It’s understood that Republicans hate unions, but nothing could prepare Wisconsin citizens for the imperatorial tactics of Scott Walker.
Scott Walker is intent on busting state employee unions, and the unions within the state of Wisconsin are advertising Walker’s plans as “martial law.” So what exactly is happening between Walker and the state unions?
Walker is claiming he needs to balance the budget, and the state employee salaries are to blame for his inability to do so. (Note that Walker has not asked the same of police and fire department unions, owing to their support of his gubernatorial campaign.)
Wisconsin is in a $137 million shortfall, and Walker is playing politics with the Democratic party, traditionally supported by unions. Walker thinks he can plug this hole by by stripping the union’s of their collective bargaining rights, which caused 10,000 union members to converge on the state capitol in Madison.
And if they won’t disperse, Walker plans to militarize union-busting by bringing in the Wisconsin National Guard. Which raises at least two critical points: 1) Should states be allowed to deploy national guards in union-busting efforts, and 2) Should states even have national guards at all?
The first point is obviously no. The second is a bit more complicated. Ample evidence exists that national guards don’t so much guard against foreign aggressors, but are more often than not deployed against a state’s population. Remember when some trigger-happy National Guardsman murdered Kent State student activists in 1970, in what has been called the May 4th Massacre.
They were also deployed in Katrina and given the order to ‘shoot to kill’ by the then Democratic Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco. The National Guard was also involved in the disastrous assault on the Branch Davidians’ compound in Waco, and shot five people during the 1992 LA riots.
Is it not insanity to allow a military to march on and shoot its fellow citizens? This makes us no better than the Ancient Romans, who routinely marched their military on the city, or deployed them to quell the masses. If anything, a National Guard should be available for natural disasters or terrorist attacks, and should be stripped of the right to turn weapons on U.S. citizens and bust unions.
Such is the state of affairs, though, that a Republican Governor believes he has the power to do just that. The argument seems to be this: “If the citizens will not accept our form of austerity measures (measures purely political), then we will make them do so by threat of force.” Nothing is more convincing than storm troopers and a gun aimed at a skull or heart.
And that is what Walker is turning the National Guard into: a gang of storm troopers—his own personal Gestapo.
Walker should ask the unions to negotiate, which is the fair thing to do here. The argument could be made that some of the unions could take some degree of cuts, just as private workers have done since the 2008 bank-inspired economic crash. Bring them to the table, and they would likely agree on some arrangement. Beyond these measures, Walker could make budget sacrifices elsewhere.
Instead, Walker shut the unions out of the process and scheduled a legislative hearing that was held yesterday at the state capitol in Madison. However, both houses of the Wisconsin legislature are currently dominated by Republicans. The 10,000 strong showed their displeasure, which is their right. Teachers called in sick and attended the protest, and correctional workers also joined in the activism.
Which raises another interesting point: clearly it is okay for Egyptians to press for their democratic rights, but if U.S. citizens attempt this on American soil, the protests will be crushed.
Walker is Wisconsin’s home-grown Mubarak.
He has crowned himself a dictator, and believes that Wisconsin is his personal fiefdom, in which he can wield the National Guard as he pleases.
Walker is, by definition, a tyrant. Other Wisconsin, non-union residents should join the fray.