"...it's not the training to be mean but the training to be kind that is used to keep us leashed best." ~ Black Dog Red

"In case you haven't recognized the trend: it proceeds action, dissent, speech." ~ davidly, on how wars get done

"...What sort of meager, unerotic existence must a man live to find himself moved to such ecstatic heights by the mundane sniping of a congressional budget fight. The fate of human existence does not hang in the balance. The gods are not arrayed on either side. Poseiden, earth-shaker, has regrettably set his sights on the poor fishermen of northern Japan and not on Washington, D.C. where his ire might do some good--I can think of no better spot for a little wetland reclamation project, if you know what I mean. The fight is neither revolution nor apocalypse; it is hardly even a fight. A lot of apparatchiks are moving a lot of phony numbers with more zeros than a century of soccer scores around, weaving a brittle chrysalis around a gross worm that, some time hence, will emerge, untransformed, still a worm." ~ IOZ

Feb 18, 2011


It takes a while to break the habits of obedience. It takes too many injuries, too soon together, in many cases too late. We have far greater tolerance for our overlords than history warrants. A sign of our decency, and of the realities and burdens we must already bear for the pleasure and benefit of those who rule us - who live off the theft of lives that is their industry and economy. It's hard enough getting the kids up and fed and clothed most days. It's hard enough being human when those who rule you are jackals. Which is, in all truth, unfair to actual jackals, when you think about it.

But, it sure is pretty when that line is crossed and people just stop taking it:

And it sure is telling that our protests always look like feast days and festivals:

Until they send in the cops.

(photos courtesy AOLHuffington, which is sure to get the angle on the story wrong, over the coming days, by making it about the execrable Democrats...)


Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

Until they send in the cops.

Yeah, this is what most of us fear.

I think the one thing that will work in the protestors' favor is that they are largely white (although I have no doubt the whole "freeloading union public sector employee" image is racially based), and images of schoolteachers being clubbed with batons would be a "bridge too far" moment, even for a lot of jaded apolitical types.

I hope... I really hope.

Anonymous said...

Three observations:

It is nice to see teaches in a union acting like union members instead of like some sort of professional credentialing outfit like the ABA or AMA.

One of the things that is going to help the NFLPA in their dispute with the owners is that the players have direct contact with their fans through twitter and don't need to rely on the big city newspapers and national sports magazines to filter their points. Whatever you think about the NFL, the players want to hare in the money, take care of the retired players and have healthcare for themselves and though they are famous and in some cases for a short while, rich, that isn't so different from what any of us want. The public union members have the same direct access to the general population. They will win the PR war.

The public employees and the teachers are privileged workers, but it is going to take one big union to make progress. They are supporting each other.


Anonymous said...

And this from SIRTYST.


Randal Graves said...

Damn right I'm a freeloading union public sector employee why I'm reading the news at work right now & this morning, I put ham & cheese not on 99 cent white bread, but French. With mustard.

If only I could do important stuff with this ever-growing hoard of coins & gems such as drone fuckers up. Sigh.

Anonymous said...

I think Madison is more notable for the reflection of the impulse toward defending one's interests.

Teachers... blah. As one who has experienced public and private schools both, I say let the public schoolteachers rot. They're robot-makers, not thinker-creators.

However as an indicator of the cravenness and smallness of government's "austerity" that pinches only the little people, and the teachers being pissed off at that? Most excellent. It shows they are waking up. It shows, as drip wisely mentioned, that they actually feel some solidarity instead of using the union as a mere job-enhancement or resume-builder.

There's also another 800-lb gorilla here: the value of unions in 2011. Some will say Madison proves they're still useful. Such a view requires one to ignore that in 2011, unions are just another vehicle for profiteering by those who are at the top of the pigpile.

The solidarity can't be ignored though.

mikegirard said...

Well said, Jack. Revolt is quite a beautiful thing. Nice to see the big numbers. We've gotten so accustomed to tiny protests that demonstrate weakness above all. Maybe Wisconsin will become contagious. It will be interesting to see where the anti-war protests planned for April take us.

Drip, that's very interesting about Twitter's potential impact on labor negotiations in professional sports. It seems to me, though, that the American public is seriously indoctrinated about who should make big money and who should not. For some reason, well-paid laborers are usually regarded as greedy and ungrateful even if all they want is a bigger share in the huge profits they generate. Management's interest in keeping the profits to themselves is taken for granted and almost invariably found acceptable.

Charles, aren't all revolts about 'defending one's interests?' From what I understand, the Egyptian revolution was largely a labor uprising.

Anonymous said...

That would depend on who is doing the revolting, Mike. Some people might knowingly, or unknowingly, revolt on behalf of others. Might even revolt on behalf of those whom they think they're revolting against. Really, it depends on the situation.

Revolting against one's own interest?

Health Care Reform, USA 2009-10.

Anonymous said...

Also, as to the Egyptian revolt being about labor uprising: my gut tells me labor unions in Egypt are a bit different than here; my experience here in the USA is that labor unions tend to be money-launderers for the mob, fronts for "management," and generally, where those two don't apply, a vehicle for more money or job-related rights for the workers. Don't know whether that's how they shape up in Egypt.

Collective rights advocacy is good; serving as a money laundry for the mob is bad; serving as a front for management through shop stewards who identify more with mgt than labor, for example, is bad.

mikegirard said...

Revolting against one's own interest?

Health Care Reform, USA 2009-10.

I see your point, but that was not really a mass movement. Mass movements seem to have the interested parties at their base, though there are sympathetic members, and though the movement may actually be instigated from the outside.

I like your succinct description of unions. My dad's union was definitely owned by the mob and it was a great source of frustration and anger for him.

Anonymous said...

That's true, Mike. The HCR didn't look like Egypt or Madison, but it could have -- say, if they had waited another 12-18 mos to tackle it in the Congress. They jumped on it early in Obamamania to get full grift from The Biracial Bungler's massive popularity.

There was definitely a period of waves of support and argument FOR the Obamacare HCR, I spent of time writing about it at my blog and much more time commenting around the Toobz at sites where people were eager to believe Obama and the Congress, and were quite eager to adopt or support a plan of "reform" tailored by health insurers, Rx mfrs, MDs, hospitals, med device mfrs and not a lick of input from consumer advocates or those who would truly reform health care.

But you're right, it didn't happen in a big surge like Madison.