Green Ben Manski on democratic reforms, attacks on Wisconsin unions, and tomorrow’s primaries

Ben Manski, a strong 2010 Green candidate for state representative in Madison, Wisconsin, sent the following message to his supporters:

Many of you have asked me what I’ve been up to since the 2010 elections. Others have asked me who I am supporting in tomorrow’s Wisconsin primary elections. I thought I’d share my answers with all of you, in case you’re curious.

A few weeks after last November’s election, the German Green Party invited me to participate in their national convention in Freiburg. I spoke on a panel regarding U.S. politics and the prospects for progressive change in the United States. I was jet-lagged and groggy, and didn’t feel all that good about my presentation. But some of what I said must have gotten through. The very last comment at the session was made by a German parliamentarian who turned to me and said, “what you Americans need to realize is that you need a new constitution and another revolution.”

Oh really?

I must have been listening good, because that’s just what I’ve been up to. I am hard at work on a national democracy convention scheduled for August 24-28, to be hosted at the Concourse Hotel here in Madison (save the date, and look for updates). I’ve also plugged back in with Move to Amend, where I serve on the national executive committee. I’ve never worked on a project like Move to Amend before — one where you regularly receive emails demanding an explanation as to why you haven’t succeeded yet. Why haven’t we amended the Constitution yet, hmm?

Closer to home, it seems like Wisconsin’s new governor is doing everything in his power to help us make the case for democratic revolution. If you’re a Wisconsinite, you know what I mean. But for those reading in other parts of the world, you should know that for this week, at least, and likely for the coming months, Wisconsin is at the center of the struggle over austerity in the United States.

This past Friday, Governor Walker announced plans to eliminate public sector unions in Wisconsin. He introduced what he described as a “Budget Repair Bill.” Among its provisions? It would eliminate nearly all collective bargaining for local and state public employees. It would require yearly recertification votes for public employee unions. It would eliminate “fair share” union dues collection by the state. It would limit union contracts to one year at a time. And that’s just for starters.

A Wisconsin without public sector unions is not Wisconsin. This state gave rise to America’s public employee unions. They are the backbone of this state’s progressive movement. Everything is on the line. Governor Walker knows that. He has already notified Wisconsin’s Adjutant General that he may call on our National Guard in the coming weeks. And working Wisconsinites know it too.

In the next few days, my organization, Liberty Tree, will go live with a new website devoted to Wisconsin’s new wave of resistance against austerity. Look for news about the “Wisconsin Wave.” And if you are within traveling distance to Madison’s downtown, please make plans to join us at the State Capitol tomorrow and Wednesday. My union, AFT-Wisconsin, has provided a helpful schedule, as well as background information, here:http://bit.ly/hcisUQ

Finally, tomorrow is primary election day in Wisconsin. Many of you have asked me who I am supporting, and I’m happy to tell you:

—> In Wisconsin’s first ever publicly financed Supreme Court election, I am voting for JOANNE KLOPPENBURG. I’ve known Kloppenburg long enough to know that she is committed to seeing our courts protect the interests of the powerless, not just the powerful, and to expanding democracy in American life. For full disclosure, Jack Kloppenburg, her husband, was my undergraduate adviser, and is a wonderful advocate for environmental and food sovereignty.

—> In Madison’s mayoral election, I support PAUL SOGLIN. Like other Greens and Progressives locally, I’ve worked with (and sometimes differed with) both Soglin and the current mayor in their terms of office. I know that Paul Soglin can be counted on to open up city hall to everyone, and to especially look out for Madison’s poor and marginalized communities.

—> In Dane County’s race for county executive, I support SCOTT MCDONNELL. He has served as a strong advocate for human services and environmental protection in his time as county board chair, and he is by far the best qualified candidate to take on the duties of county executive. Joe Parisi is also a good candidate, but my vote will be for McDonnell.

—> Last, but not least, our local Progressive party, Progressive Dane, has an incredible team of candidates running for city common council, school board. I especially want to thank candidates MARJ PASSMAN (Madison School Board), SAM STEVENSON (Madison Common Council, District 2), MARSHA RUMMEL (Madison Common Council, District 6),KYLE SZARZYNSKI (Madison Common Council, District 8), BRIAN SOLOMON (Madison Common Council, District 10), SATYA RHODES-CONWAY (Madison Common Council, District 12) and TJ MERTZ (Madison Common Council, District 13) for their very active support in my recent campaign. You can see the full list here: http://www.prodane.org/archives/2011/01/wednesday_janua.html

Finally, since some of you have asked, yes, we still have debt to retire. Please contribute now to help retire our campaign debt ($1200+):
http://votemanski.com/contribute

Thank you for for your consideration, and for all that you do.

