Perhaps revolution is catching on. With all the unrest we’ve been talking about in the Middle East with social networking fueling the fires of participative democracy, an interesting thing is happening in Madison, Wisconsin. Around 30,000 people showed up at the Capitol to protest Governor Scott Walker’s proposal that is designed to all but eliminate collective bargaining for most public employees.
Schools actually shut down because so many teachers called in sick to attend the protest. Many students did the same and showed up to support their teachers. Many camped out in the capitol rotunda overnight a la Tahrir Square. Even several players of NFL Champions the Green Bay Packers came out to support the efforts.
But here’s the real kicker: Governor Walker threatened to call the National Guard in to respond to any union walk-out.
This is nothing new in Republican politics. Ronald Reagan started it in 1981 when the Professional Organization of Air Traffic Controllers staged a mass walk-out despite clauses in their contracts that said it was illegal to do so. Responding to pressures of increased air traffic, stress, and a rising suicide rate, PATCO wanted to negotiate for better hours, pay, and benefits.
The Reagan administration didn’t want to acquiesce to their demands for fear that other government organizations would do the same (many had already tried) and gave the over 11,000 PATCO members 48 hours to return to their posts. This despite the fact that Reagan was a member of the AFL-CIO and had received the support of PATCO during his campaign by acknowledging the problems of the industry and promising to address them. PATCO was one of the few unions to support Reagan. Regardless, 48 hours later; he fired them all, even hauling some of them off to jail. Later that year, PATCO was decertified.
Reagan actually received high marks with the public for his actions and ironically, Washington National Airport was renamed Reagan National. Many in the aviation industry refuse to call it that and still just refer to is as ‘National’. It took a decade to address the problems of air traffic controllers after that. Union busting has been a favourite Republican pastime ever since.
Governor Walker has announced plans that would remove the collective bargaining rights and slash benefits for state employees. He’s attempting to jam a bill through Wisconsin’s Senate right now. In attempting to address the states $137 million budget deficit, Walker has decided to put it on the backs of the public employees rather than the corporate taxes which have fallen by half since the eighties. The Wisconsin Department of Revenue estimates that 2/3 of corporations do not pay any taxes.
Labour Unions, of course think this has little to do with the deficit and more to do with union busting and eventually decreased statewide wages. To add insult to injury, Wisconsin is the birthplace of the collective bargaining movement and employees are incensed that this would be attempted to sneak through Congress without any input from the union.
In one of the articles below, the author cites State Bureau statistics that indicate that the ‘financial crisis’ Walker is using as his excuse to shove this legislation through is false. He states:
[the reason for the current deficit is] because Walker and his allies pushed through $140 million in new spending for special-interest groups in January. If the Legislature were simply to rescind Walker’s new spending schemes — or delay their implementation until they are offset by fresh revenues — the “crisis” would not exist.
His perception is that Governor Walker has manufactured the crisis and is using it to union bust in a long term plan to bilk money off of the middle class and funnel it upward to (often out-of-state) corporate interests.
Wisconsin is not alone. Ohio’s Governor; while not putting the National Guard on alert, has said that any striking employees should be fired. There appear to be similar uprisings in Tennessee and other states. Governor Christie of New Jersey made similar remarks yesterday.
This smells of a Republican plan to survive the economic crisis that they are responsible for causing while not suffering any of the consequences of their actions. Perhaps Thoreau is right and a little civil disobedience is in order. Maybe Egypt is right; much to Glenn Beck’s worst nightmare, and we could use a little revolution.
- Fox News Giddy Over Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s Union-Busting (crooksandliars.com)
- Walker Gins Up ‘Crisis’ to Reward Cronies (The Cap Times)
- Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker Faces Backlash For Threatening Public Workers (huffingtonpost.com)
- Wisconsin Governor Threatens To Fight Union Protest With National Guard (huffingtonpost.com)
- Egypt Comes to Wisconsin As Protests Continue To Rock State (lezgetreal.com)
- Union-Busting Gov. Scott Walker Only Hurting Wisconsin (usnews.com)
It’s about time that We the People respond to the anti-democratic forces seeking to destroy unions. Outside of the voting booth, unions are the single most powerful voice We the People have. The attempt to destroy unions is nothing short of an attempt to destroy democracy.
