Socialist Worker

Republicans and bosses are watching Wisconsin

by Bob Peterson, a teacher in Milwaukee
Issue No. 2241

Protesters fill the stairwells in the occupied Capitol building in Wisconsin  (Pic: Barbara J Miner)

Protesters fill the stairwells in the occupied Capitol building in Wisconsin (Pic: Barbara J Miner)


Scott Walker’s attacks on Wisconsin teachers and other public sector workers are part of a national agenda to privatise public institutions and destroy public sector unions.

Walker, who did the same thing when he was Milwaukee county executive, is the most outspoken advocate of this agenda. But he is not alone.

Governors in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana and elsewhere are watching Wisconsin closely. They have recently pulled back on some their most virulent anti-worker proposals for fear of creating the kind of worker unrest that has boiled over in Wisconsin.

These Midwest states were once the industrial and union heartland of the nation. They are now being driven towards becoming similar to the anti-union south.

The Democratic Party has historically sided with unions on the need to protect collective bargaining. But the recent mantra of teacher-bashing from secretary of state for education Arne Duncan and the Democrats for Education Reform has laid the groundwork for these anti-worker proposals.

Local Democratic leaders in Wisconsin have stepped up and sided with the unions, going so far as to flee the state. Whether the national Democratic Party will act accordingly is yet to be seen.

President Obama, while campaigning for president said, “If American workers are being denied their right to organise and collectively bargain when I’m in the White House, I’ll put on a comfortable pair of shoes myself—I’ll walk on that picket line with you as president of the United States of America.”

Wisconsin workers would gladly open a space in our picket lines of thousands of people and welcome president Obama to stand on the side of working people.

School students walked out of their classes to join the protests  (Pic: Barbara J Miner)

School students walked out of their classes to join the protests (Pic: Barbara J Miner)



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