It should have been understood and (by now) accepted that the draconian budget of Scott Walker would be rubber-stamped in the Joint Finance Committee. It should also be understood that since protests began, Republicans have been looking for ammunition to use against the progressive movement. How many times were we warned during mass protests at the Capitol to not engage counter-protestors…don’t give them any video to use against us. Even when protestors (who had slept under the dome for many nights) were “removed” from the Capitol, it was voluntary. The actions of protestors in Joint Finance in recent days has jeopardized recalls, and the very movement. There is a time and place for civil disobedience, yes, and that time may well be coming soon. There may be a time for a General Strike coming soon as well; depending on the actions of the JFC tonight, and whether Collective Bargaining changes are inserted into the budget in committee. These disruptions in committee have given the Republicans exactly what they need to discredit the movement. Video and audio of unruly protestors in a Committee hearing where public input is not the accepted policy or rule. The protestors even shouted over Democrats Jauch, Schilling, and Taylor as they implored them to stop. Democratic Legislators who have had to endure firsthand the insanity of this budget deserve our respect more than anyone.
I was proud to be asked to sign onto the letter from Jenni Dye to the Isthmus on Friday, and agree wholeheartedly with her view. I also address this message to all in pursuit of Democracy and the restoration of Progressive values to Wisconsin. On May 22, Badger Democracy posted the blog “Envision the Walker Recall – an Open Letter to Lovers of Democracy.” If you haven’t already, read it. If you have, read it again. There are those who place their own moments in the sun ahead of the cause. Those who take action without considering consequences for the entire movement imperil the cause itself. The Republicans only need a small amount of sympathy from the public to hold their ground. We MUST stand united in every effort. We MUST exercise restraint and resist the desire to act in a manner that can be used against us – individually or collectively.
There will be time for organized and collective action – perhaps General Strike, perhaps civil disobedience in occupying the Capitol if need be. As a collective group, we will know when the time has come. That time has not been in this Committee meeting. The Republicans have a 12-4 majority in this committee – what other outcome would you expect? Stay united. Show up in mass numbers again as the Legislature takes up the budget on Monday. Show them we are still paying attention and they are accountable. Deluge their offices with email, calls, letters. RECALL – work and struggle legally and ethically to take back the Senate – then UNITE to recall Walker behind a United front from every corner of the state. THAT is how we can win. That is how we will win.
Solidarity, and Forward!