Wednesday, June 08, 2011
I've adapted my photo from the Zombie Walk Against Walker last April to reflect the cynical Wisconsin Republican strategy of recruiting so-called zombie candidates to force Democratic primaries in the Republican recall elections. It forces Democrats to spend more time and money, gives Republican incumbents more time to raise money and organize -- and, probably most important, gives the Republican Senate more time to ram through bad legislation. I hope voters see it for what it is -- a cynical attempt to game Wisconsin's open primary system. It just makes the recalls all the more important. How can anyone take a party seriously that runs fake candidates in the other party's primary?
I took this photo in the Capitol Rotunda on Feb. 23, and nothing has really changed -- except the "For Sale by Governor" list has only grown longer. Back then, it was power plants. Now, it seems to be anything that's not locked down. The Republicans are relentless in their drive to privatize, carrying out the ALEC agenda, fueled by a powerful mix of free market ideology and political cronyism.
It's hard to know if the privatization drive owes more to sincere free market ideology or just to plain old political corruption. It doesn't matter; the result is the same -- the Republicans are trying to dismantle services we have come to expect our state government to provide, either killing them outright or outsourcing them to private firms with the political contacts to get the contracts.
The latest outrage is a savage attack on the cost-effective broadband services the UW provides schools and libraries around the state. Republicans say they are strengthening the free market -- unless you're planning to start a microbrewery, of course. What hypocrites.
Tuesday, June 07, 2011
Formore than three months Scott Walker and his minions in the state legislature have been doing their best to turn one of the country's most progressive states into a banana republic. As Monday's March demonstrated, the people are still showing up, and they won't back down.
And that's not all. Over the weekend, "Walkerville" (more photos here) returned to the Capitol Square, a tent city of people determined to have a 24/7 presence and oversight during the legislature's budget deliberations. There have also been acts of civil disobedience and some police overreaction during the last few days. Emily Mills provided a good assessment in Isthmus of where we stand at this critical juncture, when the budget is being hammered out and the recall elections are drawing closer. The battle going on right now is for the hearts and minds of independent Wisconsin voters, people who may not be all that political, but who care about their state and what happens to it.
Direct, non-violent civil disobedience has long been used as an effective way to bring about change – but only when it was well thought-out, concerted, and patient. The success of any major movement depends largely on winning over more middle-of-the-road folks who might not normally consider themselves terribly political.I posted a number of video clips of yesterday's March in this Flickr set that includes all of my videos of the protests, with the most recent first. Putting the set together, I was reminded of how long this has gone on, how many dedicated people have given of their time and creativity and energy to speak up for the people of Wisconsin. Let's make sure we don't squander this energy and make sure we take back the Senate next month.
That’s what made the first few months of this so singular – the diversity, the stirring up of those who don’t normally get stirred. But get too riled up, overreact, and decide to say fuck ‘em to everyone who maybe doesn’t quite agree with or understand what you’re doing, and you’ve lost.
We can do better than that. We have to. There’s simply too much at stake.
Former U.S. Senator Russ Feingold, who won the straw polls for both Senator and Governor at the state Democratic convention over the weekend by a landslide, was marching in the parade Monday as a private citizen. This wasn't the only person wishing he'd run against Walker in a recall election. John Nichols of the Capital Times spoke with Feingold:, who served as a state senator for a decade before moving on to the U.S. Senate.
"I'm here to lend my voice to the cause. I know something about budgets. I know how important they are, and I wanted to be here at this critical time to do whatever I can to help the working people that are fighting the Walker budget," explained Feingold, as he marched with dozens of highway crew workers from Rock County, where he grew up in the city of Janesville. "There really has never been a fight more central, more important, to the working people of Wisconsin. I wanted to stand with the people whose rights are being threatened, to march with them, to say that fighting this governor is the right thing to do and that I am in this fight as a private citizen who is ready to do whatever I can to bring some sense back to this debate."What do you think? Would you like to see Russ Feingold run for governor, or run to return the U.S. Senate next year when Herb Kohl retires?