You are hereBlogs / Stephen Lendman's blog / Reactionary Extremism in Wisconsin and Ohio

Reactionary Extremism in Wisconsin and Ohio


By Stephen Lendman - Posted on 04 March 2011

Reactionary Extremism in Wisconsin and Ohio - by Stephen Lendman

It's spreading nationally under Republican and Democrat administrations, but Wisconsin and Ohio are key battleground states. Wisconsin especially - ground zero to save organized labor, on the chopping block to be weakened ahead of eliminating it altogether, returning America to 19th century harshness.

Already a shadow of its peak strength, it's been gravely harmed under corrupted union bosses, betraying rank and file members for power and self-enrichment. Short of real change, working Americans face stiff headwinds for their rights fast eroding.

Nonetheless, Wisconsin public employees show heroic stamina, 17 days after protests began, rallying in cold and snow, sleeping on Capitol floors, staying the course for rights too important to lose, facing off against extremist governance wanting them stripped of everything.

Fascism is rooted in Washington under Democrat and Republican rule, America's one-party system with two wings, each as corrupted as the other supporting money and power, not beneficial social change. It's also virulent in Wisconsin, Ohio, and other states. Merriam-Webster calls it:

"a political philosophy, movement, or regime that exalts nation(s) and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition."

Mussolini endorsed "the Corporative System (that's) destined to become the civilization of the twentieth century."

Hitler in Mein Kampf wrote enthusiastically about the "National Socialist corporative idea."

Others say it incorporates authoritarian rule, revolutionary change, messianic faith, autarky and corporatism. Combined, it represents right-wing extremism, concentrated power, masculinity, force, racial superiority, imperialism, war as a means to spread it, and intolerance of opposition or dissent.

In Wisconsin and Ohio, these elements are deepening under two reactionary Republicans, Scott Walker and John Kasich, neither giving ground in their crusade to destroy unionism and public worker rights in their states.

Battleground Ohio

On March 2, New York Times writer Sabrina Tavernise headlined, "Ohio Senate Approves (Anti-)Union Bill," saying:

By a 17 - 16 vote, six Republicans voting no, Ohio's Senate passed extremist "legislation that (will practically eliminate) collective bargaining rights for public sector workers by banning strikes" and weakening union power overall in labor-government negotiations. Easy House passage is expected.

Kasich not only endorsed it, he played hardball for Senate passage with Republican Tom Niehaus, the chamber's President. Together they perhaps staged an unprecedented political coup by removing two GOP committee dissenters for supportive ones to get a full floor vote for passage.

The bill redefines collective bargaining terms. Wage negotiations are permitted, but not entirely. Disallowed are others for healthcare coverage, pensions and other benefits. Strikes are also prohibited under threat of fines and incarceration. New pay rules will be based on merit, not seniority.

Overall, a new labor dispute resolution system will be established, empowering government at the expense of workers, heading for losing all rights.

Arguing for passage, Republicans outrageously claimed worker are too powerful. Opponents call the measure unjust and unconscionable, stripping them of hard-won rights. Independent observers expect an anti-Republican backlash.

Democrats vow to re-fight the measure by ballot referendum this fall. Unions call the law the biggest blow to public worker rights since 1983 legislation protected them.

On March 2, Washington Post writer Greg Sargent headlined, "Four national polls show solid support for public employees" by a nearly two-to-one margin for collective bargaining rights.

Senate Democrat Nina Turner said, "This bill seeks to vilify our public employees and turn what used to be the virtue of public service into a crime."

Hardball in Wisconsin

Addressing the state legislature on March 1, Walker announced $1.7 billion in budget cuts over the next two years, hammering school districts, teachers and social services, the same scheme playing out across America - rewarding corporate favorites and the wealthy at the expense of ordinary workers.

Class warfare is alive, spreading and deepening, inflicting enormous harm on working Americans losing out, mostly affecting low-income employees, many already earning poverty-level wages.

In Wisconsin, proposed cuts will heavily impact education, deny healthcare to those uninsured, and increase tuition cost at state universities. State worker jobs, wages and benefits are also affected, Walker claiming overall pay and benefit compensation is "out of line with the private sector" when, in fact, it's nearly 5% less on average.

Nonetheless, he proposed cutting $900 million from local school districts, $250 million from state universities, $500 million from programs providing low-income families healthcare, and prescription drugs for seniors, as well as $96 million from counties and municipalities.

