Wisconsin protests: updates and discussion

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tastybrain
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Mar 29 2011 19:57
Juan Conatz wrote:
Ah, yes, sorry, it got lost in the flurry of messages in my email. I'll find it and message you back.

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

syndicalist
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Apr 1 2011 13:15
Quote:
Gov. Walker Will Bow to Court Order, Halt Implementation of Anti-Union Bill
By Lindsay Beyerstein
A spokesman for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said Thursday that the state will comply with a court order to temporarily halt the implementation of a notorious anti-union law, pending a court challenge....

http://inthesetimes.com/working/

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

The NY Times writes:

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

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

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

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Juan Conatz
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Apr 5 2011 08:39
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On 3-12-11 the IWW (Industrial Workers of the World)organized a meeting at the Madison Labor Temple in Madison Wisconsin to discuss the possibility of a general strike in Wisconsin in response to Governor Scott Walker's stripping public sector workers of most of their bargaining rights. Some of the speakers have been edited out as they asked that their comments not be aired in public. The audience dialog session that followed the speeches was also not recorded.

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

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Juan Conatz
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Apr 6 2011 19:46

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

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

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

Mouzone
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Apr 6 2011 23:22

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

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Juan Conatz
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Apr 7 2011 02:38

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

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

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Juan Conatz
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Apr 10 2011 05:36

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

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

International Socialist Organization
-The labor movement after Wisconsin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Juan Conatz
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Apr 15 2011 03:13

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

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

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

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Steven.
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Apr 15 2011 08:27

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

Thanks for the continued updates.

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

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Juan Conatz
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Apr 15 2011 17:51
Steven. wrote:
By the way, have the 18-odd percent pay/benefit cuts actually come into being yet?

For the public sector in Wisconsin?

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Juan Conatz
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Apr 16 2011 23:17
Quote:
Gov. Scott Walker Reportedly Planning Financial Martial Law In Wisconsin

Reports are surfacing that Scott Walker is now preparing his next assault on the democratic political process in the State of Wisconsin.

Following the lead of Michigan GOP Governor Rick Snyder, Walker is said to be preparing a plan that would allow him to force local governments to submit to a financial stress test with an eye towards permitting the governor to take over municipalities that fail to meet with Walker’s approval.

According to the reports, should a locality’s financial position come up short, the Walker legislation would empower the governor to insert a financial manager of his choosing into local government with the ability to cancel union contracts, push aside duly elected local government officials and school board members and take control of Wisconsin cities and towns whenever he sees fit to do so.

Such a law would additionally give Walker unchallenged power to end municipal services of which he disapproves, including safety net assistance to those in need.

According to my sources, the plan is being written by the legal offices of Foley & Lardner, the largest law firm in the state, and is scheduled to be introduced to the legislature in May of this year.

The story first came to public attention yesterday during an interview with Madison, Wisconsin attorney and activist, Ed Garvey, on Wisconsin Public Radio.

While Mr. Garvey is a familiar player in Wisconsin politics, some of you who are football fans may recognize his name from his days as the Executive Director of the NFL Players’ Association, where Garvey is credited with making extraordinary strides in the protection of player rights and improving their earning opportunities.

I spoke with Mr. Garvey today to gain insight into his information, which led me to Mr. Nate Kimm – a Wisconsin based political organizer who is a leader in the effort to recall eight GOP Wisconsin State Senators who voted in favor of Gov. Walker’s anti-collective bargaining legislation.

While Kimm was unwilling to reveal his source, he was able to confirm that he had received the information regarding Walker’s plans from a highly placed GOP source, very much in a position to know what the Governor has in the works.

Should these reports prove accurate, Walker’s plan would resemble-if not directly mirror- the legislation signed into law by Gov. Snyder of Michigan which gives Snyder extraordinary powers to take over municipalities when he determines them to be in financial trouble, further permitting him to actually fire locally elected public officials when he deems it desirable.

