Join the Nation-Wide Rally This Saturday to Save the American Dream
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More than two dozen progressive groups are organizing a Rally to Save the American Dream in solidarity with Wisconsin unions in all fifty state capitols this Saturday at noon. MoveOn, SEIU, AFSCME, True Majority, People for the American Way, the Working Families Party, Jobs with Justice, the Sierra Club, and Media Matters have all signed on to the call and are mobilizing their members to hit the streets.
“We are all Wisconsin. We are all Americans,” the press release concluded.
Tens of thousands of unionists and supporters have protested against Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s attempt to strip state employees of their right to collectively bargain, with many camping out around the clock. And Democratic Senators have left the state, denying Republicans quorum and blocking the vote.
Republican governors around the country are poised to follow Walker’s lead. Thousands of union members and supporters are already protesting in Ohio. The Republicans hold an overwhelming majority, so boycotting the proceedings isn’t an option. But in Indiana, Senate Democrats slipped across state lines to block anti-union legislation.
“On Monday night we were watching what was happening in Wisconsin and realizing that this was a crucial movement for whole country,” says MoveOn Executive Director Justin Ruben. “What happens in Wisconsin will have an impact on people everywhere. The same dynamic is playing out in other states and in Washington, where Republicans are so intent on giving tax breaks to the rich and powerful that they are willing to destroy unions and kick the middle class in the teeth to do it.”
New Jersey unions and supporters will protest this Friday morning against Governor Chris Christie, who has made his name aggressively fighting state employees and teachers.
Union-led solidarity protests have already taken place nation-wide. Over a thousand people gathering in center city Philadelphia on Thursday morning, in addition to the protest scheduled for Saturday. Other protests are scheduled for the coming weeks, including in Tennessee where the Tennessee Education Association will protest a proposal to strip teachers of collective bargaining rights on March 5.
“Honestly, Democrats haven’t figured out a way to stand up to it,” says Ruben. “And people realized, well we better show them how or we’re dead. Progressives as a movement have been slow to articulate an alternative vision over the last couple years. Now it’s happening, it’s overdue, and it’s essential.”
A New York Times reporter asked, “Is Wisconsin the Tunisia of collective bargaining rights?”
Progressives hope so.
“We see Wisconsin as just the beginning,” says Levana Layendecker of Democracy for America. “In states all around the country, and potentially next week in Congress, Republicans are using the bad economy as an excuse to enact any kind of cuts to vital programs, any agenda they have against working people, while they’re still giving tax breaks to billionaires.”
Daniel Denvir is a journalist in Philadelphia.