alternative fully recognized this. But it would be completely wrong to conclude from this that we shouldn't educate and agitate for the ideas that would be needed to win. We explained that it was not enough to just support strike action but that an organized struggle inside the unions was needed.

In Wisconsin, there was mass action right at the start. The public sector unions were already engaged in coordinated action, trying to get people to the Capitol. There were already mass student walkouts, which inspired a wave of sick-outs by teachers who went above the heads of the union leaders in a de-facto strike. The idea of a general strike was widely being debated. The SCFL passed a motion calling for one, as did the president of the Madison Firefighters union. The capitalist media in Wisconsin was even reporting that a general strike was being threatened.

Beyond that, all of the public sector workers in the state were under attack, except police and firefighters. The TAA went on strike for much less in 2004. This time, public sector workers in general were under attack, so it was only natural that there should be a public sector general strike.

The ISO was absolutely correct to highlight the "No Cuts! No Concessions!" demand, as did Socialist Alternative. However, even maintaining collective bargaining rights would require at least a one-day public sector general strike, and guaranteeing a reversal of all cuts would require much more than that. The ISO rightly attacked the leaders of AFSCME, WEAC, and MTI for accepting concessionary contracts. So why shouldn't socialists also criticize the union leaders for opposing and campaigning against strike action?

Unfortunately, the ISO was not a force that pushed forward the need for a general strike. Subsequently, they failed to be a lever that could challenge the union leadership on this essential issue.

The Industrial Workers of the World

The other major force on the left was the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). While the ISO failed to take up the general strike call, the IWW made it their central slogan.

The roots of the IWW go back to 1905, when it became an organizing core of powerful left union activists, including the mass Western Federation of Labor. Quite quickly, it adopted an anarcho-syndicalist strategy, which was based on calling for a powerful upsurge of struggles of workers and organizing them into revolutionary unions, separate from the larger AFL-affiliated unions. However, the IWW was effectively smashed as a mass force by the Palmer raids as part of the vicious government crackdown on radicals during World War I. After that, most serious union radicals, including many leading IWW members, joined with the Communist Party and later the new, mass Committee for Industrial Organization industrial unions in the 1930s. Newer activists have looked to keep the IWW alive until this day. While they are much smaller now, they have campaigned to organize in workplaces that bigger unions won't touch, such as Starbucks and Jimmy Johns.

The IWW were the biggest popularizers of the general strike demand. They produced an iconic poster depicting a cat beneath the phrase "General Strike," which could be seen throughout the protests. The use of the cat in the poster was a reference to a wildcat strike, which is where a group of radicals organize a strike by moving around the official structures of the union.

They wrote a pamphlet putting forward steps to organize the general strike. On March 12, they held a public meeting, with 150 in attendance, about building for a general strike. The fact that this meeting was larger than any of the ISO's public meetings during the protests contradicts the ISO's claim that general strike advocates couldn't find each other.

Although the IWW is not part of the AFL-CIO, many of their members are "dual carders" who are in the IWW as well as another mainstream union. One of the dual carders, Tony Schaeve of Plumbers Local 75, was a delegate to the SCFL assembly and played an important role in getting them to endorse a general strike.

The IWW's anarcho-syndicalist methodology meant that it was more willing to go against the strategy put forward by the mainstream unions. However, this same anarcho-syndicalist methodology also entailed a rejection of organized structure that prevented the IWW from effectively combating the bureaucratic leadership of those unions.

The IWW's General Strike Pamphlet argued, "The first step is to get as many workers to commit to the strike as possible." While this is an important step, it was necessary to lay down a nuts-and-bolts strategy to achieve this. The vast majority of workers were just beginning to move into struggle and did not have the experience to know how to organize a general strike.

For a general strike, there also needs to be coordination between the different workplaces. Without some sort of structure in place, it is difficult to get workers to commit to a strike. Such a structure could not be built up from scratch on such short notice. Fortunately, there were structures in place during the struggle: the mainstream public sector unions. When the public sector workers were under attack, they turned to their unions for guidance and those unions formed the backbone of the protests.

To carry out a successful general strike, it would be necessary to organize in these unions and convince them to adopt a general strike strategy. The IWW should have used its profile to help organize public sector workers to build massive pressure to force their unions to organize a general strike. Instead, they put the burden of that work on the rank and file as individuals, without helping to create the mechanism to achieve it.

