Best of Times and Worst of Times for Democracy

In this update: 1. Democracy advancing abroad, in retreat at home 2. Capitol to be scene of massive protests this week 3. Tomorrow is election day Best of Times and Worst of Times for Democracy

Email date: 2/14/11

In this update:
1. Democracy advancing abroad, in retreat at home
2. Capitol to be scene of massive protests this week
3. Tomorrow is election day

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Democracy advancing abroad, in retreat at home
The contrast could not be more vivid. In Egypt euphoric celebrations broke out as citizen protesters brought down a dictator and democracy became a distinct possibility. Here in Wisconsin, we moved in the exact opposite direction as a dictator called out the National Guard in the wake of his nakedly political move to take away worker rights. That it is happening in a state with a long, proud history as a leader in the area of labor relations makes it all the more remarkable.

Our latest Big Money Blog posted on Friday has more to say on what’s behind this madness.

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Capitol to be scene of massive protests this week
The Legislature is not scheduled to be in session this week, and leaders were undoubtedly hoping few would notice that they are convening on an impromptu basis to strip workers of their rights to collectively bargain with their employer. Their plan is to have the Joint Finance Committee look over the proposal on Tuesday at 10 a.m. and the Joint Retirement Systems Committee do the same at 2 p.m., with committee votes on Wednesday and both houses taking final action on Thursday. It’s hard not to notice the absence of any opportunity for the public to have a say.

The public will have to make its own opportunity. There will be rallies on the Capitol Square at noon on Tuesday and Wednesday. The Tuesday rally will be on the State Street steps of the Capitol and Wednesday’s will be at the King Street entrance.

A number of people who took part in the kickoff of our Citizen Vigil for the Greater Good as well as many others have asked if volunteers will be sought for the vigil this week. Since the Legislature was not scheduled to meet at all this week, we could not foresee the need to continue the vigil until the next planned session day on Tuesday, February 22. There is not enough time to rework our online registration system to accommodate sign-up for this week, but those interested in going to the Capitol should call our office at 608-255-4260 or reply to this e-mail and we can provide signs and banners that were used for the vigil’s opening ceremony last Thursday.

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Tomorrow is election day
Remember to vote tomorrow. Among the contests on the primary election ballot is the election for state Supreme Court. The Democracy Campaign updated the Campaign 2011 feature on our web site again last week to incorporate the latest information about candidate fundraising and spending in the high court race.