This week has seen massive, broad based protests in Wisconsin over Tea Party governor Scott Walker's new labor bill, which outlaws collective bargaining, slashes real wages in the public sector (by increasing workers' share of pension contributions and other payments), and allows the executive to fire state employees without substantial due process. Walker brought down his bill with enormous bluster, promising to mobilize the national guard against the state's workers if they had the temerity to demonstrate against this gutting of their hard-fought rights. Thousands and thousands of protestors have surrounded the state capital, and Walker has had to retreat to a nearby corporate boardroom in order to give his budget address. Protestors are camping out around the clock, braving the Wisconsin February to stand up for their rights -- a little bit of Midwestern Tahrir Square right there in America.
The bill, introduced just this week, is already up for a planned vote on Thursday. State Senator Robert Jauh (D-Poplar) asked for more time, saying "Even God took seven days."Wisconsin Demonstrates Against Scott Walker's War on Unions (The Awl)
But Walker knows time is his enemy. With opposition to his bill growing, even from inside his own party, Walker has to ram this thing through now. And ram it through he might. Word on the street is that Walker has the votes.
The unheard of move to take government functions to private industry locations could not be more perfect symbolism for what Walker and the GOP intends to accomplish over the next four years--first in Wisconsin and then in your town. With his choice of words explaining his move of the event, the governor has launched the culture war for the next political cycle, pitting publicly employed Americans against their private counterparts in a battle where the only assured outcome is losses by both sides.
I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.