Budget Woes, Class Wars
From Against The Current: http://www.solidarity-us.org/node/3260
— The Editors
THE FULL FRONTAL assault on public workers and their unions in one state after another — stripping collective bargaining rights and dues checkoff, slashing wages and pensions and health benefits, abolishing seniority and tenure for teachers, mandating yearly decertification votes, threatening jail terms for strikers — is as massive and instantaneous as it was unexpected by the labor bureaucracy and many union members. To say “the class war is back” is an understatement. It’s an authentic firestorm sucking the oxygen from labor rights, from Wisconsin to Ohio, Michigan, Indiana and other states.
In an act of symbolic vandalism, Maine’s governor proposes has removed the mural depicting the state’s labor history and will purge the name of Frances Perkins, Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal-era Secretary of Labor, from the state’s labor department building. In Wisconsin and Michigan, neo-McCarthyite rightwingers are demanding “Freedom of Information” mass disclosures of pro-labor university faculty’s email messages.
Some state struggles are covered in this issue of Against the Current, and Kim Moody’s essay “Wisconsin and Beyond” sets out the background. Even a brief summary is impossible to give here. In our home state of Michigan alone, 40 anti-labor laws have been enacted or are pending. Those already passed through the Republican-dominated legislature and signed by governor Rick “smart nerd” Snyder include “Emergency Manager” statutes giving state-appointed managers license to eliminate union contracts and even dissolve the elected governing bodies of financially distressed school districts and entire municipalities.
Republican domination of state legislatures also gives the right wing power over Congressional redistricting following the 2010 census, and control of the means of electoral fraud and vote suppression — a potentially critical factor in the 2012 elections, as illustrated by the events of Florida in 2000 and Ohio in 2004. In Wisconsin’s just-completed Supreme Court election, the post-count ”discovery” of thousands of votes to overturn the result is a sign of what to expect.
The scale of the empowered right wing’s war on labor and the poor, always under the lying pretext that “the state is broke,” provokes several questions for consideration. We can’t necessarily give definitive answers, but we’ll offer some ideas in hopes of provoking discussion.
Continue reading at: http://www.solidarity-us.org/node/3260