What This Is…
Issue #43a- January 22, 2012
In this issue: Recall News, What's Next, Positive Republicans?, Election Fraud, Walker's Budget, Education News, Claiming MLK, Scott Walker, Two Views of America.
This week's edition is broken up into two installments. This first one deals with the political news of the week and ways to organize our efforts to counter the conservative forces at work in Wisconsin.
One Million Signatures!!!! That number really speaks for itself, but when combined with the other 5 GOP elected officials targeted for recall rises to nearly 2 million. A few articles from around the nation and world.
Most of these articles focus on the usual points that have been the heart of news coverage since last year. We must work to get national recognition that we are not just fighting for collective bargaining rights, but are also united to defeat the other initiatives offered by the GOP. Collective bargaining rights alone are worthy of our full support, but when combined with the other issues that are part of our platform make our cause worthy of widespread appeal.
We will hear Walker and his spokespeople offer many different ideas about the recalls in the near future. It is important that we don't allow his comments to go without comment. For example, his claim that he believes the people of Wisconsin support him and wants to put his policies to the test in an election are false. The GOP will do anything and everything to undermine the process and slow the momentum for recall that currently exists. For this reason Walker will ignore the Democratic Party's offer to waive the objections to the recall and move ahead with elections.
The amount of time and money that keeping the recall process open is amazing. Not only can you watch the signature counting room, but eventually scans of all the recall petitions will be available on line. While keeping the process "transparent" is important in order to maintain public faith in our system there are some concerns that these efforts raise. We can't forget that anti-recall activists targeted signers of petitions for harassment when images of the petitions were shown on a newscast. It also doesn't speak well of us that we need to keep the petitions under guard for fear of some act of political terrorism.
Where Do We Go From Here?…
We are engaged in a conflict, and like most conflicts this one will not be solved in any single action (short of complete capitulation by one side). This is a long term struggle that involves constant effort, focus and dedication from all progressive activists. From the initial events of last year this need for maintaining the energy and enthusiasm to fight back has been one of our greatest challenges (and one of the most remarkable things about the resistance to the conservative agenda in Wisconsin).
As with any struggle there are times of intense action along with significant lulls in between noteworthy events. Just remember the "Phoney War" in Europe just prior to the German invasion of France in 1940. However, as the Allies learned in the 1940's, these breaks in the action are really just the calm before the storm. It is these respites that we must use to our advantage.
There is no doubt that a large number of volunteers were active during the signature gathering phase of our recall effort. These activists braved the weather, opposition bullying and other obstacles while maintaining the other parts of their lives (family, job, etc.) as well. Now that the immediate need for significant volunteer hours is lessened momentarily these volunteers can take a moment to recharge and reorganize themselves. I encourage all activists to be sure to make the effort to celebrate and relax a little. Make sure that you are ready to engage in the next stages of the struggle.
At the same time we are taking advantage of a few moments to restore balance to our lives we must not forget that we have more preparation to do. The preparation we do now will serve us well in the upcoming months. Evidence of this can be seen in the organization of the recent recall effort as compared to the efforts earlier in 2011. We were able to learn from our mistakes and build on our strengths and achieved tremendous success.
We must remember that democracy can't defend itself. Instead, democracy relies on the citizens represented by the government to be its defenders. We have seen how quickly democratic rights and values can be taken from us over the course of the past year. It is up to us to prepare ourselves to protect what we believe in.
Perhaps the most obvious thing to do for progressives is to find candidates we can rally behind and who will be able to beat Walker, Kleefisch and the 4 GOP senators. This will not be a smooth, easy process. It is of vital importance that we build support for our candidates and don't simply rely on anti-conservative feelings to carry us to victory. Already the conservatives are working to fracture the alliances formed between different groups who have supported the recall. They will claim that it is the union bosses who will be picking the candidate that best serves the needs of the "liberal elite". We must make sure that we take the time and select the best candidates in an open and honest manner.
Positive Republican Actions?…
Republicans have been warning us about widespread election fraud and the deceit perpetuated by the "liberal elite of America". To prevent it they've instituted Voter ID Laws and other "reforms" to make our electoral process safe. They've redrawn voting districts and used laws that call for partisan representatives to man polling places. Along the way they forgot the most important part of an honest election…accurately counting the ballots cast.
I know it's a different situation than a general election, but the Iowa Caucus doesn't do much to increase confidence in the ability of the Republicans to manage an election.
It should be a significant concern to all of us that we have doubts about the validity of the vote counting systems in place all over our state and nation. This is a long video that demonstrates the problem in Arizona, but we can't ignore the fact that the electoral system in Wisconsin is not without its problems. These issues have been demonstrated quite clearly in the past few elections, most notably the race for State Supreme Court in 2011.
A letter posted on Facebook recently laid out the concerns that we have about elections in Wisconsin.
A more immediate, less entertaining and more troubling example of what good advertising can do…