Power to the People

March 17, 2011

Wisconsin protest AP

From the Middle East to the United States the people are uprising and protesting those in power who have been whittling away at democracy and suppressing the common peoples' rights.

In the United States the theft of collective bargaining rights under the GOP's agenda of destroying unions has awakened struggling middle class workers. State legislatures are attacking public servants and threatening to tax pensions while giving tax breaks to the rich and large corporations. Their actions have outraged the struggling middle class of our nation. People are taking to the streets to protest from coast to coast.

Over 100,000 protested in Wisconsin this weekend. Many thousands protested in Michigan this week, and over 10,000 demonstrated across in Ohio today. Some pro-union protesters in Tennessee were arrested at the state capitol. Last week more than 8,000 union workers, teachers and and labor organizers protested at the Indiana Statehouse. Tuesday hundreds of Oklahoma teachers rallied at the state capitol screaming, "We won't be silenced." Yesterday in Washington, DC hundreds of protesters crashed a lobbyist''s fundraiser for the Wisconsin Republicans as thousands of others blocked Washington, DC streets.

In Florida, every Tuesday after work, public workers, the jobless and middle class are holding protest rallies. The solidarity protests called "Awake the State" or "Defend the Dream" rallies are organized to push back against the GOP agenda that supports special interests and corporate America at the expense of the public servants and middle class. At Tuesday's rally at Lake Eola  in Orlando one sign read,  "The Tea Party is over!"

It looks like the Tea Party may be over. The Dick Armey-backed, Koch brother-backed, Ralph Reed-backed Tea Partiers have been overtaken by a new wave of protesters ––union members, public servants,  labor activists, the unemployed, and diverse group of angry middle class citizens of all ages. The Democrats and progressives have been awakened, and they have not just taken to the streets, but are organizing recalls of GOP elected officials.  Over two million dollars has been raised to support the Wisconsin recall.

The GOP made a big mistake by targeting unions perceived to be big donors to Democratic candidates. The union members are both Democrats and Republicans. They are angry at partisan attacks to their pensions, meager salaries and bargaining rights. They will remember when it comes time to vote.

Film maker Michael Moore spoke in Wisconsin. He said to pass his message on. (Read it here.) Here it is in part:
America is not broke.

Contrary to what those in power would like you to believe so that you'll give up your pension, cut your wages, and settle for the life your great-grandparents had, America is not broke. Not by a long shot. The country is awash in wealth and cash. It's just that it's not in your hands. It has been transferred, in the greatest heist in history, from the workers and consumers to the banks and the portfolios of the uber-rich.

Today just 400 Americans have the same wealth as half of all Americans combined.

Let me say that again. 400 obscenely rich people, most of whom benefited in some way from the multi-trillion dollar taxpayer "bailout" of 2008, now have as much loot, stock and property as the assets of 155 million Americans combined. If you can't bring yourself to call that a financial coup d'├ętat, then you are simply not being honest about what you know in your heart to be true.

And I can see why. For us to admit that we have let a small group of men abscond with and hoard the bulk of the wealth that runs our economy, would mean that we'd have to accept the humiliating acknowledgment that we have indeed surrendered our precious Democracy to the moneyed elite. Wall Street, the banks and the Fortune 500 now run this Republic -- and, until this past month, the rest of us have felt completely helpless, unable to find a way to do anything about it...

...America ain't broke! The only thing that's broke is the moral compass of the rulers. And we aim to fix that compass and steer the ship ourselves from now on. Never forget, as long as that Constitution of ours still stands, it's one person, one vote, and it's the thing the rich hate most about America -- because even though they seem to hold all the money and all the cards, they begrudgingly know this one unshakeable basic fact: There are more of us than there are of them!


Anonymous said...

Always a plus side. Wisconsin won't see another republican elected for quite awhile according recent polling there.

Anonymous said...

"America is not broke." Neither is Moore who's net worth in the neighborhood of fifty million dollars. He comes across as a middle class working man, but he's hardly that. He was also brought up in a very wealthy family, not poor like he depicts himself to be.

