It’s been twenty-four hours since Scott Walker beat back the recall attempt in the state where I went to high school.
I’ve seen a lot written about what happened, but have been pretty surprised at how weak they’ve all been in offering insightful analysis (of course, it’s also probable that many of those who can write meaningfully about it are spending today collapsed in bed recovering from months of sixteen-hour days). I think Mike Klonsky’s short post, Trying to make some sense of the Wisconsin vote, is clearly the best piece I’ve seen so far.
The only thing I can add is I wonder if this points to the challenge facing many of us who call ourselves progressives — we tend to react to the agenda of others (and on their timeline) instead of focusing on getting them to react to us. In Wisconsin, Walker opponents (and I’m certainly a California supporter of them) chose to follow-up last year’s massive protests with an emphasis on a recall campaign that had an insanely short campaign timeline because of state law. Of course, unlike in California and in other states, Wisconsin does not provide citizens with the option of placing an initiative on the ballot. If it did, that may very well have been the way to go instead of a recall (to overturn Walker’s attack on collective bargaining rights). Given that situation as it was, though, sometimes you just have to fight for what’s right no matter what the odds of success, which is what many of us in community organizing groups did in California in the losing fight against the infamous Proposition 187, which attacked the basic human rights of immigrants.
I’m eager to read postmortems that I’m sure will be written by thoughtful people directly involved in the recall effort, and I’d love to hear in the comments section from readers willing to share their thoughts — whether they’re from Wisconsin or from elsewhere.
In the meantime, NPR published a couple of other pieces that also might be useful to read:
You might also be interested in The Best Resources For Learning About Attacks On Teachers & Other Public Sector Workers In Wisconsin.