The state of Wisconsin has become “ground zero” —in the words of the protest movement there— in the struggle to defend over a century of progress in workers’ rights. On Saturday, over 60,000 people were estimated to have rallied at the state capitol, and Sunday’s crowds were said to be the biggest to date. More protests are called for this week, and Gov. Walker’s opponents are now organizing a recall campaign against legislators who support his proposed legislation.
The labor unions who have offered major concessions in order to reach a negotiated compromise on the proposed reforms are standing astride the broad political center. They are showing that citizenship is rooted in the willingness to listen to one’s opponents and to find shared solutions. The governor’s refusal to do the same shows his aim to rule by executive fiat. He is setting himself up as a notorious adversary of the democratic process.