Katrina vanden Heuvel: In the Spirit of Madison
This week at TheNation.com we continue to bring you the inspiring developments from Madison, where crowds at the capitol have swelled in opposition to Governor Walker’s assault on workers’ fundamental democratic rights. As correspondent John Nichols reports, the capitol could see well-over 100,000 protesters in response to Friday's news that the Republican-dominated Assembly passed the measure that would deal a crippling blow to unions in the state and throughout the country.
In the face of mounting state budget deficits, at least ten other states are considering legislation that would either gut benefits to public workers or eliminate outright their ability to participate in the outcome of their economic future. But don’t be fooled. As I argued earlier this week in the Washington Post, such coordinated and well-funded union-busting has more to do with power and the future of basic democratic rights than with balancing state budgets. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman aptly notes (invoking Nation columnist Naomi Klein’s book, The Shock Doctrine):
“What’s happening in Wisconsin is, instead, a power grab--an attempt to exploit the fiscal crisis to destroy the last major counterweight to the political power of corporations and the wealthy. And the power grab goes beyond union-busting. The bill in question is 144 pages long, and there are some extraordinary things hidden deep inside.”