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Solidarity in Wisconsin and the Welfare Connection (Video)

More GRITtv

More GRITtv

“This could be the kind of social justice moment that many of us have been waiting for,” says Bill Fletcher, Jr. of the Center for Labor Renewal. He points out that the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia are not just spreading to Libya, locked in a deadly struggle with its own dictator, but in Ohio, Wisconsin, and around the US. “People are picking up on the energy and the audacity of the democratic revolt,” he notes.

Bill joins Laura in studio to discuss the fight in Libya, the connections to labor uprisings in Wisconsin, Ohio, and Indiana, and why progressives have an opportunity now that can’t be let slide.

Though Scott Walker has claimed that the fight in Madison is mostly outsiders being brought in by the unions, Madison residents know otherwise. Workers’ rights are near and dear to the hearts of many people in Wisconsin, and not just those who are under threat of having their collective bargaining rights slashed. The Wisconsin firefighters are exempt from Walker’s actions, but have been rallying in support of the workers, and Madison’s Union Cab is a worker-owned collective, but they too have joined the protests.

Mahlon Mitchell of the firefighters’ union and Fred Schepartz of Union Cab joined Laura in Madison to discuss their reasons for joining the protests when their rights aren’t being threatened.

Finally, Wisconsin has long been a testing ground for conservatives to undercut progressive policies. Welfare reform was originated there, too, with Republican governor Tommy Thompson and the Bradley Foundation, who are also behind Scott Walker. Laura has some thoughts.