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.”
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+):
Thank you for for your consideration, and for all that you do.
– Ben Manski