There, I’ve given this idea the way someone on the Tea Party would if the Tea Party supported workers’ rights.
Dare I ask…..are we now hearing full-scale use of outrage speech, violent imagery, and hateful rhetoric from the left????
And, last I checked, Scott Walker (and the others) are freely elected members of their state’s government. Isn’t all this talk about “revolution” a threat to undermine a legitimately and freely elected government????
Oh noes! I smell a big, fat, dead rat! And it smells a lot like hypocrisy!
Do, please, point out where the “outrage speech, violent imagery, and hateful rhetoric from the left” that you refer to is originating from.
It’s not in the blog post, and, in case you hadn’t noticed, NI’s comment was satire.
“Do, please, point out where the “outrage speech, violent imagery, and hateful rhetoric from the left” that you refer to is originating from.”
I don’t have any direct quotes from “ground zero” to throw at you, but there were 30,000 protesters at the Capitol building and there is now the suggestion of a revolution , which is defined, in this instance, as:
a : a sudden, radical, or complete change b : a fundamental change in political organization; especially : the overthrow or renunciation of one government or ruler and the substitution of another by the governed c : activity or movement designed to effect fundamental changes in the socioeconomic situation
You don’t talk about revolutions – and take an initial step by gathering tens of thousands of people on the capital grounds – without there being at least some hint or suggestion of an overthrow (which would be forceful, even if it’s not “violent”) of a freely elected (and legitimate) government.
OK. I wonder if you’ve ever heard the term “non-violent revolution”?
You may have. It’s been talked of a lot.
As for 30,000 protesters, well, gee, if they were peaceful — and unless I missed the news, they were — sheer quantity does not mean violent. There is, after all, the largest ocean on Earth, called the “pacific”.
Unless you have some actual, you know, “evidence” to show, your charge of “hypocrisy” would appear to fail.
Mule Rider, I’ll provide you with the same challenge I provided GROG yesterday, and to which he did not respond.
Are you willing to forgo all of that gun-type imagery in your political speech? Are you willing to categorically state that violent armed revolution and threats against other citizens or public officials are definitely off the table as far as you are concerned?
But back to the topic.
It seems to me that elected Republicans are using the economic crisis (which their policies caused) as an excuse to push their conservative social agenda. This attack on unions and worker’s rights is just a start. I think we can expect to see a lot more of this. Worker protections, food inspections, product safety regulations, environmental protections, all gutted in the name of “cost savings”, even though, in the long run, that will cost us far more.
“Unless you have some actual, you know, “evidence” to show, your charge of “hypocrisy” would appear to fail.”
Although I’m left ot only speculate, I can only wonder what you would be saying if the roles were reversed there. Assume the governor’s a Democrat (still freely and legitimately elected) and he’s taking action to balance the budget with an initiative that seems to hit more conservative-leaning people or groups backed by conservative interests. As a result, 30,000 people – again, mostly conservative-leaning – show up on the capitol grounds to protest. It’s mostly peaceful on the surface but the word “revolution” is thrown around by a few people.
My only question is, would you:
a) have feelings very similar to what they are now? Basically defending their right to peaceful protest and talk of peaceful revolution, even though you may agree with the governor’s targeted move, or
b) be mildly hysterical and worried/paranoid over all the potential blood that might be shed by those “violent, right-wing whackos,” all the while accusing elements of the Right of perpetrating discord with hateful rhetoric and threatening to undermine a freely and democratically-elected (and legitimate) government?
I really want to believe you’d lean towards a), but based on your comments on this board, I have to believe you’d be leaning towards b) in that situation.
You can, of course, believe what you choose, with or without evidence.
I don’t know why you “have to”.
