Wisconsin Worker’s Struggle, Global Solidarity, and Resistance

Early in the Wisconsin Movement against the corporate coup d’etat, it was apparent state labor and progressives were in solidarity with a worldwide resistance. Scott Walker has adopted the policies pushed by the new age of “Robber Barons” – plundering state resources for unfettered profits, leaving a trail of human devastation  in their wake. It is a worldwide movement, facing a global economic system committed to “disaster capitalism.” State and world leaders are using a “financial crisis” as cover to implement their self-serving policies. The recent appointment of Christine LaGarde as Chair of the powerful International Monetary Fund (IMF) will have lasting repercussions in Wisconsin and the world. A worldwide resistance to this power will be required to save the working middle class.

 Christine LaGarde will not be the agent of change and reform, as the mainstream financial press would have the world believe. She has positioned herself as a financial world “feminist,” using that image to present a facade of integrity and independent thinking. The reality is LaGarde will continue the decades-old IMF practice of holding world economies hostage for critically needed aid money. In exchange for financial bail-out funds in the billions of dollars, countries like Greece, Spain, and Portugal will agree to implement  “shock doctrine” financial reforms. Reforms that privatize services, destroy unions, deregulate financial systems, and create record profits for multinational corporations; all while destroying the working middle class. The financial “crisis” being cited as necessity for this action has been created by the very entities who have consolidated profit and power under those policies. A speech given by Mme LaGarde in 2008, at the Executive’s Club of Chicago, clearly defines her economic philosophy. A philosophy that saw its beginning in Chicago, and will require united resistance by all the workers of the world. A philosophy that supports and encourages actions similar to Scott Walker in Wisconsin to be implemented on a global level, requiring people of the world to unite against a common foe – global corporatism.

On May 23, 2008, La Garde (then Minister of Economic Affairs in France) gave a speech at a special luncheon for the Executive’s Club of Chicago.  LaGarde has a history in Chicago. In 1981, she joined the multi-national powerhouse lawfirm Baker and McKenzie. She made partner in under six years, and was named the firm’s Chair in 1999. While in Chicago, she was highly influenced by the economic philosopies of Milton Friedman, a self-proclaimed Disaster Capitalist, and the Chicago School of Economics. A spokesperson for the School confirmed for Badger Democracy that while Mme LaGarde did not attend formal classes at the University, she is listed as a “highly important person in the world of economics,” and has had “frequent contact” with the School and faculty. Milton Friedman and The Chicago School are cited as the origin of the “Shock Doctrine” (if you are not familiar with this doctrine, explore the link to Naomi Klein’s website) of economics. This Doctrine has created record corporate profits in developing nations, while devastating the middle working class wherever it is implemented. Early in her speech, Mme LaGarde states:

 “…France is on the move …I won’t go through each of our fifty-five reforms, contained in thirty-seven laws passed by Parliament in the last year. Together, they represent a kind of “shock therapy,” if I may borrow an expression from one of the most famous Chicagoans, Milton Friedman.

There are (1) reforms that we as a Government are implementing, (2) economic reforms that I am conducting more personally as Minister for Economy, Employment and Industry, and (3) international regulation reforms that your country can help us realize.

The shock therapy will make all the clichés about our country belong to history.”

La Garde goes on to outline reforms France has undertaken that will sound all too familiar to Wisconsinites. Wage and taxation laws benefitting corporations, pension and benefit reforms, privatization, weakening public unions, and opening France for international corporate investment. In a latter portion of the speech, she uses words we are accustomed to hearing from Governor Walker:

“France is open for business”

It is no wonder that workers in France have rioted in protest of these “reforms.”  Wisconsin and the world should take notice at how these reforms have worked in France since implemented in 2008. According to the CIA factbook  (note: the CIA link may not open the first time – click “refresh” while on the error message page, and it will open) on the French Economy, the reforms have generated large increases in private corporate profits. The cost to the working people of France, however, is much more bleak:

From 2008-2010, Unemployment jumped from 7.4% to 9.5%

Government Budget Deficit grew from 3.4% GDP to 7.8% GDP

GDP was down 2.5% in 2009, recovered only 1.5% in 2010

Public Debt increased from 68% of GDP to 84% of GDP

Air France, France Telecom, Renault, and Thales have been privatized – formerly large sources of revenue for the state.

All the while, the recovery is being financed on the backs of the workers in France. The same programs are being implemented all over the world, financed in many cases by the IMF. Financing big money bailouts to the entities that created the “crisis” in the first place – at the expense of the ever-shrinking middle class. The IMF will withhold funds from these countries until “shock doctrine” style reforms are passed – giving the IMF the power to exercise its goal of  (direct quote from second to last paragraph in the following link) “Global Economic Governance.”  

The world is waking up to these ideologies so destructive to the working middle class. While news coverage in Wisconsin and the mainstream media are lacking, the people of the world are fighting for their rights. Wisconsin is not alone in this struggle. It has become a worldwide struggle whose outcome will define the world direction for our children’s children. The disaster capitalists and corporate anarchists are attempting a takeover of the world economy, at the expense of the human condition. As progressives have always done, we must stand with the people of the world and resist the philosophies of the Christine LaGardes and Scott Walkers of the world - who would see the world as an unfettered breeding ground for corporate profits.

Stand up, and continue to stand strong Wisconsin – ours is a global struggle, which will define the world we live in – and leave for the future. Vive la Resistance! 

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