Message from Madison

To our Chicago friends and allies,

This is a plea from three of your comrades who have been witness to the events in Wisconsin.

Since the day Hosni Mubarak fell half a world away, fast-developing events in Madison, only 2.5 hours northwest of Chicago, have combined to produce what the three of us agree is the most important political struggle happening at the moment, certainly in the United States, and one of the most important in the world. Further, this is unlike anything else we’ve seen in our lifetimes, in terms of the diversity of constituencies mobilized, the palpable anger on display, and the underlying movement dynamic.

A slumbering labor movement and public have arisen in Wisconsin and have mobilized tens of thousands of people, in self-organized groups, without central leadership, and in successive waves of independently initiated actions that have surprised and even shocked all involved. The degrees of self-organization and displays of solidarity are heartwarming, inspiring, and on all levels impressive, whether that’s the three exempted unions standing firm with those under attack, the thousands of high school students walking out, or the parents w/children who slept overnight in the Capitol. The fourteen Wisconsin Senate Democrats who fled the state and are holding up the vote on the budget repair bill would not have had the courage to take this action had it not been for the three days of momentum early on, before any non-Wisconsin media took notice. The two-week occupation of the State Capital and massive demonstrations, some exceeding 100,000 people, have earned this movement a distinction not often granted to the left these days: this is about average, ordinary Americans, the highly educated, the poor, the retired, the children, the students, the police and firefighters, everybody; this is without a doubt one of the largest and most significant US labor struggles of the past fifty years.