“We support Wisconsin!” and other signs showed Kentuckians solidarity with Wisconsin union workers. MoveOn.Org organized the nationwide rally to stand up for worker’s rights, collective bargaining, attacks on unions and cuts to social programs.
Crowds were gathered at state capitols around the country to show their support for protestors fighting Wisconsin Governor SCott Walker’s attempt to strip state employee’s of their right to collectively bargain. State legislators passed the bill on Friday, however, Democrats have left the state blocking the vote.
Governors all across the country are facing budget deficits and many plan to follow Walker’s lead should he succeed.
“On Monday night we were watching what was happening in Wisconsin and realizing that this was a crucial movement for the whole country.” says MoveOn.Org Executive Director Justin Ruben. “What happens in Wisconsin will have an impact on people everywhere. The same dynamic is playing out in other states and in Washington, where Republicans are so intent on giving tax breaks to the rich and powerful that they are willing to destroy unions and kick the middle class in the teeth to do it.”
“I think a lot of progressives have been watching with growing horror.” says MoveOn.Org Executive Director Justin Ruben. “Republicans so dominate the debate over the economy that it’s becoming a discussion of whether we should have massive cuts to vital services and massive lay offs or not so massive cuts and layoffs. And people are saying, where is the common sense?” This isn’t the time to cut the services that people depend on and that create jobs. We need more that. We’re seeing huge tax breaks go to the top 2% of Americans, and then the resulting worsening fiscal situation being used to justify draconian cuts–it’s just too much.”
“Honestly, Democrats haven’t figured out a way to stand up to it,” says Ruben. “And people realized, well we better show them how or we’re dead. Progressives as a movement have been slow to articulate an alternative vision over the last couple years. Now it’s happening, it’s overdue, and it’s essential.”
The rally in Frankfort drew a crowd of about 150 to 200 people. This is relatively small compare to the 3100 reported by the New Jersery Star-Ledger in Trenton on Friday and the estimated thousands in New York, 2000 in both Chicago and Los Angeles and a thousand in Washington, D.C. Braving cold temperatures, those that did show for the rally were loud, energetic and showed signs of the frustration seen around the world. “We’re not going to take it anymore” seemed to be a recurring theme.
Some of the people I questioned were not sure exactly what the issues were but knew it had to do with a bill in Wisconsin to bust the unions. Others thought it was about cuts to social services. One thing everyone agreed on was the sentiment that the Republicans and the Tea Party were coming for their money. There was also much talk of Governor Walker being a pawn for the Koch brothers and corporations. I met one young junior high student that explained tax cuts for the rich and military spending should be cut before social services and education.
Keith and Kelly Rouda hosted and emceed the event with Rikka Wallin. Several scheduled speakers and entertainers joined the event with the addition of some last minute guests.
- Melissa Williamson and David Smith – Working Class Poor – KY Association of State Employees
- Grant Short – Millennium generatino working in KY today without collective bargaining, first generation to make less than their parents.
- Dick Levine – Who are we standing with? United We Stand-Divided We Fall
- Andy Blyth – Union songs and group songs (Sing-alongs)
- David Davila – Why we need unions
- Charles Wheatley
- Jeanette Westbrook – We Shall Overcome (Song)
- Max Thomas – The importance of voting and what happens when we don’t
- Larry Hujo – Last minute addition from the Indiana/Kentucky Carpenter’s Union
- Representative Kathy Stein
“The more than 50,000 people who came out from coast-to-coast in every state today showed that the protests that started in Madison have now spread nationwide and that the Republican assault on the middle class has energized and mobilized progressives in a way not seen since the 2008 election.” according to a statement released by MoveOn.Org. “The progressive movement has not seen coordinated rallies this size on this issue since the height of the anti-war movement during the Iraq war.”
I went there expecting scenes like in Cairo, Tripoli and even in Wisconsin. While the crowds may not have been as large, the sentiment was the same. The middle class is hurting, they claim, and American workers will fight cuts to social programs and attacks on unions.
Continue reading on Examiner.com: Kentuckians support Wisconsin at Rally for the American Dream – Lexington courts | Examiner.comhttp://www.examiner.com/courts-in-lexington/kentuckians-support-wisconsin-at-rally-to-save-the-american-dream#ixzz1FIaaYg6S