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Wisconsin Gives Progressives Something to Build on | The Nation

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Katrina vanden Heuvel

Katrina vanden Heuvel

Politics, current affairs and riffs and reflections on the news.

Wisconsin Gives Progressives Something to Build on

Editor’s Note: Each week we cross-post an excerpt from Katrina vanden Heuvel’s column at the WashingtonPost.com. Read the full text of Katrina’s column here.

On Tuesday, all eyes will be watching to see whether Wisconsin voters will keep labor-bashing right-winger Scott Walker (R) in the governor’s mansion. But win or lose, the real story is the fifteen months of people power leading up to this day. The real lesson lies in more than a year of progressive organizing, petitioning, canvassing and campaigning for the cause. The real result is a progressive movement that is deeper and broader than before.

When Walker’s opponents needed 540,208 signatures to trigger the recall election, Wisconsin’s progressives responded by collecting more than a million. They filled 152,000 pages—weighty evidence of the power of a group of people determined to right a wrong.

And the effects have rippled outward. The sight of 70,000 protesters—teachers, firefighters, nurses, students, parents with children—occupying the Wisconsin State Capitol in February 2011 ignited activists around the country. Just as the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt motivated people around the world, including in Wisconsin, the occupation of the Madison statehouse helped inspire the occupation of Wall Street a few months later.

Let me state the obvious: I want the recall to succeed. 

Editor’s Note: Each week we cross-post an excerpt from Katrina vanden Heuvel’s column at the WashingtonPost.com. Read the full text of Katrina’s column here.

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