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February 20, 2011

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Michael McIntyre

Yes, as long as. I've been pleasantly surprised by the staying power of the Madison protests, and their ability to expand the anti-Walker base. Now things get interesting. Will the blast of winter weather in Wisconsin dissipate the protesters? Will the Democrats hunkered down in Rockford stay south of the border until Walker caves? Will Walker cut a deal (already on the table) in which unions agree to deep cuts in return for continued collective bargaining rights? Or will the protests fizzle, the Dems cave, and all be lost? And, most importantly, how will this translate in the many other states (e.g., Ohio) where the same offensive is underway?

Break the public sector unions and the last big pot of Dem money goes away. Hollywood and trial lawyers can't compete with the full panoply of post-Citizens United corporate cash (even if Wall Street keeps splitting its donations roughly 50-50). The Repugs are counting on a permanent advantage in resources that will restore their late nineteenth century domination. But what happens if they win?

"Or does it explode?"

Alain

Michael - i think you have a good summary of the alternatives for the Madison uprising. But this seems to point to the problem - even if they win, they lose. The best they can hope for is to accept deep cuts to their pensions and benefits, but retain the right to collective bargaining. Doesn't this "victory" show the desperation of our moment?

Michael McIntyre

Alain - There are certainly "victories" that would leave the Wisconsin workers worse off than they were a few months ago. Even such a victory might dissuade other governors from following Walker's course. And then there is the imponderable effect of any kind of victory on popular mobilization elsehwere. Walker, last I heard, is not only refusing to make any concessions, he is refusing to talk to the 14 Senators who left the state. And the reports I get from comrades on the ground show tremendous energy and enthusiasm. So a great deal hangs in the balance here. I don't think any of us can see through to the end.

As for desperation - I think we've been there for a good long time. This is a pristination of our desperate moment - perhaps a moment of clarity.

Alain

Michael - thank you for the thoughtful response. I do not wish to discount the energy that has been mobilized in Madison. Clearly the right to collectively bargain is one worth fighting for. But it still remains that the best case scenario for this particular conflict is to concede more and keep less. I hope you are right that this event, and those about to take place in other states, will provide a moment of clarity. I am just not optimistic.

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