One of the reasons why America sends manufacturing jobs overseas is because of unions. When Obama bailed out GM, he wasn't bailing out the car industry he was bailing out union pensions. The pensions themselves are worth more than the company. Unions are generally controlled by organized crime syndicates. That's how the Teamsters started it all. Jimmy Hoffa anyone? When a union windshield wiper of 20 years makes $125/hr (actual number)something is broken.

Wendy said...

Anonymous 5:10

You are incorrect. Michael Moore's mom was a secretary and his dad worked in an auto company in Michigan. They were not wealthy. He wasn't either until after he made his films! He dropped out of college freshman year and worked as a writer.

Not all unions can negotiate high paying salaries. Look at teachers, police officers and fire fighters -none make high salaries.

Unions are not "generally controlled by organized crime syndicates" as you said. Please fact check.

Show me a link to where you got the information that a union worker earns $125 an hour making windshield wipers please.

It's not your money! said...

America ships manufacturing jobs overseas because of employer greed. Big companies lobbied (bribed) the Congress to allow them to shift operations overseas and avoid U.S. taxes, wage/hour laws, and environmental safeguards. Companies in the states cannot remain in business when so-called "free-trade" agreements force them to compete with Chinese slave labor outfits that don't allow unions and pour their industrial waste into the air and water.

Anonymous said...

The $125/hour figure includes benefits and the cost of future pensions, and it may include an overtime bonus. Using that kind of math, many workers in high-benefit jobs "make" high salaries. It does reflect the cost to the company, but it's misleading as normally when we talk about pay we use take-home cash pay, not the total cost to the company.

Anonymous said...

Typical that those who have nothing substantive to use as a defense, turn their attack on the messengers. Everything reported in Moore's films on the health industry and fast food restaurants has proven to be absolutely true. He made a movie about the financial markets and wealthy before the crash, and look what happened. Bash Moore, that's the idiot's response.

Anonymous said...

That's right, "it's not your money!". Continue to reify the Politics of Envy!


Anonymous said...

In the private sector Unions might be a necessary evil. I say that because in that relationship there is a profit motive to at least keep the concern going. No profit, no jobs for anybody. The unions know this and back down when necessary.
It is totally different in the public sector. You have people with no vested interest making deals to pay fellow public sector employees money. After all, it's the taxpayers money and there does not need to be a huge incentive to save. In fact, the rule is "spend your budget or you may not get as much next year".
I will agree that there is not perfect system for this when it comes to what a persons job is worth (in the private sector it is whatever they pay...period). But the public sector union seems to think that once you have a job you have a job for life no matter how poor a job you do. Pay for performance is one thing, but having taxpayers pay for deadbeat, or let's just say less than productive employees, is not the best use of the money. Shouldn't the taxpayers get the best people working for them? In New York they fired only THREE teachers in a two year period. New York Times: http://roomfordebate.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/02/24/getting-rid-of-bad-teachers/ The problem is the same in other places.
I think good teachers should make more and yes, at the expense of bad teachers. Of course the union wants the all teachers, good or bad, because it's a warm dues-paying body. Protections? Well, they have the Civil Service and EEOC for more added layers of protection. The same this goes for other public sector unions.
I also think it is a bit of a myth that teachers are not getting paid. Yes,new teachers are not paid that much, but neither are new folks starting out in private business with a degree. Look at a teacher that has been teaching for ten years and many are making 50k and up. Now, you might not consider that good amount, but it is more than the average worker with a BBA makes. I would be happy to send you the Census bureau info on that. Also, compute their pay on a yearly basis of work (like I do, I don't have summers and long vacations plus other vacation days) and it becomes more attractive. I know this one teacher that tells me "Well, I could be making twice as much in the private sector" Really? This is true if 1) Someone would hire you and 2) pay you twice as much.
Public Sector employess are going to have to "feel the pain" just like everyone else. They are not special.