Wisconsin Battlelines for Recall - How You Can Help
* On the Phones and at the Doors in Wisconsin Recall Battle
* You Can Make Calls to Support the Recall from Anywhere -
Link for Free Phone Tool
* View from the Heartland - Go Bucky! Defend the Wisconsin
Idea! - (Barbara Miner in Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
On the Phones and at the Doors in Wisconsin Recall Battle
by Mike Hall
May 23, 2012
Wisconsin working families, students and community allies are
out in force in the neighborhoods, on the job sites and at the
phone banks as the June 5 recall election of Gov. Scott Walker
(R), Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch (R) and four of Walker's
allies in the state Senate approaches.
Postal Workers (APWU) member Chris Czubakowski from Wauwatosa
has volunteered for several shifts at the phone banks and
"I could go on for hours with people I call about why
we need to recall Scott Walker. But since everyone has
busy lives I usually stick to talking about Scott
Walker's attacks on workers, his attacks on the next
generation with his cuts to education and how
recalling Gov. Walker is about preserving a strong
middle class for Wisconsin."
Just before union volunteers hit the streets and the phone
banks at the Milwaukee Area Labor Council recently, Mahlon
Mitchell, president of the Fire Fighters (IAFF) of Wisconsin
who's running to unseat Kleefisch, told the activists:
"Our governor is talking to a billionaire about how he
wants to divide and conquer middle-class citizens of
our state. They have the money but we have the people
and we are ready to do the hard-work of knocking on
doors and talking with our friends and neighbors about
the June 5 election."
While the main focus is on the race between Walker and
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, a victory in the state Senate
races would swing the balance of power in that chamber.
Thanks to Karen Hickey at the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO for
keeping us up to date on the recall actions. You can follow
the recall on their blog here. If you live in Wisconsin or are
passing through and would like to help, click here for a list
of locations where you can volunteer.
Help Show Scott Walker the Door
Wisconsin holds a special place in my heart. I grew up in the
suburbs outside Milwaukee in a small town called Mequon.
Though my family moved to Michigan when I was in high school,
I still consider Wisconsin home in many ways and I want to see
its people succeed.
When Gov. Scott Walker launched his attack on working families
and Wisconsin communities last year, I wanted to find ways I
could help. That's why I will be using the new Friends and
Neighbors (FAN) tool in the coming weeks to get the word out
to friends and other Wisconsinites about recalling Walker and
other anti-working family candidates on June 5.
Will you join me in signing up for free for the FAN tool to
make calls from home to help stop the destructive Walker
A recent poll shows the race is a dead heat1 and it is going
to come down to the side that turns out the most people from
now until June 5.
Walker and his political allies are relying on millions in
out-of-state donations from corporate donors and right-wing
billionaires to blanket the state with misleading ads.
They may have unlimited money, but we can cut through the
noise by having real conversations with Wisconsinites about
how Walker's policies are wrong for them and their
Click here now to sign up for the FAN and get started
connecting with Wisconsin voters.
Let's show Walker in these final weeks leading up to the
recall elections on June 5 that working families in Wisconsin
and across the country are more united than ever and ready to
stand against the extreme policies that are leading our
country in the wrong direction.
New Media Strategist, AFL-CIO
P..S. Need some more motivation? Check out this video that
recently surfaced of Walker talking about his strategy to
"divide and conquer" working families.
View from the Heartland - Go Bucky! Defend the Wisconsin
by Barbara Miner
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
May 18, 2012
I grew up in a home where the University of Wisconsin-
Madison held god-like status. My mother and father met in
Madison, and I learned to sing "On Wisconsin" long before I
could even hum "The Star Spangled Banner." I and most of my
siblings graduated from Madison, and my father-in-law is a
UW-Madison soils scientist who spent much of his career
traveling the back roads of Wisconsin to talk with farmers.
My husband and I even allowed our children to name the
family dog "Bucky Rose," in honor of the beagle's liberation
from the pound on the day after the Badgers won the Rose
Bowl in 1994.
So although the term "The Wisconsin Idea" doesn't quickly
roll off my tongue, I understand the concept in my bones.
As with the Progressive tradition in general, the future of
"The Wisconsin Idea" is in the hands of voters as they
approach the June 5 recall of Gov. Scott Walker.
The Wisconsin Idea, a term coined a century ago, refers to
the belief that University of Wisconsin's expertise should
benefit all the people of the state, that government policy
should be grounded in sound research, and that a strong
system of public education is essential to prosperity.
An outgrowth of the state's Progressive Movement, The
Wisconsin Idea has long been a source of pride and a
foundation for excellence. The University of Wisconsin
system has a world-class reputation. Wisconsin ACT test
scores for high schoolers are among the best in the nation.
The UW-Extension, meanwhile, supports lifelong learning and
small business initiatives across the state.
Last year, however, Gov. Walker oversaw a state budget that
made the deepest cuts to public education in the history of
the state. No system or age group was spared. Cuts included
the University of Wisconsin system, the state's technical
colleges, and K-12 public school districts large and small.