Much of their public material was centered on promoting the idea of a general strike rather than its necessity. Their General Strike Pamphlet emphasized that a strike would "cause serious economic disruption" and that it was "the ultimate tool of change." But there was nothing about how to build for it, nor how to politically explain the ways to overcome the concrete obstacles, like developing a strategy to deal with the fact that public sector strikes are illegal in Wisconsin or answering what to do if Walker still doesn't budge. This romanticism made it easier for the union leaders to portray their own conservatism as sanity rather than treachery.

syndicalist

10 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

"This romanticism [of the IWW with the GS] made it easier for the union leaders to portray their own conservatism as sanity rather than treachery"

Interesting way to look at it. Years ago, when the UFCW was agreeing to huge concessions in the meatpacking industry, they would call such such a tactic a "strategic retreat". No doubt, this theory is a permanent one in labor leaderships thinking.

"The IWW's General Strike Pamphlet argued, "The first step is to get as many workers to commit to the strike as possible." While this is an important step, it was necessary to lay down a nuts-and-bolts strategy to achieve this. The vast majority of workers were just beginning to move into struggle and did not have the experience to know how to organize a general strike.

For a general strike, there also needs to be coordination between the different workplaces. Without some sort of structure in place, it is difficult to get workers to commit to a strike. Such a structure could not be built up from scratch on such short notice. Fortunately, there were structures in place during the struggle: the mainstream public sector unions. When the public sector workers were under attack, they turned to their unions for guidance and those unions formed the backbone of the protests."

There's a truism to both in what the IWW was arguing for and what the on-the-ground reality might have been. While both are at loggerheads and in conflict with each other, this will be the push and pull of all struggles in unionized sectors. This came about in Longview, WA as well.

Obviously we can not predict when fight will happen. Obviously "our" numbers are weak and sacttered. But this should never prevent "us" from both the practical efforts at constructive workplace organizing and of raising concepts broader then a small sectoral battle. While not being the main demand or platform of ones struggle, perhaps the demand should become more regular at timke and places where it might make tactical sense to raise it.Perhaps it will take mucho time before folks understand or agree to the concept of the generl strike....but yas gots to start sometime, some place.

Juan Conatz

10 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Walker supporters/right wing have been trying to out people that signed the recall petitions, including specifically media people. This has resulted in some death threats towards some media people.

http://www.defendwisconsin.org/2012/04/21/news-anchor-threatened-for-signing-recall-petition/

Also, I was in Wisconsin a couple weeks ago and there are pro-Walker or pro-recall signs pretty much everywhere. The amount of these signs rivals, if not exceeds, a presidential election.

Redwinged Blackbird

10 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I am so fucking sick of "RECAAAAALLLLL" chants. I can't stand this fucking state anymore.

tastybrain

10 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Redwinged Blackbird

I am so fucking sick of "RECAAAAALLLLL" chants. I can't stand this fucking state anymore.

You and me both, brother. You and me both.

Juan Conatz

10 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The guy who Walker beat to be elected Governor just won the Democratic primary for the recall election

Milwaukee mayor earns a do-over with convincing win in recall primary
http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/govt-and-politics/elections/milwaukee-mayor-earns-a-do-over-with-convincing-win-in/article_288099fe-9974-11e1-949a-001a4bcf887a.html

In Madison, a Republican Challenger to Walker won that district or ward or whatever its called. He was a protester that dressed up as Abe Lincoln.

https://www.facebook.com/artforgov

tastybrain

10 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Juan Conatz

The guy who Walker beat to be elected Governor just won the Democratic primary for the recall election

Milwaukee mayor earns a do-over with convincing win in recall primary
http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/govt-and-politics/elections/milwaukee-mayor-earns-a-do-over-with-convincing-win-in/article_288099fe-9974-11e1-949a-001a4bcf887a.html

In Madison, a Republican Challenger to Walker won that district or ward or whatever its called. He was a protester that dressed up as Abe Lincoln.

https://www.facebook.com/artforgov

Yeah, Art came to my school. Just a typical left-liberal, but nice enough, and I love it when people troll the political system!

Juan Conatz

10 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Wife hits husband with SUV after argument over recalls
http://www.jsonline.com/news/wisconsin/wife-drives-into-chippewa-falls-man-after-vote-argument-ke5bdap-150697635.html

Juan Conatz

10 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

tastybrain

Yeah, Art came to my school. Just a typical left-liberal, but nice enough, and I love it when people troll the political system!

I remember seeing him at stuff when I was there. I think he was involved in the capitol occupation and/or ASO, although I could be wrong.

liam sionnach

10 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

bump.

Hey yall. So the damn thing is finally happening. The Recall election results will be public June 5. The news says Walker is ahead in the polls, and most people I've talked to believe he's going to win. I'm not to plugged into anything here, but one can imagine that maybe something is going to happen when Walker wins. Either that, or the Left just wasted a year plus of its falling political capital.

I would be interested to know if anyone has heard of any emergency plans, and if so perhaps the midwest could think quickly and not make the same mistakes as before. My guess is there's going to be a demonstration in Madison, but I have no idea if that's the case.

