Is This Anything?

I lived in Madison, Wisconsin for three years.  I went to the U.W. Law School, and participated in my share of standard-issue Madison protests.  The anti-war protests were large, and loud.  There was a walkout just before spring break in 2003 that underwhelmed, but the crowds got big, in a hurry, on the day the bombs started dropping.

As I got some distance from Madison, I looked at the protests cynically.  I came to view them as exercises in toothless, mindless, directionless idealism that sounded cool, but would change absolutely nothing.  (To boot: some of the leaders of the rallies were absolutely batty.)  And that’s because that was, and is, the truth of it.

But what’s happening in Madison now just feels different, somehow.  Yes — it will change nothing.  After November, Republicans have a hammerlock on both chambers.  And Scott Walker is completely deaf to the protests that, if thousands of people were rising up against Obamacare or socialism, would become magically unplugged.  The removal of collective bargaining rights for state employees is a done deal (apart from the inevitable lawsuits).  The math tells me so.  No amount of pickets or sickouts, or even a general strike (which I don’t think Wisconsin labor leaders have the stones to do), will change it.

And yet, for tonight at least, my whole heart is behind these guys.  They can change the world.  The bill will be passed — that ship has sailed.  But they can still change the world, maybe.


Rachel was laying on the Internationale thick tonight. Yes, it’s nice that all those Nice People took to the streets, but applauding them for simply Being There could also be said of any Glenn Beck rally.


I came to view them as exercises in toothless, mindless, directionless idealism that sounded cool, but would change absolutely nothing.

This is why Lefties called me a conservative in college: I incessantly mocked their pointless tactics. Moral preening has never been my style.

I looked at the protests cynically. I came to view them as exercises in toothless, mindless, directionless idealism that sounded cool, but would change absolutely nothing.

That sounds familiar. I used to mock the weekly protests at my alma mater. There was always a “rally on the green at noon” to protest the cause du jour. Gah. Fucking hippie wannabes.

Some day I’ll tell y’all about the financial aid protest and takeover. That’s a long story I’m too tired to tell right now.

@nojo: I tacked differently. Classic (entitled) rabble rousing lefty hippie, edited our campus ‘alternative weekly’, helped organize anti-Klan rallies (they never showed up…), and booed Donald Regan (no, SFL, not Donald Fagen) when he spoke on campus. Sipped tequila with Leary on his “co-conspirators” tour with Liddy (Leary was an a$$). Carried my dog eared copy of the Marx-Engels Reader around as I smoked filter-less Camels and drank port wine.

Then I entered the World discovered Punk Rock, and the scales fell from my eyes.

Hands up who belongs to the AFL-CIO. Anybody?

I think this is different because it affects them directly. And this action on the part of the governor is intended to wreck the public service unions so they can’t mount effective get-out-the-vote campaigns in future. We’re going to see more of this. Destroying what’s left of the unions is very high on the Republicans to-do list. We donate to Democrats and have better working conditions than workers who aren’t unionized. My union has set up a pension for me. When I was working it paid my health insurance and now I’ve retired from the stage it allows me to self-pay via COBRA. We should ALL be in unions. The reason that Germany does so well is that most workers are unionized and the unions have a say in how companies are run.

I, for one, will be in the streets if these fuckwads attack the unions here in NY.

@Nabisco: Speaking of Donald Fagen, Chainsaw is in town and hopefully if he can get away from his other obligations, we’ll stinque up for coffee or lunch today. And Obama is in town today too. Coincidence? I think not.

@Benedick: The kids were chanting: “What’s disgusting? Union busting!”

Can you say RECALL?

I knew you could.

Add a Comment
Please log in to post a comment