At least 1,200 jobs will be eliminated, another 20,000 outsourced, perhaps becoming low-pay, no benefits part-time ones.

School districts and local governments plan school closures, teacher and other system layoffs, and cuts in other services. State school superintendent Tony Evers said:

"When you make unprecedented and historic cuts like these to schools, it means teachers are laid off, class sizes are larger, course offerings are reduced, extracurricular activities are cut, and (most) of what we value in our schools (will be) gone."

At the same time, in a rage to privatize, Walker plans increased funding for quasi-public/private charter schools and private school vouchers, including for religious ones, violating a core church-state separation principle.

The state university system will be hammered by 11 - 13% cuts on 14 campuses in Madison, Milwaukee, Green Bay, Eau Claire, Oshkosh, Platteville, and others. The state's technical college system will also face $71.6 million in cuts, about 30% of its funding. Moreover, UW-Madison, the main campus serving 40,000 students, will be free to set its own tuition rates, perhaps making it more costly than others. Its Board of Trustees, mostly state-appointed corporatists, will also control wages, benefits, staffing and other policies, running the university like a business, not an institution of higher learning. Expect the same system elsewhere.

As a result, students will face stiff tuition hikes, for many putting college out of reach. For others, imposing greater than ever long-term debt bondage to attend.

A previous article discussed permanent indebtedness from America's student loan racket, accessed through the following link:

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2011/01/permanent-debt-bondage-from-americ...

According to the Student Loan Debt Clock, cumulative principle and interest owed is nearly $900 billion, rising by $2,854 per second, a shocking indictment of a Washington-sanctioned scam, affecting students and families alike. For many, lifetime debt bondage results, including in default, requiring payments and late penalties continue, or have them garnished from wages or other compensation. Once hooked, there's no escape under a system as ruthless as loan-sharking. Pay up or get knee-capped.

National Public Worker Cuts

According to a February Center on Budget and Policy Priority (CBPP) study, state governors face daunting fiscal challenges, saying:

"State tax collections, adjusted for inflation, are now 12 percent below pre-recession levels, while the need for state-funded services has not declined. As a result, even after making very deep spending cuts over the last several years, states continue to face large budget gaps."

Currently, 45 states and the District of Columbia expect FY 2012 deficits. As a result, hundreds of thousands of jobs and public services are affected. FY "2012 (beginning July 1 in most states) is shaping up as (their) most difficult budget year on record." Yet options for addressing them are dwindling. Past federal aid is largely gone. Deep cuts are coming, affecting public workers and other residents alike, hitting poor and low-income ones hardest.

Total state spending on average will be 10% less than in 2008. Only North Dakota and Alaska aren't affected. North Dakota's state owned bank (the nation's only one) helped create the largest ever budget surplus during the height of the economic crisis. The governor and legislature are looking for ways to spend it, including by increasing public services, not cutting them. Alaska benefits from its oil revenue.

CBPP said that "(d)espite modest signs of improvement, states continue to face a long road to recovery." As a result, "significant state shortfalls are expected to persist into the future." Moreover, the more staff and compensations packages are cut, the less revenue is produced that, in turn, means further reductions ahead as part of a continuing race to the bottom cycle, hammering ordinary people most. For them, greater deprivation and despair are coming, not relief when they most need it.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

CBPP said that "(d)espite modest signs of improvement, states continue to face a long road to recovery." As a result, "significant state shortfalls are expected to persist into the future." Moreover, the more staff and compensations packages are cut, the less revenue is produced that, in turn, means further reductions ahead as part of a continuing race to the bottom cycle, hammering ordinary people most. For them, greater deprivation and despair are coming, not relief when they most need it.

The cuts can lead to an impact on others, having wide effect. If the compensation cuts are of a serious magnitude, then purchasing power of the people whose wages are cut will seriously drop and disposable income will drop, so a lot of small businesses and possibly also some medium-sized businesses will be hit. Walker and ilk seem to be aiming for non-re-election.

So everyone should support the workers who are protesting for their rights.

"Overcoming Divide and Conquer Strategies: 99.9% of the US Population Should Support the Public Unions’ Fight Against Occupying Economic Imperialists"

by David DeGraw, Feb. 26, 2011

http://ampedstatus.org/overcoming-divide-and-conquer-strategies-99-9-of-...

