When I was a student at Madison, I was happy to be part of our union, the Teaching Assistants' Association. They are, naturally, deeply involved in the events in Wisconsin, and I am very proud. If you want to help the demonstrators materially, the TAA will take your money and put it to good use. (It is characteristic, and in a good way, that there is a fund especially for cleaning up the state capitol building afterwards.) And if you're not sure why the fight in Wisconsin matters, well, there are lots people explaining the many reasons.
To add my little bit, and repeat myself: the single biggest thing which has gone wrong with America during my lifetime has been the economic stagnation for most of the country, accompanied by shifting risk from those who have resources and large organizations to individuals who don't have much. And that has gone hand in hand with the decline --- the repression --- of organized labor. Unions are not perfect, but no human institutions are, and to condemn unions, specifically, because they are sometimes hide-bound or self-serving is either folly or deceit. Unions are the only organized force in this country which seriously advocates, which pushes, for the material interests and dignity of ordinary working people. The fight in Wisconsin is about whether there is, finally, a limit to how far the dismantling of American labor can be pushed.
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Posted at February 23, 2011 00:12 | permanent link