I'd say we should organize our own dumb thing, but I think most of us are not networked in way to have a core of 100 or so that can create the buzz for more (I probably wouldn't be posting on Libcom if that weren't the case). Nonetheless, what do yall think?

People are going to be angry, and feel betrayed. It would seem like a pretty good opportunity to strike.

Juan Conatz

10 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Yeah I have no idea what will happen. I don't think there is a 'Plan B' from what I've heard, although I'm in Minneapolis now and I haven't been keeping in contact with WI folks as much anymore.

My impression, from the bits I've heard from people who've talked to some of the IWW dual carders in the public sector is that morale is pretty low. That said, WI in general and Madison specifically are still pretty unique places. For example there is a non-public organizing campaign going on and comrades have co-workers coming into work everyday plastered in pro-union buttons, unaware of the organizing committee that exists there. So because of the atmosphere that seems to still exist, there's more of a chance of something happening than, say, tomorrow in Minneapolis.

I saw a lone individual start a 'General Strike' Facebook event, but such things are not started by lone individuals on Facebook, they're started by angry workers that go out and others go out, too.

liam sionnach

10 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Theres a demonstration called for june 6 in milwaukee on facebook i think by occupy milwaukee. I'm not sure if that means theres also one called for in madison and i dont know which would be more fruitful. Some comrades in mke are talkin about doing an ancap march & pushing an antiausterity position, but its unclear if that will be in mke or madison. I think it mite be cool for other comrades in wi & around the region to think about coming to wi. If theres a coherent plan that comes out it will be posted here.

Surtrsflame

10 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Walker is going to win the recall, and he's probably going to do it with some cheating. I'm going to use it to blast liberals on how broken their stupid election system is. At least we can all stop hearing "reeeeeeeecaaaaawwwwwwwlllll waaaaaallllllkkkkeeeeerrrrr!" all over the fucking capitol square, regardless of who wins. As much as I hate Barrett, I'm going to vote for him out of damage control. I can't take any more of Walker's bullshit, his latest deal is a plan to privatize all the public land and sell it to game farms. This is basically a privatization of the commons. I grew up in the northwoods of this state, this plan would be a fucking death-blow to a lot of people up there, many of whom rely on hunting and fishing as a food source and obviously can't afford to pay the prices of game farms ($1000 for a deer? fuck that!) nor would they want to hunt on what people know is a breeding ground for CWD (deer version of Mad Cow Disease).

Chilli Sauce

10 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

ancap march & pushing an antiausterity position

:confused: :confused: :confused:

redsdisease

10 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Chilli Sauce

ancap march & pushing an antiausterity position

:confused: :confused: :confused:

I'm pretty sure that was supposed to mean anti-capitalist and not anarcho-capitalist.

liam sionnach

10 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

It was meant to mean that...
There is march called for by occupy milwaukee "keep it n the streets" with an anti-capitalist bloc June 6 pere marquette park 5pm. While it would be nice for many people to come either way, i think it would be very good for comrades in the surrounding area to make their way to mke if walker wins. There are a few places to stay, but you might wish to bring a sleeping bag if the general assembly goes well. Either a march will happen or this will may be the begining of something more interesting. I think its in our best interest to make plans & be ready.

Juan Conatz

10 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Yeah FRSO just sent that out (I'm on the email list of pretty much every Trot/Maoist group in the U.S.).

Chilli Sauce

10 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

What are the plans of Wisconsin anarchos in relation to this? Not voting presumably?

klas batalo

10 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Juan Conatz

Yeah FRSO just sent that out (I'm on the email list of pretty much every Trot/Maoist group in the U.S.).

share your lists!

pm me, i'm nerdy like that

Juan Conatz

10 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Well, today is the recall election for governor. From what I've seen, Walker has had a slight lead in the polls, but not significant enough to really say which one will win.

This, of course, has national implications as well. I think more for the Democrats though.

Juan Conatz

10 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Chilli Sauce

What are the plans of Wisconsin anarchos in relation to this? Not voting presumably?

I imagine some are and some aren't. There really isn't any precense of anarchists with their own projects in WI. The closest would be the Burnt Bookmobile blog or the infoshop/social center type places in Madison or Milwaukee. I imagine in Madison, those people will vote. In Milwaukee, less likely.

Chilli Sauce

10 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Thanks Juan.

klas batalo

10 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

seems walker beat the recall :|

Redwinged Blackbird

10 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

trying to bring a crew of @ from up nort, Liam... It's either Mdsn or MKE, but I'm not driving...

Juan Conatz

10 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Amazing. Walker won by a bigger margin than in 2010. My Facebook is exploding about articles about voter fraud, but I'm not sure I buy it.

The Lt. Governor also won her recall election.

Chilli Sauce

10 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

So, bit of analysis from the anarchos, please!

