Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Senate Bill 5

John Kasich and the Republicans of the Statehouse of Ohio want to cram a bill into law that would take away collective bargaining with government employees. This follows Wisconsin's lead. Other states with new Republican governments would follow. This is the first step in the curtailment of unions. In Wisconsin, and Ohio, people have come out of their slumber, and have engaged Democracy in trying to stop these dictates.

The themes of the participants are in accord with the lesson of history. Their signs and actions recall the past. They remember Hitler destroying unions. They remember Pastor Martin Niemöller's lament for not speaking out for others. They remember the Polish free trade union (Solidarność, Solidarity) and its leader Lech Wałęsa that brought down communism.

They also note current events. Ohio is only hours behind Wisconsin's battle. People remember the recent Egyptian example. Someone alluded to a television programme and cast Kasich as a money loving Ferengi.

Here follows images of to-day. Note, unlike the teabaggers, the signs tend to keep grammar and spelling as one was taught.

The one cardboard sign below reads: We must close union offices !!! Confiscate their money and put their leaders in prison! We must reduce workers' salaries and take away their right to strike.—Adolph Hitler, May 2nd 1933.
[Many Republicans, teabaggers and other American fascists deny Hitler said this, but this is exactly what was done on that day in accordance to his orders. They know that Hitler and Nazism still has 'bad press', so they must disassociate their actions with his name.] On the 1st of May 1933 Hitler celebrated May (Labor) Day at Templehof (near Berlin) airfield. In his speech, he spoke the great spring festival would be celebrated, and all class conflict had ended for the one people (Volk) of Germany. The crowd cheered and sang, he had union leaders cheering too. The next day free unions disappeared.

Goebbels wrote in his diary for 17April: On 2 May the trade union offices will be occupied. ... Once the trade unions are in our hands the other parties and organisations will not be able to hold out for much longer. And on that day what was planned in secret, and written down became real. The SA (brownshirts, stormtroopers), the SS, and the police came. People were beaten, arrested, a few killed. Union papers were closed and funds taken. What was once, perhaps, the strongest labor movement in the world was reduced to nothing in minutes. Goebbels wrote his diary, We are the masters of Germany.

It is to be remembered that at the same time Franklin Delano Roosevelt came to the presidency in the United States and promoted unions. He said, "
If I went to work in a factory the first thing I'd do is join a union." Ever since Franklin Roosevelt the Republicans wanted things back to pre-1933. Where their power was unchecked, and they could squash unionism by physical force. Their economic panacea brought the Great Depression, this Great Recession happened because of the anti-Roosevelt gains they had made. They forget the disasters they created, and certainly will not confess to them, yet they can not forget when they had all the power to create the disasters. Such a combination of arrogance, stupidity, avarice and mean-spirit is onerous.

The Niemöller quote has been translated in several versions, here is one version:
"In Germany they came first for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up."

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