The following is text from a leaflet members of Socialist Alternative members are handing out at the mass demonstrations in Madison this weekend, urging a serious discussion on strategy and the need for an one-day public sector general strike. As similar struggles spread across the country, the burning question of what it will take to defeat the corporate agenda will come to the forefront. Drawing lessons from historical and recent international experience, and in dialogue with workers and youth in Wisconsin in recent days, this is our contribution to the discussion and proposals for urgent action.
Build for a One-Day Public Sector General Strike!
Public Forum [in Madison] to Discuss a Strategy to Win
Monday, February 21st, 7:00 pm, Rainbow Books, 426 W Gilman St, Madison, WI
The Governor thought he could walk all over the working people of Wisconsin. Instead, Scott Walker ignited a movement that clearly has the potential power and momentum to bring his corporate-sponsored administration to its knees. The key question is how can we unite around a mass action strategy capable of seeing this struggle through to victory?
Walker's plan to strip state workers of collective bargaining rights is nothing short of an attempt to break the union movement. Working people and our unions are not the cause of the economic crisis and fiscal woes of the state. The bankers, Wall Street speculators and corporate politicians are to blame. So we have to demand: Stop scapegoating unions! Make the super-rich pay for their own crisis!
The attack is not just on unionized state workers. It is an attack on all working people and youth. If they can beat back the state workers, it’s open season on all workers’ jobs, wages, benefits, future pensions and on public services.
This last week of action has made one thing clear: The working people and youth of this state are prepared for an all-out mobilization which stops at nothing. We have taken enormous inspiration from the heroic and determined struggle of the Egyptian people who would not give up until their voices were heard.
But if a week of mass demonstrations, sick-outs and walkouts won’t stop Walker, the Republican legislature, and their big-business backers, what will? Preparations must begin for a mobilization which will stop business as usual across the state. A decisive first step is organizing a one-day public sector general strike, combined with mass student walkouts to shut down the schools. The teachers have already shown what is possible – now the entire public sector must be brought to a standstill!
But time is short. If we don’t keep moving forward, we will fall back. And we can’t rely on the Democratic Party to maintain a principled stand unless they feel the fire of the movement spreading underneath them. After all, would the Senate Democrats have even taken their stand if the working people of Wisconsin hadn’t risen up in the first place?
The unions should urgently issue a call for a one-day public sector general strike, and initiate a serious, all-out mobilization.
Even if strike action is not legal for all state workers we must remember that the unions were built in the first place by struggles which defied anti-union laws. The right to strike must be defended and extended. If we're not prepared to take a stand now, when will we, especially once the power of unions has been stripped away?
The stakes are extremely high. If this anti-union legislation passes it will embolden those seeking to attack unions elsewhere, but if it is defeated it will give confidence to workers across country to stand up. That is why a national call to mobilize the labor movement must be made to pour as much union resources as possible into this central battleground and to spread the struggle nationally by organizing major solidarity rallies and actions across the country.
Wisconsin has become center stage in a sweeping attack on the public sector all across the country. Other state governments are also targeting wages, benefits, and collective bargaining rights. This is the naked agenda of big business and their corporate servants in office. The capitalist system is in deep crisis, and they want to solve it on our backs by steamrolling over all obstacles including unions.
It is up to us to stop these attacks. Unfortunately, while some Democratic politicians say they support some of our demands, the Party remains a fickle ally. Why did they make the bipartisan agreement for tax cuts for super-wealthy? Why are teachers unions in the cross-hairs of Obama's Secretary of Education Arne Duncan? What happened to EFCA? Why haven't they stood up to the lies of the Tea Party and Right-wing Republicans? Despite their pro-worker rhetoric, the Democratic Party is largely funded by big business and has consistently sold out working people.
It's time that we build a political alternative to the two parties of corporate America. Campaigns should be launched across the country to stop the budget cuts and defend jobs, services and workers’ rights. Out of these campaigns we could run our own independent candidates as the first step towards forming a new party that gives a real voice to workers and youth and fights for our interests.
The time is now to begin the fight-back. The Egyptian workers have shown is it possible to stand up to injustice everywhere. If you agree with the ideas in this leaflet please contacts us to discuss joining Socialist Alternative and how to organize a united struggle to fight for our rights and our future.
- Kill the bill! Bring down Walkers’ anti-union legislation
- Stop ALL budget cuts, layoffs, and attacks on workers
- Reverse Walker’s tax cuts for business to plug the deficit
- Tax the rich and corporations to fund a massive public sector jobs program at union wages and conditions