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reagan on the right to free association:
Scott Walker's rewrite of history so he could justify being on the wrong side of it is just great:
This may seem a little melodramatic, but 30 years ago Ronald Reagan, whose 100th birthday we just celebrated the day before, had one of the most defining moments of his political career, not just his presidency, when he fired the air traffic controllers. And I said, to me that moment was more important than just for labor relations or even the federal budget. That was the first crack in the Berlin Wall in the fall of Communism because from that point forward the Soviets and the Communists knew that Ronald Reagan wasn’t a pushover.
Always with the symbolic gestures, these guys. The independent Polish union movement that began in 1980 actually did something, at great self-sacrifice, to end Soviet communism. You want to talk about first cracks in the Berlin Wall you might start there. I don't remember Republicans ever being more pro-labor than when they were expressing solidarity with the anti-communist trade unions in Eastern Europe, so it's a little sad and ironic that they're rewriting history with this jumble of nonsense that is, effectively, endorsing the same kind of assault on the right to free association that the Soviets utilized in repressing Solidarity in the early 80s. Walker thinks he's emulating Reagan, who supported the Declaration of Human Rights, the one that says "Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests". That's ironic. What would Reagan think of Walker? Here's how Reagan explained his decision to fire the air traffic controllers in '81:
Let me make one thing plain. I respect the right of workers in the private sector to strike. Indeed, as president of my own union, I led the first strike ever called by that union. I guess I'm maybe the first one to ever hold this office who is a lifetime member of an AFL-CIO union. But we cannot compare labor-management relations in the private sector with government. Government cannot close down the assembly line. It has to provide without interruption the protective services which are government's reason for being.
It was in recognition of this that the Congress passed a law forbidding strikes by government employees against the public safety. Let me read the solemn oath taken by each of these employees, a sworn affidavit, when they accepted their jobs: "I am not participating in any strike against the Government of the United States or any agency thereof, and I will not so participate while an employee of the Government of the United States or any agency thereof."
It is for this reason that I must tell those who fail to report for duty this morning they are in violation of the law, and if they do not report for work within 48 hours, they have forfeited their jobs and will be terminated.
See, it was all about the Berlin Wall... er, a contract violation. Reagan had an awful record on labor rights, but his undermining of labor relations took place through his appointments to the National Labor Review board by stacking it with business interests. He never threatened to end anybody's collective bargaining rights, rather he recognized and defended them, he just rigged the deck at the negotiating table. Scott Walker could learn something from that, but since the unions he's fighting already knew going in the deck was stacked and gave in to all the compensation demands from the start, he could just take all of Reagan's tricks for granted.
update: As for these scant assholes:
Tea Party groups organized counter protests in some cities, including Jefferson City, Mo., and Raleigh, N.C. In Madison, however, only a handful of scattered counter-protesters showed up.
Pete Litzau, 57, a registered nurse from Milwaukee, who came to Madison counter-protest on his own, carried a sign reading, "I Support Scott Walker." He said taxpayers are "sick and tired" of lavish pensions paid to public employees.
Let's all just enjoy the supreme irony of people who bitch about the government "taking our rights away" and probably have little action figure laden temples set up in their garages dedicated to Ronald Reagan celebrating a governor who is trying to take away core human rights Reagan celebrated. It almost makes you applaud the ones who had the sense to stay home, even if they didn't have the good sense to come out and defend themselves.
:: posted by buermann @ 2011-02-26 08:32:45 CST |