Students for a Democratic Society stands in solidarity with the workers and students of Wisconsin who are taking a stand against Republican Governor Scott Walker’s attack on the right of public workers to bargain collectively. SDS is calling on all students and youth in Wisconsin to protest and walk out, and for solidarity from students all over the country. Like Californian protests last year, Wisconsin is standing up and fighting back!
More than 20,000 students and workers are laying siege to the Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison to stop an assault on unions and education by the new Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Students for a Democratic Society and others are organizing a system wide walkout at the University of Wisconsin. Students at colleges big and small are leaving classrooms to protest in support of their education and their teachers. Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) are making announcements in lecture halls, backed up by our union faculty. At least 18 school districts are closed due to teachers calling in sick to go protest in Madison and save their jobs. Like others, high school students are wearing red, the color of solidarity, and pouring into the State Capitol building to occupy it. This is an education we will never forget!
For the second day in a row, upwards of 20,000 union members, students, unemployed workers, and families are out to protest this assault on workers’ rights. Teachers, secretaries, social workers, fire fighters, clerks, janitors and maintenance crews are united in protesting Governor Walker and the Republicans. Students make up a good proportion of the Capitol occupation and some local rallies are mainly students.
Rejecting Governor Walker’s attempt to blame the workers and their unions, the crowds are chanting, “Make the rich pay!” 800 students walked out of classes in La Crosse, Wisconsin marching and chanting, “Kill the bill!” At the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 3000 campus workers and students rallied on Feb. 13 in response to Governor Scott Walker's proposed budget. The Milwaukee Graduate Assistants Association, The Association of University of Wisconsin Professionals, AFSCME Local 82, and SDS are all united. AFSCME Local 82 President Gilbert Johnson encouraged campus workers to fight back against budget cuts and union attacks, saying, "We can shut this university down!"
Another rally is being organized for today. Kas Schwerdtfeger of UW-Milwaukee SDS said, "Attacks on teachers are attacks on the quality of our education. SDS supports workers, educators, and unions. We want a democratic society with a small “d”, not the current system where politicians blame workers while the rich get a free pass. It is time to make the rich pay!”
Wisconsin is now center stage in the struggle of working people against attacks on their rights. We in SDS are inspired by the people of Wisconsin in their response to Governor Walker’s anti-worker and anti-teacher attacks. Like the tens of thousands of people in Wisconsin have showed thus far, we too will not stand to see Walker have his way. Collective bargaining is a right that many people have given their lives fighting for. We will not let Governor Walker drag us backwards; we can see how public sector workers in North Carolina and Virginia, who currently have their collective bargaining rights denied by Jim Crow laws, are suffering. Now is the time to ensure Walker’s proposal is defeated. We pledge our continued action and support in this struggle.
Workers and students across the nation are watching as Wisconsin leads the way in fighting back against these outrageous attacks on workers.
Dare to Struggle! Dare to Win!