‘Austerity’ is the word used by those in power to make it sound like we are all in this ‘budget crisis’ together, when in fact it is the ruling oligarchs of this nation, the banksters and their coin-operated politicians, that created the crisis that now threatens to bring working people to their knees.
However tens of thousands have mobilized in Wisconsin and continue to do so — from the Green Bay Packers to public sector workers to parents and students — in an effort to let Governor Walker know that any cuts to education, any destruction of collective bargaining rights for public workers, and any further cuts to public workers pay, such as making them contribute 50% to their own pensions and forcing them to pay more than 12.5% more for their health care to for-profit corporations, is unacceptable. Finally public sector unions have mobilized together to see their common interests and fight corporate reactionaires and their hand tools.
It is no mystery what is going on with the reactionaries and the class war being waged against working people. We see it in Washington and we see it in every major city in the nation. Wall Street has seen nothing but bailouts, hefty bonuses and profits and mergers since the collapse in October 2008. Now that the government is forced to borrow from the same ruling class that stole trillions of dollars in value from working people, we are being told as citizen-workers that we must further impoverish our society and drive public workers into the poor house while further slashing education for our children. Not only is this immoral it is financially untenable. For it will further hurt ‘demand’ which is the engine of capital accumulation as it steals more and more wages from workers, those that fuel our economy.
Never mind, Walker has threatened to call out the National Guard if workers do not respond by sheepishly hanging their heads and going about their business as if it was usual. This is a threatened show-down much like what we have seen in Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain. It is time to say NO to the reactionaries and continue to demonstrate by shutting down services in Wisconsin. In fact it is essential if we are not to drift into a corporate fascism much like that which existed in Chile or Italy under Mussolini.
Make no bones about it: Governor Christie of New Jersey, another scurrilous reactionary is waiting in the wings to do the same thing in his state. Governor Kasich from Ohio, the former Fox News peon and reactionary congressman, is wetting his lips to do the same to Ohioans. Jerry Brown, the recently elected Governor of the State of California, has proposed $1 billion dollars of cuts to education as well as other draconian slash and burn policies. And in New York, Governor Cuomo, another so-called ‘Democrat’ is posturing for a blood bath of public worker’s gains and rights letting all of us know that this is not about democrat or republican; it is about working people – capital and labor.
‘Capital’ is represented by the politicians bought and paid for to be the valets and butlers for the interests of the ruling class who fund them. ‘Labor’ is represented by both unionized and non-unionized public and private workers who have seen no increase in their wages adjusted for inflation since 1978. Less than one percent of the people in the United States own more in wealth than 90% of the public combined. The share of the tax burden the ‘one percent’ pay has fallen rapidly since Reaganomics and deregulation has left them with more billionaires in their ‘class’ than ever before. In fact, according to Richard Wolfe, an economist at Amherst and noted author of ‘Capitalism Hits the Fan’, for the last thirty years the richest one percent of the nation’s people have earned 80% of all the wealth accumulated since that time. This is morally reprehensible not to mention unsustainable.
What is going on in Wisconsin will erupt like a skin rash all over this nation if the reactionaries and the capitalists get their way. It is time for labor to step forward and fight the tyrants of capital. Thankfully we see this in Wisconsin and we can only hope for an Egyptian moment..
From the desk of Larry Miller.
Larry Miller is the Milwaukee Public School Director for District 5 of Milwaukee. He is also with ReThinking Schools and provides one of the most complete and comprehensive websites of what is going on with the mobilization of public sector workers, parents, students and working and non-working families in their fight against the reactionary austerity program being pushed forth by rightwing Governor Walker in Wisconsin.
I urge you to visit Larry Miller’s blog and read what is going on in Wisconsin at: http://millermps.wordpress.com/2011/02/17/walker-declares-war-on-our-kids/
The following is news taken from Larry’s blog from today, February 17, 2011
If Scott Walker follows through with refusing Title 1 aid ($90 million loss for MPS) and cuts the state funding by $500 per child ($43 million loss for MPS) it would be the destruction of MPS.
This is a declaration of war on the poor, on working families and on the middle class. Under the guise of cutting taxes and opening the door to business, Walker is destroying the future for many children and their families.
Money is being taken from schools that have already been cut to the bare bones. Asking for adequate funding is not a case of throwing money at a problem. It’s a matter of ensuring what is mandated and guaranteed under the law of the State of Wisconsin. Wisconsin students are guaranteed a “sound basic education” as a “fundamental right.”
Please join the fight to save public education. Write letters and call the Governor’s office (1-608-266-1212.) Do the same with your state legislators (1-877-753-5578.) Convince parents and teachers at your children’s school to do so as well.
Please go to APennyForKids.org and TellYourSchoolStory.org to join our movement for public education.
Here are some of our key demands:
- Increase, not cut, the per pupil funding for next year by $275.
- Keep early childhood funding (K4) and fully fund SAGE.
- Support a 1% sales tax for our kids (A Penny for Kids Campaign).
- Increase state funding for special education.
The Wisconsin legislative statute, 121.02(L) (1997-98), set clear standards for what is mandated to be taught to Wisconsin’s public school students. These requirements go far beyond the core curriculum to guarantee that all students receive instruction in physical education/health, art, music and have access to library resources.
This position was reaffirmed in the Wisconsin Supreme Court 2000 majority position on school funding by Justice Patrick Crooks (Vincent v. Voight):
“We further hold that Wisconsin students have a fundamental right to an equal opportunity for a sound basic education. An equal opportunity for a sound basic education is one that will equip students for their roles as citizens and enable them to succeed economically and personally. The legislature has articulated a standard for equal opportunity for a sound basic education in Wis. Stat. §§ 118.30(lg)(a) and 121.02(L) (1997-98) as the opportunity for students to be proficient in mathematics, science, reading and writing, geography, and history, and for them to receive instruction in the arts and music, vocational training, social sciences, health, physical education and foreign language, in accordance with their age and aptitude.”
Larry Miller-MPS School Board Director, District 5