MYSTIC PIZZA: When Antarctica called, a whoop went up from the employees manning the phone banks at Ian’s Pizza. With the addition of the icy landmass, Wisconsin protesters officially had the support of the global public, from every continent on the planet. After the launch of their campaign to feed the protesters, the little pizzeria down the street from the Capitol has emerged as an unlikely hero in the fight against Governor Scott Walker’s plan to ax collective bargaining rights for government workers. Japan, Scotland, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Mongolia, Iran, Haiti, Pakistan, Denmark, Morocco, New Zealand, Nigeria, Lithuania, Peru—the list goes on and on. “We’ve gotten calls from more than fifty-eight countries and all fifty US states at this point,” Ian’s manager Staci Fritz told The Nation. Unions across the country have phoned in pizza in solidarity. A Minnesota Congressman donated $3,500 worth of pies.
Ian’s served more than 35,000 slices of pizza in the week after the protests took off, but perhaps the most surprising donation came from a country whose own populist uprising led to the demise of its dictator less than two weeks earlier. “The day we got the call from Egypt—and verified the credit card’s address—we realized this had gotten a lot bigger than Italian food,” Fritz explained.
The pizza parlor has given the international community a concrete way to show its support. The world’s revolutions are becoming related. A spirit of unity is emerging among oppressed populations, and as donors from thousands of miles away have told Ian’s Pizza, “We can’t be there, but we can make sure they’re fed.” CARMEL DEAMICIS
SOLIDARITY SHOWS: At a rally on February 24, amid boisterous union chants and pro-union banners, Takii Christophe, 10, asked his cousin why everyone was yelling. “You want a job?” Ramona Jones, 11, answered.
But this wasn’t Wisconsin—it was New York City, where the two young marchers were among hundreds who gathered at City Hall as part of the AFL-CIO’s “We Are One” campaign to show solidarity with workers in Wisconsin. Dozens of similar rallies took place nationwide that week, attended by healthy numbers of union and nonunion folk. MoveOn.org also mobilized a fifty-state strategy to “Save the American Dream” and reported rallies in sixty-six cities, including every state capital. “An attack on one is an attack on all,” says the Texas AFL-CIO’s Ed Sills. “There’s some basic principles and rights that, if they go down in Wisconsin, it could happen in any state in the US.”
Legislative limits to collective bargaining have been introduced in Ohio, Tennessee, Indiana, Iowa, Idaho, Kansas, Colorado, Nebraska, Nevada, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Washington. But a recent New York Times/CBS News survey reported that most Americans oppose the weakening of collective bargaining rights as well as cuts in pay and benefits for public workers. MOLLY O’TOOLE
HUNGARY TARGETS PHILOSOPHY: As The Nation reported in December, after Hungary’s center-right Fidesz Party swept into power last April, it began a clampdown on free expression, passing a punishing and censorious media law, which went into effect on January 1, the day Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán began his term as president of the European Union. While members of the EU have been challenging the law, liberal Hungarian philosophers critical of Orbán have been viciously attacked by the newspaper Magyar Nemzet and other right-wing media outlets. Several philosophers have also been accused by the government of misusing research funds, including Agnes Heller, famous student of Georg Lukács and a great hero of the democratic movement in Hungary. In 1973 the Kádár regime launched a similar campaign. In those days, Heller explained, they could put you in prison for what you said: “Now, they have to accuse us of economic crimes, and drag our names through the mud.”