Last year in Madison thousands upon thousand of working class citizens of Wisconsin invaded the capitol to convey their disgust with, and opposition to, Scott Walkers bill banning the collective bargaining rights of public workers. It takes no genius to realize that to restrict this right of public workers is only the first step in a comprehensive attack on labor. Scott Walker has admitted as much. Just tonight I was watching an episode of “Independent Lens” on PBS which was focused on the town of Janesville and the direction the city has taken since the closing of the GM factory in 2008. In this episode Scott Walker clearly said that this restriction of bargaining rights for public employees was a tactic to “divide and conquer” in order to weaken the whole apparatus of Labor- public and private.
This injustice unleashed pent up agitation in the working class. This man, who supports tax credits, ie corporate welfare, put the tab for the state debt upon the working class of Wisconsin. This kind of bullshit was unacceptable to the working people of Wisconsin and all their energy turned to direct action. We took action. We raised our voices. We went to the capitol. And then we let it die. Instead of finding a new way forward to redress our grievances we chose to direct our resources, time, and money to a recall election. We jumped on the political Hampster Wheel forgetting that by nature it can only go around and around. The recall election, with its steep cost to tax payers, cooled the zeal of many, and in the end Scott Walker won the recall election.
Maybe it would have been different if we would have stayed in the capitol. Perhaps we never should have left. Just maybe we the people could have taken hold of the symbol of state power and made the decision to start running our communities ourselves- our way. The singing should never have stopped. The steps leading to the capitol never abandoned. We should have staked our tent peg deep in the earth and said, “This is ours. We’ll take it now”.
I’m tired of political usurpers in their black suits coming down from the celestial heavens of “business” to save us. They don’t want to save us. They don’t care about saving us. They care only about the economy. A thing. A market. They want it to be strong. If that market is strong because of low paying retail jobs that are raking in billions for owners and CEO’s, so be it. Scott Walker has made it clear that the concerns of Labor are of no import to the powers that be. I am not against political activity or voting. But direct action should not be a stream that flows into the stagnant waters of politics. On the contrary, politics should simply be an avenue that flows into the mighty tide of popular direct action. Direct action is the miracle- not a Savior being elected.
What can we do now that we know our government can kill us without due process of law (btw, this not new in our national history)? We can stop passing on responsibility for things to others. We can take responsibility. We can organize our workplaces. We can raise our voices. We can form alternative power structures based on democracy, service, honesty, and egalitarianism. We can choose to know what’s going on. Consider it. Form a thought out and moral opinion. And take action in accordance. Your ideas are as good as mine. Let’s get them flowing.