The Ethical Society Without Walls
The Ethical Society Without Walls
Hosts an Insightful (and insider's) View of Wisconsin & Beyond
By Sally Leete
On March 6 members and guests of the Ethical Society Without Walls were treated to a spectacular insider?s-view of life and politics in none other than Madison, Wisconsin. The featured speaker was Brian Solomon, an ESWoW member, Ethical Culture Sunday School graduate, and member of the Madison, Wisconsin City Council; someone in the thick of things, to say the least. On the call we discussed many issues that led to the demonstrations in Wisconsin including history and politics, economic justice, the destiny of the labor force, the middle class itself, and the significantly understated war between rich, poor and middle class, Republican and Democrat, human being and corporation.
Leader, Susan Rose started by interviewing Brian and asked how his Ethical Culture upbringing influenced the work he is doing, He responded that Ethical Culture influences every part of his life.
Within a few days of our Sunday Community Call, the headlines changed dramatically, yet the discussions and demonstrations continue. What can we do, as Ethical People, to further our objectives in Ethical Living? What is our responsibility in these matters, and how can our thinking and actions contribute to the results we want to create . . . the results that make a difference for the betterment of all?
Brian Solomon, is also an eloquent writer, and the Opening and Closing Words for the call came from Brian's blog as Madison Alder.
Madison, WI: A Prelude for Economic Justice
As Bob Dylan once sang, "The battle is outside raging." Thousands protest daily and Madison and Wisconsin have made national news once again. Wisconsin: the state that produced Fighting Bob LaFollette, unemployment insurance, worker's compensation, and suffrage for women. Madison: the city that produced lasting images against the Vietnam War and in favor of civil rights.
We all struggle to conjure the vocabulary to describe tens of thousands of people -- young and old, black and white, rich and poor -- descending daily upon the Capitol, standing side by side, carrying signs, protesting peacefully for what they believe in, chanting and singing and dancing and refusing to back down. It is inspiring beyond words. It is historic. It is beautiful and meaningful and, hopefully, consequential.
But it is not enough!
There were 3 other ESWoW members living in Wisconsin (including Ron and Carol Solomon and Leonard Weis) on this Community Call. They gave an even more in-depth perspective.
Brian was able to share some perspectives with us that haven't been mentioned much in "the news." He told us how in January, when the Republicans took over the Wisconsin legislature, a flurry of legislative activity was quickly pushed through. Then Governor Walker attempted to end collective bargaining for state employees and things got dicey. 14 State Democrats prevented the Wisconsin Senate from voting by leaving the state. Weekends in Madison, the State Capitol saw 50-75,000 protesters letting their opinions be known. They were also holding candlelight vigils.
On the campaign trail, Walker promised that politics would not affect fiscal decisions, but the ramifications of attacking the middle class have issued a wake-up call for many who voted Republican and who are now having second thoughts.
Teachers agreed to pension and healthcare changes and Walker promised that there would be no policy changes in the budget bills. Many Republicans have come to regret their vote and there is a flurry of recall activity.
Brian shared some of the path to the undermining of Unions - starting with Reagan's PATCO attack. He also mentioned how CEO's now have a much greater percentage of income - going from 40 times that of their workers to 400 times.
Of course, being an Ethical Culture call, there was great interest in knowing what we can do to be supportive and we wanted to know:
What can we do . . . you, me and our like-minded friends?
Encourage friends & family to vote
Encourage the Momentum!
Stick with it through thick & thin
Submit Opinions/Editorials/Letters to the Editor to your local news media. We can provide a general copy outline and sample so you can speak out on behalf of yourself and ESWoW and embellish your own local story. For more information, please contact ESWoW Leader, Susan Rose at susan.rose at eswow.org.
Here are a few resources that were shared to be able to contribute to the work in Wisconsin, and to keep informed. A full list can be found at http://www.eswow.org/content/hope-action-live-wisconsin. [actually this is the whole list, Michele, so your call to just list a few and a link - or the whole list.]
http://solomadison.blogspot.com - Brian Solomon's blog provides an insider's view with his level and heartful, and ethical perspective.
www.progressivesunited.org -- Russ Feingold
www.ianspizza.com -- feeds the Madison demonstrators
www.host.madison.com/comwsj - Wisconsin State Journal
www.jsonline.com - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
www.Democracynow.org -- Amy Goodman
www.laborradio.org -- Workers' Independent News
www.ibisradio.org - Radio with a View
Thank you for following this fascinating story which eventually has a personal impact on each of us. May we view it from an Ethical perspective and act accordingly.
Closing Words from Brian Solomon:
This is the time for all workers to unite. We number in the millions. We are the backbone of the nation, of the economy, of the electorate. We have an opportunity to stand up strong, build on the momentum that is underway, and renew the path of a half century ago, the one that built an American middle class, rewarded hard work with dignity, and created the strongest economy on earth. May this battle awaken us from our three decade long slumber. May the protests currently underway serve as the momentum for something bigger than their origins: a real victory in this real war.
Please read this and subsequent blog posts by Brian at - http://solomadison.blogspot.com/