Obviously, it's all bullshit, what's needed is not any politician but an increase in the confidence and combatitivity of the class in Wisconsin. However, how do we think Walkers recall victory will play out? Will he come after workers even harder? Is there any sense that workers (and maybe certain sections of the mainstream unions) will be more willing to play outside of the bounds of labor law? Has the IWW in the state issued any sort of statement?

what ever

10 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

MKE might be the place to be tonight, especially if we're trying to get away from the everyone-go-to-the-capitol-and-walk-in-circles game. There will be an anti-capitalist contingent that could be pretty big if people came from around the state to it, and such a sizable contingent might create some multipolarity in the discourse against austerity in Wisconsin (which only a small section of the people angry consider to be the thing anyway).

syndicalist

10 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

It will be "interesting" to see what, if any, additional "right-to-work" (for less) and anti-worker/anti-union stuff starts cming down the line in a coordinated way across the country.

BTW, I thought I heard on the radio that the Dems have a majority in the WI Senate. Not to endorse the Dems or reformism or the like, but might that slow down or water down any additional stuff Walker might want to pull?

TitusMoans

10 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

On the OWS forum, just a short while ago, I read that Democrats succeeded in winning the Wisconsin Senate. If the narrow victory holds up, it is more symbolic than practical.

Elections in November, gerrymandered for GOP benefit, may tell if Walker truly has the support of Wisconsin voters or if they simply believed Barrett was not the right man to lead the state.

Aflwydd

10 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

http://lbo-news.com/2012/06/06/walkers-victory-un-sugar-coated/?utm_campaign=X&utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitter

Decent article echoing union criticisms that have been made on here many times.

what ever

10 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Apparently Tom Barret was slapped in the face by someone in the crowd of his supporters, for dropping out of the race before all the ballots had been counted last night. The man has a habit of getting hit in the face. Two years ago he was hit in the face with a tire iron, while trying to intervene on a domestic dispute outside of the Wisconsin State Fair.

what ever

10 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Apparently Tom Barret was slapped in the face by someone in the crowd of his supporters, for dropping out of the race before all the ballots had been counted last night. The man has a habit of getting hit in the face. Two years ago he was hit in the face with a tire iron, while trying to intervene on a domestic dispute outside of the Wisconsin State Fair.

Juan Conatz

10 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Yeah I heard he was booed when he said he talked to Walker when he conceding the race.

what ever

10 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

This happened in Milwaukee: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=626zgMzyuwY

Something will probably be written about it more, but it was, however silly and weak at times, the most wild occupy/anti-walker/anti-austerity event that has happened since the shit started. Two Hundred people actively snaking around the city, routing and wrestling police, hating the police, feeling far more fierce and common than a long long ass time. Maybe thirty people doing the black bloc, and another fifty just as if not more confrontational than the bloc, but not blocked up.

What happened in Madison?

ocelot

10 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Juan Conatz

Amazing. Walker won by a bigger margin than in 2010. My Facebook is exploding about articles about voter fraud, but I'm not sure I buy it.

As a rule, FB is full of shit. It's just online groupthink. One of my coms joked last week that if the stuff they saw on FB had any bearing, no-one in Ireland was going to vote YES in the Fiscal Compact referendum. FB said 100% NO. The newspaper polls said 60/40 to the YES. The newspapers were right.

Juan Conatz

10 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

So the spin on the recall election coming from the unions/liberals/Democrats is that Walker outspent Barrett 7-to-1 and that, hey, at least the Democrats won 1 of the 4/5 recall elections that day. I think they took control of either the state house or senate. Also, there is some anger from liberals because the Democratic National Committee put zero to little resources in WI and Obama/Biden didn't come out to support Barrett. Obama says that Barrett never asked him to come out.

Some accusations of voter fraud are also being made, but most of it is really vague. What isn't vague is, while probably ethically objectionable, I'm not sure actually illegal and in any case, Barrett lost by a wide enough margin that to blame it on fraud is ridiculous. The level of fraud needed for a margin that big just couldn't be done unnoticed unless in a third world dictatorship.

Redwinged Blackbird

10 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Milwaukee was pretty fuckin rad. It was a pretty refreshing adventure, as Wisconsin has been quite lame lately.

A friend in Madison told me it was non-confrontational there as usual. Damnit Madison.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=626zgMzyuwY&feature=player_embedded

An account from someone else there (not me):

"Yesterday, people took to the streets during a march. Police tried to get them out of the street, and the crowd refused to obey, overflowing the police lines and pushing against police and police horses to continue moving. When police tried to arrest a number of individuals, others in the crowd dearrested them (pulling them to safety). One of the police officers that was swinging their baton had it pulled away by someone in the crowd, who hit the cop then threw it at another cop. The cops tried a bunch of times to kettle and intimidate the crowd, and failed every time."

