Wisconsin Betrayed By Silencing of Democracy Movement, Says Jill Stein

JillStein.org:

Dr. Jill Stein, the victor in the Green Party presidential primaries, this morning issued the following statement about yesterday’s recall elections in Wisconsin:

“For over a year now, the working people of Wisconsin have been under siege by the fossil fuel, mining, and toxic chemical corporations. Yesterday’s recall election was deeply flawed. Thousands of qualified voters were turned away from their polling places. Thousands more were told not to vote, or that election day was yet to come. The corporate media declared the election results while voters still stood in line to vote, and at a time when only the most conservative ward results were reported. Many votes were cast on electronic voting machines that are easy to manipulate because they lack a paper trail. And nearly all of the money spent in the election came from out-of-state big corporate interests. If an election like that is free and fair, then I have a nuke plant in Vermont to sell you.”

“My national campaign headquarters is on the Capitol Square in Madison. I have visited Wisconsin repeatedly this past year, marched with Wisconsinites, sang with the Solidarity Singers, and circulated recall petitions. Next week, I will speak at the Midwest Renewable Energy Fair near Amherst, Wisconsin. I am committed to Wisconsin’s struggle for democracy and self-determination.”

“Where has Barack Obama been in the course of this struggle? He had time to visit Minnesota and Chicago, but not Wisconsin. He had time for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Wall Street financiers, but not for the working people who have already lost so much. If he has had any part at all in this great movement for economic justice and democracy that has arisen in America this past year, President Obama’s role has been to oversee the most coordinated and brutal national crackdown on non-violent protesters this country has seen in half a century.”

“There are many lessons to what happened in Wisconsin yesterday. Most of those lessons are about the role of big money in politics, and the lengths to which some will go to suppress the right to vote. But one key lesson from this entire recall process — from the attempts by the Democratic National Committee to cancel the recall effort last year, to the pressure the Obama White House placed on progressives within the Democratic Party not to run in the recall, to the early concession by Mayor Barrett given despite his promises to wait until all the Milwaukee votes were counted — one key lesson is that the Democratic Party cannot be trusted to defend the interests of regular people.”

“We need our own party, organized by, led by, and funded by we the people, not the corporations. Just as Wisconsinites took leadership in the uprising of the past year, and did not ask for permission to launch the occupy movement, so too must Wisconsin find its own strong progressive voice at the ballot box. Yesterday’s election reminds us once again that silence is not an effective political strategy.”

12 thoughts on “Wisconsin Betrayed By Silencing of Democracy Movement, Says Jill Stein

  1. David Colborne

    On the other side of the fence, The “People United” Go Down In Flames:

    If the argument is correct, then this really is a “Seneca Falls” movement — and the left is doomed to generations of marginalization or, as The Nation would more optimistically put it, “struggle.” If the right can “flood the zone” with dough, the left will never be able to win enough presidential and senatorial contests to reverse the Supreme Court’s trajectory. If the American people are really so stupid and clueless that they docilely follow the big bucks and the deceptive campaign ads of their clever class enemies on the right, then the right is pretty much set for a long spell of power.

    The reality is more complicated. For one thing, the left had more money on its side in Wisconsin than many reports acknowledge; $20 million from labor groups, according to this estimate. More importantly, money does matter in politics, but money alone is rarely enough, especially on an issue which voters care deeply about. When the left — or the right — can summon popular passion and energy to its side, it can not only put up a noble fight. It can win. This actually happens quite a lot in American politics: poorly funded campaigns with charismatic candidates tap into some deep reservoir of popular sentiment and they deal out bitter defeats to the pallid, colorless but well-moneyed Establishment candidates. This has been happening relatively frequently in Republican politics of late. There have been times in American history when it happened also on the left. Milwaukee, Wisconsin has had Socialist mayors.

    The left’s problem in Wisconsin wasn’t that the right had too much money. The left’s problem is that the left’s agenda didn’t have enough support from the public. Poll after poll after poll showed that the public didn’t share the left’s estimation of the Walker reforms. Many thought they were a pretty good idea; many others didn’t much like the reforms but didn’t think they were bad enough or important enough to justify a year of turmoil and a recall election.

