Thousands of protesters once again converged on Wisconsin’s Capitol Tuesday to protest Governor Scott Walker’s controversial state budget proposal that strips unions of their right to collectively bargain.
Among those in attendance were leaders such as former state Democratic Party Chairman Joe Wineke, who said the governor’s radical plans had managed to bring together divergent groups that might not have otherwise found solidarity in a unified cause.
”They’ve ticked off the environmental community, senior citizens, the disabled, reproductive-rights proponents, the University of Wisconsin."
Wisconsin Republicans are now in full-blown panic mode following the announcement that there will be nine Senate recall elections (six Republican, three Democratic) in July.
In a Hail Mary maneuver, Republican Party officials planned to run spoiler Democrat candidates in the recall elections, the idea being that sham candidates would force a Democratic primary and buy Republicans another month until the general election.
And the desperate moves kept coming Tuesday when Republicans enacted an “extraordinary session” in order to pass the state budget, the first time lawmakers have ever used the rapid political process to pass a budget in at least eighty years. (A live blog of the extraordinary session can be found here).
Meanwhile, Wisconsin’s state Supreme Court ruled against unions this week by ordering the reinstatement of Governor Walker’s law that ends collective bargaining. The culmination of these events was the mass protest at the Capitol yesterday.
Earlier in the week, around 100 tenants of Walkerville marched from their encampment at the Capitol down East Washington to the headquarters of Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce in order to draw attention to what they claim is one of the organizations behind some of the worst provisions in the proposed state budget.
One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross, who also runs a site called WMC Watch, emphasized the $2.3 billion in tax breaks included in the budget for corporations over the next 10 years, on top of the $1.6 billion in cuts to public schools, $250 million from the UW System, and $71 million from the Wisconsin technical college system.
"This is about all people!" noted Monica Adams from the Madison chapter of Take Back the Land. "This not only about middle class workers, this is about undocumented workers. This is about able-bodied people, this is about differently abled people. This is about people of color, this is about white people, this is about everybody…the budget is just the beginning."