Police Report:

"Five people were arrested; one for obstructing/resisting an officer, four for disorderly conduct. Video of the incidents show protesters refusing police orders to get out of the street and onto the sidewalks to let traffic pass and to keep members of the group from being struck by passing vehicles. A bottle containing a liquid was thrown at an officer and it struck him, but the officer was not injured. Protesters can be seen in video clips trying to grab the reins of the police horses as Mounted Officers tried to push the people back onto the sidewalk."

what ever

10 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Taken from @news:

Electoral Politics Recalled: An Evening of Wildness Snakes Through Downtown Milwaukee

Four arrests Wednesday evening. A “keep it in the streets” protest in downtown Milwaukee followed the re-election of Governor Scott Walker, and scheduled to respond to the victory of either politician. At this time, four have been released and cited with disorderly conduct and one more recently released back into our arms a day later than the rest. The five that were arrested were almost arbitrarily chosen for their close proximity to the blind and fevered panic of the police. The police, despite their smirks, had far less control over the situation than they want to say. At moments they had to put their hands on their guns just to convince themselves of who was in control. Shit was out of control.

After a year and a half being wasted on a recall election, after all of the energy put into the Capitol occupation and state-wide strikes was funneled into useless electoral politics, there is now room to breathe and begin again. This newfound freedom to act was seen in the streets of Milwaukee with surprising clarity. What started as a gathering of talking heads quickly escalated into a push and shove match with police, whose aim was to corner and stop any unpermitted march from taking place. Within seconds of the march, protesters took to the streets as dozens of cops in riot gear attempted to contain them. The crowd was unwilling to be pushed aside, and worked together to shove back and wind around the horses, motorcycles, and beefy baton-wielding helmets.

The black bloc, though dormant in Milwaukee for years, seemingly reappeared (some in all black, some with red bandannas, and some other groups and individuals who wore some form of the mask) and it both engaged in confrontation and helped to defend individuals in the crowd, while others that weren't bloc'd up joined in and initiated their own actions. Its very presence declared non-violence an impossibility.

Police tried to stop the crowds, but failed again and again to contain its excesses. People pushed against police lines and horses and pulled their friends to safety as cops attempted to arrest them. One startled cop had some unknown liquid thrown at his face during the first attempted kettle. At another moment of police provocation a member of the crowd wrested a baton from the grip of a cavalry officer, hit him, and threw the baton at another, then jumped into the cloak of the crowd. It was unruly, disobedient, and willing to shove, at least 150 deep.

After twelve or so blocks of low-intensity conflict, protestors made it to Zeidler Park, the planned to be space of occupation. At this point the PA once again became an instrument of boredom as the crowd was talked at by people that wanted to give speeches instead of dance, or eat, or fight. Attention was then shifted to supporting those arrested, and a small crowd moved to the local police station to await their release. No occupation happened, but for now that is ok. All in all, the event was a short but inspiring leap away from the silly matter of a recall election.

When asked about the protest, police chief Flynn was quoted saying that it was MPD’s job to “babysit” the crowd while they “pretend to be relevant protestors”. We couldn’t disagree more. It is only now that the police have been identified as a thing to be fought, and the recognition that democracy will always fail to appease its audience that Wisconsin joins relevant contemporary struggle. Last year at the Capitol there was some confusion as to whether or not the police could be considered a part of the working class and it is very nice to see this question can put to rest. There is nothing more salient to present-day politics than an antagonism towards police.

Meanwhile, the media acted with calculation, minimizing and simplifying events, as they are expected to, creating a safe distance from any possible intensity. To them, it was simply a protest, it was “40”, it was “several”. It marched roughly half the actual distance down the forgettable avenue of Plankinton, when the wildness really cut through Water Street, the center of downtown. We blocked traffic “briefly” (ahem, forty god minutes at least). Their tendencies are to be non-descriptive, to imply that those that got arrested deserved it, and to minimize the actual event as much as possible, acknowledging it only so as to explain it away.

Similarly, the Left attempts to erase the excitement and power we experienced at the march. They talk about a peaceful, nonviolent protest where police officers unjustly arrested individuals to stifle free speech. From their press releases to the photos they post, the shining activists of the 99% were all but crushed, helpless victims.

The truth is that the march wouldn't have happened if it hadn't been as unruly and forceful as it had been, and there would have been many more arrests and injuries at the hands of the police. There was anger, and there was power.

To the rest of the world that is fighting and making 2012 the year that the world ends: Don’t wait for us, we’ll catch up!

We were not the 99%. We were 150, and we were angry.

