The Corner

Jackboots in Wisconsin

Despite (or perhaps because of) their failed effort to retake the Wisconsin state senate through recall elections, pro-union activists continue to prove that there is no level they won’t stoop to in their campaign of agitation against Gov. Scott Walker (R). Walker’s controversial budget reforms, passed earlier this year, curtailed certain collective bargaining for public sector unions, and as we all know, chaos ensued.

As it turns out, those very reforms are already paying dividends. But that is entirely beside the point as far as Walker’s opponents are concerned. Already this year, union activists have led jeering, zombie-themed protests at a Special Olympics rally and vandalized a Catholic elementary school as Walker read Dr. Suess to children inside. Most recently, the anti-Walker folk seem to have fallen back on a popular, albeit less creative tack, an old favorite among liberal activists: calling your opponents Nazis.

Apparently, an actual Nazi group — the National Socialis Movement — has scheduled an “In Defense of White America” rally this weekend in the small town of West Allis, Wis., in response to reports of “black flash mobs” at the Wisconsin State Fair earlier this month. Predictably, the same crowd who made clear during the massive budget protests that they have no qualms about making the “Walker as Hitler” comparison, just couldn’t resist. Wisconsin Reporter has the story:

Wisconsin Reporter has learned that Bailout the People Movement plans a counter rally, billed as “We Need Jobs — Not Hate,” for 1 p.m. at West Allis City Hall.

While the protest ostensibly aims to stand up against hate speech, fliers urge rally-goers that “UNITY” is needed “to fight Gov. Walker’s union busting.”

“Nazi scum are coming to West Allis on Sept. 3. They want to spread their poison and divide working and poor people,” the flier states.

Wisconsin Bailout the People, part of a New York organization that takes issue with the multi-billion dollar bailouts to U.S. banks and corporations, asserts Act 10, or the budget repair bill that curtailed collective bargaining for many public employees, was a kind of old-school Nazi tactic.

“Like the Tea Party bigots who support Walker, the Nazis are doing the dirty work of big business,” the flier states.

Wisconsin Reporter asked one of the organizers of the “Jobs” rally if he truly thought that Gov. Walker and the state GOP were deserving of the Nazi label. His response was hardly subtle:

“These are individual politicians who have been bankrolled by the highest levels of banks and corporations in Wisconsin … and there is a historical continuum here with a connection between the Nazis and big business,” said Bryan Pfeifer, a former union member and organizer who is helping lead the Wisconsin movement.

Pfeifer stopped short of calling Walker a Nazi, like some in the organized labor movement did during the spring session, but he makes some pointed accusations about those committed to “union busting” in Wisconsin.

“This is a dangerous time in Wisconsin, and trade unions are in a very precarious position,” he said. “(Businesses) want to physically harm and exterminate union members. Anything related to unions, they want to literally eviscerate.”

As the labor movement becomes increasingly desperate, this kind of appalling behavior is only going to get worse. Activists are determined to mount a recall effort against Walker as soon as he becomes eligible next year, but if his budget reforms continue to yield results, they’re likely to find themselves in a losing battle. If that’s the case, let’s hope things don’t get even uglier.

For further reading, Jonah Goldberg tackles the inane Hitler-as-union-buster meme here.

Andrew Stiles — Andrew Stiles is a political reporter for National Review Online. He previously worked at the Washington Free Beacon, and was an intern at The Hill newspaper. Stiles is a 2009 ...

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