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Category Archives: Workers’ Rights

We Are(n’t) Wisconsin

We Are(n’t) Wisconsin

No, it wasn’t — stolen that is, the recall election, though the same may not be said about our hopes and faith in this state.  If prayer is the last refuge of a scoundrel (at least according to Lisa Simpson — who may or may not have been unwittingly subverting the famous quote by Samuel Johnson, for whom “patriotism” was the last refuge), then I would add that denial and conspiracy are the last bastions for liberals to talk amongst themselves, scuttling underground while licking their wounds after losing an election.
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May D(ay) in China

May D(ay) in China

Each year on the near-south side of Milwaukee a few hundred folks gather together to commemorate the Bay View Tragedy, the bloodiest day — May 5 1886 — in the history of the labor movement in Wisconsin.  I won’t bother rehashing the clash right now (you’re welcome to read about it here).  Instead, I would like to reconsider it in the context of our contemporary world, from Fox News and Foxconn to Scott Walker and Steve Jobs.  Read the rest of this entry »

 

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The Agony and the Ecstasy (But Mostly the Agony) of Mike Daisey

The Agony and the Ecstasy (But Mostly the Agony) of Mike Daisey

Mike Daisey likes to talk.  A lot.  You get the impression pretty quickly that the actor/ performance artist is maybe more than a smidge self-absorbed.  No doubt this must come from the turf of doing solo theatre, one-man monologues that can easily run past three hours, night after night.  Them’s alotta words.  And that might be part of the problem, but the cure for monologorrhea isn’t only using fewer words; it’s making damn sure they are the right ones. The other part of the problem is when you fuse your zest for flair with a truth quest, mingling ego’s ambition with the greater collective good.  If you already think you’re pretty good at saying something, and you have found something genuinely important to say, one’s soapbox becomes a powder keg.  This isn’t necessarily bad; deployed wisely, you just might have an idea that can change the world.  But used incompetently, the mea culpa of your grand finale monologue may well be what is etched on your professional epitaph, summed up glibly in just one word: “Sorry.”
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The ABCs of Asymmetry (ICYMI)

The ABCs of Asymmetry (ICYMI)

Today marks the last day of the (ir)regular session of the Wisconsin State Legislature; good riddance to bad rubbish indeed!  While halfway through lent, this lapse Catholic is glad the state is giving up Republican mandates for a short while at least.  Plus spring has sprung, and with it that irrepressibly burning eternal.  Keeping with the lenten theme, the days are longer (lengthened, you might even say), the sun brighter and warmer.  With recalls soon to be set, there is light for sure at the end of this tunnel that has been the yearlong winter of our discontent, and hope outshining the audacity of dopes.
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It Takes a Million to Hold ‘Em Back

It Takes a Million to Hold ‘Em Back

Think of it like the little light rail train that could: in 60 days 1.9 million signatures were collected by over 30,000 volunteers in all 72 counties of Wisconsin to force a recall election of Governor Scott Walker, Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, state senators Scott Fitzgerald of Juneau, Pam Galloway of Wausau, Terry Moulton of Chippewa Falls, and Van Wanggaard of Racine.  Per capita, these are more signatures to recall a governor than in California or anywhere else in the nation, ever.  A crowd of hundreds greeted the folks submitting box after box of petitions — some 3,000 pounds worth of righteous indignation — to the state elections board in Madison.

Also revealing is that the number of signatures wishing to recall Walker alone — comprising one-third of the 3.3 million registered voters in Wisconson — is almost the same amount of votes cast for him in the November 2010 election (1,128,900).  That’s a lot of pissed off people in one year — and they’re not all Dane County liberals or Bugs Bunnys. Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Such Great Heidts

Such Great Heidts

One of the best aspects to living in Madison is when you cast a vote in an election, it’s not the typical predicament of choosing the lesser of two evils, but rather the boldest of the best.  A case in point is the special election on Tuesday, July 12, to fill the vacant seat in the 48th District of the State Assembly.  There are six excellent candidates running to represent this liberal district — no Republicans or Independents vying for the seat; so whoever wins the primary is the de facto winner in the general election next month.  But in this field of six, one alone stands above the rest: Andy Heidt. Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Calling All democrats: You Guys’s Are Needed in WI!

Calling All democrats: You Guys’s Are Needed in WI!

And by “democrat” I do mean lowercase-d, as in those of us who (still) believe in democracy, you know, in that old time of, by, and for the people kind of government.  The admirable efforts of helping the recall efforts collect signatures and enter data and phone banking were but Part 1; now it’s time to knock on doors, do lit drops, make more phone calls to help spread the word about the recall elections in July.  Here is a link to sign up and get involved.  If that doesn’t work, let me know.  You may always send an email of interest to The Democratic (alas, capital-d) Party of Wisconsin at info@wisdems.org at 608-255-5172 (main office at 110 King Street, Suite 203 (above Ancora Coffee) just a stone’s throw from the Capitol building.  Anyone, of course, is welcome — and encouraged! — to coordinate car pools or whatnot.  I too will send out more info as soon as it all becomes clearer.

Cheers and thanks!

 

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We Are WI

Here are some clips from the full-length documentary about the rallies in Madison by the award-winning, internationally recognized filmmaker, Amie Williams (a Wisconsinite by birth who now makes her home in L.A.), who shot a lot of great footage while she was here.  She is that rare soul whose talent and craft are matched by her passion and conviction.  Thank you Amie for making us look so wonderful, but really for bringing such beautiful attention to what happened/is still happening here!

And if you have a moment, check out her website, especially the “Sample Reel”; it’s well worth it!  Plus there you can learn at long last what a “bal maiden” is!

 

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Rumin8ing with a Bay View (History Rhymes Pt. 3)

Rumin8ing with a Bay View (History Rhymes Pt. 3)

Today marks the 125th anniversary of the Bay View Massacre, wherein five day laborers, a 13-yr-old schoolboy, and a retired mill worker were mercilessly shot at and killed by the Wisconsin state militia for striking in protest for an 8 hour day.  (Remember the 8-hr day and the 40-hr week?  Remember not working overtime without being paid time and a half, or not having to come in the office Saturdays, or not checking your BlackBerry or smart phone?  Remember Dolly Parton singing about “9 to 5”?  This is all hard to believe now, I know, since it sets apart with seamless anachronism our current system, thanks to the present relationship between capital and labor never being a more perfect model of parody — I mean parity.  Alas, it’s true: once upon a time the job creators were interested in nothing more than making a profit for themselves and their shareholders that never did trickle down to the actual workers who made everything profitable.  Thank the two Almighty’s — God and the dollar — that today we’re flush with companies and corporations alike who practically compete over who’s more patriotic and supportive of working families!

It was not ever thus, however.  Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Shutdown or Shut Update — Sticky Situation Pt. 2

Shutdown or Shut Update — Sticky Situation Pt. 2

In the few hours since the previous post something has happened to the “stick it to Walker” website, such that now all one sees when trying to go there is a message that reads “Not found.”  Lost already?  “Don’t go there!”  Website about workers against Walker on workers’ day not working?  There’s a mouthful of food for thought… Read the rest of this entry »

 

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