The battle over collective bargaining rights for those who are employees of the government of Wisconsin is a microcosm of the battle for the soul of America itself. In Wisconsin thousands and thousands of people have protested in support of the teachers’, the janitors’, the social workers’, the prison guards’ rights to organize as a group for a reasonable pay, reasonable health benefits, and reasonable hours of work. Rights that have been enshrined for over fifty years. Today just 18 people bearing the badge of the Republican party voted to eliminate those rights for workers in Wisconsin. The Republicans led by newly elected Republican Governor Scott Walker who originally forced this measure on a budget bill but later stripped the budget measures and passed the union killing provisions alone, is nothing short of a suit bought and paid for by those who created the Tea Party – the billionaire aptly named Koch brothers. The people of Wisconsin must move to immediately recall every Republican who voted for this measure, recall the Governor, and repeal this affront to the rights of the people of Wisconsin. Then they came for the trade unions…but I wasn’t a trade unionist…
The principle of freedom of association is enshrined in the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. The State of Wisconsin can not prohibit its employees from organizing due to their status as employees of a state. An American citizen does not lose their Constitutional rights once they take a job with a state. The Supreme Court ruled in the NAACP v. Alabama that the freedom of association is an essential part of the Freedom of Speech because, in many cases, people can engage in effective speech only when they join with others. In international law the right of people to collectively organize is enshrined into the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of which the United States is a signatory. Article 23, Section 4 states: Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.
The Democrats in the Wisconsin should be applauded for fighting a tyrannical Governor guided by right wing extremist. Walker was exposed as being bought and paid for thanks to the now infamous prank call wherein a blogger posing as a Koch brother was able to get right through to the Governor. According to many, Gov. Walker is a liar. He never campaigned once on taking the rights of the people to organize in their workplace. If he had he surely would have lost the election. The Democrats, union members of any political affiliation, and the people of Wisconsin can do something – they can recall and remove Republican members of the Wisconsin senate and repeal this measure. Unfortunately, its not an accident these Republican’s are in office. If Democrats had voted in November the way they did in 2008 this would not be happening. Let this be a lesson to the Democrats of Wisconsin every election matters. Vote.
All of this is part of a Republican strategy to destroy the rights of all Americans to organize for the right to a decent pay and decent health care. These Republicans have revised the American dream to one where America resembles a third world country more than the America of their parents. No middle class. No taxes for the wealthy. They would rather punish the middle and those working paycheck to paycheck instead of raising taxes by just three percent on millionaires. They tell you to pray about it, while they go about preying about it. Republicans were responsible for destroying the U.S. economy. Under Bush they created the $1.3 trillion dollar deficit that they now rail against. WTF? When Clinton left office their was a surplus. In a nutshell, here is the Republican vision of the future of America: only the grotesquely wealthy controlling the government, the media (thus the war on NPR), and you.
First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.