In the wake of last years elections, the corporate media claimed that the U.S. population had shifted to the right. But when the Republican Governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker, tried to carry out his mandate through a full-scale attack on public sector workers and social services, it led to a mass opposition, clearly demonstrating a widespread rejection of right-wing anti-worker policies.
Unfortunately, the top union leadership in Wisconsin failed to seize the opportunity to step up the struggle to defeat Walker. Socialist Alternative consistently explained that while the mass protests were essential steps in building a mass movement they would not be enough to force Walker to drop his bill. We campaigned for a one-day public sector general strike as the next step to increase the pressure, a step that was widely discussed and debated in Wisconsin, particularly when the bill was illegally pushed through the Senate.
However, the top union officials put the lid on the call for strike action and instead directed the movement to an effort to recall the Republicans from office through a protracted, months-long campaign. Of course these Republicans should be recalled, but that wont be enough to stop this attack. Furthermore, the union leadership aims to replace the Republicans with Democrats, who also have corporate backing and agreed to the cutbacks in workers pensions and benefits!
The fight isnt over. Michael Moore correctly stated that this is a class war, and that means returning to the ideas of class struggle. There is a huge opportunity now to organize the rank and file and transform the unions into democratic organizations fighting in the interests of all workers and youth. The cutbacks and attacks all over the country point to a burning need to build anti-cuts campaigns and rebuild a massive struggle against the attacks from both corporate parties.
This is part of a global crisis that has set off the early stages of a new era of mass movements. From Europe last year to Egypt this year to Wisconsin here in the U.S., working people and youth are beginning to fight back and have shown that it is possible to stand up to the ruling establishment.
We are now in the process of building a new branch of Socialist Alternative in Madison, Wisconsin as well as a broader base of support for the idea of transforming the union movement and stepping up the struggle with bolder action. The day after the bill was passed in the Senate, Socialist Alternative played a leading role in organizing a student walkout of over 2,000 to protest Walker.
Nationally, the entire ruling establishment says cuts are necessary and seeks to make working people pay for a crisis created by Wall Street. Socialist Alternative is campaigning against the cuts wherever we are based. In the pages of Justice, the bi-monthly newspaper of Socialist
Alternative, we argue that the super-rich and big business should pay for their own crisis, and we call for a mass, united fight-back, including running independent candidates to challenge the lies of corporate politicians and to create a real voice for working people.
All this work requires huge resources, and if you agree with what Socialist Alternative is doing and saying were asking for your help. Each week of the struggle in Wisconsin we had to produce new material as the situation developed. Weve sent full-time organizers and volunteers for weeks. We recently pushed to produce a rush issue of Justice, and in general we would like to increase the frequency of our paper to stay up to date with rapidly developing situations. We are also organizing a speaking tour with antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan, who has run as an independent candidate against the major parties and will deepen a discussion about how we can build a political alternative to the two parties of big business.
As of June 15, we raised nearly $6,500, but our goal is to reach over $10,000 to continue our efforts in Wisconsin and all around the country. Its up to all of us to come together, organize, and find a way out of this economic and social crisis. The time is now to get active and give your support. Please consider making a donation today to help us build the fight-back. We greatly appreciate any contribution that you can make.
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to P.O. Box 150457, Brooklyn, NY 11215.
If you want to get active with Socialist Alternative please contact us to join! We see the major problems in society, such as budget cuts, unemployment, poverty, discrimination, war and environmental destruction as rooted in the global system of capitalism. We aim to unite basic struggles on day-to-day issues and link them to the broader struggle to fundamentally transform society to democratic socialism, which puts human need before profits. Please donate and consider joining the movement for a socialist world today!