"Totally coup, yo."

MADTOWN

Mar

04

by

The Front Lines of America’s Class War

(Photo: Ed Beck)
(Photo: Ed Beck)

Part One: Buffalo to Wisconsin

Last Saturday about 250 Cheeseheads-in-solidarity huddled on the freezing steps of City Hall in Buffalo. It was cute and toothless, like a kitten with leukemia. I’d say it accomplished nothing, but it did have the effect of making us all very cold.

solidarity3
(Photo: Ed Beck)

We stood with you, Wisconsin, as did many other cities across the nation. We stood. We had signs. We chanted. America’s inequitable and unjust economic system should be crumbling, any minute now, from our standing and chanting and signs.

(Photo: Ed Beck)
(Photo: Ed Beck)

It was mostly union members, labor organizers, college kids and the odd “liberal blogger,” as David Gregory calls us. This one hipster chic had a vuvuzela. She was trying to annoy the plutarchy into submission.

(photo:  Mallory Jane Hallstead)
(photo: Mallory Jane Hallstead)

Three Tea Partiers protested our protest from across the street. They stood. They had signs. They blarghed.

I blarghed with them.

(Photo: Ed Beck)
(Photo: Ed Beck)

“Blargh! I hate black people!” I blarghed. “Blargh!”

“Oh, but he’s with us,” blarghed a 45 year-old anti-union papergirl, pointing to me.

“No,” one guy blarghed. “He’s blargh.”

“Blargh?!” she blarghed.

“Blargh!” he blarghed.

(Satelite photo: NASA)
(Satellite photo: NASA)

As a member of the media, I am contractually obligated to report on those freaks. They’re like the Charlie Sheens of American political discourse. Back on the sane side of the street, I was both inspired and consumed with mounting cynicism. Here we were standing around on a weekend–in reality, doing nothing. Real solidarity would be to occupy City Hall during the week. Shut things down for a while. Just saying.

I got the Governor of Wisconsin on tape openly discussing illegal and abhorrent things with someone he thought was the financial backer of the Tea Party and worse. It basically accomplished nothing; this protest accomplished less.

I need to get to Madtown–Madison, WI. That’s one of the front lines. It’s a class war, haven’t you heard? The people who own this country keep taking more, keep stealing more. Income inequality has not been this stark since the Great Depression. We’re all getting screwed and lied to. Again.

Scott Walker’s “budget crisis” is one that’s been designed to ram through privatization. You make the state go broke by giving away all the tax payers’ money to the wealthy, and then you pin the austerity on the little guy. It’s precisely what Naomi Klein calls “disaster capitalism.” It’s the biggest lie in town. It’s the WMD of the war on the middle class.

Walker’s done this before when he was Milwaukee County Executive. He cried, budget crisis, and rammed through privatization to disastrous ends. He fired public, unionized guards at county buildings, and replaced them with guards from the foreign-based prison company Wackenhut. It saved the county almost no money, and an arbitrator ruled that Walker crossed the line. There was never a budget crisis, according to the local press.

I’m broke. Buffalo’s like the Third World already. As so many benighted Americans do, I could easily be jealous and resentful of unions, and delight in their wane. Not everything the unions do is cool. Health care coverage for elective plastic surgery? Maybe it improves class attendance, but it seems a little extreme. But collective bargaining–to be able to speak with one voice and demand a living wage–seems like a really good idea, for all Americans. That’s just democracy.

We shouldn’t pull the rest of the middle class down into our non-union, private, under-paid pit of toil. We should back their fight, win, and then take it to the private sector. Incidentally, the last time private union membership was so low was the Great Depression.

The other front lines of this battle are Wall Street and unchecked military expenditures, as best as I can tell. I don’t have a suit, and there’s no way of penetrating the Pentagon’s defenses, so I have to go to Madtown. And some guy is flying me out there on his enormous teaching salary. Must be nice. For now, let’s call him Mr. Kotter.

Mr. Kotter says I’ll receive all of Wisconsin’s finest “gear,” so I expect Milwaukee’s Best–but not the beer. That shit is rancid. I’m sorry. Around here they call it “The Beast,” so I am a little conflicted. Guinness, please. I’m Irish. And you Cheeseheads better have some decent drugs. Seriously. My back is going to be killing me. A hot cheese massage would also work. And drugs.

I just got off the phone with Mr. Kotter. He says the Capitol Building in Madison has been reopened to the public. Today the Assembly Democrats put their desks outside to make the democracy happen. Creative. And the 14 State Senate Dems are still in exile. Mr. Kotter thinks he can get me an audience, so we may shoot over the border.

The solidarity protest in Buffalo was cheerleading fun. Now I want to be in the game. My flight leaves tomorrow morning. I’ll be in Madtown on Saturday, for the 19th straight day of protests, to help make the democracy. Unless things change, I’ll be back in Buffalo by Sunday night.

“We’re going to have to shove ten pounds of shit into a two pound sack,” says Mr. Kotter.

Should be a good time.

________________

  • Buffalo Rude

    Awesome.

  • mike

    I don’t know why we resist these republican douche bags. They are their own worst enemies. We would probably be rid of them in less time if we just let them do what they wanted and let the failure of their policies speak for itself. They would easily anger the fucking world if they had their way and cause the perfect storm of a backlash from the masses. Whoever has the power gets the blame when things turn to shit and the powerless step in and reap the rewards.

  • http://www.brucegoff-castle-bandb.com Glen Etzkorn

    Go dude go. What you did rocks the sock off of the koch pranksters any day of the week. Catching the fascist underling Walker spilling his vile fools words thinking he was talking to a corporate master was instrumental in speaking truth for others to get a grip on reality now until victory. In a fools world the word would be “thanks a million” but you managed to gives a billion.

  • http://alfrankenweb.com/forum Sir Rhino

    I think I’ll have different advice from PoopSquire.

    Ian, you are a fuckin’ hero. By exposing Walker for the malicious lackey he is, you threw off their whole PR plan, not just in Wisconsin but nationwide. Who knows, you may have saved the country from a President Walker.

    Heady fuckin’ shit, dude.

    When you get to Wisconsin, there will be people there who will listen very carefully to what you have to say, for you have already earned their respect.

    Have fun, but your actions can have national impact … for better or for worse. Going all gonzo can be tons of fun … mooning then farting on Walker, for instance, would be hilarious, but if you think about it, I’ll bet you could come up with a way to hurt him, politically, far worse.
    than that

    After all, you already have once.

    Best of all possible luck to you.

  • admin

    So, then, no pressure is what you guys are saying?

  • http://alfrankenweb.com/forum Sir Rhino

    The good news is that as a VIP, you’ll probably get laid as much as you want.

    I would advise you to not do it on Walker’s desk though … it’s probably too hard anyway. On the other hand, if the governor does pass near you a simple “Hi Scott … it was nice talking to you” in your David Koch voice could send him into appoplectic fits.

  • WillFerrell

    Go streaking through the quad!
    WOOOOOO!!!!

  • Bebe

    That Murphy’s going to Wisconsin is the best possible news.

  • mike

    If you don’t approve of the job Walker is doing, vote “No” here:

    http://www.journaltimes.com/polls/html_e7df0506-44fc-11e0-b687-001cc4c002e0.html

  • mike

    Yea, no pressure. :)

  • mmlacuna

    Thanks for coming Ian. I’m from WNY, good old Niagara Falls transplanted to Madison WI. I think your prank call will have some affect on the Gov. A complaint has already been filed with the Gov Accountability Board. It looked like it has some teeth. I want you to know how much that call raised our spirits on the ground here. You helped rally the troops in this fight. So, I gotta thank you. See you on the square.

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