Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Kill The WHOLE Budget Where to Go From Here Organizing Meeting

Friday March 18 6pm
Phoenix Coop 636 Langdon St.
Madison, WI

Walker has pulled the trigger and essentially decimated public sector unions in Wisconsin. Labor and the Democrats have successfully pushed for a large scale effort to recall republican senators and Walker. They are also calling for vast resources to be put in to electoral tactics namely in electing Kloppenburg and then other Democrats. Although these measures are no doubt necessary and perhaps even effective to a measure, these... are not ordinary times and they call for extraordinary measures because they are now more possible now than they have been for a very long time.

We support measures for recall efforts however we are mindful of the impact it will have on the momentum of this working class movement that has reached levels just a five weeks ago not believed possible. That is why we support and are building an organization of working class rank and file and community members that believe solidarity and organizing in the work place and in the community. We believe this technique has more potential to make the changes that can be long lasting and benefit working class and unemployed folks in society.

Join us to discuss how to achieve this goal Friday March 18 at 6pm at the Phoenix Coop, 636 Langdon St. Madison WI.


Stand in Solidarity March 19th: Madison, Wisconsin

Iraq Veterans Against the War calls on all veterans and peace organizations to mobilize to Madison, Wisconsin on March 19th, the 8th anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, to stand in solidarity with workers organizing for their rights. We will be joined in the streets by the AFL-CIO, union members, and their supporters:

- 10AM rally at Library Mall, 750 State Street in Madison, WI
- 11AM march up State Street and around the capitol to the Hans Christian Heg Memorial
- Noon rally and speak-out at the capitol, joined by the Wisconsin AFL-CIO and other unions - King Street entrance

With Scott Walker's latest maneuver to erase collective bargaining rights, Wisconsin workers are calling for continued resistance, with the possibility of a general strike on the table. Scott Walker has threatened to call in the National Guard to repress these mobilizations. As military veterans, we call on our brothers and sisters in the Wisconsin National Guard to refuse and resist any mobilization orders. We believe military service members are public employees. It is dishonorable to suggest that military personnel should be deployed against teachers, health care providers, firefighters, police officers, and other government employees, many of whom are serving in the National Guard. The Wisconsin National Guard was sent in to repress workers fighting for the eight hour workday in 1886 and killed 7 people including a 14 year old boy and injured others (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bay_View_Massacre). It is vital that our brothers and sisters know they have a choice and can fall on the right side of history this time by standing with the working people of Wisconsin.

As veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, we stand in solidarity with the hundreds of thousands of workers who have mobilized across the country to defend their rights as workers and union members. The waves of resistance sweeping the Middle East show us that democracy is not something delivered by U.S. military intervention, but won and fought for by people in their own towns, cities, and countries.

Almost a decade of war in Afghanistan and eight years of war in Iraq have brought nothing but death and trauma to the people of those countries, as well as our brothers and sisters in the military. Meanwhile, we have seen the erosion of public goods such as education, veterans benefits, and healthcare and an all-out political attack on the very workers who make our society function. Scott Walker and the Republican caucus of the Wisconsin state legislature have gone behind the backs of the people of Wisconsin to erase collective bargaining rights for public workers. Under the guise of budget crisis, these and other politicians throughout the country are attempting to undo the hard-won union rights of the American people. Yet, these same politicians continue to reach deep into the pockets of working people to finance the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan while sending our sons and daughters, our brothers and sisters, off to fight them. It is time for us to start connecting the dots between endless war abroad and the erosion of our rights and public goods here at home.

We call on veterans organizations and the anti-war movement to join us as we stand in solidarity with working people in Wisconsin and call-out to the National Guard to refuse mobilization against these workers. On the 8th anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, join us as we call for an end to the wars against the people of Iraq and Afghanistan and an end to the war against the working people of Wisconsin.

- Wisconsin Iraq Veterans Against the War

Facebook event: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=193875367309986

IVAW Blog link: http://www.ivaw.org/blog/call-action-stand-solidarity-march-19th-madison-wisconsin

Friday, March 11, 2011

Why Reject Concessions in Wisconsin, By Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer

Some might think that the struggle by public sector workers in Wisconsin for their rights and their standard of living is now a lost cause because of unilateral action taken by Wisconsin Republicans to reduce bargaining rights and impose cuts. Nothing could be further from the truth. The battle in Wisconsin has just begun. The AFL-CIO has just announced (March 10, 2011): “This vote ‘will not stand!’” But now it must be prepared to engage in all-out war.

