|Things have quited down in Wisconsin (photo by Althouse)|
The Wisconsin protests started as Union protest over Gov. Walker's plan to limit their ability to collective bargain. As I've mentioned several times, the problem the Unions had was they didn't have enough boots on the ground to sustain a protest. To compensate for that they opened their ranks to any and all progressive causes to swell their numbers.
This had the effect of diluting the Union's message. Gradually, especially as Union participation began to fade, the other fringe groups began to dominate the messaging more and more. This led to such blunders as the Zombie Protest at the Special Olympics Ceremony and the Protest Armada.
In short, as the number of protesters dwindled all that was left was that hard core of strange-looking protest zealots who incessantly tilt at their favorite political and social windmills. This no doubt did damage to the Union cause because the Madison protests have been branded as Union protests in the public's mind. Thus, whether they like it or not, the Unions can only partially untangle themselves from the message of the crazies.
With Wisconsin now quiet, the protest enthusiasts have moved on to their "Occupy Wall Street" protests. The message of these protests is amazingly inchoate. Beyond anti-Wall Street slogans and romanticizing the Arab Spring, there is no message attached to these protests. BevfromNYC at Commentarama describes them as follows:
What exactly these Grandchildren of the '60's are protesting is not clear. Signs run the gamut of "F**k Wall Street" to "Four Day Work Week". They know that something is wrong, but they are not exactly clear on what. For the past two weeks, they have beaten drums, shouted indecipherable chants, and refused to go away. To their great credit, they have managed to organized themselves like any good commune with a food distribution area, recycling area, first aid area, and a public P.R. Liaison area equipped with a gasoline-powered generator to keep protesters' laptops and smartphones powered up to post on Facebook and tweet each moment. And it has been reported that people from all over the country are calling local area fast food joints to have pizzas delivered to the protesters as a show of support.
Visits from seasoned liberal protest icons such as Michael Moore and Susan Sarandon have shown up with their P.R. machines in tow as well. Ms. Sarandon showed up in her chauffeured-driven limousine to "educate herself" on her way to the airport to fly to Europe on her private jet for a vacation.
Though she didn't "personally lose any money", she [Sarandon] is advocating what I interpret as a more physically forceful brand of protest because we shouldn't let "our Arab brothers and sisters" better us. Fortunately is was reported that many of these kids didn't have a clue as to who she was, but she did give them some sage advice - focus the protest on one topic, and register to vote. Actually she has a point - this protest lacks any real focus which is why they probably can't focus on any solutions either. They know something is wrong because someone is making lots of money and it's not them. But, as one protester responded when asked what his solution to "greed on Wall Street" might be by saying "I don't know? I'm only 23 years old, why are you asking ME that? What a stupid question." Let's hope he is not currently registered to vote.
In terms of this post, of particular interest is her post's closing sentence:
But a more disturbing devolpment threatens the peaceful and naive nature of this protest. Local and national union organizers have decided to join in to lend muscle and considerable financial support to this vague cause. Already the Transit Workers Union members have shown up with the SEIU and AFL-CIO to follow next week. Expect the numbers to grow and the violence to increase as a result.
I find this astonishing. The "Occupy Wall Street" protests have been spectacular failures so far. Their messages have been simplistic when not completely incoherent, and the effect the effects the protests have had has been little more than mild annoyance.
In Wisconsin the other progressive groups were brought in as auxiliaries to bolster the Union numbers. At the "Occupy Wall Street" protests the Unions are apparently coming in to ride on the coattails of a protest nobody seems to be taking seriously. Can you imagine Jimmy Hoffa connecting the Teamsters to such a hodgepodge of idiotic far left causes?
Why would Unions diminish themselves like that?
There has been reports that the Union treasuries are barren, the Wall Street Journal has reported that in fact they are deeply in debt. I'll say it again, with their membership declining, and the dues that go along with it evaporating, Unions are increasingly bit players. Their need in Wisconsin to bring in other progressive groups to bolster their numbers has now flipped to them having to join with dubious progressive causes in New York to gain relevance and visibility (and I suspect some of it is following Obama's marching orders to try to demonize Wall Street).
The Unions are foundering and their need to join with every progressive loon that comes down the pike is only going to amplify their public relations problem and hasten their decline.