World to Wisconsin: We’re With You

Activists around the world sent statements of solidarity to Wisconsin’s protesters.
Wisconsin protests, photo by Peter Gorman

Photo by Peter Gorman

Last spring, as Wisconsin protesters filled their state’s capitol building day after day, many of them cited the mass protests in Egypt and Tunisia as inspiration. Activists in those countries, too, saw the link between their struggles and those of the Wisconsinites: When word got out that a local pizzeria was supplying the protesters in the capitol, orders poured in from around the world—including from Egypt (as well as Morocco, Haiti, China, New Zealand, Turkey, Uganda, Belgium, and all 50 states).

A year later, Wisconsinites are going to the polls to decide whether Governor Scott Walker, whose anti-union “Budget Repair Bill” triggered the protests, will remain in office. Do members of other social movements still see the Wisconsin fight as part of a broader struggle for justice?

Grammy-winning rocker Tom Morello, who has now played twice for Wisconsin protesters, wondered. Last week, he put out a call for messages of solidarity for Wisconsin, and heard back from people in Spain, Quebec, Chile, Greece, Tunisia, and Egypt.

The following is a collection of those statements (courtesy of Alan Minsky).

From Spain:

"From Madrid, we send our support and solidarity to the people of Madison on their fight, which is our fight too. We are part of a global non-violent movement that claims for a true, direct and participative democracy of people and for the people. Because we are the 99% we fight for a change in the system, since the current system does not represent us.

"There’s no march that is just another march."

The ruler's mistakes, sponsored by the dictatorships of markets and financial systems, are provoking the destruction of the deepest roots of the Rule of Law. We will not allow more reforms to undermine the basic rights.

The same claim sounds all around the world, in different languages: "we don't gonna pay this crisis" in Spain, "Your time is up" in Wisconsin, and it has the same meaning: the power belongs to the people. Madison, we are with all of you. We are the 99%."

—From Toma Madrid, the communication group of the 15M.

From Quebec:

“The fight we are currently leading in Quebec is the same as the ones that workers and students of Wisconsin and throughout the world are in.

We are only a small part of a global struggle against social and economic injustice.

We have to restart to think about concrete ways to ensure solidarity between our struggles.

Over the borders, over our own interests, over our differences, we can find a global link that unites us all.

We are eager to be free.

Free from domination, oppression and domination from the corporate elites.

We might only be writing the first lines of the story of a global fight, but one thing is for sure, we all know the end of that story.

In the end, our solidarity will beat their oppression!

Quand l'injustice devient loi, la résistance est un devoir!

Which means:
When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes a duty!"

—From the Quebec student organization ASSESolidarite (sent by Guillaume Lagault)

From Chile:

Un fuerte abrazo desde Chile a todos los estudiantes y trabajadores de Wisconsin. Hemos estado luchando durante más de un año, y contra todos los pronósticos, para mantener la bandera de la igualdad de derechos para todos y por un sistema de educación pública y gratuita. No permitan que un grupo de personas decidan por todos, sin hacerles ver las injusticias que ustedes demandan. 

Mantengan la fuerza, deben seguir luchando por sus derechos!

A warm hug from Chile to all the students and workers from Wisconsin. We've been struggling for more than a year, and against all the odds, to maintain the flag of equal rights for everyone and for a free public education system. 

Don't allow one group of people to decide for all, without letting them know the injustices that you're complaining for.

Keep up your strength, you all must fight for your rights!”

—From Giorgio Jackson, a Chilean student leader

From Greece:

“From Greece and Europe to Wisconsin and the Midwest bankers, politicians and the 1% club are trying to make the rest of us pay for their crisis.  In the process they are attacking salaries, pensions and basic labor and collective bargaining rights.  It is time for all of us to say: Enough is enough!  It is time for all of us to join the movement of resistance to social and economic injustice, a movement that has been spreading from Tahrir square to Madrid’s Puerta del Sol; from Greece to Iceland; and from New York’s Zucotti park to Madison, Wisconsin and hundreds of other cities and towns around the country and the world.  Stop the social barbarism they have in store for us, join the struggle!”

From Costas Panayotakis

From Tunisia:

“18 months ago, we defeated a 23 year long dictatorship, one of the worst in the world. The power had not heard the silence of the crowds which announced a global geopolitical earthquake that began in a small town, in a small country in North Africa.

Today, the World citizens growl and revolt and the power refuses to hear the bells tolling for him. Institutions that govern the world are inhabited by men, the decisions taken there are human choices. We can change them right away, it is our choice to live differently. The pains, injustice and misery of our world are not inevitable but the choices we make.

It is for this reason that I reiterate the call of Tunisian revolution to the world.

It Is Time For action. We Must Stand Together Against the Same Forces That Oppress and Exploit Us Both—Us All. The  World is Art Of Being One, instead of being Nothing. This is a call to action. This is a call for the the freedom. For the outliers. For the forgotten. This is a call for intellectuals. A call for journalists. This is a call for free thinkers. A call for the intelligentsia. This is a call for poets. A call for the strong. And a call for the weak. This is a call to the youth. To the wise. To the clever.

Occupy the World, Occupy your mind, get back the power.”

—From Kerim Bouzouita, a well known Tunisian musician, professor, and cyberactivist

From Egypt:

"The truth of revolution is the ecstasy that never shows a way…neither sends you away. It’s a faith that its path would never let you loose hope…neither it’ll let you loose the confusion. And that’s a faith that us, revolutionaries need, others don’t. There’s no march that is just another march. Keep rocking the chair. Some people might call us ignorant, radical or they might just wave us way wishing us to grow up. I say we actually are radical—a revolutionary never takes half-answers, that’s what tells revolution and defeat apart. And we might be ignorant of what’s behind the hill, but we just know that we hate that goddamn hill! With revolution, time and space become meaningless…thus we never age. If these words of mine come across, then know…the revolution is well."

—From Amor Eletrebi, a young organizer who spent weeks in Tahrir Square leading up to the ouster of Mubarak.

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