Apr 06 2011
The Right Hook, a weekly segment which covers the machinations of the right wing, from the Republican Party to the Tea Party Patriots, and beyond. By Chris Bennett
Labor Unions in America are under attack by the right wing, in ways large and small, ideological and illogical. It’s an Orwellian assault designed to snuff out the rights of people to collective bargaining. And even to erase symbols of labor. In Maine, Republican governor Paul LePage has started a skirmish with the state’s unions by ordering a mural of Maine’s labor history to be removed– from the state’s Department of Labor. The mural in question depicts scenes from Maine’s labor history. LePage’s idea of labor history? Forget it ever happened. Or, as George Orwell might say “the most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.” Perhaps governor LePage sees this as a two-fer: kill some art, kill some labor union art history. But the right wing is a big tent, so I’ve heard. And while we spend a lot of time calling out right wing pols for being enablers of a runaway war-machine, the war machinists themselves, don’t always hate art. This Fall, for instance, Department of Defense workers, moving into a brand-new building, may get to walk by an inspiring new sculpture in the lobby. One of four finalists for the space, the new sculpture depicts a 10-foot tall fairy riding atop a giant toad. Sometimes a fairy riding a toad is just a fairy riding a toad. But this one costs about $500,000. Cheap. It’s only one-third the cost of a Tomahawk cruise missile. And it is almost a perfect representation of America’s foreign policy: the imaginary fairy of democracy riding atop a swamp-dwelling amphibian in search of oil, no doubt. But while the democracy fairies spread their love around the globe, there’s a war on back home. And the labor movement, after playing rope-a-dope the last generation or so, has found a flicker of fight, most recently in Wisconsin. Earlier this year, crowds of 100,000 union members and supporters protested for weeks against governor Scott Walkers plan to eliminate collective bargaining rights. According to Reuters, Wisconsin citizens have collected enough signatures to force a recall election for Republican state senator Dan Kapanke. Walker’s legislative shenanigans have roused workers to target, no select, 17 more Republicans for recall elections. If Kapanke goes down, Wisconsin union supporters will need to win just two more recall elections to give control of the senate to Democrats. Walker himself is up for recall in January 2012. Clearly, the backlash to Walker’s overreaching is on. Last Friday, Judge Maryann Sumi delayed for at least two months the implementation of Walker’s anti-union bill. And yesterday [Tuesday] in Wisconsin was another election: on the state’s supreme court. If challenger JoAnn Klopenberg defeats conservative Justice David Prosser, Democrats will reverse and hold a 4-3 majority on the court. So the gears of democracy are getting the rust knocked off of them this week. Remember, don’t let anyone tell you to sit down and shut up! Where have I heard that before?
The Right Hook – Reality Based News and Views
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