Gov. Snyder’s extraordinary law became all too real this week when Emergency Financial Manager, Joseph Harris, appointed by the Governor to take charge of Benton Harbor, Michigan, issued an order which took away all powers of the city’s elected officials.

Yes, this has really happened right here in the United States of America.

Walker’s plans give further credence to the notion that the efforts of the GOP governors with Republican majorities in their state legislative bodies are part of a coordinated plan to enforce a right-wing agenda designed to not only destroy state, county and municipal employee unions, but to take control of local governments by replacing elected officials with appointees, both corporate and individual, of the state’s highest executive officer.

More on this as it becomes available.

Thanks to Wisconsinite Doug Olson for his help with this story.

Contact Rick at thepolicypage@gmail.com

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Juan Conatz
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Apr 26 2011 20:02

Occupation just started at UW-Madison. Not sure how long they are planning to do this, but I'm gonna head down there in an hour or so. Check my twitter for updates. http://twitter.com/juanconatz

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Apr 28 2011 05:09

Headed over to the occupation yesterday. Got there around 5:00pm or so, I believe. There were around 30-40 people occupying the hallway and lecture hall in front of the Chancellor's office. The building (Bascom hall) is traditionally where occupations take place, since the 60s. The most recent one was in 2001 and done by Student Against Sweatshops, I think.

When I got there, they were (and had been for a while, apparantly) discussing whether they were going to try and spend the night with so 'few' people. Eventually it went to a vote and the pro-spend the night people won.

There was a very shy, nervous and awkward vice dean of students (or something similar) that was afraid to ask us to leave. Eventually his boss, the dean of students, came and said we needed to leave. We were told the police were coming to talk to us.

Eventually they did come..around 25-30 of them and said we had 60 seconds to leave because the building closes at 6pm and we were there at 7:30pm. They wouldn't let us discuss it as a group very long. Vote to disperse passed pretty quickly and everyone left.

This short lived occupation had demands around the planned splitting off of UW-Madison from the UW system and privatization of some of the university workforce.

Before I got there they had talked/argued with the Chancellor and there's supposed to be some meeting or open forum of some sort on Friday.

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Juan Conatz
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May 1 2011 00:09

May Day march tomorrow.

Quote:
ULTIMA HORA! BOMBEROS Y GRANJEROS SE UNIRAN A LA MARCHA: Trabajadores bomberos se uniran a la marcha de uniforme y con sus Gaitas y varios granjeros vendran con sus tractores para unirse la marcha.
LAST NEWS! FIREFIGHTERS AND FARMERS TO JOIN THE RALLY: Firefighters union workers will join the rallywith their pipebags! and farmers will bring their tractors to the rally!

TENTATIVE PROGRAM
Gather Brittingham Park: 1:00pm
Organizers Get the People Excited! Lead Folks Out of Park.
1:07pm. Ben Manski: Wisconsin Wave (invited)
1:10pm Allen Ruff: Solidarity
1:13pm. Anthony Schaeve: Madison IWW
1:16pm. Taylan Acar: Wisconsin Resists
1:19pm. UTI Youth
1:22pm. Seth Tristan: Groundwork
1:25pm. Damon Terrell: ASO
1:28pm. TJ Mertz Progressive Dane
Depart Brittingham: 1:30pm
LEAD BY TRACTORS AND FIREFIGHTERS
Arrive at Capitol: 2:00pm
Welcome: 2:25pm
2:30pm: Jim Cavanaugh. President SCFL
2:33pm: Will Williams. MAPC
2:36pm: Peg Coyne. Madison Teachers, Inc.
2:39pm: Jean Ross. National Co-President. NNU
2:39pm: Marisol Gonzalez, Alex Gillis, Youth UTI, Clarissa Pearson
2:45pm: Eric Cobb. BCTC of SCW
2:48pm: Bill Franks. (Invited)
2:51pm: Mario Marin & Ibed. Worker's United
2:54pm: Mike Imbrogno. AFSCME Local 171
2:57pm: Andy Heidt. AFSCME Local 1871
3:00pm: Randy Jasper. Family Farm Defenders
Closing Remarks. Immigrant Workers Union.

