Republicans in Congress are holding the middle class hostage—proposing a federal budget that would would cut 700,000 to 1 million jobs from our communities and slash funding to support preschool and college students, pregnant women, unemployed workers, and much more. This isn’t a budget, it’s a slap in the face to the public workers, services, and institutions making the American Dream possible. We have until the March 18 budget deadline to push Congress in another direction.
So after work on Tuesday, March 15, we’re mobilizing Defend the Dream events in all 50 states at our schools, libraries, fire stations, hospitals, and parks to stand up against Republican attacks. If we can mobilize thousands of people again for a national day of action before the March 18 deadline, we’ll give progressive fighters in Congress a better chance to stave off cuts and pass a budget that invests in the Dream. We’ll show our support for the public workers, services, and institutions making a difference in our lives—but we’ll also make sure that Congress knows we’ll hold them accountable for their vote.
Our discussion about Wisconsin, Michigan and whether electoral politics was still useful was pretty lively. (I’m afraid I’m just too radical for the young folks.) Click here to listen!
All those years of pouring free shots for reporters is really starting to pay off!
They just resent anyone saying no to them. Didn’t these people have mothers?
Watching TV talking heads ricochet between “scientists are in charge, everything’s fine” and “oh my God we’ll all gonna die” covering Japan is … interesting.
He doesn’t hold a candle to Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder – who ran as a Republican “moderate”. That shows you just how far right (and anti-democratic) the GOP really is:
AMY GOODMAN: It’s great to have you with us. Let’s talk Wisconsin. What do you see is happening in this uprising?
NAOMI KLEIN: Well, first of all, it’s such an incredible example of how to resist the shock doctrine. And it should not be in any way surprising that we are seeing right-wing ideologues across the country using economic crisis as a pretext to really wage a kind of a final battle in a 50-year war against trade unions, where we’ve seen membership in trade unions drop precipitously. And public sector unions are the last labor stronghold, and they’re going after it. And these governors did not run elections promising to do these radical actions, but they are using the pretext of crisis to do things that they couldn’t get elected promising to do.
And, you know, that’s the core argument of and the thesis of the book, is not that there’s something wrong with responding to a crisis decisively. Crises demand decisive responses. The issue is this backhanded attempt to use a crisis to centralize power, to subvert democracy, to avoid public debate, to say, “We have no time for democracy. It’s just too messy. It doesn’t matter what you want. We have no choice. We just have to ram it through.” And we’re seeing this in 16 states. I mean, it’s impossible to keep track of it. It’s happening on such a huge scale.
Teachers’ unions are getting the worst of it. March 8th was International Women’s Day. This is—you know, as you pointed out on your show, it’s overwhelmingly women who are providing the services that are under attack. It’s not just labor that’s under attack; it’s the services that the labor is providing that’s under attack: it’s healthcare, it’s education, it’s those fundamental care-giving services across the country, which could be profitable if they were privatized.
AMY GOODMAN: In Ohio, more than 20,000 people marched to oppose the Republican Governor John Kasich’s attempted anti-union legislative putsch. Kasich recently defended his policy proposals on Fox & Friends.
GOV. JOHN KASICH: It’s part of a big piece of reform. Come March the 15th, we will be reforming Medicaid, K-through-12, higher ed, prisons. It is going to be a reform agenda in Ohio like no one has ever seen, all designed to get us in a good position. In terms of unions? I respect unions. I come from a union family. I mean, the idea that we’re attacking anybody is—look, what we’re attacking: poverty, joblessness. OK, that’s what I’m attacking. And all I’m doing is saying to everybody, participate. Everybody jump in this. Together, we can make Ohio stronger. If we do not do that, you know, then we’ll continue to lose jobs, and that means misery for everybody. That’s not going to happen. We are going to be successful here.
AMY GOODMAN: Republican Governor John Kasich, going back to his old haunt. He was a commentator for a long time for Fox and, before that, a conservative congressman.
NAOMI KLEIN: You know, the reason why this isn’t working and why people are so outraged by it and why they’re in the streets and we’re finally seeing the resistance in this country that we have seen in Europe, with this chant, “We won’t pay for your crisis,” that really started in 2008 in Greece and spread to Italy and France and England—and, you know, the rest of the world has been waiting for the United States to—you know, how much are Americans going to take of this? It seems that Americans were willing to say, you know, “We will pay for your crisis, and would you like a tax break with that?” Right? And finally, they went too far. And so, that resistance is finally happening.
And this attack on collective bargaining, the reason why people won’t take it is precisely because they understand that this is not shared pain. It is not being shared equally. The people who created the crisis in the first place are not sharing the pain. And the injustice of this response is so blatant. This isn’t just any economic crisis. This tactic has worked. And this is, you know, what I’ve tracked over a 30-year period, that it is really easy to use an economic crisis—people panic, hyperinflation, issues like that. In the ’90s, when Newt Gingrich was Speaker, it was possible for him to argue that the source of the budget crisis really was so-called entitlement programs. You cannot do that in this moment in history because everybody understands that the crisis was created on Wall Street, it was created through speculation and greed, and a decision was made to bail out the bankers with public money and to pass the bill on to the public. And they’re seeing the bonuses back. They’re seeing the outrageous salaries. They’re seeing corporations not paying their taxes. And it’s just too unjust. It’s just so morally outrageous. And then to turn on the television and talk about everybody sharing the pain? I mean, people are just not that stupid. Thankfully.
AMY GOODMAN: And where does the Obama administration fit into this? We have played that clip of President Obama when he was running for president, saying, “If anyone challenges your collective union rights, I will be walking with you.”
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