Getting Rolled in Wisconsin

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"The energy of the Wisconsin uprising was never electoral. The movement’s mistake: letting itself be channeled solely into traditional politics, into the usual box of uninspired candidates and the usual line-up of debates, primaries, and general elections. The uprising was too broad and diverse to fit electoral politics comfortably. You can't play a symphony with a single instrument. Nor can you funnel the energy and outrage of a popular movement into a single race, behind a single well-worn candidate, at a time when all the money in the world from corporate “individuals” and right-wing billionaires is pouring into races like the Walker recall...

In the wake of the recall losses, the people of Wisconsin's uprising must ask themselves: Where can they make an impact outside of politics? The power of nonviolent action to create social and economic change is well documented, most notably by Jonathan Schell in his classic book The Unconquerable World. The men and women in Schell's invaluable history -- Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr. and his civil rights fighters, the Czech dissident Vaclav Havel, and so many others -- can serve as guides to a path to change that doesn't require recall elections. Already mainstays of the Madison protests have suggested campaigns to refuse to spend money with businesses that support Walker. "Hit 'em where it hurts. Pocketbooks," C.J. Terrell, one of the Capitol occupiers, recently wrote on Facebook.

Wisconsinites could also turn to one of their own: Robert "Fightin' Bob" La Follette. He created his own band of "insurgents" within the late nineteenth and early twentieth century Republican Party. Together they formed the Progressive Party, which fought for workers' rights, guarded civil liberties, and worked to squeeze corruption out of government..."

Andy Kroll is a reporter in the D.C. bureau of Mother Jones magazine and an associate editor at

to read Andy Kroll's article published on: June 13, 2012, click on

demandside's picture
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

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