Alison Bauter's "Labor Expert: Focus on the Ballot Box," (3/18/11) may give readers a misimpression of my views on present struggles in Wisconsin. I write to clarify.
I do believe that retiring David Prosser April 5 and recalling at least three Republicans state senators soon afterward are vital tasks that command our immediate attention. I also believe wide economic disruption (a "general strike") carries clear risks and requires much prior organization to succeed.
But I do not believe electoral action alone, much less simply swapping out a few Republicans for Democrats, will fix Wisconsin politics. Nor do I reject without consideration any proposal for nonviolent action that might. We are in the fight of our lives.
Walker, Prosser, Fitzgerald(s) & Co. are made men of a well-resourced, well-organized and lethal political project that goes well beyond wrecking unions and schools, and inflicting pain on the poor. As explained by Grover Norquist and Karl Rove, this project aims at national repeal of most of the democratic achievements of the 20th century, a return to business domination of public life not seen since the Gilded Age and McKinley.
I believe it is the duty of each generation of Americans to move this country closer to, not further from, its radical founding ideal: democracy, a self-governing community of free equals.
We need to build a mass democratic movement, one that's independent, not controlled by politicians. It should be open in its debate and decision making. We need to get started in earnest. And we can start now, without forgetting, in the next few weeks, to collect the recall signatures and get out the anti-Prosser vote.
Joel Rogers, director, Center on Wisconsin Strategy