As a first step in this war, the AFL-CIO should call for a massive demonstration in support of Wisconsin workers where people from across the country would be encouraged to converge on Madison. From there, the AFL-CIO must be prepared to escalate its tactics, demanding that the interests of the majority of working people prevail in Wisconsin. The leading slogan, as National Nurses United has been proposing, must be: “No Cuts! No Concessions!” Not only are concessions unnecessary, but signaling a willingness to make them will cripple the fighting spirit of this movement.

Here are the arguments against concessions:

(1) If the rich paid their fair share in taxes and if corporate loopholes were closed, the Wisconsin deficit would disappear overnight. The rich and the corporations have consistently lobbied to keep their taxes low. And by providing generous political contributions to both Democrats and Republicans, they have succeeded.

(2) During the past three decades inequalities in wealth have shot off the charts. They are now greater than ever before in U.S. history, because of a massive transfer of wealth from working people to the wealthy. This is in part because the rich and the corporations have succeeded in lowering their taxes and eliminating regulations on their businesses, in part because fewer workers are unionized, and in part because jobs have migrated overseas or have been wiped out by technology. But these growing inequalities are undermining the U.S. economy. The corporations are sitting on record profits, but they are not hiring because there is little demand for their products. When the rich monopolize the vast majority of society’s wealth, working people are left struggling to make ends meet and curtailing their purchases.If the Wisconsin public workers make concessions, the inequalities in wealth will be increased, crippling the economy even more. And capitulation will invite more attacks. Public workers in other states will be told they are making too much. And once all the public sector workers suffer defeat, then the private sector workers will be targeted once again on the grounds that they make more than public sector workers. It will be a race to the bottom, and the inequalities in wealth will further accelerate because the rich will assure you that they can never have enough.

(3) We can wage a stronger battle in Wisconsin if we refuse to accept concessions. At the outset of the struggle, many Wisconsin union officials signaled that they were prepared to accept concessions, which are being demanded in many states by Democrats and Republicans alike. But when Wisconsin public workers themselves were interviewed, one after another rejected the concessions. They know better than anyone that the concessions are not affordable, especially when they come on the heels of earlier concessions they felt compelled to accept. Then the National Nurses Union came to the defense of the public workers by demanding no concessions. They organized a strategy meeting in Madison on this basis. And when Michael Moore addressed the crowd on March 5 in Madison and implied there should be no concessions, the huge crowd roared its approval. So the question of concessions has introduced a wedge between the union officials on the one hand and many of the public workers and their supporters on the other hand. Removing this wedge will result in a much stronger movement.But even more, what public worker would want to throw him or herself entirely into a struggle for a 10 – 15 percent reduction in pay and benefits?

(4) The union officials would say in their defense that according to polls taken in Wisconsin before the battle began, the public supported concessions for Wisconsin workers. But a more recent New York Times/CBS poll reported that 56 percent of Americans now reject imposing cuts on public workers. Union officials must not make a fetish of polls, because public opinion can change rapidly. Once Wisconsin workers started putting up a fight, it changed everything. They caught the public’s attention. And the Wisconsin firefighters’ strong support of their public sector coworkers made an impact, because the firefighters were not facing the same threat of cuts. Ordinary people get it immediately when presented with the facts about the growing inequalities in wealth, the ever-decreasing taxes on the rich and the corporations, and the increasingly difficult struggle of working people to maintain a dignified standard of living. Instead of capitulating to the polls, unions must launch their own offensive, stand up for what is right, educate the public by purchasing one-page ads in Wisconsin newspapers across the state, lay out all the facts clearly, and then let the people of Wisconsin make an informed decision. Union officials must not abandon public opinion to the corporate-owned media. United we can win!

Ann Robertson is a Lecturer at San Francisco State University and a member of the California Faculty Association. Bill Leumer is a member of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local 853 (ret.). They can be contacted at aroberts45@aol.com

Thursday, March 10, 2011

No Cuts No Concessions March Contingent Sat 12pm Peace Park

Join the No Cuts No Concessions contingent in the big march this Saturday to show corporate America that its time for them to pay their fair share. Right now is the best time to make our demands and our demands are that we aren't going to take cuts any more. It is about the money and the rights too. The multi-trillion dollar banking bailout was not the fault of workers so workers should not be made to pay for the fat cats' mistakes.

We will meet at NOON at Elizabeth Link Peace Park on the 400 block of State St. and join the big march as a contingent dedicated to the demand of No Cuts No Concessions, Kill the WHOLE Bill!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

No Cuts No Concessions

National Nurses United has joined forces with area activists and union members to form No Cuts No Concessions, a group dedicated to Killing the WHOLE Bill and making corporate America pay their fair share. Check out what's on the agenda at http://www.NoCutsNoConcessions.org