MD

10 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Cant watch the video. Says its "private".

what ever

10 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c2nB8KjxoVQ

This should work better.

devoration1

10 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Looks like the 'money is speech' decision by the SCOTUS combined with endless populist sloganeering and 're-branding' of attacks on workers as attacks on 'parasites' is working to give the organized right a new lease on life. Walker's victory gave legitimacy to his policies and methods of governing, as seen by his new public relationship with Romney. Public sector workers as parasitic, greedy thugs is now a legitimate and repeated mantra- looks like we'll get to see the Democrats repeat their weak decades long opposition to Taft-Hartley (repealing it was dropped from their party program not too long ago) and play the 'only friends of labor' against states enacting more and more restrictive and draconian labor laws. Hell, they've wanted to do all this since Nixon had the AFL-CIO political director at the top of his 'List'. You'd think they'd be thankful for the unions introducing Political Action Committee's (now Super-PACs) into American electoral politics :)

Surtrsflame

10 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Well, liberal activists in this state have lost a lot of faith in the election system, that's one thing thats become obvious in the past 10 days since the election. If it'll amount to much is yet to be seen.

Juan Conatz

10 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

http://coreyrobin.com/2012/06/20/what-might-have-been-one-report-from-madison-wisconsin/

I’m a member of the Teaching Assistants’ Association. I was heavily involved during the actual occupation of the Capitol, and then gradually less so after we were kicked out. I was at the meeting of the Wisconsin South-Central Federation of Labor when it voted to endorse a general strike if the bill went through. It should be noted that the final version of the bill involved endorsing an “international” general strike, whatever the hell that would be.

Although, to be fair, since the leadership knew they didn’t have a strike fund or any advance work with any unions, they were only endorsing a strike in principle, I still thought I was on the set of a movie. Since, you know, the last general strike in the United States was in Minneapolis in 1934. I talked to a still-wet-behind-the-ears paid organizer for SCFL, and he told me that, indeed, there was serious talk about a general strike.

When things actually hit the fan, of course, it was only the directly-affected public-sector unions that had any real strike talk. In my own, undoubtedly the most radical, there was a hard core of activists who had been working around the clock on the occupation who favored going on strike. I was willing to be one of them, but it became pretty clear that we had no chance in hell of winning a strike vote. The primary problem was not our ”fat-cat” union bureaucrats (our officers actually don’t draw a union salary) but the bulk of our membership. Even among the people who showed up to our large and contentious general membership meetings there were many who strongly opposed our “teachouts,” in which we didn’t teach our classes on campus but sometimes made alternative arrangements to teach near the State Capitol. I imagine that among the much larger number who didn’t come to the meetings and didn’t participate in the teachouts, such opposition was even greater. Certainly, those members would never have voted for a formal walkout.

Even some of our progressive faculty were getting antsy about the continued teachouts, and, of course, there was a considerable public backlash against the wildcat sickouts that many teachers participated in, most notably members of MTI, the Madison teachers union.

Without knowing all the decision-making details within the big public-sector unions, I am still confident that there is no way that a grassroots groundswell for a strike was squelched by union bureaucrats and Democratic politicians. They might have tried (and likely failed) to squelch such a surge had it existed, but it was clear to the vast majority of those involved that we had already done pretty much all we could do and that there was not going to be any strike, let alone the fabled general strike, the chimera of the left.

It might be interesting to imagine what would have happened had there been some organized campaign to stop doing any other activism and start preparing for a mass public-sector strike. For those who think the recall was an overreach, you shouldn’t try to imagine what the backlash would have been against that.

Update (6/21, 8:30 am)

One commenter reminds us that the last general strike in the United States was in Oakland in 1946, not Minneapolis in 1934.

Juan Conatz

10 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Here's a response a wrote to that comment

Thanks for posting this. I was actually in Madison, WI from March to June (while also traveling into town a couple times in February) , during which part of the time I was a stipended organizer for the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). Because the IWW included a number of 'dual carders' that were also in some of the public sector unions and we, as a organization were pretty loud about the pro-strike talk, I have some things to say about this.

I generally agree with the thrust of the comment: that the entirety of blame on the failure of a strike happening shouldn't be placed at the Democrats/bureaucrats/leadership, etc. That's doesn't give you the complete picture. It's more of a cookie cutter analysis. For liberals and socialists its along the lines of "the formal leadership is bad leadership and didn't fight for a general strike or fought against it therefore we need to replace the formal leadership with people we like!" For anarchists its like "formal leadership is bad and therefore it is natural that they fought against the general strike idea".

The centering of this critique of leadership has more to do with the easy way in which it fits into people's political perspective, but still looks at the participants as a faceless mass with none of their own subjectivity. These two ways of looking at Wisconsin erase the experiences, attitudes, opinions, reactions and organizing of a countless number of people.

