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Wisconsin and Egypt: Waves of Protests and Solidarity
WASHINGTON - February 22 - KAMAL ABBAS, TAMER FATHY
Abbas is general coordinator for the Center for Trade Union and Workers Services in Egypt. Fathy is international relations coordinator for the group, which is an umbrella advocacy organization for independent unions in Egypt. It has been awarded the French Republic’s Human Rights Prize, suffered repeated harassment and attacks by the Mubarak regime and critically joined the protests against Mubarak in early February. Labor mobilization has been a driving force against the Mubarak regime for several years; the April 6 movement gets its name from labor support actions among Egyptian youth. Abbas has recorded a video statement in solidarity with the protesters in Wisconsin.
Kraig is executive director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin. He is at the Capitol in Madison and is closely following developments. He recently wrote the piece “Walker’s National Guard comments a thinly veiled threat against workers.”
Manski is executive director of the Liberty Tree Foundation and a spokesperson for the new umbrella group Wisconsin Wave. He is a lifelong Wisconsinite and a public interest attorney. Manski said today: “This is what Wisconsinites face: the loss of our unions, the selling off of our universities, the elimination of our health services, the end of our middle class. No wonder Wisconsinites are rising in a wave of protest.”
Vaj is a co-founder and current co-executive director of the group Freedom Inc. She is a long-time advocate for women of color and a Hmong refugee. Vaj and her family have been active community members in Madison for more than 25 years. She said today: “This anti-union bill includes serious threats to Medicaid — it would give broad authority to the Department of Health Services and supersede statutory provisions, which is expected to limit eligibility. On its heels, we expect further cuts to life-saving services, discriminatory voter ID legislation and Arizona-type anti-immigrant proposals.That’s why we are part of a wave of resistance with union workers, low-income families and communities of color across this state.”
Kutler just wrote the piece “What Gov. Walker Won’t Tell You,” which states: “There is a kernel of truth in Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s claim of a ‘budget shortfall’ of $137 million. But Walker, a Republican, failed to tell the state that less than two weeks into his term as governor, he, with his swollen Republican majorities in the Wisconsin Legislature, pushed through $117 million in tax breaks for business allies of the GOP. There is your crisis.”
Kutler is the author of The Wars of Watergate and other writings. He taught constitutional and legal history for 35 years at the University of Wisconsin.