Union Solidarity Across Three States
I believe that what has started in Wisconsin, and is spreading to other states, particularly Ohio and Indiana, is a real sea change in American politics...IF we come together and fight back as a united front. And New Yorkers can and should be at the forefront of this labor fight...as we have been at the forefront all along (see below). Plus we have to counter the bad image the Koch brothers are giving NYC.
Doing the bidding of the Koch Brothers, the NYC Billionaires, the Teabagger Republicans in Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana are trying to destroy the unions that brought us the 40 hour work week, overtime pay, child labor laws...the WEEKEND! Now the governor of Indiana saw which way the wind was blowing and backed off a bit, but these three states are currently the main battle ground between the pro-Billionaire Teabagger Republicans and regular working class Americans. And we have to win in these three states BIG time to slap down the right wing attack on our firefighters, cops, teachers and nurses.
The Republicans have bitten off more than they can chew. The American public, who basically prefer unions, firefighters, police, teachers and nurses better than billionaires, are not happy at all at the right wing attack on unions. In fact, the American public is telling the Teabaggers and their Billionaire Masters:
We're angry and we are NOT going to take it anymore...
My great grandfather lost two fingers and an eye in industrial accidents after coming to, ironically enough, Wisconsin from the old country. Back in Latvia (then part of Tsarist Russia) he was a furniture maker...a craftsman. In Jewish culture at the time this was not really valued. My great grandmother's family, though they had no money, were a family of rabbis, doctors...EDUCATED. So my great grandmother always looked down on her husband for being ONLY a craftsman.
If course, much as I value education, she was wrong. And I think Jewish culture since then has become much more appreciative of the craftsman and the worker. And it was the immigrant Jewish experience in sweatshops and factories that helped bring about the unions in this country. My great grandfather's experience was just one of thousands...and inconsequential in the broader scheme of things. But it did set my family on the path to being FDR Democrats from the start.
But other Jewish immigrant experiences directly shaped and spurred not just the union movement in the US, but even fire safety. Some years back I worked in a lab in this building:
It is now called the Brown Building, part of New York University. But it once was called the Asch building and it housed, among other things the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory.
(from Diana Lisher-Goodband's Blog)
The tragedy there got both fire safety laws AND unions started in the US in a big way. Let me tell you, working in THAT building you sure took the fire drills seriously.
The Teabagger Republicans HATE unions, fire safety laws, firefighters, police, teachers, nurses...they are EAGER to cut the pay and benefits to these people just like they are EAGER to cut taxes on the rich.
I say no. Absolutely NO to the Teabagger Republican attack on working class Americans. I am sticking to the unions and ask you to join me:
First off, I vow to never again use a Koch Brothers product to wipe my ass. Back in the day boycotting products from union busting companies was ingrained at least in this Jewish Liberal's family mind set. Now I see people arguing effectiveness and all that. Hell, I just don't want my money going to the Billionaire Koch Brothers. It's a matter of sticking with the union, whether or not it hurts the Billionaire Koch Brothers. It's a matter of solidarity.
Now I admit the construction products they make are perhaps beyond my reach to boycott, but their paper goods are fair game and I WILL NOT BUY THESE PRODUCTS:
Angel Soft toilet paper
Brawny paper towels
Dixie plates, bowls, napkins and cups
Mardi Gras napkins and towels
Quilted Northern toilet paper
Soft 'n Gentle toilet paper
Vanity fair napkins
Georgia-Pacific paper products and envelopes
Then again I prefer recycled paper products anyway. Seventh Generation or Marcal for example. The Koch brothers may not care...but I sure do. I am sticking with the union and that means, to the best of my ability, boycotting union busters.
Now let's get to Wisconsin. I think one of my favorite shows of solidarity so far has been the overwhelming response to the efforts of a handful of downtown Madison restaurants to feed the pro-Union protesters. You can do this through the Badger Bites website. Send a pizza or sandwiches. NO political movement can succeed on an empty stomach. Nothing says solidarity like a pizza.
We also now have a new iconic number. The number "14" has become symbolic of Democratic Backbone because it was the 14 Democratic state senators in Wisconsin leaving the state that has blocked the Teabagger Republican effort to break the unions. They said NO to Governor Walker, the Koch Brothers' minion in chief in Wisconsin, and so they have become symbolic of the resistance to the Teabagger assault on working class Americans. Since then, donations to the Wisconsin State Senate Campaign Committee have been coming in in $14 increments from all over the country...adding up to over half a million dollars that will go to defending the 14 Democrats with Backbone and hopefully defeating some of the Republicans who are backing Walker.
I have expanded this, both in my own donations and in my fundraising efforts. I am donating, and urging everyone else, to donate, in $14 increments, to the Democratic Parties of all three states where Republicans have made breaking the unions a priority and where Democrats have stood up to them. In Indiana a similar Democratic walkout has forced their governor to back off for now. But I still am donating $14 to the Indiana Democratic Party. And in Ohio the Democrats are trying to hold the line against their Teabagger Republican governor, so I donated $14 to their Democratic Party last week.
I have compiled this idea into a single Union Solidarity Across Three States Act Blue Page. Please join me in supporting this effort to show that when Democrats have spine, WE WILL HAVE THEIR BACK.
There is also an effort to recall some of the Republicans in Wisconsin who are backing Walker. This effort has been more controversial on Daily Kos, but I think it is another good weapon in the fight for unions and can send some genuine fear into the Republicans. If nothing else, it labels these pro-Billionaire Republicans for what they are: anti-working class. If you want to support this more aggressive move, please donate here.
And there is so much more you can do.
And to help out in Indiana (which I am convinced will be a battlefield again soon), visit the Indiana AFL-CIO website.
The Billionaire Koch Brothers think they own America and can do whatever they want. It is our job to show them they are wrong: