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A follow-up on Wisconsin…

February 28, 2011

G20 protest - Toronto. 2010

In the union-bashing that is sweeping across North America it is important to examine who will be “exempt” from the right-wing tirades against unions as the cause of all our economic problems.

Here in Toronto, when our newly elected mayor went on a populist rant about how he was going to make every department cut their budgets, how he was going to cut government waste, privatize unionized services (garbage collectors will be first), and make it illegal for transit workers to strike – the one/only department that received budget increases were the police.

In Wisconsin, it is the police union who are also exempt from the new legislation outlawing collective bargaining. Not surprisingly, it was the police union who publicly supported the republicans in their bid to win office last November.

Neo-conservative economic orthodoxies will increasingly come accompanied by the strong arm of authoritarianism to make sure the poor and the unemployed masses are kept in line.

What other option will the economic elite have? When the gap continues to grow between the rich and the poor, as the middle-class disappears into minimum wage customer-service jobs, and unions are blamed for everything wrong with the current economic situation – who will quell the uprising?

Watch for more money going into police and military budgets. And watch for more and more state sanctioned violence to crack the heads of those menacing teachers, garbage gatherers, and city park cleaners. (Wisconsin republicans have already threatened to bring in the military to control future (so far peaceful) protests.)

And watch for the Toronto police elites to continue to manufacture more G20 nonsense, obtain more power to control, survey, and harass its citizens, and procure bigger and bigger budgets to “protect” the citizens from the coming apocalypse.

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