Friday, March 11, 2011

Don Taylor on the Favor Republicans Have Done the Progressive Movement

Above: Wisconsin Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau)
leaves the Wisconsin State Capitol senate parlor after the Senate voted
to move forward with an amended version of the state's controversial
budget bill, which strips most collective bargaining rights of public employees
– Wednesday, March 9, 2011. (AP Photo/John Hart)

Don Taylor has an interesting take on events in Wisconsin, were Senate Republicans have strip unions of most collective bargaining rights. He believes they've done progressives a "huge favor."

Much of what Taylor says makes sense, although I don't think supporting the Democrats "right down the line" is that progressive. In many ways they're just as beholden to corporate interests as the Republicans. In the bigger picture, their hands are hardly "clean" (as Naomi Klein discusses here).

I often think that the truly progressive thing the American people could do would be to ditch both major parties and their neo-liberal economic doctrines and support and elect representatives from truly grassroots political parties (say the Green Party or the Socialist Equality Party). It seems to me that only then will the needs of people and the environment be put before corporate greed. Of course, given the fact that the U.S. is basically a plutocracy and not an actual democracy (i.e., it's money that rules, not 'we, the people'), such a much-needed change will be very difficult to accomplish.

Anyway, here's a snippet of Taylor's's commentary.

. . . The favor the Republicans have done the progressive movement is that they have made the political lines of this fight crystal clear. The Democrats’ hands are clean. The distinction between those who stood with workers and those who are against workers is obvious and unblurred.

After the vote result was announced, thousands stormed the capitol, chanting “general strike!” Republican senators tried to sneak out of the building via underground tunnels, but were met by hundreds of protesters who were aware of the escape route. State police had to escort the senators through the crowd. Today, protesters were removed so that the Assembly could meet and railroad the bill through.

The escalation has begun. The scale of direct action will multiply, not just in Madison, but statewide. Calls for a general strike – previously dismissed by many – are now serious.

Ahead of us lies a string of recall efforts and eventually, the 2012 elections. The Republicans have thrown a tanker full of fuel on the fire, and have done so in a way so that the people’s movement will not hesitate to support Democrats right down the line. They have removed “lesser of two evils” from the political calculation, making the choice starkly apparent.

For that, I suppose, we can thank them.

To read Don Taylor's commentary, "Wisconsin Republicans Have Done Progressives a Huge Favor," in its entirety, click here.

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Across America, "the Giant is Awake"
At the Minnesota Capitol, a Show of Support for Workers' Rights in Wisconsin and Beyond
A Lose-Lose Situation
Capitalism on Trial
R.I.P Neoclassical Economics
Progressives and Obama (Part 1)
Progressives and Obama (Part 2)
Progressives and Obama (Part 3)
Progressives and Obama (Part 4)
Progressives and Obama (Part 5)
The Challenge for Progressive with an Obama Presidency
Progressives and Obama (Part 6)
In a Blow to Democracy, U.S. Supreme Court Affirms Corporate Personhood
Buffy Sainte-Marie: Singing It and Praying It; Living It and Saying It

Recommended Off-site Links:
Wisconsin Citizens "Cheated Out of Democracy" – Elizabeth DiNovella (The Progressive, March 10, 2011).
Time for a Main Street Contract for the American People – Rose Ann DeMoro (, March 11, 2011).
Why Wisconsin Matters to Environmentalists – Rebecca Tarbotton (The Huffington Post, March 11, 2011).
Amid Democratic Revolutions Abroad, Authoritarian Revolutions at Home – Jackie Smith (, March 11, 2011).
"This Isn't Over" – Senator Al Franken (, March 10, 2011).
Michael Moore: "This is a Class War" Democracy Now! (March 10, 2011).

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