It took awhile, but Wisconsin shows that the poor and middle class of the U.S. may be ready to push back. Madison may be only the beginning.
February 18, 2011- The uprising that swept Tunisia, Egypt, and parts of Europe is showing signs of blossoming across the United States.
In Wisconsin, public employees and their supporters are drawing the line at Governor Scott Walker’s plan to eliminate collective bargaining and unilaterally cut benefits. School teachers, university students, firefighters, and others descended on the capital in the tens of thousands, and even the Superbowl champion Green Bay Packers have weighed in against the bill. Protests against similar anti-union measures are ramping up in Ohio.
Meanwhile, another protest movement aimed at protecting the poor and middle class is in the works. Cities around the country are preparing for a February 26 Day of Action, “targeting corporate tax dodgers.”
Learning from the UK
The strategy picks up on the UK Uncut campaign, begun when a group at a London pub—a firefighter, a nurse, a student, and others—came up with an idea that is part flash mob, part sit-in. In an article published in the Nation, reporter Johann Hari tells the story of the group’s frustration about government cutbacks. If Vodafone, one corporation with a huge back-tax bill, paid up, the cutbacks wouldn’t be needed. The group spread the word over social media, and held loud, impolite demonstrations. The idea quickly went viral, and flash mobs/sit-ins materialized at retail outlets across Britain, shutting many of them down.