News From Madison Wisconsin labor protests
The Student Insurgent has been following closely the protests in Madison. As the cold temperatures drop and the people simply cannot bear to remain at the protest, still an enduring crowd of around 20,000 came out and Unions talking about a general strike. The Student Insurgent’s very own KC has given us the latest of what’s going on, with secondary confirmations from demonstrator Ryan Nelson.
“Right now in Wisconsin public workers from across the state, supported by private sector workers, students young and old, retirees, labor activists and more, are holding unprecedented protests in Madison against the utterly dictatorial move by Governor Scott Walker to gut their collective bargaining rights.
After giving $140 million to special interest groups in January, many of whom donated to Republican campaigns and to the Governor himself, Walker is now attempting to strip Wisconsin’s state workers of their hard-won right to collectively bargain over the conditions of their labor under the guise of filling a claimed $137 million budget shortfall."-IWW
“The protests continue with sustained crowds of over 20,000. There are many groups working together and most are serious and organized, it’s all completely non-violent. There are some student groups that are exploring the ideas of how to defend themselves and the protest if the state militia is called in, but those discussions are far from definitive and some of the students having those discussions are not experienced- with poor consensus skills and gender dynamics. But the real people, the Unions, they are serious- enough to talk and order a GENERAL STRIKE.- Now there’s a conversation that hasn’t been had in a long time.”
“The following motions were passed by the SCFL Monday February 21st:
Motion 1: “The SCFL endorses a statewide general strike, possibly for the day Walker signs his ”Budget Repair Bill,” and requests the Education Committee immediately begin educating affiliates and members on the organization and function of a general strike.”
Motion 2: “The SCFL goes on record as opposing all cuts contained in Walkers ”Budget Repair Bill,” including, but not limited to, curtailed bargaining rights and reduced wages, benefits, pensions, funding for public education and Medicare.”
Please pass supporting motions in your council and organize committees to begin educating affiliates and members on the organization and function of a general strike."-IWW
“The Unions of Iron and steel workers are there and even the police. This is the only time I have ever gotten a solidarity fist from a cop. There is an info shop and all the food is taken care of. There was some talk of if regulating food was necessary- but what is the worst that could happen- theft, its free. In addition there is enough food going around to have a free bought- stand in the demonstration. But because it is in the middle of the capital, there are bathrooms and running water. There has been aid coming in from around the world, most notably from- Egypt, South Korea, South America and Russia, alot of Pizza.”
“Nobody is kidding themselves, it is only a matter of time before the people get kicked out. We are squatting the capital. But for now, the democrats have stalled the vote and the people have control of the capital building. We don’t know how long this will go on, but there are limited outcomes- either the state capitulates and drops the bill or there will be a bloody massacre.”
While we wait over Wisconsin. Many other states are undergoing equally desperate situations- in Tennessee, Indiana, Ohio and other places the budget battle rages.
From Ohio, one civic employee writes “writing from the heartland of Ohio….this morning…pouring rain temp. about 40 degrees hundreds of people show up at a town hall meeting in downtown Dayton…which a Republican Ohio Senator was having by “INVITE ONLY” to inform her constitutents about SB 5 which is to strip unions of their collective bargaining rights….
Never in my life I have I witnessed anything like this…I have participated in thousands of marches, protests, etc. but this time….this time was much different…
City buses driving by with passenger’s honking their horns in support….Police in cruiser’s coming by and honking their horns and waving in support of the protester’s….City Sanitation worker’s driving huge dump trucks coming by and honking in support, Ambulance driver’s giving us the peace sign….it was absolutely awesome….
It is on….really on….and I am so damn happy! People are ignited!”
This is growing nationally, there are rumors of ’tea bagger’ provocateurs, pushing demonstrators in Wisconsin and bus loads of conservative opposition people coming from Utah. Busses left from Salt Lake just a day ago, to ‘fight the war on unions’. Temperatures are predicted to drop to 16 degrees F. tonight and rise to 36 degrees, with showers, tomorrow. This situation is growing in intensity, despite cold and wind and weather, somehow they all stick together.
The Student Insurgent stands in solidarity with the demonstrators, who are defining the nation, and defending all our rights. As the IWW put it “We extend Solidarity to all workers, union or non-union, fighting back against the Capitalist class trying to return us to conditions not found since the Industrial Revolution” simply put, Solidarity Forever.