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Juan Conatz
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May 13 2011 18:57

Collective bargaining bit is still held up in the courts over procedural issues. There's rumors that the GOP may try to reintroduce it, but not sure on the likelihood of that.

Some Republican and Democrat senators have had recall petitions filed against them.

Jesus fucking christ...
Walker wants private sector to run assistance programs
http://host.madison.com/ct/news/local/govt-and-politics/capitol-report/article_84bef97d-12eb-52c8-801e-09fbded43a66.html

Also,
More than 80 threats made against Walker, lawmakers and others, records show
http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/govt-and-politics/article_884e3352-7cf4-11e0-98ed-001cc4c03286.html

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Juan Conatz
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May 15 2011 02:56

Last weekend, there was an action at an M&I bank (big backers of the GOP) that resulted in the bank branch being shut down and some protesters being grabbed and shoved by security. This is all on word of mouth though.

Today there were 7,000-10,000 protesting down at the capitol again. It's really crazy how the national media has virtually ignored these continuing protests for a while now. Meanwhile, every time 20 Tea baggers show up somewhere, there's a media frenzy.

A voter ID bill just passed, too, which was probably intended as a legal form of voter disenfranchisement right ahead of the possibility of recall elections. Voter ID usually affects the poor, who vote Democrat by a wide margin.

Faculty at UW-Green Bay voted 117-2 faculty to unionize. This is the 3rd or 4th university in the state that's had a yes vote since Walker's bill was introduced.

Surtrsflame
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May 18 2011 22:37

Academic staff at University of Wisconsin-Superior voted 89-5 to unionize this morning. Faculty at UWS unionized about a year ago, and is one of 7 campuses to have unionized faculty. UWS is now the first with unionized academic staff.

Article from Wisconsin AFL-CIO

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Juan Conatz
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May 24 2011 22:07

This is not going to have a postive impact on people's inclination towards action

Quote:
Wis. protest update: Groups want teacher names

School districts across Wisconsin are being asked to release the names of teachers who called in sick during protests in February at the Capitol, a move that led to closures for a day or more in many districts.

Some districts had to close for a day or more after teachers went to Madison to protest against Gov. Scott Walker's plan to end collective bargaining for most state employees.

The Wisconsin State Journal reports that it's unclear how many of the state's 424 districts received requests for names, but that many have released them.

Topics
Health and Safety at School
Government
Unions
See more topics »

The Madison School District has denied several requests, saying it could risk the safety of teachers and students, and disrupt morale and learning in schools.

The Wisconsin Education Association Council, or WEAC, the state's largest teachers union, used a similar argument in asking a La Crosse county judge to quash the release of names in the La Crosse and Holmen districts.

The judge recently blocked the release of names in Holmen and may rule soon on the La Crosse case.

Madison attorney Bob Dreps, an open records expert, said the issue pits the public's right to information about how their government works against a perceived threat to public safety.

Under the state's open records law, there is a presumption that government records are open to the public. But in some cases, the governmental agency may consider whether there is a stronger argument for secrecy.

"The strength of their justification depends on how persuasive this threat of disruption is," Dreps said of districts that don't release the names. "That there's heated rhetoric over the dispute, over the budget repair bill, doesn't justify secrecy."

Larry Gamble, a retired pilot and Tea Party member from Franklin, estimates he filed about 50 records requests, including one for the names of Madison teachers.

But legal counsel Dylan Pauly said the district doesn't want to release the names after board members and administrators received "a number of threats" against themselves and district employees.

Brett Healy, president of the MacIver Institute, a conservative think tank that requested the Madison names, said taxpayers have the right to know which teachers left the classroom to protest.