Mule Rider, to answer your question about how I personally would respond in the hypothetical you mentioned, a lot depends on what had been happening over the previous two or three years.
Had people of one political persuasion or the the other already been going out of their way to use violent rhetoric, to talk about armed rebellion, to carry weapons to demonstrations, to shut down town hall meetings by shouting and through physical intimidation? Have their leaders been calling for “Second Amendment solutions?” Have their extremely popular radio and TV personalities been spending the last two or three years trying to convince America that the President of the other party is a member of the militant faction trying that represents America’s only real remaining enemy?
These things do not happen in a vacuum, and the context and environment in which they happen really does mater.
How many of those 30k in WI were toting guns, or carrying signs that read the Gov is a Nazi, or comparing him to Hitler or Stalin, or giving the general implication that is VERY commonplace in Teaper rallies?
Now you know the difference.
“How many of those 30k in WI were toting guns, or carrying signs that read the Gov is a Nazi, or comparing him to Hitler or Stalin, or giving the general implication that is VERY commonplace in Teaper rallies?”
What’s that, Max? I beg your pardon but I didn’t hear you too well….
I condemn unequivocally the signs that called for the death of anybody, and those that had crosshairs.
As for comparing Walker to tyrants, sorry, but anybody who wants to take away freedoms (actual freedoms, like the freedom to organize into unions, not imaginary ones, like being able to avoid taxes while living in a civilized society) — is a tyrant wannabee. And deserves to be called on it.
By my count, that was about two signs. The ones comparing him to Mubarak — who cares? Mubarak is still quite alive and well, and living in luxury. Doesn’t seem so inappropriate to me to compare this little tin-plated-tyrant in Wisconsin to him or any of the other recent tyrants. (BTW, Hitler did outlaw some unions. That comparison stands.)
What should be over the line is calling for violence or suggesting that violence is a solution to the situation.
Here is an excellent piece in WaPo comparing Wisconsin to Egypt. The money quote is in the summation paragraph at the end:
“By my count, that was about two signs.”
I think there were more than just two signs that crossed the line….maybe not dozens/scores/etc. but definitely more than 2.
But that’s exactly what the left does with their broadstrokes generalizations of conservative/Republican/Tea Party rallies….they find just a handful of over-the-top signs and use that to paint the entire group as racist/violent/hateful/etc.
It’s easy (and cowardly) to make a strawman out that 0.01% of the crowd that’s a little nutty and over-the-top….evidently it’s too difficult for some to not use the actions of that 0.01% to smear the remaining 99.99%.
This is practically no different than what you guys do to smear conservatives. You find a handful of people that are out of control and use that to say the entire group is a bunch of gun-toting, bigoted, hate-mongers just looking for an excuse to go off the rails and shoot up the political opposition.
Doesn’t feel too good, does it?
Mr. Mule Rider, yes or no please:
Are you willing to forgo all of that gun-type imagery in your own political speech? Are you willing to categorically state that violent armed revolution and threats against other citizens or public officials are definitely off the table as far as you are concerned?
I’m willing to take that pledge. Are you? If not, do you defend the language of violent radicalism? If you do defend that language, how can you pretend to criticize others for using it, especially when they don’t? Is it a Bad Thing or is it not? Yes or no, please.
GROG was not willing to take this pledge, or even to admit he’d seen the offer. Are you a bigger man than him?
“(BTW, Hitler did outlaw some unions. That comparison stands.”
C’mon now, seriously? That’s all you got. No one is disputing that. But it’s clearly being used to smear him as being sympathetic to Nazism/fascism.
So you’d be alright with some conservative/Teapartier at the next little event they hold, when protesting something that Obama is doing that Hitler may have also done back in the day, they hold up a sign pointing out that comparison?
Yeah, didn’t think so.
It’s a logical fallacy – can’t think of the name right now – but it’s the one where you take universally accepted bad/evil figure who does something and then smear anyone else who does that same thing later on as also being bad/evil. The fallacy is that it assumes every action of the bad/evil person is also bad/evil and that’s not always true.