That's not to say that the AFL-CIO or Democrats didn't fight against the idea of a general strike. At a state level AFL-CIO I was told by one of the attendees that one of the international people stated "if you don't have 75% of your workplace on board, we're not even going to talk about a strike". Obviously, this was a way of shutting down any talk of it by making the issue into one of negotiation and fighting, similar to the relationship between workers and bosses. The numerous speeches which pushed the line of coming to protests and going home also contributed, it its own way of fighting against people doing anything 'too crazy'. The formative meetings of the AFL-CIO's 'We Are Wisconsin' group happened largely during when most people were working, was probably not promoted to its members and was more of a big meeting of staffers, paid organizers and people in official positions in various unions and nonprofits. Anything like that in the context of tens of thousands of rank and file workers marching in the street, in my mind, was undoubtadly done with the intention of excluding those people from the 'What are we going to do?' question. A question that was a a strong minority undercurrent fro February until mid March. (See a paid organizer for an AFL-CIO unions perspective: http://uhavenothin2losebuturchains.tumblr.com/post/18400931279/why-m1gs-lessons-from-wisconsin)

Anyway, on to specifics of the comment.

I think there is some confusion on the part about SCFL passing a resolution (called a 'bill' by the comment's author). I don't remember the resolution including anything about an 'international' general strike. I checked the language of the resolution (see here: http://libcom.org/library/wisconsin-south-central-federation-labors-general-strike-packet) and didn't see anything about that.

You mention 'public backlash' against the MTI sickouts. What do you mean by this? I know, nationally, Fox News picked up on the story and there were right-wing groups that were trying to expose teachers who called in sick, but that's inevitable, and not sure what I would call 'public backlash'. They got a lot of support in Madison (probably supermajority) and their actions coincided with student walkouts in places I'd never imagine (like Platteville).

Overall, I agree with what you are saying: any strike/general strike would not have come through formal union structures because people weren't at that point where they could win a majority and that blaming Democrats/union bureaucrats as the sole reason strikes didn't happen is not an opinion based on what happened.

But I do not share your pessimism of whether strikes could have happened. I think they could have, but wouldn't have looked like:

A) Campaign for strike votes
B) Hold vote
C) Repeat in numerous workplaces, locals and unions.
D) Announce strike.
E) Strike.

I think that's what a lot of people, including pro-strike militants, expected the process to look like. That's understandable. As was pointed out, the last official general strike in the U.S. (although it was called a 'work holiday') was Oakland in 1946. There wasn't a reference point to really look to.

In retrospect, pro-strike militants using a mixture of formal union structures and outside the union tactics concentrating on one workplace or job classification to go out and be supported by mass pickets/flying squads who then targeted additional places to spread strikes would have most likely been the most realistic chance for a strike. That could have happened, and for a short time, it felt that way. Even 40%-50% of a decent sized public sector workplace walking out would have received an enormous amount of support and getting a mass picket together would have been practically effortless. The anger that was there in the city and you could feel (which expressed itself in such things as the forceable second occupation of the capitol) could have translated into other places walking out. Such a thing would also change the question from 'Are you for striking and all that may mean?' into 'Are you going to cross this picket line and betray your co-workers?' in a way that make the issue about how you relate to people in your everyday life and not how you relate to AFL-CIO talking heads or politicians.

Steven.

10 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The courts have now overturned this law. Walker is going to appeal:
http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2012/09/14/161175928/court-strikes-down-wis-collective-bargaining-law-championed-by-gov-walker?sc=17&f=1001

Juan Conatz

7 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Oh boy. Reading through this thread brings up a lot of memories. Thought I'd post an update.

In reference to Steven's last post, the unions tried through the courts to get the Act defeated, but, in the end, the Wisconsin Supreme Court upheld it.

As is known, Walker won the recall election. He also won relection in November 2014, beating his Democratic opponent 52% to 46%. Like in the recall election, the Democrats downplayed some of the most polarizing issues, such as collective bargaining and austerity, in favor of middle of the road nonsense about job creation and such. Walker is now considering running for President in 2016.

There have been a couple of books written about the 'Wisconsin Uprising' in the last couple years. One of them, Uprising: How Wisconsin Renewed the Politics of Protest, from Madison to Wall Street by John Nichols, is particularly bad. I couldn't even make it through the whole thing because the author spends so much time tying the protesters to the Founding Fathers. Here's some of the books that have come out so far. I've included the publisher and a link to a description of the book, if available.

