For Immediate Release
Friends of the Earth Statement in Solidarity with Democracy Defenders in Wisconsin
WASHINGTON - The environmental group Friends of the Earth released the following statement today in response to the ongoing attacks on workers’ rights in Wisconsin:
"Friends of the Earth stands in solidarity with the teachers, nurses, firefighters and other public employees, youth and allies fighting in Wisconsin to defend the rights of workers against Governor Walker’s attacks. We also applaud the courageous 'Wisconsin 14' state senators who have left the state in order to ensure that public voices are heard and workers’ rights are not steamrolled.
"The provisions in Governor Walker’s bill to gut public workers’ benefits and collective bargaining rights and to enable a fire sale of the state’s energy assets are not real budget solutions. Real budget solutions would ask wealthy corporations and individuals to pay their fair share, not strip rights from workers and push the burden onto poor and middle class families. American society is more unequal now than at any time since the Great Depression, and responsible budget policies would redress rather than exacerbate this unacceptable reality.
"Rather, Governor Walker’s proposals are part of a broader agenda being advanced by billionaire corporate barons including the Koch brothers and their political allies—an agenda to reshape government into a tool of corporate special interests and the wealthy instead of strengthening it as a protector of the liberty and well-being of people.
"Struggles to defend democracy, advance economic justice and promote a healthy environment are entwined in Wisconsin and everywhere. As we have seen with the attacks on fundamental clean air and water protections in Congress, allowing corporations to pollute without constraint is a key goal of Koch and friends’ agenda.
"The Wisconsin demonstrations reflect the best of American democracy: the power of ordinary people from diverse backgrounds to unite peacefully, hold political leaders accountable and push for progress toward a more just and equitable society.
"The power in the unity expressed by Wisconsinites of diverse class, race, age, background and experience gives us hope. Together, we can swing the pendulum of our political debate back toward advancing democracy and serving the common good."
Friends of the Earth is the U.S. voice of the world's largest grassroots environmental network, with member groups in 77 countries. Since 1969, Friends of the Earth has fought to create a more healthy, just world.