Black Lives Matter Activists and Union Members Band Together Against Scott Walker

black lives matter

Wisconsin’s attack against unionized workers and police brutality against people of color are two sides of the same coin say activists.

From ThinkProgress:

Activists took to the streets by the thousands in Madison, Wisconsin on Wednesday with a long list of grievances — ranging from the police killing of unarmed 19-year-old Tony Robinson to the impending multi-million dollar cut to the state’s universities, which they say will “devastate Wisconsin for generations to come.”

Those organizing the action told ThinkProgress that Wisconsin’s legal assault on workers and physical assault on its residents of color are two sides of the same coin.

“The purpose of this march and this movement is connect the dots between the different forms of injustice and how it all leads back to state violence,” said Brandi Grayson with the Young, Gifted and Black Coalition. “Stripping resources from our local communities is state violence. Cutting hundreds of millions from the UW is state violence. The non-taxation of corporations and the over-taxation of the poor and middle class is state violence.”

Wisconsin already had the some of the worst racial disparities in the country when Governor Scott Walker took office, but those demonstrating say he has made the situation much worse. Soon after taking office, he defunded a program that tracked the race of people stopped by police, even though black residents of Madison’s Dane County were found to be more than 97 times more likely to go to jail for a drug crime than a white resident. Now, the Governor’s new budget proposes an $8 million jail expansion in Dane County, at the same time many social services are being eliminated.
Read more at ThinkProgress

Yellow Flag: What the NFL Reminded Me About Strikes

Last week, NFL referees came to a tentative agreement with the league after several months of negotiations. The end to the months long strike was more than likely compelled by a particularly horrific call, one so bad the league had to issue a “Yeah, they really got that one wrong” mea culpa. Although game officiating over the first few weeks had not been good, the  last gaffe occurred on MNF the league’s crown jewel, for all of the football loving world to see.

Until that point the NFL, which generated nearly$10 billion in revenue last year, seemed okay with replacement officials. After all, people were still watching. Yet the erratic, confused and sometimes downright bad officiating culminated last Monday with that egregiously blown call and forced the league’s hand. Things were so bad that the President, who’s clearly not done anything to indicate that he is pro-union, tweeted that he wanted the regular refs back. Perhaps such presidential pressure combined with the fact that the requests union referees were making would have cost the league about$6.5 million a year to implement, helped the NFL realize that it was looking at a real public relations nightmare.

So after months with no deal and several regular season games with replacement officials, the NFL and its referees struck a deal. And everybody was happy. (That is, until that first yellow flag was thrown on a debatable pass interference call.) But since I can’t leave well enough alone and find sports incredibly instructive when thinking about life in general, I must make the following irrational inquiry:  What if the NFL players had refused to play games as an act of solidarity with the union?