Given the massive attack on organized labor that’s afoot in the U.S. these days, tt’s nice to see that it’s not just the Arab world out protesting in the streets. I’ve been enormously impressed by the scenes in Madison and following news and commentary as I can. Here are some interesting things I’ve found around the web:
- In “Plutocracy Now,” Kevin Drum of Mother Jones has a nice, succinct historical explanation for our current situation: “How did we get here? In the past, after all, liberal politicians did make it their business to advocate for the working and middle classes, and they worked that advocacy through the Democratic Party. But they largely stopped doing this in the ’70s, leaving the interests of corporations and the wealthy nearly unopposed. The story of how this happened is the key to understanding why the Obama era lasted less than two years.” I’d disagree with that last sentence, in that the “Obama era” was clearly a continuation of the abandonment of labor by the Dems, who were more enamored with their “creative class” than the working class. But Drum still presents a useful narrative for understanding why labor’s back is against the wall now.
- Big Tent Democrat over at TalkLeft points out the obvious foolishness of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s exemption of the police and firefighters’ unions from his assault on collective bargaining rights because “he couldn’t take the risk of cops and firefighters going out on strike and allow mayhem to ensue:” “[U]nless police and firefighters are not prohibited from striking by law (think PATCO), permitting them collective bargaining rights makes the use of a strike more likely, not less. Indeed, Walker’s argument provides stronger support for limiting the collective bargaining rights of police and firefighters than for other state employees. After all, if state employees who are not police and firefighters can strike without causing mayhem, then there is less risk in permitting them collective bargaining rights. But of course nothing Walker has said on the subject has made any sense at face value.”
- Others have made this point already, but what do you notice, friends, about the differences in the makeup of the police and firefighters’ unions versus the public employees and teachers’ unions? I bet it’s all just a coincidence that the targeted unions are the ones with women prominent in the membership and leadership.
- Interested in helping the strikers in Madison? Notorious Ph.D., Girl Scholar has some phone numbers and links so that you can buy the strikers a pizza or otherwise donate some coin.
And now, the inimitable and flaming red song stylings of one of my favorites from the 1980s, Billy Bragg: