William Cronon, a professor of history and environmental studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the author of important books like Changes in the Land and Nature’s Metropolis, offers some historical perspective on the things happening in his home state.
Here is a taste:
NOW that a Wisconsin judge has temporarily blocked a state law that would strip public employee unions of most collective bargaining rights, it’s worth stepping back to place these events in larger historical context.
Republicans in Wisconsin are seeking to reverse civic traditions that for more than a century have been among the most celebrated achievements not just of their state, but of their own party as well.
Wisconsin was at the forefront of the progressive reform movement in the early 20th century, when the policies of Gov. Robert M. La Follette prompted a fellow Republican, Theodore Roosevelt, to call the state a “laboratory of democracy.” The state pioneered many social reforms: It was the first to introduce workers’ compensation, in 1911; unemployment insurance, in 1932; and public employee bargaining, in 1959.
Read the rest here.
Paul M. says
Thanks for posting the link John. I agree with Cronon's thesis that Walker's rollback of collective bargaining is a radical move set against the last century of Wisconsin history.
But I had to smile when I got to the second from last paragraph. Comparing Walker to McCarthy, really? I'm not so sure that being sincere and self-confident is equivalent to McCarthyism (and McCarthy's own sincerity is questionable). (-: