|Workers in the Badger state demonstrate in the Wisconsin State Capitol Building|
The breaking news this evening is that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and the Republican majorities in the state's two legislative houses have found a way to pass their budget and union-busting legislation.
It's a startling turnaround. Only yesterday, it seemed that all the momentum was with the working people of Wisconsin. Governor Walker's approval rating are dropping like a stone. Rumors were aswirl that he was ready to compromise. And then, the GOP pulled an arcane parliamentary maneuver, somehow separating the bill into two different pieces. By doing so, they set a lower threshold for a quorum and were able to vote quickly to pass both pieces. There appears to be some question about the legality of the GOP tactic, but it is clear that Wisconsin Democrats are appalled by it at the very least.
I hate to say it, especially as reports indicate that angry protesters are even now gathering at the Wisconsin capitol, but this battle may be over. A bitter defeat. I feel the sting of it all the way over here in Portland. How must it burn for my union brothers and sisters in Madison?
The plutocrats, the neo-feudal lords have won a victory tonight. And it comes at the expense of the common people.
This is a defeat, brothers and sisters. Taste the cruel, bitter dregs. But remember, watershed events set a course of their own.
On September 7th, 1812, Napoleon's ill-fated Russian campaign culminated in the battle of Borodino. Napoleon and all his armies crashed into the Russians on the road before Moscow. Even in the face of the mighty Grande Armée, Field Marshall Kutuzov, the Russian commander, vowed that the invading French "...shall eat horseflesh like the Turks!"
At the end of the battle, the French commanded the field and the Russian army was in full retreat. Napoleon rode unopposed into Moscow, apparently triumphant.
But six weeks later, the real results of Borodino became known. The French army was mortally wounded and out of supply. By the end of October, the Grande Armée was in full rout toward Poland with the Russian army at its heels. The French soldiers froze and starved to death along the way. Many of them did, in fact, eat horseflesh.
It could be that what happened in Wisconsin, this apparent victory by the plutocrats, awakened the people. The bourgeoisie may yet find itself in full rout. It may yet eat horseflesh.
That's what I believe. I believe that we, the people, have had enough. We've lost a battle, but the war is on. And we're just getting started.