It’d be like saying Hitler favored high import tarrifs or Hitler favored a gold-backed currency – and then saying anyone who held those beliefs today was like Hitler. Yes, it’s factually accurate to point out that Hitler held those views, but the people pointing that out are clearly trying to smear the person as being as bad/evil as Hitler.
Your argument doesn’t hold water.
I do not defend it, Notimpressed, and those kinds of threats and that kind of imagery should be completely off the table.
I do not defend it, Notimpressed, and those kinds of threats and that kind of imagery should be completely off the table.
Right now, at least. I wouldn’t say there would never be a time for a revolution that necessitated violence…..but that time is not now.
What do you have against the freely and democratically-elected government of Wisconsin? Your speech/language seems to question their legitimacy and you seem to want to undermine the authority given them by the people of that state who freely elected those leaders.
Why the comparison to an “authoritarian regime” in the Middle East? They just had a free and fair election there not 4 months ago.
Here’s the difference. Public workers in Wisconsin are having their livelihood and their rights threatened, after being scapegoated by the radical right for years. In response, 30,000 of them stage a peaceful protest, with perhaps a handful of signs that the radical right doesn’t like.
In contrast, Tea Partiers are being offered affordable health care. In response, they shut down town hall meetings, threaten armed revolt, carry guns to prsidental appearances, try to link the President with America’s only remaining enemy, and accuse him of being a non-citizen. Their elected leaders claim that there are people in Congress with “Anti-American” views, and call for “Second Amendment remedies.” Beck and Limbaugh encourage violence against abortion providers, and constantly invent the most insane and paranoid conspiracy theories. The whole movement is patterned after an armed rebellion, and uses the symbolism of that Revolt constantly.
Do not pretend these are comparable, Mr. Mule Rider. Nobody buys it.
Your speech/language seems to question their legitimacy
Please indicate anything I said that questioned the “legitimacy” of the Governor of Wisconsin. He was duly elected. Please indicate where I said otherwise.
Mule Rider, thank you for acknowledging the offered pledge.
You wrote, “I wouldn’t say there would never be a time for a revolution that necessitated violence…..but that time is not now.” Do you mean to imply that there is anything that today seems reasonably likely that might create conditions appropriate for a violent revolution? Or do you admit that nothing in our current national situation comes anywhere near even hinting at the possibility?
I asked because Speaker Boehnor recently waffled on the question of whether President Obama was born in the United States and whether he is a Christian. His language was similar to yours. To paraphrase: “The evidence is good enough for me,” Mr., Boehnor said, “but I won’t tell anyone else what opinions to have.” The question of whether Obama is an American-born citizen is not a matter of “opinion”. Nor is the question of whether he is a Christian. Boehnor stopped short of saying, “the people who believe otherwise are simply wrong and need to stop spreading this nonsense.”
I guess what I’m looking for is a conservative who is brave enough to say, “The people who talk about armed rebellion are simply wrong and need to stop spreading that nonsense. There is nothing in our current national situation that could possibly justify even the symbolism of it. There is nothing today which even hints at the need to consider it. It’s wrong, and I categorically condemn this language.”
If that was your intent, then I honestly apologize for pushing the issue. I just want to be certain I understand you. Thank you.
I didn’t say that the argument (that Hitler outlawed unions has anything to do with the current case) was good or bad. I said “the comparison stands” — because it’s true.
If you want to discuss whether removing the right of people to form collective bargaining groups simply because they work for the government, that’s another argument — and I happen to have a lot experience with being both unionized and without unions to represent me, so I can weigh in on that.
Let’s get clear what we’re discussing here. Is it a) violent imagery and talk that urges violence, or b) whether the cause underlying the issue is just? I thought it was a). In which case the comparison with Hitler is true.
By the way, you might be confused because the video you showed was created and edited by the Wisconsin GOP — which makes it more than a bit suspect, or at any rate hardly a slam dunk. They showed the worst signs they could find twice. I wonder why? Also, we have no independent confirmation of who these people were — although I have no doubt there are crazy individuals out there.
