Winds of Change From the Middle East To the U.S. Mid-West

All over the world change is in the air. It began with Tunisia when the population rose up and drove out Ben Ali their brutal dictator of over 23 years. It took them 28 days. The revolutionary wave quickly shifted to Egypt where it took the Egyptian people 18 days to throw out the 40-year dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak. Then the revolt spread to Yemen, Bahrain, Algeria, Morocco, Iran, Jordan, Syria, Sudan, even Iraq. Recently there have been echoes in Serbia and Bosnia.

While strikes and demonstrations are continuing in many of these counties, the focus of the last week has been Libya where their dictator, Muammar Khadafi, has ordered the bombing and slaughter of thousands of his own people. But the people of Libya are fighting back and sections of the military are being won over to their side.

And here in the U.S. we have also seen a fight begin. The workers of Wisconsin have begun to mobilize to oppose Wisconsin’s Governor, Scott Walker, who is trying to force the legislature to pass a bill to strip the state workers of their union rights and threatening massive take-always and wage cuts.  Tens of thousands of state workers, teachers, firefighters and even police, joined by high school and college students are refusing to accept these attacks and have been occupying the Wisconsin state capitol since February 15th.

All over the U.S. there have been rallies supporting the workers of Wisconsin. Even in Egypt demonstrators were holding up signs supporting the Wisconsin workers. And in Wisconsin, workers were holding up signs accusing Scott Walker of acting like Mubarek.

Workers all over the world are in motion. It was the strikes by the Tunisian workers and the workers of Egypt that finally forced the dictators out of power. It is the workers of Wisconsin who are showing us that it is possible to stand up and fight here as well.

All over the world new possibilities are opening up. All over the world old ways are falling and new frameworks are being developed. People are forging new struggles, taking new initiatives, using all of their creativity, imagination and determination to meet the challenges they face. These struggles depend on people relying on their own forces – on themselves.

It is incredible how much the world has changed since mid-December when the revolt in Tunisia began.  Each struggle has built on the struggles that came before it. Each time the process has seemed to go more quickly. In less than two months we have gone from Tunisia to Libya. We are seeing the struggles of Wisconsin spread to Ohio, and Indiana, where workers face similar attacks. Where will the struggles go next?

And what about us? There are more than enough reasons to fight back in California as we face massive budget cuts to education and all social programs, growing unemployment with workplace closings and layoffs, foreclosures on people’s homes, deteriorating neighborhoods, increased crime and police brutality.

It is up to us what will happen in the future. It is up to us to decide what to do. We have the forces and the power to change our lives – if we are willing to organize ourselves and fight back. Isn’t it time that we join this fight?