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This is the final installment in our special series of conversations with teachers, organizers, scholars, and activists in Wisconsin that Max, Cameron Granadino (TRNN), and Hannah Faris (In These Times) recorded in the summer of 2021 as part of a special collaboration between The Real News Network and In These Times magazine. To round out the series, we drive straight into the heart of darkness with an in-depth discussion with veteran educators and organizers Frank Emspak and Adrienne Pagac about the passage of Act 10 in Wisconsin under Republican Governor Scott Walker, the statewide protests against it, and the devastation that it has left in Wisconsin for the past 11 years. Frank is Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School for Workers and a labor activist based in Madison, Wisconsin. He is a regular contributor to WORT Labor Radio, Progressive Magazine, and a range of other media outlets. Adrienne is a scholar, organizer, and former co-president of the Teaching Assistants Association.
The statewide protests against Act 10, known as the Wisconsin Uprising, comprised one of the largest sustained collective actions in the history of the United States, and anyone who was there in 2011 will attest to the collective spirit of resistance and solidarity that the uprising embodied, and the lasting impact it left on all who participated. But the protests were ultimately unsuccessful in beating back Act 10, and the short and long term effects of its passage have been a disaster for working people and organized labor. How did this coordinated assault on labor come to pass in Wisconsin? And what lessons can the rest of us around the country learn from the 50-year war on workers that has changed the state of Wisconsin for generations?
Additional links/info below…
- Frank’s Twitter page
- Adrienne’s Twitter page
- Frank Emspak, Red Madison, “Commemorating the Wisconsin Uprising”
- Maximillian Alvarez, The Real News Network, “ ‘You’ve got to shut it down’: Lessons from Wisconsin’s 2011 Worker Uprising”
- In These Times investigative series: The Wisconsin Idea
- The Jacobin Show, “The Democratic Coalition after Trump and the Fall of Wisconsin”
- Dan Kaufman, Norton Books, The Fall of Wisconsin: The Conservative Conquest of a Progressive Bastion and the Future of American Politics
- Michael D. Yates, Monthly Review Press, Wisconsin Uprising: Labor Fights Back
- John Nichols, Bold Type Books, Uprising: How Scott Walker Betrayed Wisconsin and Inspired a New Politics of Protest
Permanent links below…
- Working People Patreon page
- Leave us a voicemail and we might play it on the show!
- Labor Radio / Podcast Network website, Facebook page, and Twitter page
- In These Times website, Facebook page, and Twitter page
- The Real News Network website, YouTube channel, podcast feeds, Facebook page, and Twitter page
Featured Music (all songs sourced from the Free Music Archive: freemusicarchive.org)
- Jules Taylor, “Working People Theme Song”
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Maximillian Alvarez is editor-in-chief at the Real News Network and host of the podcast Working People, available at InTheseTimes.com. He is also the author of The Work of Living: Working People Talk About Their Lives and the Year the World Broke.