The Feed March 21: Madison and the General Strike

The Feed will be a semi-regular feature of recommended links and readings along with brief commentary. -AW

Egypt, Libya, Wisconsin! The political moment around the globe is hotter right now than anytime in recent memory. And when even the liberal The Nation magazine runs general strike sympathetic pieces referencing the IWW you know something is up.

The mobilization and hype inside and outside Madison so far around a general strike is nothing short of impressive.  Much of it began with the Feb 21 resolution backed by IWWs and other labor radical that was passed by the South Central Federation of Labor (the local labor council of AFL-CIO unions in Madison) which called for a no concessions stance and to “immediately begin educating affiliates and members on the organization and function of a general strike.”

Following this members of the IWW began passing out in the 1,000’s a “Kill The Bill” pamphlet advocating a general strike as “the ultimate tool of social change” to the crowds occupying the capitol daily.  A second edition is in the works and you can donate towards the efforts here. Spreading the message even further, especially over facebook, was the creation of general strike posters in seven different languages.

The current question is whether the potential of unleashing a general strike will be successfully drained away as Democratic Party and AFL-CIO leaders attempt to drain and channel the mass mobilization into recall and election efforts? Especially as the fight currently stands as at best a draw for an ever declining labor movement in the US, the clamor to push the energy away from the streets and workplaces where workers have the upper hand and into the ballot box and hands of Democrats who already announced their willingness to agree to major concessions and have not pledged to repeal the bill, is a surely a ‘rush to loose’ as one friend puts it.

For some of the latest and most worthwhile analysis here are my recommendations: a member of the US socialist organization Solidarity has been regularly blogging with on the ground analysis and commentary and is now at twelve posts; and both by members of the Workers Solidarity Alliance, a commentary piece critical of the role of mainstream labor officials in the regular column ‘Labor Shorts’ and a critical report back on a recent “Emergency Labor Meeting” of left activists within the AFL-CIO discussing the Wisconsin situation; two worthwhile pieces on organizing a general strike, first, a facebook note titled “Organizing a General Strike: Strategy” and an article with links to the history of general strike and Canadian public sector resistance movements. Finally, see a high definition, panoramic view of the protests with audio clips to feel as if you are there.

[Perhaps some short commentary to be added-AW]

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