June 5th, 2012
By Frank Byronn Glenn -- Like it has so many times in the past -- Wisconsin will again be the leader and the beacon of hope -- in an election
portending the immediate future for unions -- and the middle class and working people everywhere. The "Fighting Bob Fest" each year -- in honor of the progressive, never-say-die spirit of "fighting" Bob La Follette" -- the legend of progressive and working class folklore in America -- is one of Wisconsin's ways of remembering their tremendous labor union and working people tradition and proud past in their state.
The state of Wisconsin, over the years, has been the birthplace of many of the things labor unions and democrats are so proud of: the
minimum wage, 40 hour work weeks, over-time pay, and many other laboring class battle and victories. And now it is Wisconsin's time again. Labor unions have undergone a massive assault from corporate backed political groups and their Republican supporters -- accelerating with the election of President Barack Obama -- and going on steroids with the Tea Party led Republican gains in Congress in 2010.
Walker campaigned for Governor of Wisconsin sounding, for the most part, like a sane and dedicated Wisconsin public servant, talking in
vague terms about fiscal responsibility and the desire to improve government -- and then, in what many working people, teachers, and public union employees saw as a betrayal -- Walker immediately demanded huge concessions in public service union agreements -- and when he got them -- proceeded to introduce union busting, or union restricting -- legislation in the Republican dominated state legislature -- and after major protests and turmoil -- passed it out of the legislature using questionable, if not illegal parliamentary tactics -- and then quickly signed it into law. The law -- and the under-handed tactics used to pass it -- brought tens of thousands of Wisconsin working people and their supporters into the street and public buildings across the state for months on end.
The recall election today -- in which the governor, lieutenant governor, and four of the offending Republican state senators are up for recall
-- is the culmination of more than a year of acrimonious protest and heated debate about the future of Wisconsin -- and many feel -- by extrapolation -- the future of labor and the democratic party in America.
Adding gasoline to an already raging political fire was the torrents of corporate and extreme right wing money poured into the state in support of their poster boy for destroying America -- Scott Walker -- who has outspent his Democratic recall opponent -- Tom Barrett --
by 10 or 12 to one. Walker has benefited from more than $30 million dollars in Supreme Court - Citizens United "dirty" money -- some of which he has put into a "legal defense" fund Walker set up in anticipation of criminal charges being filed against him for some more than questionable tactics and uses of money that occurred during his tenure as Milwaukee County Executive before he became governor.
So once again labor unions and ordinary working people are leading Wisconsin and the nation into the future. The only question yet to be answered -- and the answer will begin to reveal itself today in the recall elections in Wisconsin -- is what kind of future that is likely to be.
By Frank Glenn • Posted in Wisconsin Recall
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