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Wisconsin Uprising Hardcover – March 1, 2012
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About the Author
Michael D. Yates is Associate Editor of Monthly Review and the author of Why Unions Matter and The ABCs of the Economic Crisis (with Fred Magdoff).
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The Foreword to this 2012 book notes that the counter-protests by Tea Party participants "could barely get a thousand people to show up at one of their Wisconsin demonstrations---even flying in the Koch Brothers' favorite union-hating worker, Joe the Plumber, to hype the gate." (Pg. 12) It also notes that the Democratic Party has delivered "next to nothing" for labor for decades, "except the knowledge that Democrats are not Republicans... (and) know they can serve the corporate community and Wall Street and keep labor support because labor has nowhere else to go." (Pg. 15) The book later opines that "No party is committed to a fundamental challenge to financial and corporate power." (Pg. 190)
The Introduction suggests that the mainstream media's owners (who "are more interested in making money than in telling the truth") would have us believe that immigrants, Muslims, or the Chinese are to blame for what is happening, when "It is the economic system and those who control it that bear responsibility." (Pg. 23-24) The Wisconsin rebellion is portrayed as "the result of accumulated grievances... pushed over the edge by an assault on the only remaining organized segment of the working class." (Pg. 39)
An essay notes that although Governor Walker claimed when he took office that the state was "broke," there was actually a $121.4 million surplus, which was quickly paid out to special interest groups through tax deductions, credits, and reclassifications, so "They would then say that there was actually a budget crisis... that they themselves created... and move forward with measures to 'correct' it." (Pg. 49)
When unions offered concessions, they "lost an opportunity to forcefully point out... the real cause of the state's red ink: a tax system designed to let corporations and the very rich off the hook." (Pg. 144) The unions "did not seriously contest the notion that workers must sacrifice to 'save' the Wisconsin state budget." (Pg. 232)
This book (along with It Started in Wisconsin: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Labor Protest and We Are Wisconsin - The Wisconsin uprising in the words of the activists, writers, and everyday Wisconsinites who made it happen) is an excellent statement of this fascinating movement.
In a coversation with Governor Walker, a person pretending to be billionaire David Kocke, Walker, with steely-eyed determination, had stated that he intended to "crush the uprising." A tyrant's response to democracy, if there ever was one. Also, one author notes that prior to Walker taking office, the state was said to have a $121.4 million-dollar surplus, granting Walker the incentive to give $140 million dollars to special interest groups, or more accurately put, groups that sponsered his agenda. In short, he created the deficit in pursuance to his own agenda.
As Mark Twain observed so many years ago, "History may not exactly repeat itself, but it does rhyme." At the beginning of the previous century, during the early formation of unions, workers were being gunned down in the street for demanding basic humane rights. And here we are again!