The governor of Wisconsin--you now, the guy with the Koch addiction--should be named "Organizer of the Year" by the AFL-CIO.
He has single-handedly done more to galvanize the American labor movement since the fight against the North American Free Trade Agreeement (NAFTA), the Clinton-era big biz cross-border investment scheme that has cost Americans almost 800,000 jobs directly and set in motion a corporate rampage of offshoring and outsourcing that has decimated our manufacturing base.
Back then, nobody listened to us. Back then, nobody cared if some blue collar Joe Sixpack making $40,000 a year with benefits got laid off from an auto parts plant. Nobody heard our repeated warnings about so-called 'free trade" with countries where governments oppress workers who don't even make enough money to rise above poverty. No matter what we did, safe, comfortable, middle America failed or refused to take notice.
But now, everybody's tuned in. Now millions of people are hurting. Now white collar workers are angry, frustrated, and scared with unemployment stubbornly high, wages flat or declining, options disappearing, and the rich getting richer at the expense of everyone else. People are so pissed off that even the straw men politicians prop up to divert attention just aren't hacking it. The public is laser-focused on what's happening here becasue they know that in one sense or the other it is happening to them. And that's why public opinion is on our side.
Walker is running scared. He sees the people protesting here and across the country. The maneuvers from the Koch Playbook aren't turning out as planned. He created a bleepstorm and every time he manages to get his puss on the news, he starts complaining about protesters "mostly from out of the state." Mostly, no. But there are indeed hundreds of supporters turning up in Madison every day.
* Illinois teachers cancelled a statewide conference and decided to come up to Madison for Saturday's massive rally
* Today 162 people from various unions in Los Angeles flew into Madison to show their support
* Thursday 300 teachers, also from LA, are coming in for a big rally and "sleepover" in the Capitol
We've seen union supporters from Washington State to Washington DC flocking to Madison, while solidarity rallies are springing up in cities all over the country. What started as a protest is turning into a resurgence of the American labor movement, and it's sending the message across America and around the world: "This is what unions can do for you!"
And it's not really about economics or politics or anything the mainstream media and the spinning heads are talking about. It's about empowerment. It's about standing up for the right to have a voice and some control over our lives. To the poor, working, and middle classes--who feel cheated by Wall Street and betrayed by government--it's the right message at the right time.
Scott Walker: Organizer of the Year.