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Thursday News Jog

Mass Demonstrations in Wisconsin as Senate prepares to strip collective bargaining rights

Protesters have literally clogged the halls of the Wisconsin state capitol “as the Senate prepare[s] to pass a momentous bill that would strip government workers, including school teachers, of nearly all collective bargaining rights.” As I write this, the streets of Madison, Wisconsin are closed down again, with thousands of protesters massing at the capitol. Even Obama is jumping into the fray (indicating his corporate handlers may have temporarily lost control of him…hey, whatever works). The uprising has even impressed Noam Chomsky.

John Nichols at Common Dreams, describing how the numbers have increased over the last three days:

Where Tuesday’s mid-day protests drew crowds estimated at 12,000 to 15,000, Wednesday’s mid-day rally drew 30,000, according to estimates by organizers.  Madison Police Chief Noble Wray, a veteran of 27 years on the city’s force, said he had has never see a protest of this size at the Capitol – and he noted that, while crowd estimates usually just measure those outside, this time the inside of the sprawling state Capitol was “packed.” On Wednesday night, an estimated 20,000 teachers and their supporters rallied outside the Capitol and then marched into the building, filling the rotunda, stairways and hallways. Chants of “What’s disgusting? Union busting!” shook the building as legislators met in committee rooms late into the night.

The students are out as well:

Instead of taking the day off, their students gathered at schools on the west and east sides of Madison and marched miles along the city’s main thoroughfares to join the largest mass demonstration the city has seen in decades – perhaps since the great protests of the Vietnam War era. Thousands of high school students arrived at the Capital Square, coming from opposite directions, chanting: “We support our teachers! We support public education!” Thousands of University of Wisconsin students joined them, decked out in the school’s red-and-white colors.

Fox “News” is disgusted with the whole thing. Check out the strategic language of their report on today’s walkouts: “Teachers protesting at Wisconsin’s Capitol Building in Madison shut down schools for a second day Thursday so they could demand collective bargaining rights that they say are essential to keeping kids in school.”

The Wisconsin Senate will vote on the bill today. If it passes, as is expected, will the teachers, public employees, students, and other protesters go home, demoralized? Or will they turn up the protests? Here at politicalcontext.org, our hope is the latter. It’s time for American workers, and their student allies, to do things that would make Glenn Beck really cry. The Wisconsin uprising is a good start, but in order to paint Scott Walker and the GOP state legislature into a corner, the protesters must refuse to disperse.

Cory Morningstar on the futility of green capitalism

The newest entry on our Politics & Policy blog is from climate activist Cory Morningstar, who argues that corporate-backed environmentalist campaigns do more harm than good: They lull people into a false sense of activism, manipulating scientific data and substituting rhetorical icons for genuine public deliberation, in an effort to convince us that incremental reforms are sufficient to stave off the coming climate crisis. But her critique doesn’t stop at government inaction and corporate lies. She takes on liberal activists’ most sacred cow: NGOs.

One response to the question of ‘how to define civil society’ was that since big business foundations are incentivized by the tax code, corporations are not civil society, but foundations are. Therefore it should be no surprise the ‘big green’ groups who claim they receive no corporate funding can legitimately do so, merely because foundations serve as corporate front groups. The big greens are funded by the very foundations set up by the corporations who essentially serve as a money laundering service in what the elites proclaim as philanthro-capitalism.

Robert Applebaum on Shared Sacrifice Radio

The Robert Applebaum Show, on our BTR station “Shared Sacrifice” is always worth a listen.  In the latest episode, Robert discusses student loan debt, specifically in the context of President Obama’s just-released budget which seeks to cut higher educational funding by approximately $87 Billion over the next 10 years. Give it a listen!

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About Matt J. Stannard

Policy Director for Commonomics USA, longtime writer, speaker, and legal & policy consultant on economic justice and public deliberation.