♥ to Wisconsin

February 13 – 15, 2011

Workers and Organizers, Friends and Family:

In Wisconsin, the line is drawn stark.  The governor has put the National Guard on high alert.  Tens of thousands of workers and students will line the barricades in Madison—and for those whose bodies will be on the line this week, defeat is not an option.

Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin has declared war on state and municipal workers. In order to beat back his brutal attack, the nation’s oldest student-worker solidarity group and the pride of Madison’s labor Left, the Student Labor Action Coalition [SLAC], needs funds for bail and legal defense.  And so we are turning to you.

In the coming week, Walker will try to pass a budget “repair” bill to strip nearly every worker and union in Wisconsin’s public sector of the right to collective bargaining.  Walker intends to impoverish and humiliate hundreds of thousands of workers, rescinding the right to bargain for even the things that keep people alive: health care, pensions, respect on the job, safe and sanitary working conditions.  Walker’s bill would reduce even the right to bargain over wages and salaries to a triviality.

Because Walker’s attack on workers is a front in a broader austerity regime, this fight is not only for the defense of public sector workers.  It is for the defense of all the people of Wisconsin—and by example, the American people as a whole.
Walker proposes to seize the power to cut Medicaid spending from the Legislature and to place it in the governor’s Department of Health Services—an authoritarian measure that will lead to bone-deep cuts in the programs that keep pregnant women, senior citizens, and low-income families alive.  Walker proposes to liquidate the State-owned heating plants that keep people alive in Wisconsin’s winter.  As an alternative to the elimination of public sector workers’ right to collective bargaining, Walker proposes the elimination of at least 12,000 jobs.

We, the undersigned veterans and allies of the Student Labor Action Coalition [SLAC], rally to the defense of our younger brothers and sisters.  They are fighting a battle we could not have imagined.  This fight will not be won without non-violent direct action and civil disobedience—and Egypt gives us hope that we will win it.

We ask you to donate as much as you can for the legal defense of members of the Student Labor Action Coalition [SLAC].  Please send a check for $10 to $500 dollars made out to the Student Labor Action Coalition [SLAC].  You can send the check to:

SLAC
c/o Eric Hoyt
140 W. Gilman St.
Madison, WI 53703

Scott Walker must be stopped—because if a program this brutal is enacted in Wisconsin, it will become the dominant model in the United States.   Fire spreads.

Wisconsin is the first front, but the line is drawn stark everywhere: it is either victory over Scott Walker, or it is grinding defeat for workers and people.

In Solidarity,

Liana Dalton
Joshua Harry Goldman Healey
Ashok Kumar
Joel Feingold
Ilana Feingold
Charlie Hoyt
Eric Hoyt
Molly Glasgow
Jeff Broxmeyer
Mike He
John Bruning
Wendy Mukluk
Kerim Odekon
Jan van Tol
James Ploeser
Veronica Bayetti Flores

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3 responses to “♥ to Wisconsin

  1. I’m very proud of you for your work and activism, Eric and Charlie! Is there any way to donate online?

    I hope you guys prevail there in Wisconsin; provide a model to the rest of the country that will hopefully spread…

  2. As a teacher, I find it crucial to recognize that in states such as New Jersey, pension funds which had been paid into by teachers over the years were raided by the Christie Whitman administration, among other things to lower taxes for her wealthy cronies. How, in the world, could this be the fault of the teachers? Tea partiers and other right-wing ideologues and “pundits” who have no experience teaching do not know the education, training, supervised internships, testing and constant professional development hours that teachers gladly pursue to join the profession in good standing. These ideologues do not know that we, as teachers, stay late for meetings, travel to conferences, and leave our children (such as my Eric, here….my own son) home to fend for themselves while they meet the needs of the families whose children they serve. Many an afternoon Eric and his brother, Charlie, had to either go to child care, or go home on the bus, with Mom not home yet because she had work to do. These are the sacrifices families of teachers make to give their mothers and fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers, time to grade papers, write reports, and otherwise serve their school districts. How many of these ideologues have had to figure out how to feed, clothe, house their families on salaries and pensions that are limited compared to some of the salaries of the parents of their children. As a teacher who has served wealthy, middle class and downright economically disadvantaged groups and schools, I can tell you that having the patience to listen to the problems of wealthy families as you wonder how your own children are doing at home, are they finding that snack you left for them, or as you leave in the morning, what kind of day will they have, will you need to be accessible, will they have transportation to sports and other after-school programs as you are off to your school and your life is taken over by the needs of your students. Working families who teach have a wide variety of unique challenges. Have you tried standing all day, walking around the school, even as a young person, to “stand and deliver?” It’s never easy. Of course, we can always “change careers.” If, however, you have the desire and passion and capacity and “knack” for teaching, there are few careers that are as thrilling and satisfying, and most of us would go nowhere else. The fact is, we have been paying into our pensions for years, many of us, and these teabaggers are advocating taking them away. Our society will have the teachers it deserves, the education for which it will settle, and the future it provides through its schools and its teachers. In the meantime, this mom/teacher is quite proud of her sons, for participating actively in this massive protest. It’s so good to see their work for SLAC blossom and to see them joined by thousands of classmates and workers of the country, to stand up for all workers, all pensioners and all public servants who strive to serve to the best of their ability every day!

  3. Eric, In spirit I’m with you, Charlie and all your compatriots in Wisconsin. I’ve been following all your good and hard work via facebook and the news and wish you success in gathering more and more support.

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