    It goes on like that, but it makes a good point – there was plenty of money on both sides of the ballot to make their case with, especially in a state the size of Wisconsin. It’s not like nobody knew the arguments for or against recalling Walker.

    Some day, progressives will realize that there are ways to help the poor, but heavily entrenched, inherently conservative, bureaucratic public sectors aren’t the way to get it done. In many respects, the progressive movement is stuck in the same myopic thinking that conservative-capitalist thinkers were stuck in during the ’50s – bigger was always supposed to be better, completely ignoring the inherent advantages of small, nimble, focused groups over large, nebulously focused groups that inherently compete against itself for various resources.

    If we’re going to have a government, let’s have one that’s more Silicon Valley and less Detroit.

  2. Starchild

    David Colborne @1 makes good points. According to the independent Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, “Democrats outspent Republicans $23.4 million to $20.5 million on the recalls”:

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/09/21/us-wisconsin-idUSTRE78I4RX20110921

    That article also mentions that the biggest spender of the outside groups was not a corporation (contrary to Jill Stein’s claim that “nearly all of the money spent in the election came from out-of-state big corporate interests”) but the ironically-named group We Are Wisconsin, which spent $10.75 million.

    I say ironically named because the group was actually bankrolled by out-of-state union interests — see http://mediatrackers.org/2011/07/05/the-we-arent-wisconsin-pac/ .

  3. Oranje Mike

    Someone please inform Jill Stein that Barack Obama was too busy planning drone attacks to visit Wisconsin. He’s approval numbers are also in the toilet. His staying away was likely a strategic move.

  4. Paulie

    I think Trent or someone on another thread said there was a high filing fee.

  5. Nick Kruse

    I think this press release shows that Dr. Stein has no idea what was happening in Wisconsin.

  6. Gene Berkman

    In the 13th State Senate district, voted on in the recall, Terry Virgil received 760 votes – almost 1% as Sen Scott Fitzgerald (R) was re-elected.

  7. Gene Berkman

    Jill Stein makes comments that suggest voter turnout was suppressed. In fact, Gov Walker received 206,000 more votes than he received in the 2010 regular election.

    His challenger, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett received 135,000 fewer votes than he got in 2010.

    After years of suspicion about electronic voting machines, nobody has successfully challenged any result based on fraudulent returns from electronic voting machines. So far fears about such machines amount to little more than a conspiracy theory, held by people who could not win an election.

  8. Mark Hilgenberg

    Here is why I don’t like being in the middle of these issues. Here is a little something (could be false) about the group behind “this estimate” in David C’s post.

    “In the last three years, the MacIver Institute has gotten at least $300,000 in funding from the Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, which advocates eliminating labor unions under the guise of “restoring worker rights” and “modernizing labor laws.” Harry Bradley, after whom the Foundation is named, was one of the original charter members of the 1960s right-wing extremist group, the John Birch Society, along with another Birch Society board member, Fred Koch, the father of Koch Industries’ billionaire brother-owners, Charles and David Koch.”

    http://www.prwatch.org/news/2011/03/10347/consider-source-maciver-news-service

    As I said, these issues come dow to Koch vs. Soros.

  9. Daniel Wiener

    Gene Berkman @ 9:

    You misstated Barrett’s results: He got 135,000 (I think the latest number is higher than that) MORE votes, not fewer votes, than he did in 2010. It’s just that Walker did even better, so Walker’s net margin went up from 2010. The important point is that more votes were cast for BOTH candidates, so obviously voting was not “suppressed”.

    Jill Stein’s problem is that the majority of Wisconsin voters do not agree with her views, and she’d rather invent scapegoats and conspiracy theories to explain the loss than admit that her views were repudiated. Sometimes, even many times, voters make the wrong choices (although not in the recall case). But it’s rather delusional to have the attitude that voters are wise when they vote the way you’d like, but stupid or bought-off by money interests or the election was stolen when they vote the way you don’t like.

  10. Humongous Fungus

    As I said, these issues come dow to Koch vs. Soros.

    That doesn’t mean we can’t discern truth when discussing them. One side or the other funding studies is just another piece of information to take into account.

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