“People tell me because I have this case against the city I’m all right. But I’m not all right. I’m messed up. I know that I might see some money from this case, but that’s not going to help me mentally. I’m mentally scarred right now. That’s how I feel. [There] are certain things that changed about me, and they might not [change] back. Before I went to jail, I didn’t know about a lot of stuff, and, now that I’m aware, I’m paranoid. I feel like I was robbed of my happiness.” – Kalief Browder
July 6, 2012
[…] On this week’s Moyers & Company, Bill talks to two people who can best answer the question: Stephen Lerner and Bill Fletcher, Jr. The architect of the SEIU’s Justice for Janitors movement, Lerner directed SEIU’s private equity project, which worked to expose a Wall Street feeding frenzy that left the working class in a state of catastrophe. Fletcher took his Harvard degree to the Massachusetts shipyards, and worked as a welder before becoming a labor activist.
He served as Assistant to the President of the AFL-CIO, and is author of the upcoming book “They’re Bankrupting Us!”: And 20 Other Myths about Unions. […]
With Ralph Nader
Jun 15, 2012 by democracynow
DemocracyNow.org -In 2008, Barack Obama pledged to raise the minimum wage every year once elected, but the hourly rate of $7.25 hasn’t increased since 2007. Low-wage workers now make far less than they did four decades ago. Last week Illinois Democratic Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. introduced The Catching Up to 1968 Act of 2012. It draws its name from the idea that the federal minimum wage would be $10.55 an hour now if it had kept up with inflation over the past 40 years. Continue reading
June 15, 2012
On this week’s Moyers & Company, Bill talks with historian Thomas Frank, author of the bestseller What’s the Matter With Kansas?, about the power of concentrated money to subvert democracy. How does a society built on democratic ideals allow them to become so corrupted? Frank’s most recent book is Pity the Billionaire.
Bill also talks to Mother Jones editors Clara Jeffery and Monika Bauerlein, who continue to throw light on what they call “dark money” — the conspiracy of cash that allows the rich to influence our most fundamental political freedoms. On the show, Bill calls out some of the biggest super PAC donors, revealing how easy it is for the wealthy one percent to sway an election.
In Wisconsin and in two major cities in California, voters (made up mostly of working folks) chose to restrict the benefit packages and wage increases for public service AKA government employees. Some say that since most of the workers in these places, and throughout America, are employed by the private sector, the attitude became one of resentment. The private sector and non union (in most cases) workers were fed up of seeing their counterparts getting better benefit packages and wage increases. I call it Interclass warfare. Continue reading
by Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich
April 14, 2011
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker Admits that Stripping Collective Bargaining Rights of Workers “Not a Fiscal Issue” – Does Not Save Taxpayers “Any” Money
Kucinich Proves Political Motivation of Attack on Government Workers
Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today scored an admission from Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker that his decision to strip the rights of public workers to bargain collectively “doesn’t save any” money for the Wisconsin taxpayers.
See video [below].
AlJazeeraEnglish on Mar 21, 2011
17 Mar 2011 In Wisconsin, hundreds of thousands of people are protesting against a controversial bill that would take away state workers” rights to collectively bargain for better wages and working conditions.
Supporters of workers” unions accuse conservatives of trying to break labour unions because they are viewed as the most powerful counterweight to corporate politics. But critics say unions have too much political power and restrain competition.
Dear Vice President Biden:
Word has reached us from reliable sources that the unions in Wisconsin tendered an invitation sometime last week or earlier for you to appear at one of the growing rallies in Madison protesting the legislative straitjacketing of public employee unions. Since you have just returned from trips to Russia and other autocratic nations where you talked about facilitating more democracy and competitive elections, it was no surprise for us to hear from our sources that you were eager to go to Madison. After all, you like to call yourself a “union guy”.
As expected, Michael Moore, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, and AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka were in Madison, Wisc., to support and rally the workers in their fight against the union-busting governor and Republican-dominated state legislature.
But, so were union members Bradley Whitfield, Susan Sarandon, Tony Shaloub, and dozens of musicians and singers, including Peter Yarrow who, as part of Peter, Paul, and Mary, was at almost every major social protest for more than 40 years.
In the past, modern dictatorships have been established in a variety of ways. In 1919, in response to a short-lived communist revolution, the King of Hungary appointed the first modern civilian absolute ruler, Admiral Nicholas Horthy, who became the first fascist dictator in history. In 1922, after much maneuvering, Benito Mussolini organized the “March on Rome” by his unofficial “Black Shirt” militia. King Vittorio Emmanuel III acquiesced in replacing the sitting Prime Minister chosen by Parliament with Mussolini. By 1924, with the acquiescence of Italian ruling class, Mussolini had established himself as dictator and in fact coined the modern meaning of the word “fascist” to describe his form of absolute rule.
On Wednesday evening, in a veritable Night of the Long Knives, Wisconsin’s integrity was brutally murdered on the floor of the state Capitol in Madison. On 9 March, integrity and trust built up over a century was obliterated as Wisconsin state senators quickly reversed course and cleaved its budget “repair bill” in half. Financial items require a quorum, thus, collective bargaining was split off from the budget repair bill and voted on separately so as to permit its being voted on now. Even so, this still broke the state’s open meeting law requiring 24 hours’ notice to ensure transparency. Instead, the Wisconsin senate Republicans pulled out this new legislation without advance notice and began voting, leaving only a stunned Democratic legislator, Peter Barca, to read the open meeting law out loud to prevent the senators from voting. The senate voted over his objections anyway.
As the old phrase states: Extraordinary times require extraordinary measures. These are indeed extraordinary times in Wisconsin. The Budget Repair Bill that was passed by Governor Scott Walker and State Republicans will strip public employees of the right to collectively bargain and threaten the very existence of unions in the state.
Despite the severity of these measures, Democrats and sections of the Trade Union leadership have chosen to pour resources and direct energy into a campaign to recall Walker and other Republicans. Continue reading
Mar. 10, 2011
“This is a Class War”: Michael Moore Calls for Renewed Pro-Democracy Movement as Anti-Union Bills Approved in Wisconsin and Michigan
As Wisconsin Republicans passed Gov. Scott Walker’s anti-union bill in the State Senate, a bill in Michigan goes even further. In the measure, emergency financial managers would be allowed to break union contracts, dismiss elected officials, and even disincorporate entire municipalities. Michigan Senate Republicans approved the bill yesterday, and protests are expected in the Lansing State Capitol building today. We speak to filmmaker Michael Moore. “[This] is a class war on the people,” Moore says. “I think that the whole world has been inspired by what happened in Tunisia and in Egypt and throughout the Middle East. And while their problems are different than ours, the spirit is the same. And we need a pro-democracy movement in this country, badly, right now.” [includes rush transcript]