The protests by union employees in Wisconsin this week have been an example of Democracy for all Americans to be proud of, but it is also a throwback to the 1930s when corporations and big business interests fought to deny workers the right to organize for better wages and working conditions. What is happening in Wisconsin is more than workers protesting to keep collective bargaining rights with the state. It is a fight to preserve democracy from falling victim to oligarchy at the hands of the Koch Brothers.
In the early days of the labor movement it was a different set of corporate bosses using strong-arm tactics to disrupt organizers and suppress workers, and although the anti-union groups are not using violence (yet) today, they are using a more potent mix of Fox News and conservative pundits to paint unions as a drain on the nation’s economy. As usual, Fox News and conservatives are using misinformation, scare tactics, false patriotism, and outright lies to convince their audience that unions are anti-American. However, they are not informing their listeners that the only benefactors of union-busting is the Koch Brothers and by extension, all corporatists in America.
The campaign to break the back of labor in Wisconsin by Republican governor Scott Walker is funded and supported in full by David Koch who is the de facto ruler in Wisconsin. Koch Industries has a heavy presence in the state and according to Koch Industries information page, there are at least 17 subsidiary companies operating in the state. Governor Walker has attempted to characterize the ban on collective bargaining as a necessary measure to control spending in keeping with the Republicans’ smaller government meme, but his actions are a direct attack on labor at the direction of David Koch. Breaking the labor movement in Wisconsin is not the ultimate goal of the Koch brothers. Their goal is to break the labor movement in America once and for all.
The Koch brothers and their minions view organized labor as the final obstacle to complete takeover of the government by corporations, and to complete their goal of corporate oligarchy, labor and unions must die. Unions set standards for the rest of workforce whether in the private or public sector, and if they can be eliminated, all workers will succumb to the whims of corporations that will set their own standards of pay, benefits, and safety standards.
All Americans who work benefit from sacrifices and standards unions fought to achieve for their members. Whether it is lunch breaks, minimum wages, weekends, or safety standards set by the government, unions are responsible and every wage earner benefits from those standards. When minimum wages are set by the government, the party fighting to keep Americans from earning a living wage is Republicans who are controlled by corporate masters like the Koch Brothers. Instead of announcing that they want to keep American workers in poverty, Republicans have used misinformation campaigns like the ones we are seeing from Fox News and their conservative pundits.
Conservatives have called the labor movement Marxist, Communist, and un-American, and true to form, their incredibly stupid audience falls for the propaganda as if it is an utterance from their god. Without unions and the labor movement they spawned, there would be no middle class in America today. That is the goal of corporations like Koch Industries even though it would mean the end of their existence in America.
After the Second World War, soldiers returned home to jobs in union factories and the living wage they earned allowed them to buy homes, automobiles, and appliances the factories produced. In turn, the living wage provided tax revenue that helped build the Interstate Highway system, bridges, hospitals and infrastructure that was the envy of the civilized world. Under a corporatist Republican government, every worker would earn a dollar an hour and work 18 hours a day seven days a week. There would be no middle class to sustain the economy and America would fall into third-world status in a brief period of time. It is where the country is heading now with Republicans refusing to fund infrastructure improvements and projects like a high-speed rail system.
America cannot stand any more conservative policies that give every break to a few wealthy families and corporate interests. Corporations have earned enough off the sweat of American labor and they have no intention of giving back to the country. Pundits have convinced stupid Republican voters into thinking that workers demanding a living wage are stealing from wealthy people and that if we give more money to the wealthy, they will let a few crumbs fall for workers to fight over. If any American believes for a minute that corporate rapists like the Koch Brothers will share one penny with American workers, they are in for a shocking dose of reality.
The Koch brothers do not employ any union workers, and yet they are funding the war on organized labor, and by extension, on the government. The last bastion of freedom is organized labor and to think otherwise is a tragic mistake. Without organized labor, conservatives will take over the government and hand the country over to the Koch brothers and their corporate brotherhood. They have set out to destroy education and the middle class because the most dangerous weapon against oligarchy is an educated populace. Organized labor is a powerful lobbying group that fights for worker’s rights and the middle class, and that is why Republicans are doing the bidding of corporations.
The battle in Wisconsin is more than just for unions or smaller government or budget deficits. It is even more than a battle for collective bargaining or workers’ rights. It is a critical battle to decide if America remains a democracy or becomes an oligarchy owned and operated by Koch Industries. The Koch brothers may operate 17 different businesses in Wisconsin, but their goal is to set the standard for the rest of the nation to follow and they have fooled a fair amount of Americans into supporting their coup. Intelligent Americans will support the protesters because they understand the stakes are too high to be complacent. Hopefully, it will be enough.