Sunday, February 27, 2011

Grassroots Women Around the World Stand With Growing Movement in Wisconsin

Saturday February 26, 2011

For immediate release

Grassroots Women around the World Stand with Growing Movement in Wisconsin

Grassroots women across the US and around the world support Wisconsin state workers, and the students and others who have joined them in their inspiring confrontation against Governor Scott Walker and Republican legislators. Today’s demonstration of nearly 250,000 in Madison – along with solidarity actions by people in cities large and small across the country and the world – shows that we in the US will also not tolerate dictatorial regimes. We strongly oppose any attempts to attack or remove peaceful protestors and urge the police to refuse to act against your fellow public workers.

Everyone knows that nationally most public sector workers are women, and the public sector is also where people of color have been able to earn relatively decent wages. The jobs we do as women outside the home – teaching, healthcare, social services – are extensions of the work we do unwaged at home, and are about the care of people and communities. This is our priority, this must be the human priority. But for Governor Walker and his financial backers, the human suffering that his policies will cause to the most vulnerable means nothing. He is determined take back the hard-fought gains of women and people of color in particular for a decent life, wages and benefits that support families, and protection from discrimination.

As mothers, grandmothers and other caregivers, we note that Governor Walker has cited welfare “reform” – Wisconsin’s attack on the most vulnerable women, single mothers on welfare, which paved the way for dismantling welfare as a right nationally and set up union-busting “workfare” – as a reason he intends to hold onto his plan to destroy the basic right to organize. Women have fought for 40 years to open up the waged workplace, for pay equity, healthcare, family leave, the right to a safety net and other benefits, and we won’t be pushed back. We call on all women’s organizations to speak out and take action in support of Wisconsin workers, women and men.

We refuse to accept that Wisconsin or any other state is “broke” the same week we hear that Wall Street paid an average bonus of $128,530 last year, and when the US military continues to hemorrhage billions of dollars in Iraq and Afghanistan. We hear this lie from the same right-wing extremists have also just voted to de-fund Planned Parenthood; in Philadelphia a march of mainly women chanted as they joined the Wisconsin solidarity rally: “Pro-life, who are you kidding? You’re Pro-war and anti-women!”

Walker’s assault on public employees is part of a larger attempt, supported and funded by conservative activists including the billionaire Koch Brothers, to further dismantle social programs, healthcare, environmental protections, and give corporations free reign. But the days when employers and dictatorial rulers could do what they like are over. All over the world people are risking their lives for economic and social justice. People in Wisconsin are calling the governor “Hosni” Walker in their anger against his vicious policies and destruction of the democratic process. They have received greetings from everywhere, including: “Egypt supports Wisconsin workers: One World, One Pain.” Mustafa Hussein, a doctor treating people attacked by Mubarak supporters in Tahrir Square sent this message on Friday, a day of rage across the region: “Our sisters and brothers in Wisconsin, we urge you to hold on until you win.”

Wisconsin is the frontline battle for the survival and welfare of our communities across the country, and state workers and those who support them have shown they are up for the fight. Sisters and brothers in Madison, we are behind you: hold on, hold strong and “fight like an Egyptian.”

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