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Mole's Progressive Democrat

The Progressive Democrat Newsletter grew out of the frustration of the 2004 election. Originally intended for New York City progressives, its readership is now national. For anyone who wants to be alerted by email whenever this newsletter is updated (usually weekly), please send your email address and let me know what state you live in (so I can keep track of my readership).

Location: Brooklyn, New York, United States

I am a research biologist in NYC. Married with two kids living in Brooklyn.

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  • Saturday, March 19, 2011

    Union Solidarity Across Four States

    This is updated from last issue now that the fight is spreading even further. I believe that what has started in Wisconsin, and is spreading to other states, particularly Ohio, Michigan and Indiana, is a real sea change in American politics...IF we come together and fight back as a united front.

    Doing the bidding of the Koch Brothers, the NYC Billionaires, the Teabagger Republicans in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana and now Michigan are trying to destroy the unions that brought us the 40 hour work week, overtime pay, child labor laws...the WEEKEND! Now the governor of Indiana saw which way the wind was blowing and backed off a bit, but these four states are currently the main battle ground between the pro-Billionaire Teabagger Republicans and regular working class Americans. And we have to win in these states BIG time to slap down the right wing attack on our firefighters, cops, teachers and nurses.

    The latest attack on working class Americans is in Michigan: More anti-union shenanigans from Michigan Republicans

    The Republicans have bitten off more than they can chew. The American public, who basically prefer unions, firefighters, police, teachers and nurses better than billionaires, are not happy at all at the right wing attack on unions. In fact, the American public is telling the Teabaggers and their Billionaire Masters: "We're angry and we are NOT going to take it anymore..."

    (image borrowed from this site)

    My great grandfather lost two fingers and an eye in industrial accidents after coming to, ironically enough, Wisconsin from the old country. Back in Latvia (then part of Tsarist Russia) he was a furniture maker...a craftsman. In Jewish culture at the time this was not really valued. My great grandmother's family, though they had no money, were a family of rabbis, doctors...EDUCATED. So my great grandmother always looked down on her husband for being ONLY a craftsman.

    Of course, much as I value education, she was wrong. And I think Jewish culture since then has become much more appreciative of the craftsman and the worker. And it was the immigrant Jewish experience in sweatshops and factories that helped bring about the unions in this country. My great grandfather's experience was just one of thousands...and inconsequential in the broader scheme of things. But it did set my family on the path to being FDR Democrats from the start.

    But other Jewish immigrant experiences directly shaped and spurred not just the union movement in the US, but even fire safety. Some years back I worked in a lab in this building:

    (from wikipedia)

    It is now called the Brown Building, part of New York University. But it once was called the Asch building and it housed, among other things the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory.

    (from Diana Lisher-Goodband's Blog)

    That fire happened 100 years ago this month. We have come so far since then, but now trickle down Teabagger Republicans want to take us back to the days before workers had any real rights.

    The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory tragedy got both fire safety laws AND unions started in the US in a big way. Let me tell you, working in THAT building you sure took the fire drills seriously.

    The Teabagger Republicans HATE unions, fire safety laws, firefighters, police, teachers, nurses...even garbage collectors. They are EAGER to cut the pay and benefits to these people just like they are EAGER to cut taxes on the rich.

    I say no. Absolutely NO to the Teabagger Republican attack on working class Americans. I am sticking to the unions and ask you to join me:

    First off, I vow to never again use a Koch Brothers product to wipe my ass. Back in the day boycotting products from union busting companies was ingrained at least in this Jewish Liberal's family mind set. Now I see people arguing effectiveness and all that. Hell, I just don't want my money going to the Billionaire Koch Brothers. It's a matter of sticking with the union, whether or not it hurts the Billionaire Koch Brothers. It's a matter of solidarity.