Should Walker win the recall vote, there is every reason to
believe he will continue his budget-cuts against public
education. The reasons are financial, political - and
WHAT IS THE WISCONSIN IDEA?
The Wisconsin State Historical Society defines The Wisconsin
Idea this way:
Progressive-era policy to apply the expertise of the state's
university to social legislation that benefited all the
state's citizens; it led to classic programs such as
regulation of utilities, workers' compensation, tax reform,
and university extension services; sometimes expressed in
the maxim that "the boundaries of the university are the
boundaries of the state."
Teddy Roosevelt, in an introduction to a 1912 book that
explained The Wisconsin Idea, noted Wisconsin "has become
literally a laboratory for wise experimental legislation
aiming to secure the social and political betterment of the
people as a whole."
An extensive treatise on The Wisconsin Idea in the 1995-96
State of Wisconsin Blue Book went so far as to note,
"Wisconsin can be justifiably proud that, despite its
average resources and population size, it produced a number
of impressive persons, some of them politicians or
government workers, most of them professors, who worked
together for the common good. That phenomenon is similar to
the fortuitous circumstances that spawned the classical
culture of Ancient Athens and the concentration of genius in
little Florence that created its Renaissance culture."
It's hard to imagine why one would condemn The Wisconsin
Idea. But the concept is inextricably linked with the
Progressive Movement's policies and its dedication to using
government to promote democracy and the common good. What's
more, influential conservatives have never been fond of The
Wisconsin Idea's unequivocal support for public education.
THE WISCONSIN IDEA UNDER ATTACK
Eighteen years ago, former Bradley Foundation head Michael
Joyce wrote a 6-page tirade against the Wisconsin Idea and the
Progressive Movement. In particular, he criticized the close
relationship between the state university and state
government, and condemned the "increasing prominence to the
place and function of the public university."
Joyce's article, "The Legacy of the `Wisconsin Idea':
Hastening the Demise of an Exhausted Progressivism," was
published in the Winter 1994 issue of Wisconsin Interest,
published by the conservative think tank The Wisconsin
Policy Research Institute. (See my May 14 Blog for more
information and an overview of the conservative attack on
Wisconsin's Progressive tradition.)
Joyce was not just another bit-player in Wisconsin politics.
As head of the Bradley Foundation, he wielded significant
power, overseeing the purse strings of one of the most
influential conservative foundations in the country.
Joyce was known for equating public schools with socialism,
and his 1994 article condemned public schools curriculum for
"reflecting everything from environmental extremism to
virulent feminism." Under Joyce, the voucher movement that
funnels public dollars to private schools became a key focus
of the Bradley Foundation - to the tune of around $20
million, according to a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article.
Joyce left the Foundation in 2001, and Michael Grebe now
heads the foundation. (Former CEO of the Foley & Lardner law
firm, Grebe chaired Walker's gubernatorial campaign and is
currently chair of "Friends of Scott Walker.") Grebe is less
flamboyant in his rhetoric, and doesn't go around talking
about "virulent feminism." But support for privatizing
public education remains a guiding principle at Bradley.
Under Grebe, the Bradley foundation is continuing its
support of the voucher movement, but has branched out into
funding semi-private and corporatized charter schools. In
the last 10 years, for instance, Bradley has given $16.5
million to the innocuous-sounding Charter School Growth
Fund, not including a $5 million line of credit. Based in
Colorado, the fund is a venture capital initiative to
support charter schools run by corporate Charter Management
Organizations. Grebe is on the board of the Charter School
The fund's portfolio includes Rocketship Education, a
California-based franchise which has received a charter from
the City of Milwaukee to open a school next fall and
ultimately expand to eight schools. As with vouchers and
welfare reform, Wisconsin is being used to test-market and
perfect the Bradley Foundation's conservative projects.
GO BUCKY, BEAT THE BAD BUYS
Across the state, the devastation of Walker's education
policies is clear. At the university and technical college
level, students increasingly are being asked to pick up the
tab and tuition is escalating. At the K-12 level, public
money is increasingly be funneled to private schools and to
private interests running corporate-style charter schools.
If you care about your public elementary and high school. If
you're thinking of attending a state technical college. If
you respect the University of Wisconsin system. Heck, if
you're a fan of Bucky Badger and the Big Ten - make sure to
vote on June 5 and defend The Wisconsin Idea.
[Barbara Miner's Blog is part of our Purple Wisconsin
project. Barbara Miner is an award-winning journalist and
photographer. With more than 30 years' experience, she is a
former reporter at United Press International and the
Milwaukee Journal, and former managing editor at Rethinking
Schools. She has written for media ranging from The New York
Times to the Nation. She is the author of the forthcoming
book "Lessons from the Heartland: A Turbulent Half-Century
of Public Education in an Iconic American City."]
Portside aims to provide material of interest to people
on the left that will help them to interpret the world
and to change it.
Submit via email: [log in to unmask]
Submit via the Web: http://portside.org/submittous3
Frequently asked questions: http://portside.org/faq
Search Portside archives: http://portside.org/archive
Contribute to Portside: https://portside.org/donate