[Marxism] Wisconsin Crowds Swell to 30,000; Key GOP Legislators Waver
dave.xx at gmail.com
Thu Feb 17 16:58:00 MST 2011
Wisconsin Crowds Swell to 30,000; Key GOP Legislators Waverby John Nichols
"I have never been prouder of our movement than I am at this moment,"
Phil Neuenfeldt, as he surveyed the crowds of union members and
their supporters that surged around the state Capitol and into the streets
of Madison Wednesday, literally closing the downtown as tens of thousands of
Wisconsinites protested their Republican governor’s attempt to strip public
employee unions of their collective bargaining rights.
Where Tuesday’s mid-day protests drew crowds estimated at 12,000 to 15,000,
Wednesday's mid-day rally drew 30,000, according to
organizers. Madison Police Chief Noble Wray, a veteran of 27 years on
city’s force, said he had has never see a protest of this size at the
Capitol – and he noted that, while crowd estimates usually just measure
those outside, this time the inside of the sprawling state Capitol was
On Wednesday night, an estimated 20,000 teachers and their supporters
rallied outside the Capitol and then marched into the building, filling the
rotunda, stairways and hallways. Chants of "What's disgusting? Union
busting!" shook the building as legislators met in committee rooms late into
The country was starting to take notice, as broadcast and cable-news
satellite trucks rolled into town. The images they captured were stunning,
as peaceful crowds filled vast stretches of the square that surrounds the
seat of state government.
Republican legislators -- who had been poised to pass the governor’s plan
Thursday, and might yet do so – were clearly paying attention. Two GOP
senators broke with the governor, at least to some
Dale Schultz from rural southeastern Wisconsin and Van Wanggaard from the
traditional manufacturing center of Racine, proposed an alternative bill
that would allow limit bargaining rights for public employees on wages,
pensions and health care for the next two years but allow them to continue
to bargain on other issues.
While that’s hardly an attractive prospect to state workers – as it would
also require them to make significantly higher pension and health-care
contributions – the measure rejects the most draconian component’s of the
governor’s plan. Other Republicans resisted the proposal, however, offering
only minor amendments to the governor's plan.
If Schultz and Wanggaard actually vote "no" Thursday, when the measure is to
be taken up, just one more Republican senator would have to join them in
order to block the bill.
That the first real movement by Republicans came after Wednesday’s rally was
hardly surprising, as few state capital’s have seen the sort of mobilization
that occurred at mid-day, and that is likely to reoccur at nightfall as
teachers from across the state are expected to pour into the city for a
rally and candlelight vigil.
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