Michael Moore’s incredible speech from Madison, Wisconsin. As he says, the media haven’t got a clue what’s really going on, so it’s up to us bloggers to get the message out. Here’s an excerpt from his latest letter:
So in the wee hours of yesterday morning I sat down to write an answer to them. By 3:00 AM, it had turned into more of a manifesto of class war — or, I should say, a manifesto against the class war the rich have been conducting on the American people for the past 30 years. I read it aloud to myself to see how it sounded (trying not to wake anyone else in the apartment) and then — and this is why no one should be up at 3:00 AM — the crazy kicked in: I needed to get in the car and drive to Madison and give this speech.
I went online to get directions and saw that there was no official big rally planned like the one they had last Saturday and will have again next Saturday. Just the normal ongoing demonstration and occupation of the State Capitol that’s been in process since February 12th (the day after Mubarak was overthrown in Egypt) to protest the Republican governor’s move to kill the state’s public unions.
So, it’s three in the morning and I’m a thousand miles from Madison and I see that the open microphone for speakers starts at noon. Hmm. No time to drive from New York. I was off to the airport. I left a note on the kitchen table saying I’d be back at 9:00 PM. Called a friend and asked him if he wanted to meet me at the Delta counter. Called the guy who manages my website, woke him up, and asked him to track down the coordinators in Madison and tell them I’m on my way and would like to say a few words if possible — “but tell them if they’ve got other plans or no room for me, I’ll be happy just to stand there holding a sign and singing Solidarity Forever.”
So I just showed up. The firefighters, hearing I’m there, ask me to lead their protest parade through downtown Madison. I march with them, along with John Nichols (who lives in Madison and writes for the Nation). Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin and the great singer Michelle Shocked have also decided to show up.
The scene in Madison is nothing like what they are showing you on TV or in the newspaper. First, you notice that the whole town is behind this. Yard signs and signs in store windows are everywhere supporting public workers. There are thousands of people out just randomly lining the streets for the six blocks leading to the Capitol building carrying signs, shouting and cheering and cajoling. Then there are stages and friendly competing demos on all sides of the building (yesterday’s total estimate of people was 50,000-70,000, the smallest one yet)! A big semi truck has been sent by James Hoffa of the Teamsters and is parked like a don’t-even-think-of-effing-with-us Sherman tank on the street in front of the Capitol. There is a long line — separate from these other demonstrations — of 4,000 people, waiting their turn to get through the only open door to the Capitol so they can join the occupation inside.
And inside the Rotunda is … well, it will bring tears to your eyes if you go there. It’s like a shrine to working people — to what America is and should be about — packed with families and kids and so many senior citizens that it made me happy for science and its impact on life expectancy over the past century. There were grandmas and great-grandpas who remember FDR and Wisconsin’s La Follette and the long view of this struggle. Standing in that Rotunda was like a religious experience. There had been nothing like it, for me, in decades.
And so it was in this setting, out of doors now on the steps of the Capitol, with so many people in front of me that I couldn’t see where they ended, that I just “showed up” and gave a speech that felt unlike any other I had ever given. As I had just written it and had no time to memorize it, I read from the pages I brought with me. I wanted to make sure that the words I had chosen were clear and exact. I knew they had the potential to drive the haters into a rabid state (not a pretty sight) but I also feared that the Right’s wealthy patrons would see a need to retaliate should these words be met with citizen action across the land. I was, after all, putting them on notice: We are coming after you, we are stopping you and we are going to return the money/jobs/homes you stole from the people. You have gone too far. It’s too bad you couldn’t have been satisfied with making millions, you had to have billions — and now you want to strip us of our ability to talk and bargain and provide. This is your tipping point, Wall Street; your come-to-Jesus moment, Corporate America. And I’m glad I’m going to be able to be a witness to it.
Here are some other, related dispatches from the frontlines of the class war that are flying under the radar, courtesy of FAIR:
Surprisingly, the NYT managed to report some real news for a change: That the public SUPPORTS public sector workers’ unions, and feels that undermining collective bargaining rights is bad for everyone. Even more significant, the public favors tax hikes for the wealthy over service cuts! And oh yeah, not surprisingly: Those most likely to be in favor of tax and service cuts? Those making more than $100,000 a year in the private sector. What was surprising, though, is that those in this income group who were against tax and service cuts outnumbered those in favor, 49 percent to 45. So even the rich seem to think paying more taxes and getting more services is a good idea! Who knew?
Well, I don’t know if Billo knew, but I know that he’s not happy about this report. Bill O’Reilly being the crapaganda whore that he is, of course he’d pitch a shit-fit. His “solution” to the “problem” of public opinion polls that don’t favor the poor, oppressed rich? Don’t poll union members. That’s one person in five. How a poll of that nature would be indicative of real public opinion, I don’t know. Perhaps we should ask Billo?
Charlie Rose of the Chicken Noodle Network also scores an epic fail by having zero labor input on what’s only the biggest labor story of the year. His guests? Joe Klein, who thinks public-sector unions are “a pretty questionable proposition”, whatever that’s supposed to mean, and oh yeah: Mike Huckabee, who undoubtedly thinks a bundle of money could be saved by home-skoolin’ yer kids (also because it keeps the Little Woman at home where she belongs, I bet.) As it stands, yesterday’s chat shows had just one unionist on: Richard Trumka of the AFL-CIO. FAIL!!! At this rate, it’s little wonder that the general public thinks more highly of teachers than it does of reporters. When reporters are busy flogging the corporatist line instead of respecting and reporting where the public really stands on the issues, can we honestly say we’re surprised?