- Paperback: 181 pages
- Publisher: Verso; 1 edition (January 9, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1844678881
- ISBN-13: 978-1844678884
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
#1,420,852 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #931 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Politics & Government > Elections & Political Process > Political Advocacy
- #1366 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Politics & Government > Specific Topics > Labor & Industrial Relations
- #1367 in Books > Business & Money > Economics > Labor & Industrial Relations
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
It Started in Wisconsin: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Labor Protest 1st Edition
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Customers who bought this item also bought
“[A] collection of stories from those that participated in one of the most inspiring movements to erupt in the US heartland in decades. Those stories provide the observer from afar with a fairly universal and nuanced look at the daily lives of those involved in organizing, occupying, reporting and otherwise participating in those weeks of popular democracy. Interspersed between the tales of the workers, students, farmers and other protesters are a number of photographs and comics. The inclusion of these graphics truly enhances the overall effect ... .worthwhile and provocative.”—Ron Jacobs, Counterpunch
“These essays delve into the historical, political, and ideological underpinnings of the 2011 events. [L]ater chapters are meatier, with events set against the backdrop of early-20th-century Wisconsin progressive politics when Governor Robert ‘Fighting Bob’ LaFollette began the crusade against the dominance of corporate America (at that time, railroads) over government. The book exposes how that same dominance continues today. [W]ill help readers, regardless of their own stance, to understand much of what’s at stake in the country’s current labor and political battles.”—Carol J. Elsen, Library Journal
“Midwest pride of place animates much of the writing, along with awareness of Wisconsin’s progressive history, the global context for the Madison protests and a genuine outrage that transcends the particular grievances of public sector union members. If anything, Walker has reawakened a dormant spirit of solidarity. The harvest of the extremism he sowed may be his own undoing.”—David Luhrssen, Express Milwaukee
“Convey[s] some deeper understanding and offer[s] important lessons valuable for struggles to come ... will stand as a future reference point for those wishing to get some later handle on what happened in the ‘Badger State.’ Importantly, several of the key essays provide a deeper backdrop for an understanding of what happened. The massive show of solidarity with those directly affected by the ‘budget repair bill’ did not come just from police and firefighters exempted from the assault, or from private sector trade union hands. It came from a broader public not directly tied to organized labor. [C]ontains several important perspectives on the state of Wisconsin labor, key for understanding the uprising.”—Allen Ruff, Against the Current
About the Author
Mari Jo Buhle is Emeritus Professor of History and American Civilzation at Brown University. Her books include Women and American Socialism and, co-edited with Paul Buhle, the Encyclopedia of the American Left. She lives in Madison.
Paul Buhle,formerly a senior lecturer at Brown University, produces radical comics. He founded the SDS Journal Radical America and the archive Oral History of the American Left and, with Mari Jo Buhle, is coeditor of the Encyclopedia of the American Left. He lives in Madison.
John Nichols is the Washington correspondent for The Nation magazine, a contributing writer for the Progressive and In These Times, and the associate editor of Madison, Wisconsin’s Capital Times. He’s the author of several books, including The Death and Life of American Journalism, The Genius of Impeachment and The “S” Word.
Michael Moore, a filmmaker, author and progressive-radical commentator on politics, has written and occasionally starred in documentary films. He directed and produced Bowling for Columbine, Fahrenheit 9/11, Sicko, and Capitalism: A Love Story.
Patrick Barrett is Administrative Director of the A. E. Havens Center for the Study of Social Structure and Social Change and an instructor in the Latin American, Caribbean and Iberian Studies Program at the University of Wisconsin—Madison.
Mary Bottari is the Director of the Center for Media and Democracy’s Real Economy Project and works on the CMD websites PRWatch.org, Sourcewatch.org and BanksterUSA.org.
Roger Bybee edited the weekly Racine Labor, 1979–93, and served as Communications Director of three statewide pro-labor organizations. He is a freelance writer based in Milwaukee.
Ruth Conniff is the Political Editor of the Progressive. In 2011, the editors of Madison Magazine named Conniff’s coverage of the crisis in Wisconsin the “Best in Madison.”
Gary Dumm, a comic artist and long-time collaborator with the late Harvey Pekar, drew large portions of Students for a Democratic Society: A Graphic History, and has contributed widely to other comic art anthologies.
Simon Hardy is a spokesperson for the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts (NCAFC) in the UK, a student at Westminster University and a member of the group Workers’ Power.
Frank Emspak, emeritus faculty, UW School for Workers, is currently the producer of Workers Independent News (WIN), headquartered in Madison.
Ashok Kumar is a former Dane County Supervisor (District 5) and was the Education Officer of the London School of Economics Students’ Union during the height of the UK student unrest in 2010.
Tom Morello, the lead guitarist of Rage Against the Machine, now records under the name Tom Morello: The Nightwatchman. His most recent album is World Wide Rebel Songs.