Quick Summary: The global bankers, who caused our economic crisis, are attempting to deflect blame and divide the American public by escalating attacks on public-sector workers. The battle in Wisconsin, which is spreading across the entire nation, should be viewed in a global economic context. Do not let the obsolete Republican vs. Democrat charade confuse you. Even if you believe Unions have been corrupted, in this case you have to go with the strategy: “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

The Global Economic Elite have launched a war on 99.9% of the US public, we must unite and rally together. Unions have played a key role in uprisings from Europe to the Middle East. We must seize this opportunity and let Wisconsin be a spark to light the fires of non-violent rebellion throughout the United States.

(snip)

The next article is about leaders in three of Canada's large unions joining in supporting workers protesting in the US and the article says they're keeping a close watch on this. The latter seems to mean that they're in international solidarity for union and worker rights, since this is cited from one of them; but maybe they're also a little worried about what the Canadian governments might try to do if the fascist-corporatist governments in the US win against American workers.

"Canadian unions join protests in Madison, Wisconsin"
CEP, Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada, Feb. 28, 2011

www.cep.ca/mediarelease/canadian-unions-join-protests-madison-wisconsin

Returning to David DeGraw's piece:

The sad truth is that most people are still fighting yesterday’s war. The Republican vs. Democrat charade — good cop, bad cop nonsense — is a mere smokescreen. Don’t be confused by obsolete preconceptions and propaganda. There is one war being fought, The Global Economic Elite Vs. The People (linked).

(snip)

The same economic central planners that have systematically exploited workers in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Australia and Asia, have exploited American workers as well. One-tenth of one percent of the population got luxurious life boats, while 99.9% of us are being left behind to drown in a sea of debt and social upheaval.

We are all on the same sinking ship – me, you, teachers, construction workers, fire fighters, police, Egyptians, Europeans. We are all under attack by the same people. The sooner you understand this, the better off we will be.

All of the global uprisings, against the global bankers, are popular reactions to the implementation of a worldwide Neo-Feudal economic order (linked). ...

... 239 million Americans are currently living paycheck to paycheck. Push them another inch, and the global bankers might as well go hang with Gaddafi and Mubarak.

(snip)

Do you want to start on the state and individual level, before breaking up the big rackets? Fine. Look at how easy it is to solve Wisconsin’s budget deficit, as Paul Jay stated on The Real News Network:

“How about Wisconsin passes a law that takes the estate tax level back to 2001? And let’s say the first million’s tax free. The collective net worth of the esteemed group on the Forbes 400 from Wisconsin comes to around $21.7 billion. That would make Wisconsin’s share of their estates at the time of passing around $4 billion. We just paid down the debt.”

(snip)

In this context, every American should take it personally. They’ve already robbed 99.9% of us. Now they want to further limit our rights and income, with talks of QE3 already creeping up. ...

(snip)

As for your US puppet, one more statement of caution for the American people: Do not let Obama fool you, yet again, with his public statements in support of the people of Wisconsin. ...

(snip)

>> Also read David DeGraw’s extensive report: Analysis of the Global Insurrection Against Neo-Liberal Economic Domination and the Coming American Rebellion

There're two excellent pictures in David DeGraw's article; one for protesters definitely flooding the State Capital in Wisconsin; the other for around one million Egyptians flooding their Liberation Square. It's impressive, and both demonstrations are multi-day(s) in length, rather than one or two hours in a day every many months apart; with few exceptions. Some people and groups are pretty much always ready to join demonstrations, or are activist in other ways, such as writing and/or speaking, including as a comedian; George Carlin, f.e.

I had read that protesters filled the State Capital in Wisc., but hadn't thought of it being as much as the picture shows in David DeGraw's article.

"R.I. city votes to fire all teachers
Providence uses strategy on deficit
"
by David Abel, Feb. 26, 2011

www.boston.com/news/local/rhode_island/articles/2011/02/26/ri_city_votes...

Informed Activist

Support WarIsACrime



Donate.








Tweet your Congress critters here.


Advertise on this site!




Facebook      Twitter





Our Stores:























Movie Memorabilia.



The log-in box below is only for bloggers. Nobody else will be able to log in because we have not figured out how to stop voluminous spam ruining the site. If you would like us to have the resources to figure that out please donate. If you would like to receive occasional emails please sign up. If you would like to be a blogger here please send your resume.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.