February 23, 2011
Midnight train to Madison
By John Ertl
Watching the Ed Schultz show a few days ago on MSNBC and seeing the live coverage of democracy in action in Madison made my heart swell. That night, on the campus of Cornell University where I am a student, I felt more pride in my home state than I have in my whole life. As I watched the amazing displays of solidarity go on in support of the right to workplace democracy, the freedom to associate, and a more just economic system, the often-repeated idea that this is a crucial moment in U.S. labor history hit home. Hard.
Yesterday three members of the Cornell Organization for Labor Action and I loaded up my car and drove some 850 miles straight from Ithaca, New York to the center of the struggle for workers’ rights in Madison. “Class be damned,” we told ourselves, “There’s a class war going on and we’re not going to sit this one out!”
As a young labor activist, I have read many accounts of union struggles in our nation. I often try to imagine what those moments must have felt like, and until today I thought I had a pretty good idea of what true struggle against the odds feels like. But as the old adage goes, “There is no experience like experience.” Hearing the roar of the crowd in the Capitol dome and picketing side-by-side with working people into the night was an almost surreal experience.
No matter where you are, it is possible to help in this fight. Two days ago, 150 or so citizens, union and non-union alike, gathered in Park Falls, Wisconsin to protest our Republican congressional and state legislative representatives and to stand in solidarity with the protests going on in Madison. I urge all of you to follow their fine example, join in the protests wherever you find them, and make as much noise as you can. If working people lose this week we may all just lose everything.
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Well well. This is all very inspiring but all I know is that Walker, his donors, and the GOP are bullies. I never met a bully that responded to pretty please stop. To stop a bully you have to inflict the same pain on him that he has been dishing out to you.
So, carry all the clever signs you want and bring on the usual suspects like Jesse Jackass and the usual guitar thwangers but until you find a way to put the hurt on Walker and his gang this is all a wasted effort.
Sorry to be so negative because it really is great that the public has finally decided to wake up and smell the coffee. But, where is the hurt and how ya gonna win this?
-Griebnotz Doerkpfester | Happily No Longer From Walkerville, WI. | February 23, 2011
Oh John - you make me so proud! Your Great-Grandpa MacDonald is somewhere cheering you on, as am I...
Thanks - - -
-John Smart | Park Falls WI | February 23, 2011