It is heartening to see the spirit of freedom soaring in Madison, Wis., as well as the Middle East — and more than a little revealing to see Tea Partiers playing the role of the pro-government militia.
The billionaire Koch brothers, like oligarchs everywhere, understand that an educated, organized and reasonably prosperous middle class is a serious threat. Crushing the unions is the first step toward crushing what is left of the middle class. In their plan, we’ll work at Wal-Mart for minimum wage, and like it.
Busting the public-sector unions, it should be clear by now, has nothing to do with balancing Wisconsin’s budget. Indeed, the unions have already given in to the Republicans’ economic demands of pay cuts and greater pension contributions. What the GOP radicals want to do is destroy the economic and political power of organized working people who, in their view, have gotten uppity.
In this, they follow the lead of Mussolini, Hitler and Lenin — all of whom outlawed collective bargaining soon after taking power. No tyrant, dictator, despot or conservative politician can tolerate free men and women organizing to stand up for themselves.
Republicans have been trying to split the working class by using the politics of envy. But it may not be working. As they watch the drama in Madison, millions of working Americans may be thinking, “Hey, if unions have such a good deal, as these guys claim, shouldn’t I be in one, too?”