I have to also point out that it was apparent that this involved the Socialist Worker’s Party — which is to the left pretty much what the American Nazi Party is to the right: tiny and insignificant.
Now, if you had something like one of the leaders of the protest with a violent sign … like the one from the teaper group that, as you will surely recall, was so racist he tried to photoshop the picture out of existence, or perhaps one of a national figure, perhaps an ex VP candidate with rifle sight images and the word “reload” — then, perhaps you could make a real “tu quoque” argument.
As it is, I don’t see that we should lend this any credence at all.
But let’s not get distracted from the topic. Yes, I understand that a conservative might want us to talk about showmanship rather than substance.
Don’t get distracted by conservative attempts to change the subject to an argument over language, the false equivalence between scattered examples of extreme speech on the left vs. the all-pervasive hate speech on the right. That’s not the issue here, it is an intentional diversion.
But the facts are:
The Governor of Wisconsin and the Republican-led Wisconsin legislature are trying to un-do the right of collective bargaining for Wisconsin public workers. They are using a manufactured budget crisis as an excuse for pushing a narrow far-right social agenda. If they are successful, it will have far-reaching and destructive effects on workers’ rights throughout our nation. It will likely worsen the recession, and throw tens of thousands of public workers out of their jobs, while giving them fewer benefits, and possible impoverishing them once they retire. And this is part of the larger conservative attempt to do this sort of thing to workers throughout the country.
Hey, the Wisconsin GOP sends some folks out with crazy signs and someone to video it. Isn’t that how they got rid of ACORN? Only with fake prostitutes?
Non-impressed says it best! Since I can’t give him a thumbs up.
“I guess what I’m looking for is a conservative who is brave enough to say, “The people who talk about armed rebellion are simply wrong and need to stop spreading that nonsense. There is nothing in our current national situation that could possibly justify even the symbolism of it. There is nothing today which even hints at the need to consider it. It’s wrong, and I categorically condemn this language.”
I’m too lazy to retype it, so forgive me for straight cutting/pasting….
The people who talk about armed rebellion are simply wrong and need to stop spreading that nonsense. There is nothing in our current national situation that could possibly justify even the symbolism of it. There is nothing today which even hints at the need to consider it. It’s wrong, and I categorically condemn this language
Regarding Boehner’s comments re: Obama’s citizenship and Christian faith, they seemed to be borderline inappropriate. Obama’s citizenship is not in question. And political leaders from the Right should quit leaving the door open for those in the lower ranks to hold the opinion/belief that he isn’t a citizen by stopping short of fully endorsing him as such and condemning the scurrilous rumors that he isn’t.
I take a slightly different attitude towards his Christian faith, although I question the need for our media to be pushing John Boehner – or anyone else in a similar position as him – about the President’s faith. That’s just to say that no one knows what’s in Obama’s heart. I clearly don’t think he’s a Muslim (secret or otherwise) or anything else that people may have said to smear him. But being a true Christian isn’t something you’re just going to “know” about someone the same way you might know they’re a citizen because of a birth certificate. And I don’t hold just Obama to this standard as I would apply the same litmus test to anyone else who professes to be a Christian but I may not know personally.
So that’s my take re: Obama’s faith. He says he’s not Muslim or anything else and I believe that. He says he’s a Christian, so I take it at face value, but not knowing him personally to know if he really is someone who closely follows the teachings of Jesus Christ, I don’t think I or anyone else with similar limited knowledge can say anything about his faith with certainty, and if they draw a different conclusion, then that’s their prerogative. I will say that it’s a bit irrational for someone to draw the conclusion that he’s of a different faith (Muslim, Jew, Hindu, etc.), but it wouldn’t be irrational to assume that he, like many other “Christians” in this country, while outwardly claiming to be one, he is actually very passive in the application of his faith or is actually non-religious.
I didn’t get to add this comment, which was my summary point, but I feel like except for Obama himself and maybe his closest family and friends, anyone’s assessment of his faith would be purely an “opinion.”