    Now I admit the construction products they make are perhaps beyond my reach to boycott, but their paper goods are fair game and I WILL NOT BUY THESE PRODUCTS:

    (Georgia-Pacific products)

    Angel Soft toilet paper
    Brawny paper towels
    Dixie plates, bowls, napkins and cups
    Mardi Gras napkins and towels
    Quilted Northern toilet paper
    Soft 'n Gentle toilet paper
    Sparkle napkins
    Vanity fair napkins
    Zee napkins
    Georgia-Pacific paper products and envelopes

    Then again I prefer recycled paper products anyway. Seventh Generation or Marcal for example. The Koch brothers may not care...but I sure do. I am sticking with the union and that means, to the best of my ability, boycotting union busters.

    Now let's get to Wisconsin. I think one of my favorite shows of solidarity so far has been the overwhelming response to the efforts of a handful of downtown Madison restaurants to feed the pro-Union protesters. You can do this through the Badger Bites website. Send a pizza or sandwiches. NO political movement can succeed on an empty stomach. Nothing says solidarity like a pizza.

    There is also an election April 5th in Wisconsin. We have to fight hard for the pro-Union candidates. SEIU Wisconsin State Council Announces Spring 2011 Endorsements

    Chris Abele – Milwaukee County Executive (CRITICAL RACE...this was Scott Walker's old seat, so electing Abele would send a very clear message)

    Dave Cieslewicz – Madison Mayor (Website has a GREAT Union Solidarity photo!)

    Ken Hall – Racine County Executive (Ken Hall has been supported by Progressive Majority since he first ran for office)

    JoAnne Kloppenburg – State Supreme Court Justice (THE MOST CRITICAL RACE!!!)

    Joe Parisi – Dane County Executive

    Eyon Biddle – Milwaukee County Supervisor District 10

    Pedro Colón – Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Branch 18

    Steve Doyle – Assembly District 94

    Terry Falk – Milwaukee School Board At Large

    Gerald Glazer – Milwaukee School Board District 2

    Jason Haas – Milwaukee County Board District 14 (Another important race...Haas' opponent is a right wing extremist Teabagger)

    Meagan Holman – Milwaukee School Board District 8 (EXCELLENT candidate...she has also been endorsed by various teachers' unions)

    Tom Nelson – Outagamie County Executive

    DON'T FORGET TO VOTE APRIL 5th. Vote and vote PRO-UNION. And get your neighbors and friends to vote PRO-UNION on April 5th. Let's make April 5th a clean sweep for unions.

    There is also a recall effort against anti-union Republican state senators. From Recall the Republican 8:

    According to a Washington Post advance look at new polling by Survey USA, there are strong majorities in favor of recalling Sens. Dan Kapanke and Randy Hopper. According to Survey USA, Kapanke and Hopper would lose hypothetical recall elections by 16 and 11 points respectively, with 57-41 against Kapanke and 54-43 opposed to Hopper...

    Can you please volunteer today? We are canvassing in all of the 8 districts eligible for this weekend, and we need your help. Please volunteer today to help keep the fight alive. Together, we will not be defeated.

    For those who can't volunteer, please donate to defeat the anti-union Republicans.

    Furthermore, in honor of the 14 Democrats who stood up to Scott Walker, I am donating, and urging everyone else, to donate, in $14 increments, to the Democratic Parties of all four states where Republicans have made breaking the unions a priority and where Democrats have stood up to them. In Indiana a similar Democratic walkout has forced their governor to back off for now. But I still am donating $14 to the Indiana Democratic Party. And in Ohio the Democrats are trying to hold the line against their Teabagger Republican governor, so I donated $14 to their Democratic Party a couple of weeks ago. Most recently, as the fight spread to the Michigan state capital, I have donated $14 each to Mid-Michigan DFA and the Democratic Party of Michigan.

    I have compiled this idea into a single Union Solidarity Across Four States Act Blue Page. Please join me in supporting this effort to show that when Democrats have spine, WE WILL HAVE THEIR BACK.



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