-Wisconsin Uprising: labor fights back by Michael D. Yates (Published by Monthly Review)

-It Started in Wisconsin: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Labor Protest edited by Mari Jo Buhle and Paul Buhle (Published by Verso Books)

-We Are Wisconsin - The Wisconsin uprising in the words of the activists, writers, and everyday Wisconsinites who made it happen edited by Erica Sagrans (Published by Tasora Books)

-A Whole Which Is Greater: Why the Wisconsin Uprising Failed edited by Paul Gilk and David Kast (Published by Wipf & Stock Pub)

-More than They Bargained For: Scott Walker, Unions, and the Fight for Wisconsin by Jason Stein and Patrick Marley (Published by University of Wisconsin Press)

-Cut from Plain Cloth: The 2011 Wisconsin Workers Protests by Dennis Weidemann (Published by Manitenahk Books)

-A View from the Interior: Policing the Protests at the Wisconsin State Capitol by Susan Riseling (Published by Mavenmark Books)

There was also a book or zine that was supposedly created by the Madison Infoshop, but I've never seen it.

During the summer of 2012, Grace Parker, db and I talked about trying to get a book together of our writings, interviews and accounts of the Wisconsin protests, but unfortunately, we never could make time for it and it didn't get further than an idea and a couple conversations.

As for the IWW in WI, things looked bright, but unfortunately, it doesn't look like we took advantage of it. There was basically a split in the Madison GMB. I wasn't there when this happened, but it seemed partially to be over tensions that built over whether new workplace organizing efforts were to be supported or whether participating in the (at that point) small protest movement was to be supported. Eventually, an Industrial Union Branch (IUB) focused on the Communications industry was formed to assist campaigns in that industry, particularly in one multi-city large workplace. Robbie Jenson and I went there, fueled on energy drinks, to do a graveyard shift, condensed Organizer Training 101. I believe they were having some successes growing the committee, but unfortunately got into a pretty heated conflict with the CWA, who came in at the urging of an ISO member1 . The IWW committee there saw this as raiding or taking over an in-process campaign, something we've actually experienced multiple times over the years, including here in the Twin Cities. In any case, John O'Reilly and I wrote a Workers Power column that was indirectly about some of the organizer's in that campaign, called 'Shotgun organizing'.

That IUB is now defunct, and the campaign they were focused on, is as well, as far as I know. The GMB is still around. They publish a newsletter called Prairie Fire.

As for Milwaukee, I went there in Spring of 2012. The Branch Secretary of the MKE GMB picked me up and we went to a bar and talked about what was going on with them. The Milwaukee branch has long been pretty small, although recently, I've noticed a flurry of activity from them, including a solidarity picket from that ZSP-Amazon conflict that is posted elsewhere in the forums. The reason I came to town was to go to event by some French communization folks involved in the journal, Sic. We exchanged emails, and I had a set of interview questions for them, but they seemed to have had difficulty with how to respond to them, and never got anything from them. Which was unfortunate, since my trip was partially funded by Nate Hawthorne for the purpose of getting something written for Recomposition. I did however interview one of the people behind Burning Bookmobile, and published it on my blog here.

There were a couple of smaller groups in smaller areas around WI that popped up, joined the IWW and then sort of disappeared.

Juan Conatz

7 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Couple more things.

As soon as I left WI for Minnesota, the latter had a budget issue due to disagreements between the Republicans and Democratic Farmer-Labor Party. This resulted in a state government shutdown for 2 weeks. I joked at the time, that wherever I went, the state government was having a crisis.

Although, in retrospect, the movement had been defeated in April of 2011, it wasn't until around July 2011, when I arrived in Minneapolis, that the defeat hit me. Maybe if you were involved in the antiwar movement right before the invasion of Iraq, you might understand. To see and be so heavily involved in a large mass movement that loses was a lot to take. I felt pretty down for a while, until Occupy popped up, which was unexpected, and exciting.

In many ways, Occupy improved on the #wiunion. Instead of atomized individuals or grouplets in a crowd of tens of thousands, Occupy forced people to talk to each other, and decide things, in an assembly. Unfortunately, it did so through an alienating, drawn out and horrid modified consensus fashion, which goes to show, each social movement makes improvements on the last, as well as inherits the poison from the past.

Nate

7 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Juan I respectfully suggest you turn those two comments in a blog post with just like 1-2 sentence intro. I think more people would like to read them than will find them just as comments here.

Chilli Sauce

7 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Yes.

Juan Conatz

3 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Walker was finally defeated in the elections earlier this month by Democratic Tony Evers. Although he has promised to repeal Act 10, the GOP still controls the State Assembly and State Senate and a slight majority of Wisconsinites in polls support keeping Act 10. So I doubt even the status quo of 2010 will be returned to.

Juan Conatz

3 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

If anyone has been paying attention, Walker and the state GOP stripped the Governorship of certain discretionary powers as a retaliation against the Democrat who won the election. Also, probably in fear that the Democrat will try to reverse some of the collective bargaining things through executive order. I've noticed there has been some minor protests in Madison with the familiar "This is what democracy looks like!" slogans.