Wisconsin: What now?
By Juan Conatz - libcom.com, June 19, 2011
Last week, the Wisconsin Supreme Court overruled a lower judge's injunction against the collective bargaining law, allowing it to go into effect at the end of this month. The budget bill also passed the assembly and senate, marking it a twin defeat for the movement here that emerged in February.
It was April since the last time I wrote on what was going on in Madison, so this is a rough update of what has developed since then.
Supreme Court Election
As the cries for 'general strike' died down and became limited to smaller far left groups and isolated public sector workers, the strategy, tactic and rhetoric of the recall and Supreme Court election achieved almost absolute dominance.
Although the April 4th 'Day of Action' called by the AFL-CIO was worded vaguely enough to warrant a number of different interpretations1, in Madison, it was the equivalent of a get out the vote rally. Union leaders and even Jesse Jackson was wheeled out to give their canned speeches telling us to fight for our rights through the ballot box to vote for liberal Supreme Court candidate JoAnne Kloppenburg. Even MLK and the Memphis sanitation workers' memory was brought up.2
In the end, despite significant outpouring by the Democratic Party, the unions and their volunteers, Kloppenburg lost in a heavily contested vote that included a recount and accusations of voter fraud.
Recall & Demobilization
In tandem with the Supreme Court election mobilization, volunteers hit the state trying to get signatures to file for a recall election against several Republican state senators. The daily rallies trickled down to weekly rallies, which then became biweekly rallies. There was a near demobilization, as the collective bargaining law was hung up in the courts and the demonstrations attracted fewer and fewer people. Unions stopped busing people in from around and out of state. People stopped traveling to Madison on the weekends. The various groups stopped bringing speakers in. The meetings of the activist coalition groups seemed to stall as well, with a general feeling of 'What now?'.