Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Wisconsin Wave points to the corporate connection

Protests continue today in Madison, with thousands of teachers and students, firefighers and police officers, nurses, clerks and, yes, taxpayers, out in the streets and inside the Capitol to oppose the proposed axeing of Wisconsin state employee's collective bargaining rights. Nationally, solidarity demos are planned across the country. (PR Watch has been liveblogging here--this is a great "one stop site" for keeping an eye on events.)

It didn't take long for connections to be made between Wisconsin's budget shortfalls and giveaways and tax breaks to big business, and for people to organize to spotlight and fight these deals.

The Wisconsin Wave is a new group determined to expose and end the kind of government collusion with corporations that's kept profits privatized, losses socialized, and a recession which was technically over in 2009 "live and kickin'" for the vast majority of Americans.

You can hear a press conference with Wisconsin Wave founders Ben Manski, Joe Conway, President of Fire Fighters Local 311 in Madison, Kevin Gibbon, co-president of the Teaching Assistants Association at UW Madison, and others here, thanks to Wisconsin Radio Network, and read about the conference here and here. The group plans to picket Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, a state group that lobbies for corporate interests, tomorrow.

Also of interest: this excerpt from Les Leopold's 2009 book The Looting of America," focusing on how the town of Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin, joined with four other districts in a multi-million dollar investment plan with the goal of beefing up a school-employee benefits trust fund--long story short, they were pitched what looked like golden eggs but turned out to be a pile of goose poop, and lost bigtime. While it's possible to fault the school boards on due diligence, it's important to note that no one's yet voted millions in taxpayer money to bail out Whitefish Bay.

Lastly, sometimes solidarity comes with extra cheese: From PRWatch, last night: "Mary Bottari reports that Ian's Pizza, located a few blocks away from the capitol, delivered another 50 pizzas to the WI capitol building. Ian's has received calls from all 50 states and 12 countries from people wanting to support the students and workers. Employees Marty and Lexy have delivered over 1,000 pizzas in recent days. In a five minute perfectly executed operation, they drop off, pick up the empties, and zoom out the door. A cart helps them make it through the slippery streets back to their truck."

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