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“You won’t fool the Children of the Revolution.” When T-Rex’s Marc Bolan intoned this line over a slippery glam-rock groove in the 70s, it wasn’t so much any kind of statement as it was a cool-sounding line that’s pretty much the whole lyric to the song, repeated over and over. Cool or not, the line has a new resonance decades later. Because it seems that it might actually be true.

We forget how quickly these revolution things occur, especially seeing them in real time, with little warning. The world was just digesting the January’s “Jasmine Revolution” in Tunisia—where an angry and repressed populace ousted the authoritarian Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali—when suddenly Egypt was doing the same. Did anybody see that one coming? Because I can’t find anyone who did; it looked for all the world like Egypt strongman Mubarak had that gig locked down for life. It goes to show, though: take away your people’s rights, keep them poor and without hope, beat and whip them and, well, it might just catch up with you. Add social media and the internet to the mix and…whammo. Hosni has left the building.

So, who’s next? Yemen? Algeria? Bahrain? So many repressive regimes to choose from. How about…..Wisconsin? Apparently Governor Scott Walker has decided that teachers and other state workers shouldn’t have the right to unionize or to negotiate their contracts and working conditions, and has a bill pending to strip away that right, with a majority to pass it. Walker has even threatened to deploy the National Guard if the workers even considered expressing their legal right to protest, pretty much giving the middle finger to hardworking citizens of his state.

Well, now he’s got streets full of angry people—protesting peacefully—who are waking up to realize the facts: big corporations and their friends on the right wing want to destroy collective bargaining for workers in the U.S. Groups of organized university students, working families with their kids, Wisconsans of all kinds are standing together, up to 30,000 the other day. OK, it’s not quite as dramatic as Egypt with as much at stake, but it has become a real national line in the sand, in a traditionally strong pro-union state. Let’s hope the workers win this one, as being a public employee shouldn’t mean you give up the American right to collective bargaining.

I have a feeling this won’t be the last of this sort of thing, as slashed state and federal budgets create further opportunities for erosion of rights and regulations. Case in point: natural gas companies are chomping at the bit to do deep-well hydrofracking in Western New York as soon as the partial ban is lifted this summer. With NY Department of Environmental Protection personnel cut almost in half, it’s hard to imagine its impact study (the reason for the moratorium) being conclusive enough to stop the very well-heeled oil companies from getting their way. Clean air, water, and power; these things are worth fighting a revolution for. Look for more on this subject this coming year; some caravans to Albany might be in order soon.

Where am I going with this? Well, the way I see it, revolutions come in all sizes, from Egypt to Wisconsin…to Albany. Powerful corporate and political forces need to be confronted by an informed and passionate populace, when their goals run counter to the general needs of the citizenry. Americans are due for some good honest protest (not necessarily the Fox News-ginned Tea Party kind) and trust me, there’s going to be plenty of revolt- worthy stuff coming our way soon. Don’t let anyone fool you…

Cheers,
Ross Rice, Editor



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