"No one really believes that someone would use the information to do something that crosses the line," Healy said. "To use that logic to prevent the releasing of the names is a stretch, at best."

WEAC spokeswoman Christina Brey said the issue has distracted from the governor's proposal to cut more than $800 million in education funding.

"It's really unfortunate seeing educators being demonized for their decision" to attend the protests, Brey said.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chibrknews-wis-school-districts-asked-for-teacher-names-20110524,0,251948.story

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May 26 2011 14:52
Quote:
Judge strikes down Walker's collective bargaining law

A judge has struck down Gov. Scott Walker's controversial new collective bargaining law.

Dane County Judge MaryAnn Sumi issued a permanent injunction against the law Thursday morning. This means the law is effectively dead until the Wisconsin Supreme Court acts on the law.

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Juan Conatz
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Jun 2 2011 10:34

I hate to be cryptic, but within the next 5 days, something may happen of some significance that may or may not change things. I'm not sure if this is just exaggeration by some comrades or not, but I'll be going to a meeting tonight to find out for myself.

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Steven.
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Jun 2 2011 16:20

Sounds intriguing!

But you know on what basis the law has been blocked for the time being?

It's funny though, now that it seems the whole discussion is only around the issue of collective bargaining - it seems that the actual issue of the 20-odd percent pay cuts has just been forgotten about. Have those come into effect yet?

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Juan Conatz
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Jun 2 2011 20:55

The law was blocked because the way it whick it was pushed through violated open meetings laws I believe. So it wasn't blocked because of what it was, but because of how it was passed. That means that the GOP could reintroduce it. And there's rumors they may attempt it in the next week, but we'll see. It's headed towards the Supreme Court now, and whatever the result, they can still reintoduce it.

I think the pay cuts depend on where you're working. Before the bill was about to be enacted, every public sector union was scrambling wildly to get a new contract that would be in effect before the bill. Some did, I think others are working without a contract.

In any case, it's always been about collective bargaining to the unions. They put it pretty clear that they were willing to accept concessions of all kinds.

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Jun 3 2011 01:43
Quote:
Protesters disrupt budget committee meeting, several carried out

Chaos erupted at Thursday night's budget committee meeting as lawmakers tried to start debating funding cuts to cities and counties, recycling and money for "choice schools."

As the meeting began, protesters tried to speak over lawmakers and began chanting "Whose house? Our house!" Some argued with Republican and Democratic lawmakers alike. Others tried to give speeches about the budget and were carried out by police to the chants of "police state."

"You could be doing more harm than good," Sen. Bob Jauch, D-Poplar warned them as the pandemonium continued.

He and other Democrats urged them to allow the meeting to continue.

More than a dozen were carried out by police officers and state troopers. It's not yet clear whether any were arrested.

The first issue to come up was cuts to municipalities. Republican leaders said they were reducing cuts by about $20 million, a net reduction of about $76 million rather than $96 million.

Rep. Robin Vos, R-Rochester, said the move was "helping municipalities" by restoring money that would have been cut under Gov. Scott Walker's original proposal.

But Democrats said poor communities would face the worst budget cuts.

"This is a pattern of giving to the rich and taking from the poor," said Sen. Lena Taylor, D-Milwaukee.

The motion passed 11 to 4 on a party line vote.

Lawmakers have begun their discussion of choice schools.

http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/govt-and-politics/article_70483420-8d7e-11e0-a40c-001cc4c03286.html

This must have been on live TV, because Twitter erupted with a bunch of spineless liberal fuckwits screaming about "these actions are playing into the GOP's hands", "they must be GOP operatives", "this is not how WI is!" and similar nonsense.

I was downtown when this started, but couldn't figure out what was happening. There was a 100 or so people waiting in line to get into the capitol.

There's a 'Walkerville' tent city planned to start this weekend, but the permit hasn't been granted yet, so we'll see.

Monday there's a bunch of stuff planned as well, some of which could be significant.