– Ben Manski

13 thoughts on “Green Ben Manski on democratic reforms, attacks on Wisconsin unions, and tomorrow’s primaries

  1. Fun K. Chicken

    Government unions are a conflict of interest. Wisconsin’s Governor has the right idea and hopefully all the other governors will pick up on it.

  2. Daniel Wiener

    As a native Wisconsinite, I’m quite happy to see that the governor and legislature are finally confronting the public sector unions whose bloated salaries and outrageous pensions are draining the taxpayers. If public sector employees think they are underpaid or being treated unfairly, they are welcome to quit their jobs and learn what their skills are really worth in the private sector.

  3. paulie

    I’m quite happy to see that the governor and legislature are finally confronting the public sector unions whose bloated salaries and outrageous pensions are draining the taxpayers. If public sector employees think they are underpaid or being treated unfairly, they are welcome to quit their jobs and learn what their skills are really worth in the private sector.

    Agreed.

  4. MN Indy

    I can’t believe the large amount of vermin out this week, shrieking for more of OUR money. All unions are spoiled rotten, and the public sector labor wingnuts are the worst of them. They work for us, and they want taxpayers to pay them more on their terms!

    If I were the Gov, I’d go one step further: give these parasites one day to shut up and get back to work. Else, fire them and privatize their jobs or hire the THOUSANDS who would be extremely grateful to do the work better for less pay. It’s so sad to have to suffer the greed of these union domesticated bums while millions are unemployed and would be thrilled just to have a job.

  5. Gene Berkman

    “This state gave rise to America’s public employee unions. They are the backbone of this state’s progressive movement. ”

    That is true in California as well, and other states. It is why there is no real basis for an alliance between libertarians and progressives.

  6. paulie

    “This state gave rise to America’s public employee unions. They are the backbone of this state’s progressive movement. ”

    That is true in California as well, and other states. It is why there is no real basis for an alliance between libertarians and progressives.

    There’s plenty of room for an alliance between libertarians and progressives on many issues, this one notwithstanding.

    In many places, churches that wish to use government to enforce their social and cultural agenda, plus blind authority-worship towards the military and police, make up the backbone of the conservative movement.

    Nevertheless, there is a different kind of conservative out there as well. Likewise, there’s a different kind of progressive as well. They just have to be identified and steered in libertarian directions.

    Ron Paul, despite being more conservative than libertarian on some social issues, has been able to reach many progressives. The opportunities do exist, they just have to be used.

  7. Catholic Trotskyist

    God bless the public sector unions; if I was in Wisconsin I would be out there with them. Now all that needs to be done is to make them more socially conservative; then they would move toward Catholic Trotskyism. This would benefit the libertarians because then all the fiscally conservative, socially liberal people would move towards them; but overall the Democrats would come out on top and win most future elections. Public sector union members are taxpayers also. Most families have at least one person working for the government in some way. Government workers are as valuable as any other workers. And the public sector unions are protesting not just for themselves, but also to encourage the private sector workers to go on strike and return to being unionized.

  8. paulie

    SRL

    Manksi also already has an organization named Liberty Tree, so it appears there is more than one. What he was saying there was that his Liberty Tree organization is coming out with a new website about this issue, not that he is starting a new Liberty Tree organization.

  9. paulie

    Now all that needs to be done is to make them more socially conservative

    Many union members I have encountered are already socially conservative.

    overall the Democrats would come out on top and win most future elections.

    We shall see.

    Public sector union members are taxpayers also.

    That’s just a pretense. Their entire salary comes from other people’s taxes, so why not just pay them a little less instead of pretending that they are taxpayers?

    Government workers are as valuable as any other workers.

    Au contraire. Government workers are far less productive than those in the free market, and centralized economic planning is notoriously bad at allocating resources efficiently.

    And the public sector unions are protesting not just for themselves, but also to encourage the private sector workers to go on strike and return to being unionized

    It seems they have quite an uphill battle on that one.

  10. Tenoha Templeton

    Ben, we just heard you on Fox News, and my husband and I cheered you. We live in a tiny town of Galena, MO. I am a college professor, my husband a retired government worker and the current Mayor of Galena. We also own a small cabin retreat here on the James River. We’d vote for you for President! The only concern we have is in the quote on your page, “I must have been listening good, because that’s just what I’ve been up to. I am hard at work on a national democracy convention scheduled for August 24-28, to be hosted at the Concourse Hotel here in Madison (save the date, and look for updates).” The term democracy. We are, or have been a republic, and should never aspire to be or want to be a democracy. As for a revolution, we are ready. And if Americans ever finally realize what the government is trying to do to us, I hope that once again, “the sleeping giant” will awake!

    Tenoha

  11. Pingback: Kloppenburg Would Have to Recuse Herself on any Budget Repair Bill Cases | Media Trackers

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