If you were to combine the verve of April Fools Day and May Day, it might look a little like this. Depending on your political persuasion, you might let out a peal of laughter, shout out a “hells yeah!” howl, roll your eyes with a wistful gesture and wonder about those Madison radicals, or condemn and call to arms against the thuggish skullduggery of them union goons and commie socialists. But if you do a basic Google search on “stick it to Walker,” you will find conservative bloggers ablaze and upbraiding the unions for their timed May Day campaign. You will find Fox-in-the-henhouse News reporting on this expose and interviewing the CEO of the Wisconsin Grocers Association, Brandon Scholz, who has issued a Warning Alert to its statewide members to be vigilant about vandalism. What you will have a harder time finding, if at all, are liberals and progressives – at least in Wisconsin – backing this subversive behavior or participating in it. Indeed, the president of the Wisconsin AFL-CIO, Phil Neuenfeldt, issued this following semi-legible statement last Thursday:
“Let’s be crystal clear, there are not, nor have there ever been, any boycotts encouraged by our organizations. We have made clear all along that we see small business as a partner and ally in getting Wisconsin back to work. Right now, Wisconsin teachers, students, students [sic], firefighters, small business owners and citizens everywhere are working side-by-side to demand our governor and legislature stop playing politics and start putting Wisconsin first.”
Neither the time nor place is this to parlay whether Neuenfeldt should be endorsing such boycotts or proposing alternative “buycotts” (wherein specifically pro-union companies are sought out and supported). But unless is to be summarily dismissed as mere lip service, the unions ain’t behind this, at least here in Wisconsin.
So who is? I leave that to muckrakers and truth-sleuthers far savvier than I to unearth. But I do believe this to be an alarmist hoax if not actually originated by the right then at least virally enflamed by it. Let’s call it a Trojan Horse of a different color. (A word of caution, speaking of horses and viruses: I looked into downloading the pdf files, out of curiosity, and it was no straightforward task (at least for a computerphobic illiterate like me). You click on “Downloads’ tab, then onto each of the three individual decals, and you’re taken to this and prompted to download there. Seems fishy – or phishy maybe. Point is, I’m skeptical. Mainly because I haven’t heard anyone anywhere talking about this, and I’d like to flatter myself as fairly connected to various movements that might otherwise embrace and be all over this kind of Fight Club-like shenanigans. But I haven’t heard boo about it.
Then there’s this wee bee in my bonnet. On http://stickittowalker.tumblr.com/ the very last image is this:
Really? Union fisting? It’s vulgar, vain, and totally inappropriate. (That said, as a co-opted political sign, it’s satirically excellent.) But it plays its hand, so to speak, that whoever’s behind this is actually anti-union. The message in between the lines is unions are fisting Wisconsin. (More on the GOP/TP’s anal latency and obsession with this orifice and its association with the left in another post soon to be penned…)
What’s clever about this all is how it simultaneously galvanizes so-called conservatives while appearing germane to liberals. But I think it’s a trick meant to further compromise the protest movement in the eyes of average voters. More sinister yet, it’s been rallied around the one sacred day of the workers of the world, May Day. Whether this is related to actuarial fear of losing recall elections, and thus control of the state senate, is debatable. If so, then such desperation is a shameless switch of “mayday,” the distress call, for the day of solidarity.