Thursday, March 3, 2011

Petering Out?

You be the judge. The protests in Wisconsin, I'm told, are continuing apace, despite the fact that hardly anyone, now, seems to think that much of Walker's program will be thwarted -- if anything, really -- in the end.

If there's anything Democrats know it is How To Cave, and suspicion is growing that they will cave, even the Wisconsin 14, and that, as they say, will be that.

And what of the daily thousands?

That depends. It really does. If the issue is only collective bargaining rights for public employees, it's way too narrow a thing to maintain the kind of public support the demonstrators have managed to achieve over the past few weeks. If the unions and the workers give up on everything else, but insist that collective bargaining cannot be touched, in time, the public will tire of the controversy, and collective bargaining will be given up too. The problem with much union leadership in this country, such as it is, is that they are almost as willing to cave -- and as skilled at caving -- as Democratic politicians are. Unfortunately, they sell their rank and file down the river, for a mess of pottage as they say, over and over again. It's especially the case with public employee unions because they always want to be seen as "reasonable." For their part, the rank and file public employees will often enough slit their own throats to "protect their jobs" or some semblance of a pension or some other future benefit -- like a "raise" instead of yet another pay cut. I've seen it happen over and over again in California, and I'm sure exactly the same sort of thing goes on everywhere, including Wisconsin.

If the issue is solely collective bargaining and solely on behalf of unionized public employees, it's not going to get very far. It's gone about as far as it can.

Just as the Egyptians had to break through the Fear Barrier in order to achieve their Revolutionary objectives -- and they still have to struggle to maintain them -- our own putative revolutionaries have to break through what I call the Issue Barrier.

The Power of Division is still very strong in the United States, and our controlled corporate mass media ensures that it will be difficult (note: not impossible) to learn the truth of what is really going on.

[Speaking of: there is now some suspicion that the Shoving Incident In Sacramento that has gone into heavy rotation everywhere due to the Breitbart Effect, an incident that is supposed to prove the Thuggery of the Unions, was actually a provocation engineered by -- let's say -- Tea Party enthusiasts like Mark Williams and Sal Russo, who said they wanted to do something like this. There were apparently several other "Teamsters" with the young man who was cited, none of whom appeared to be quite what they were claiming to be. I saw some of these "other Teamsters" myself (never saw the young man who was cited) during Saturday's protest and noted they were... not exactly part of the protest. What tipped me off that things might not be what they appeared to be was that their Teamster Jackets never seem to have been worn before. Hm. Isn't that something? Well, nothing is proved, so I'm not going to make too much of it. But the fact remains that there was an announced effort to disrupt the Solidarity Rallies by impersonating protesters and causing incidents that would get on teevee. There was an incident in Sacramento that has been used by the Rightists to prove what Thugs Union Members are. Just keep it in mind.]

That's as may be. The point is that narrowing the issues -- rather than broadening them -- will ultimately sap the strength and the energy from the struggle, until, in the end, the Revolution peters out and fails.

The broader issues that I have seen in all of the North African and Middle Eastern uprisings, and that seemed to be coming to the fore in the Mid West and all the Solidarity Rallies in the United States were Dignity and Justice. These are among the deepest seated desires of human societies. But if those basic premises are lost or forgotten in the struggle over minutiae -- as seems to be happening, but I can't be sure -- then the overall struggle is lost.

Egyptians know that even in "victory," they have to keep the struggle going until they achieve their fundamental goals of Dignity and Justice -- which they know they haven't yet, they're only partway there, and they cannot relent now.

In Wisconsin, as of this moment, the protests have raised consciousness, but they have not achieved any positive goals at all. Walker is still dictating, the Kochs are still counting their money and buying policies and politicians to suit themselves, the People are still largely barred from the Capitol, and the opportunity to jigger and juggle the System through strategy has become the focus for all sides.

But what for? The Walkerites and Kocheviks know what they want, and they are relentless in obtaining what they want. Absolutely relentless.

What do the People want?

That's the question now.

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