Tuesday, March 01, 2011


Honolulu’s Staradvertiser describes Wisconsin public worker solidarity as an “ugly groundswell”

Hawaii's public labor unions can do their part by agreeing to real concessions. Otherwise, the unthinkable, ugly groundswell that swept union-stronghold Madison, Wis., might well eventually land on Hawaii's shores.

by Larry Geller

Editors are entitled to their opinion, and the only remaining daily newspaper in Honolulu has expressed itself on union benefits this morning.. In an amazing misreading of the popular protests in Wisconson, they have branded the reaction to Governor Scott Walker’s plan to strip public unions of collective bargaining rights as “ugly.”

The Wisconsin governor’s attack on working people is unrelated to balancing his state budget since the unions had already agreed to significant concessions. It was a “shock doctrine” move, an opportunistic attempt to impose a long-standing Republican agenda on state workers at a time of crisis. Pure and simple, it was and remains an ideological assault.

Although police and fire unions were excluded from the governor’s attack on collective bargaining rights, they joined with other state workers and supporters in the protests at the state capitol building. The unions rejected the divide-and-conquer tactics and joined together

That thousands of pizzas were donated for delivery to the protestors from as far away as Egypt was a beautiful and remarkable—not an ugly—demonstration of worldwide agreement with the people of Wisconsin standing up for their rights as workers against a dictatorial governor..

Around the country, including in Honolulu, spontaneous demonstrations were held in sympathy with the Wisconsin workers.

All this was broadcast throughout the nation and the world, so Staradvertiser editors could not help noticing. That they chose to describe the brave protests as an “ugly groundswell” says more about their own political ideology than about any reality on the ground.

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I don't know how you can read that thing.

But, I'm glad you do so I don't have to.

This was my comment to the SA editorial:

Since when is fighting for democracy in the workplace labeled an "Ugly Groundswell". I'm sure the British thought the Boston Tea Party was an "Ugly Groundswell" too. And did you guys at the SA even follow the demonstrations in Wisconsin in the first place? What was "Ugly" about it. Who got arrested? What property was damaged? Even the police commented how well mannered the crowd was. In fact many police officers were part of the rally. The Wisconsin rally had nothing do to with concessions in pay. The unions already gave in to the governors demands on reducing pay. It was about retaining the right of collective bargaining.

Having only one newspaper for information with it's mission statment being "Propaganda will make us money, who cares if it harms people"
should concern everyone in Hawaii. That newsrag will never have your back
because they are spineless.
Dean Little

This was not a "misreading" of "popular protests", it's corporate propaganda realizing they've gone too far in trying to erect a plutocracy over our democratic bodies. It's ugly alright -- the projection of their own ugly intentions and behaviors onto the rest of us. I'm fascinated that corporate scaredy-cats live in a perpetual smear campaign against the natural reactions of normal people to the injustice that seems quite appropriate to the privileged elite. Don't buy their crocodile tears, their faux sensibility. The people of Madison are a model of what's right in a democracy, and not afraid to do what's necessary to stamp out creeping fascism. Why read the Advertiser?

It depends how you read the editorial. they MAY be referring to the Republican sweep of the elections, and the (corporate-sponsored) tea party influence on republicans to attack the Unions.

It may depend on whether anyone actually wrote the derogatory, inflammatory and ill-informed statement towards my family, friends and fellow workers since it is merely a nameless editorial. This misleading portrayal of the union history and the current revolt in Wisconsin is a gross disservice to the folks of Hawaii. It is the same bullshit tactic used to prevent the cane workers of the Islands from organizing by forcing them into seperate camps.
Pick up the pace and get to work.
Dean Little


When citizens take over a public building to the exclusion of other citizen's needs, when elected representatives flee the responsibilities they volunteered to take on, when that cowardly flight means that government business cannot be conducted, then you move in the direction of disrespect for the rule of law. Without which, transparency of the government and citizen's rights cannot be adequately addressed. What is occurring in Wisconsin should not be judged through a "are you for or against the union" prism but as an embarrassing disaster and and indicative of the frailty of democratic governance. It's hard work to keep democracy functioning and far too easy to replace with a screaming horde that only cares about their own issue and not one bit about the state as a whole. No one will die, or starve, or be placed in a penal colony if Walker has his way. Republicans won in the last Wisconsin election because more Wisconsinites voted for them. So they get to run things till the people tire of them. Not liking the outcome of an election is not cause for pretending it didn't happen and doesn't have consequences. I thought movement towards democracy was the thing to be cheered in the mideast. You can't be for democracy and against the idea of allowing a vote.

Democracy doesn't mean you vote for someone and they simply rule over you like a king for four years. Walker's attack on collective bargaining was never the subject of an election anyway.

The people of Wisconsin are showing the rest of the country that people are still part of the political process, not just faceless votes to be purchased with expensive TV ads.

This isn't an issue about emotion. It's about how we choose to govern ourselves and embracing the incredible historical exception and luxury afforded to us here in the US. The concept of a quorum is not meant to be a mechanism to oppose action, wielded by the minority position to impede the proper process of governance. It is meant to be a protection against action being taken when too many members are absent on account of warfare, weather or other unexpected but real impediments to their attendance - meaning members who want to attend, want to vote, want to participate but are somehow restrained. To use a quorum to allow members to hold the process hostage by their deliberate and self-directed absence is anti-democratic. How is it to "rule over you like a king" if all the duly elected representatives come together, exercise their vote, and the group comes to a decision? Obamacare passed without a single vote from the opposition, and against the polling numbers of the citizens at large. But pass it did and like it or hate it, it was signed into law. The Walker-style "attack on collective bargaining" just passed in Ohio's senate 17-16 and looky here - 6 republicans voting against it. Ohio process allows that it might yet be repealed through a possible citizen initiative. Liking the outcomes, or being scared of them isn't the point. Shelve the emotion and pay attention to the big picture. Being sympathetic to their cause doesn't justify their behaviour.

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