Unions — Madison Wisconsin

February 21, 2011

 
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Progressive Magazine


Tom Morello Joins Madison Protest

Progressive Magazine

By Elizabeth DiNovella, February 21, 2011



EXERT:

Jim Costanzo came all the way from Brooklyn, NY, to be at these rallies. He’s a union member—Local 1460 of the United Federation of College Teachers. He got in last night and is here till Wednesday. “I’ve been waiting for America to wake up,” he told me, and handed me his Aaron Burr Society card.


His cousin works in a building on the Capitol Square and she told him how beautiful it is. He couldn’t resist her invitation. “This is the place to be,” he told me. “Wisconsin is leading the way.”



http://www.progressive.org/ld022111.html



“They’re making history in Madison—that’s why I’m here,” said musician Tom Morello, as he kicked off the noon rally at Wisconsin’s capital.


We are one week into the showdown between workers and Governor Scott Walker. Despite the frigid temperatures (it feels like 14 degrees) and snowy skies, about 5000 people rallied outside the Capitol building at noon.


“My mom was a high school public teacher and union member,” said Morello. Since teachers are one of the pillars of this movement, his comments were met with cheers.


“The future of this country will not be decided by Fox News or talk radio,” he said. “The future of this country will be decided on the streets of Madison.” (He also muttered it was “freezing ass cold here” under his breath.)


Morello read a letter of solidarity from Egypt. “Tahrir is in your heart. It’s everywhere,” he read. “Breathe deep, Wisconsin—justice is in the air.”


Morello then launched into “This Land Is Your Land,” and got everyone singing. Heck, he even got the crowd pogoing, and it was beautiful to see thousands of people bundled up in winter coats and hats and mittens, jumping up and down on the Capitol steps.


“It’s an honor to stand shoulder to shoulder with you, Madison,” he said. “Never give up and never give in.”


Morello complained about his freezing cold fingers and has quite the potty mouth. He apologized for all his swearing but told the crowd, “The struggle for justice isn’t always rated PG-13.”


Firefighters union chief Mahlon Mitchell followed Morello on stage. The Firefighters will be staying overnight at the Capitol tonight. “When the firefighters have a slumber party, we have a slumber party,” he said and the crowd laughed.


While walking through the crowd, I saw lots of teachers and public workers and students—the usual suspects. And everyone continues to be creative with protest signs. (My favorite today was “Someone please get this governor laid.”)


We are getting folks from out of town. The Daily Show’s correspondent John Oliver was interviewing people. Laura Flanders from GRITtv arrived this past weekend and is broadcasting from WORT-FM.


Jim Costanzo came all the way from Brooklyn, NY, to be at these rallies. He’s a union member—Local 1460 of the United Federation of College Teachers. He got in last night and is here till Wednesday. “I’ve been waiting for America to wake up,” he told me, and handed me his Aaron Burr Society card.


His cousin works in a building on the Capitol Square and she told him how beautiful it is. He couldn’t resist her invitation. “This is the place to be,” he told me. “Wisconsin is leading the way.”


United Steelworkers International President Leo W. Gerard is here, too. He gave a fantastic old-school union speech, condemning the Koch Brothers and corporate thugs on Wall Street and calling for unity.


“It’s not about spending, it’s about revenue,” Gerard said, pointing out the USA has lost 53,000 factories since 2000.


Gerard is going to spend the night in the Capitol. “You want to move steelworkers out of the Capitol? Come and get us.”


Gerard is a Steelers fan, naturally, but he found solidarity with the Packer fans.


Charles Woodson, Green Bay Packers cornerback and one of the team’s elected representatives to the players union, released a statement supporting Wisconsin’s working families and Gerard read the statement.


Here is Woodson’s statement:


“Last week I was proud when many of my current and former teammates announced their support for the working families fighting for their rights in Wisconsin. Today I am honored to join with them.


Thousands of dedicated Wisconsin public workers provide vital services for Wisconsin citizens. They are the teachers, nurses and child care workers who take care of us and our families. These hard working people are under an unprecedented attack to take away their basic rights to have a voice and collectively bargain at work.


It is an honor for me to play for the Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers and be a part of the Green Bay and Wisconsin communities. I am also honored as a member of the NFL Players Association to stand together with working families of Wisconsin and organized labor in their fight against this attempt to hurt them by targeting unions. I hope those leading the attack will sit down with Wisconsin’s public workers and discuss the problems Wisconsin faces, so that together they can truly move Wisconsin forward.”


Now if only Aaron Rodgers would release a statement.


Follow Elizabeth DiNovella @lizdinovella on Twitter





“400 Americans have more wealth all 155 million Americans combined,”

Michael Moore in Madison Wisconsin March 7, 2011