This recall drive is the greatest popular democracy movement in Wisconsin history, and one of the greatest challenges to political power in American history.
The signals could not be stronger. The Wisconsin democracy movement is real.
Fun fact: the recall petitions weigh more than 3,000 pounds. On Wisconsin.
The essence of the Progressive movement, as I see it, lies in its purpose to uphold the fundamental principles of representative government. It expresses the hopes and desires of millions of common men and women who are willing to fight for their ideals, to take defeat if necessary, and still go on fighting.
--Robert M. LaFollette
The Progressive Honor Roll of 2011
From The Nation’s Progressive Honor Roll of 2011:
MOST VALUABLE LOCAL OFFICIAL: Sheriff Dave Mahoney
The brutality of police crackdowns on the Occupy Wall Street protests from New York to California was a reminder that police do not always protect and serve. But there were notable exceptions. The most remarkable came in Madison, Wisconsin, when Governor Scott Walker ordered thousands of pro-union demonstrators cleared from the state Capitol. Mahoney, who since 2006 has been the elected sheriff for Dane County (Madison), helped coordinate the law-enforcement response to the protests outside and inside the Capitol. The sheriff said his responsibility was to protect public safety and First Amendment rights. As such, he objected to breaking up peaceful protests and to using deputies to shutter public spaces. “I refused to put deputy sheriffs in a position to be palace guards,” explained Mahoney, whose deputies joined “Cops for Labor” demonstrations in solidarity with the protests.
Sherrod Brown of Ohio was named Most Valuable Senator and Raul Grijalva of Arizona was named Most Valuable Representative. Read the whole list here.
Experience: that most brutal of teachers. But you learn. My God do you learn.
- C.S. Lewis
It confuses me when I see posts from young progressives about refusing to vote in 2012. Less than a year ago almost 80% of young people didn’t vote in the midterm elections. This is what happened. And this. And this. And this. Just look at what we have to show for that strategy.
In recent weeks, a decidedly more populist Obama has tried to revive his political machine, asking his once obedient backers to call their congressmen to aid the passage of his worthy-but-inadequate jobs bill. Rather than flooding the phone lines, however, fed up citizens flooded the streets — with a much more ambitious agenda: to restore economic fairness in America. The Occupy Wall Street movement is a game changer because it gives progressives a voice apart from the president who refused to change the game.
--Rolling Stone. Obama, Occupy Wall Street, and the Rebirth of the Left. It’s a short, thought-provoking read that I highly recommend.
To put this in historical context: only 4 Wisconsin legislators have been subjected to a recall campaign since the right to recall an elected state official became part of the Wisconsin Constitution in 1926. Protecting this right was part of the progressive platform in the early 1900s to bring direct democracy to voters – along with referenda, direct primary elections, and women’s suffrage.