Coming into Wisconsin at Ground Zero of Class War in America

ACORN Community Organizing Labor Organizing
Recall effort in Wisconsin

Milwaukee   I couldn’t resist an invitation to speak at a panel on ACORN and community organizing this weekend at a conference of historians largely because it was being held in Milwaukee and it gave me an excuse for several days to see what was really happening here at ground zero in the class war that the right has declared on workers and regular citizens in Wisconsin and throughout the country.  Social Policy just came out with a Special Report on Wisconsin One Year Later which had piqued my interest and given me a thorough introduction for just how devastating this has been beneath the headlines.  Join me in reading the reports currently on the website.

There is a recall election set now with the primary only weeks away in early May and the general election for Governor in early June.  The speed of the recall has made this a strange campaign.  Watching the road from the airport into Milwaukee was curious because there were no yard signs visible, no billboards, and in fact no sign that there was anything out of the usual happening in Milwaukee.

The offices of SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin are in a re-purposed Baltz Brewery and are new and well put together with pale yellow walls and subdued purpose trim and doors everywhere.  There are names on all of the doors and cavernous conference rooms though it is largely quite as a small training for the election is happening around a large table in the open atrium.  The several stewards and volunteers are being told how “right-to-work” really works and why SEIU has endorsed their candidate for the Democratic primary.

The action is in the field, not the office, and that’s the good news, but predictably there is a breath exhaled after the giant recall effort that still has to be inhaled deeply for the second wind to test the full mettle of whether or not Scott Walker can be stopped here at the sharp point of the conservative surge in the Midwest.