The right threw resources into Scott Walker’s anti-union fight, while the Democratic party stood by. That’s a recipe for defeat.
Wednesday 6 June 2012 10.16 EDT
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker waves as he celebrates his victory in the recall election against Democratic challenger Tom Barrett. Photograph: Darren Hauck/Reuters
Forget the old saw, “All politics is local.” There is a kettle’s worth of tea leaves to read in Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s triumph over Democratic challenger Tom Barrett. The acrimonious 5 June recall election is a perilous omen for President Barack Obama’s re-election bid and a faltering labor movement.
Upon taking office in January 2011, Walker went gunning for public sector unions and social programs. He inadvertently ignited six weeks of animated protests as hundreds of thousands of people flooded the Capitol of Madison, eager to stick a wrench in Walker’s plans to turn the clock back on public healthcare, education and labor organizing.
Since the “Wisconsin uprising” began, the Tea Party movement and organized labor have clashed in three separate state-wide elections. Republicans snagged a critical state supreme court post in April 2011. That August, the GOP clung to a razor-thin majority in the state senate by holding four of six seats up for recall. Having pummeled the Democrats again, by a 53-46% margin, Walker and the right are riding high. The only bright spot for Democrats is that they appear to have captured one of four state senate seats, giving them a 17-16 majority.
“The 99% Movement” has something for everyone, even the left, but is it Occupy?
(Photo: Dana Deskiewicz / Flickr)
By all measures the Occupy movement is a powerful brand. It has thousands of spin-offs such as Occupy Our Homes, Occupy Money, Occupy the Hood, Occupy Gender Equality and Occupy the Food System. It has powerful name recognition, snagging “word of the year” honors in 2011. And now, ardent supporters are manning the ramparts to defend its integrity.
Adbusters, the culture-jamming magazine that helped spark Occupy Wall Street (OWS), is accusing unions and liberal groups clustered under the banner of the 99% Spring of tarnishing Occupy’s sterling name. Launched in February by groups like Greenpeace, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), MoveOn and Rebuild the Dream, the 99% Spring announced it would train 100,000 people in April for “sustained nonviolent direct action” against targets like Verizon, Bank of America and Walmart.
These groups, bellowed Adbusters in an online missive “Battle for the Soul of Occupy,” are “the same cabal of old world thinkers who have blunted the possibility of revolution for decades.” Adbusters fingered MoveOn as one of the primary saboteurs of Occupy and linked to an article in Counterpunch that claims the 99% Spring “is primarily about co-option and division, about sucking a large cross-section of Occupy into Obama’s reelection campaign, watering down its radical politics and using these mass trainings as a groundwork to put forward 100,000 ‘good protesters’ to overshadow the ‘bad protesters.'”