Thank you Mule Rider. I do appreciate you taking the time.
My understanding if whether someone is a Christian is that what a person claims about themselves is not open to question. If you tell me you’re a Christian, I won’t even pretend to dispute or to question that. Christians have a long and nasty history of doubting each others’ “real” Christianity. This has led to wars, inquisitions, schisms, hundreds of mutually-suspicious sects and cults and separatists, all sorts of ugliness. I hope Christians can get past that silliness. But having said that, if Frank tells me he’s a Christian, then, unless I have some reason to think Frank is lying, I’ll take that as a True Fact and tell anyone who doubts it to take it up with their own god.
Let’s see. The right wing and conservatives, though previously decrying “activist” SCOTUS decisions, are in full support of Citizens United because it give full voice to corporations to right of free speech because they are a union of like minded individuals spending money to make that voice heard, making them equivalent to labor unions.
But they are in favor of union breaking legislation so that like minded individuals CANNOT make their voices heard.
By the way, Mule Rider, contrary to my nik, I am impressed at your willingness to uncompromisingly state your view on the “revolution” rhetoric. Thumbs up to you.
Frankly, I could also have been impressed the other way, too. Suppose a conservative / libertarian says this: “Back in the 60’s, the Radical Left engaged in the equivalent of armed rebellion, and used language similar to what the Tea Partiers are doing today. They were true patriots. They were right to do as they did, because America was engaged in a unjust war, and America had enormous problems with civil rights and racial inequalities. Theirs was the only way to react. I salute the brave people who had enough courage of their convictions to put themselves in danger, and to engage in violence when they thought it appropriate. Today, for these reasons _____ (fill in the blanks) I feel it is proper to do so again. And I intend to lay down my safety and, if necessary, my life, in that cause.”
In other words, if someone who is using the Tea Party rhetoric was honest enough to stand behind it, to admit they’re calling for violence, and to openly engage in the armed revolt their rhetoric demands, well, I wouldn’t agree that it was necessary (in fact, I’d question their sanity; you are in revolt because you’re about to get health care????), but I would respect the courage and the honesty.
It seems, though, that most on the right want it both ways. They want to use the symbolism, and want to intimidate others with it. But they know very well that it is overblown and inappropriate, and they refuse to stand behind it or to defend, or even admit to, the violence their words imply.
Anyway, again Mr. Rider, I salute your integrity and your honesty.
Hey, do you suppose any of those union revolutionaries in Madison are packing heat like those Tea-Borgs did?
“My understanding if whether someone is a Christian is that what a person claims about themselves is not open to question. If you tell me you’re a Christian, I won’t even pretend to dispute or to question that.”
I don’t agree with this 100%, although I respect you taking a more passive and non-confrontational route. In some of Paul’s writings, he talks about when a brother (fellow Christian) isn’t bearing the fruit of the Spirit (basically when his actions/words aren’t reflective of Christ’s teachings), there is a time and a place to peacefully point that out. And if that person continues down that path and refuses to repent, you are no longer obligated to embrace him/her as a fellow Chrisitian. You’re still commanded to love him/her as you would any other human being, but it’s pretty clear from the Bible that you don’t just take someone’s word for it.
“Christians have a long and nasty history of doubting each others’ “real” Christianity. This has led to wars, inquisitions, schisms, hundreds of mutually-suspicious sects and cults and separatists, all sorts of ugliness.”
I can’t argue that these have been a nasty consequence of people questioning each others’ faith and taking it waaaaaaaaay too far. Lovingly questioning where a fellow Christian’s heart is, suggesting some self-reflection, and possibly distancing yourself from that person in the meantime is one thing….torturing, mauling, harrassing, etc. is quite another and does not have a Biblical foundation.
Mule Rider, we’re drifting far from the topic 🙂 Perhaps we can discuss religion another time. I would love an open and honest and respectful conversion about that. Maybe someone can produce an article about the relationship of religion and politics in America? That might be a fun thread!
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