David Poklinkowski is a member of the Executive Board of the South Central Federation of Labor, has been President and Business Manager of IBEW Local 2304 in Madison since 1985, and has been Secretary of the Utility Workers Coalition—a coalition of utility unions from across the Midwest—since 1992.
Matthew Rothschild has worked at The Progressive since 1983 and has been the editor since 1984. He is the author of You Have No Rights: Stories of America in an Age of Repression and the editor of Democracy in Print: The Best of The Progressive Magazine, 1909–2009.
Sharon Rudahl, an art editor of the Madison alternative weekly Takeover, has contributed widely to comic art anthologies, and wrote and drew A Dangerous Woman: The Graphic Biography of Emma Goldman.
Charity A. Schmidt is a PhD student in Sociology at the University of Wisconsin—Madison. She is an active member of the Teaching Assistants’ Association (TAA) and continues to organize with various community groups in the ongoing Wisconsin struggle.
Kim Scipes is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Purdue University North Central in Westville, Indiana, and Chair of the Chicago Chapter of the National Writers Union. His latest book is AFL-CIO’s Secret War against Developing Country Workers: Solidarity or Sabotage?
Nick Thorkelson, the first Underground Comix artist in Madison, drew The Underhanded History of the USA and illustrated The Earth Belongs to the People.
Browse award-winning titles. See more
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Compared to the collapse in Phoenix, the Democratic Party in Wisconsin that emerges in the pages of IT STARTED IN WISCONSIN is an association of wise and courageous leaders, much like the fourteen state senators who removed to Illinois to deny the GOP legislative blitzkrieg its quorum and to give activists time to organize against it. But even in Wisconsin, other Democrats in positions of power dragged their heels and threw up roadblocks against activism, not least in recent efforts to organize recalls against Gov. Scott Walker. Nationally, the silence of the party of the president and the U.S. Senate on self-defense or any activism other than electoral politics carries its own unmistakable meaning.
Under the circumstances, the fact that the resistance in Wisconsin in 2011 swelled to such tidal proportions is astonishing. Where did it come from?
This book attempts to provide an answer. From the first essay the point is made that each state has its own history and that resistance will take on that historical character. In Wisconsin, there were connections to be made to labor struggles across decades and to the older Progressive tradition of Robert La Follette, but there were also ethnic traditions so deeply buried in time, such as the polka and the Liedertafel, that it is astonishing they survived at all, let alone contribute to the transformation of a demanding political struggle into daily cultural practice with its own rewards. The essays (and comics) touching on this point go a long way toward an understanding of what is unique about Wisconsin and how organizers have made creative use of its traditions. There is, for example, an explanation of the term "Cheeseheads," and it's not as obvious as one might think.
For national readers, the most useful essays focus on the other side, the perps in the story. One of the most helpful deals with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the Koch Brothers' successful attempt to privatize the legislative wing of the national GOP with secret assemblies and lavish funding. For those in states that will be hit by the next wave of union-busting, Mary Bottari's "The Sale of Wisconsin" is an indispensable gateway to the Kochian strategy to turn local government into corporate fiefdoms and shows where to find deeper analyses. Long-time Wisconsin labor journalist Roger Bybee's "The Role of Corporations" is a valuable overview of the economics behind the decline of U.S. labor, not just in Wisconsin but everywhere.
But what will likely be remembered longest from this volume is the sense of playfulness in resistance recorded in the comics and photos. One of the best: A wedding photo taken at the moment of the connubial kiss. In falling snow, the bare-shouldered center of attention holds a sign, "Union Bride." Above the groom someone holds a larger sign: "Labor of Love." Everyone is smiling. High in the background the state capitol, witness to a thousand demonstrations, presides.
This 2011 collection of essays begins by noting that "The 'old fight' is on again, as a new generation of robber barons and their servant legislators seeks to undo not just the regulatory and programmatic legacy of the New Deal but of twentieth-century progress." (Pg. 8) The protesters included undergraduates and professors, firefighters, correctional officers, private-sector unionists, members of faith communities, and "graying-but-activist retirees." (Pg. 24) Rank-and-file Democrats and union members were "way ahead of their leadership in taking the initiative." (Pg. 67)
An essay notes that the 2007-2009 Wall Street financial crisis was caused by "years of deregulation and lack of government oversight," and cost Americans $14 trillion and 8 million jobs. But "Rather than being chastened for its starring role in the catastrophe, the GOP... (was) blaming budget shortfalls on reckless overspending and public employees who were living high on the hog." (Pg. 36)
Another essay charges that Governor Walker's administration "brazenly signaled a policy of disinvestment in public education, health care, and the environment and an assault on worker rights... (which) parallels the disinvestment by major corporations in Wisconsin's productive base since the early 1970s." (Pg. 127) But in contrast arose "mass movements of resistance," and "an upsurge of resistance from below." (Pg. 161)
This book (along with Wisconsin Uprising and We Are Wisconsin - The Wisconsin uprising in the words of the activists, writers, and everyday Wisconsinites who made it happen) is an excellent addition to the chronicles of that fascinating series of events.