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Juan Conatz
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Jun 3 2011 02:22

looks like this disruption is becoming controversial, with one of the main student groups here1 almost coming out and publicly condemning it and threatening to possibly expel members if they were involved. Ridiculous.

Quote:
The actions tonight at the JFC were not planned, supported or endorsed by the ASO in any fashion. We as an organization are extremely disappointed in those who took part in this action. If any members of the ASO were involved they were acting without our consent and we will be investigating their actions and will strongly reconsider their membership in our organization.

[name removed]
Communication & Messaging Chair

Picture from Joint Finance Committee

2 arrested, 30 removed
http://budget.wispolitics.com/2011/06/tubbs-2-arrests-25-30-removed.html

  • 1. This group uses anarchist code words and some imagery, but is actually an eclectic mix of liberals, future career Democrats, stock lefties, and nonaligned socialists, it seems. They were created out of the capitol occupation and are pretty active and at almost everything
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Juan Conatz
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Jun 3 2011 02:27

I called that student group out on that statement and it was taken down.

Surtrsflame
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Jun 3 2011 02:28

Sumi (the judge) issued a permanent injunction due to the way that open meetings law wasn't followed, and the GOP is going to appeal it so that the conservative-dominated supreme court can look at it. Sumi was smart, and based her whole ruling off of previous supreme court rulings.They may reverse it, but they are going to have to squirm around their own rulings, which would further erode public confidence in government in this state (and maybe as a whole). She was put in her seat by Tommy Thompson, a former republican governor, so the GOP's constant bitching about her is reminiscent of Israel's outrage over the Goldstone report. I'm not sure the GOP would get the senate votes to take collective bargaining with 6 of their senators facing a recall election in July.

Juan, thanks for the updates. If it's something big I may be able to get a carpool of people from the still frigid far north of the state.

Also, do you have any information about people being arrested outside the Joint Finance meeting today?

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Juan Conatz
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Jun 3 2011 02:33

From what I've heard there were 2 people arrested and 30 removed. The disruption was continuous for over an hour, I believe. One person would be removed, and then another would walk up to yell a statement. There's a link in one of my posts above.

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Jun 3 2011 03:44

New statement from student group

Quote:
The Autonomous Solidarity Organization will not condone any actions that were taken at the Joint Finance Committee Meeting this afternoon without reviewing the events that transpired. We as an organization did not plan or organize any of the events that occurred today at the Capitol. We do not condemn members of our group or any other group without a full understanding of the situation.

- ASO

I think, along with this, the next couple days we're going to see stuff like this more often. There's a real disconnect between the Democrats/union leadership and their liberal allies and those becoming disillusioned with the recall.

It's a pretty good example of something that was unsaid 2 months ago: We Democrats came back, now shut up and let everything go through us and only come out when we say so.

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Jun 3 2011 03:51
Juan Conatz wrote:
New statement from student group
Quote:
The Autonomous Solidarity Organization will not condone any actions that were taken at the Joint Finance Committee Meeting this afternoon without reviewing the events that transpired. We as an organization did not plan or organize any of the events that occurred today at the Capitol. We do not condemn members of our group or any other group without a full understanding of the situation.

- ASO

I think, along with this, the next couple days we're going to see stuff like this more often. There's a real disconnect between the Democrats/union leadership and their liberal allies and those becoming disillusioned with the recall.

It's a pretty good example of something that was unsaid 2 months ago: We Democrats came back, now shut up and let everything go through us and only come out when we say so.

Be militant until we come to power, then shut up. It's been the Trade Union/Democrat way since time immemorial.

Surtrsflame
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Jun 3 2011 04:12

Sorry about missing that, I clicked reply after #293 and then got distracted before posting.

I'm rather angry about the ASO's post against civil disobedience. I thought maybe by coming out of the capitol occupation they wouldn't be quite so lame. The way the supreme court election went (completely stolen), I think that a lot of people are going to be more militant and stop listening to establishment democrats. Good.