March 14, 2011

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100,000 march in Wisconsin to denounce anti-worker law The huge turnout was in response to Friday’s action by Governor Scott Walker, who signed into law his so-called “budget repair bill,” which strips nearly all of Wisconsin’s 300,000 state, county and municipal employees of collective bargaining rights and sharply reduce their take-home pay. Workers flooded into the capital from all over the state. Many traveled hundreds of miles from Illinois, Nebraska, Iowa, Michigan and other states. Tens of thousands of teachers, firefighters, nurses and other public employees were joined by union and nonunion workers in construction, steel, auto and other private-sector industries. The resistance of the working class has popular support from doctors, professors, lawyers and small businessmen, including restaurants and shops throughout Madison that are displaying signs denouncing Walker’s measures. Hundreds of farmers from throughout the state, who are being hit by cuts in the state’s BadgerCare health program along with the rise in fuel prices, organized a “tractorcade” to the capital and carried signs against the law, including one that said, “Farmers know what B.S. is.” Despite the best efforts of the media, the politicians and the trade union officials to smother class consciousness with their incessant talk of “middle-class workers,” many signs at the demonstration reflected the growing recognition that workers are engaged in a class struggle with the corporate and financial elite. There were references to “class war” and the French Revolution and demands to “Tax the Rich.” One worker carried a sign with Marie Antoinette’s body and Scott Walker’s face, reading “Let them Eat...
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How Wisconsin Could Turn Austerity into Prosperity: Own a Bank | Common Dreams How North Dakota Escaped the Credit Crunch The state-owned Bank of North Dakota (BND) has allowed North Dakota to maintain its economic sovereignty, a conservative states-rights ideal. The BND was established in 1919 in response to a wave of farm foreclosures by out-of-state Wall Street banks. Today, the state not only has no debt, but it recently boasted its largest-ever budget surplus. The BND helps to fund not only local government but local businesses and local banks, by partnering with the banks to provide the funds to support small business lending. The BND is also a boon to the state treasury, having contributed over $300 million to state coffers in the past decade, a notable achievement for a state with a population less than one-tenth the size of Los Angeles County. In 2008, the BND returned a 26 percent dividend to the state. In comparison, California’s public pension funds are down more than $100 billion—that’s billion with a “b”—or close to half the funds’ holdings, following the Wall Street debacle of 2008. It was, in fact, the 2008 bank collapse rather than overpaid public employees that caused the crisis that shrank state revenues and prompted the budget cuts in the first place. Seven States Are Now Considering Setting Up Public Banks Faced with federal inaction and growing local budget crises, an increasing number of states are exploring the possibility of setting up their own state-owned banks, following the North Dakota model. On January 11, 2011, a bill to establish a...

Jodi Dean

Jodi Dean is a political theorist.

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