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Friday, March 9, 2012

Starting in Wisconsin

The Badger State Responds

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Even Scott Walker's corporate pay-and-puppet masters must be wondering if they miscalculated by choosing Wisconsin as the laboratory for their toxic vision of the future. The Badger State's progressive tradition had increasingly seemed like history, its unions had grown accustomed to retreat and people seemed ready to accept the ideology of privatization and the promotion of greed with a shrug—until Walker poked a sharp stick into the eye of decent citizens through the imposition of a radical agenda.

It Started in Wisconsin (Verso) is an essay collection about the Walker debacle and the public's strong response. Edited by Mari Jo and Paul Buhle, a pair of Madison academics, It Started includes articles by an array of journalists, activists and artists from the state as well as such national stars as Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello and gadfly Michael Moore. Midwest pride of place animates much of the writing, along with awareness of Wisconsin's progressive history, the global context for the Madison protests and a genuine outrage that transcends the particular grievances of public sector union members. If anything, Walker has reawakened a dormant spirit of solidarity. The harvest of the extremism he sowed may be his own undoing.
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