In a growing culture of US xenophobia, arrogance and ignorance, Sikhs killed in Wisconsin

Sikh Temple Massacre Suspect Wade Michael Page Was White Supremacist

Neo-Nazi Wade Michael Page killed seven members of the Sikh religion in suburban Milwaukee, Wisconsin on August 5, 2012. He was later killed in a clash with local police at the scene. by Pan-African News Wire File Photos

[Neo-Nazi Wade Michael Page killed seven members of the Sikh religion in suburban Milwaukee, Wisconsin on August 5, 2012. He was later killed in a clash with local police at the scene. Photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos]

(CBS/AP) OAK CREEK, Wis., August 6, 2012 — Before he strode into a Sikh temple with a 9mm handgun and multiple magazines of ammunition, Wade Michael Page played in white supremacist heavy metal bands with names such as Definite Hate and End Apathy.

The bald, heavily tattooed bassist was a 40-year-old Army veteran who trained in psychological warfare before he was demoted and discharged more than a decade ago.

When the shooting at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in suburban Milwaukee ended, six victims ranging in age from 39 to 84 years old lay dead. Three others were critically wounded, including Oak Creek Police Officer Lt. Brian Murphy.

A day after he killed six worshippers at the suburban Milwaukee temple, fragments of Page’s life emerged in public records and interviews. But his motive was still largely a mystery. He left no hate-filled manifesto, no angry blog or ranting Facebook entries to explain the attack.

Page, who was shot to death by police, joined the Army in 1992 and was discharged in 1998. He was described Monday by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a “frustrated neo-Nazi” who had long been active in the obscure underworld of white supremacist music.

Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the nonprofit civil rights organization in Montgomery, Ala., said Page played in groups whose sometimes sinister-sounding names seemed to “reflect what he went out and actually did.” The music often talked about genocide against Jews and other minorities.

In a 2010 interview, Page told a white supremacist website that he became active in white-power music in 2000, when he left his native Colorado and started the band End Apathy in 2005. Continue reading

Wisconsin: Obama Rebuffs Invites to Stand with Workers

[The unions gave him unconditional support, just like they’ve always given Democrats. Obama talked “progressive” — even “left” (according to some reformists).  But since the election, Obama has consistently walked the “rightward” corporate road. The question is raised once again, when will workers organize to challenge the ways they are used? And to build a powerful movement independent of such charlatans? — Frontlines ed.]

March 13, 2011 by the Associated Press

Will Workers Stand with Obama Again in 2012?

by Sam Hananel

WASHINGTON  — Union leaders urged Vice President Joe Biden during a White House meeting last month to go to Wisconsin and rally the faithful in their fight against Gov. Scott Walker’s move to curtail collective bargaining rights for most public employees.

OBAMA'S SILENCE DEAFENING -- Over 100,000 rally, Saturday March 12, 2011 at Capitol Square in Madison, in Madison, Wis. The Obama administration rebuffed invitations to stand with the workers and their families. (AP/Steve Apps) Request rebuffed, they asked for Labor Secretary Hilda Solis.

OBAMA'S SILENCE DEAFENING -- Over 100,000 rally, Saturday March 12, 2011 at Capitol Square in Madison, in Madison, Wis. The Obama administration rebuffed invitations to stand with the workers and their families. (AP/Steve Apps) Request rebuffed, they asked for Labor Secretary Hilda Solis.

So far, however, the White House has stayed away from any trips to Madison, the state capital, or other states in the throes of union battles. The Obama administration is treading carefully on the contentious political issue that has led to a national debate over the power that public sector unions wield in negotiating wages and benefits.Some labor leaders have complained openly that President Barack Obama is ignoring a campaign pledge he made to stand with unions; others say his public comments have been powerful enough.

The stakes are high as Obama looks toward a grueling re-election campaign. Republicans have begun airing television ads linking Obama to “union bosses” standing in the way of budget cuts in Wisconsin, Ohio and other states.

As a candidate, Obama seemed to promise more to organized labor, among the Democratic Party’s most loyal constituencies.

“If American workers are being denied their right to organize and collectively bargain when I’m in the White House, I’ll put on a comfortable pair of shoes myself,” Obama said at a speech in 2007. “I’ll walk on that picket line with you as president of the United States of America because workers deserve to know that somebody is standing in their corner.” Continue reading

AP: Protesters flood Wis. Capitol over anti-union vote

March 10, 2011) Protesters use furniture to block access to the Assembly chamber.

Thousands of protesters pushed past security, climbed through windows and flooded the Wisconsin Capitol on Wednesday night after Senate Republicans pushed through a plan to strip most public workers of their collective bargaining rights.
Within an hour and a half of the vote, the protesters had seized the building’s lower floors, creating an ear-splitting free-for-all of pounding drums, screaming chants, horns and whistles. Police gave up guarding the building entrances and retreated to the third floor.

The state Department of Administration, which operates the building, estimated the crowd at about 7,000 people. There were no reports of violence as of late Wednesday evening. DOA spokesman Tim Donovan said no one had been arrested as of late Wednesday evening. By midnight dozens of protesters had bedded down in the building’s corridors and alcoves. Some slept in front of the office of Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald, R-Horicon. Continue reading

Wisconsin: “Return of the Class Struggle” to the US

[The liberal “left” in America, having long defined itself in reformist and middle-class terms and by the defense of the New Deal and Keynesian economics, has in recent times despaired at the loss of social economics by liberal Democratic politicians and their social policy dismantlers.  Now, the attacks  (in Wisconsin and elsewhere) on trade unions for government workers has revived talk of “class struggle” in America–a term which many liberals had long considered archaic and irrelevent. Reprinted here from the London Review of Books, an article which, along with the resistance of the workers, puts the talk of class struggle back into the liberal street. — Frontlines ed.]

by Eric Foner

22 February 2011

Thanks to the public employees of Wisconsin, thousands of whom have occupied the state capitol building for the past several days, the class struggle has returned to the United States. Of course, it never really left, but lately only one side has been fighting. Workers, their unions and liberals more generally have now rejoined the battle.

As many commentators have pointed out, Governor Scott Walker’s plan to eliminate most collective bargaining rights for public employees’ unions has nothing to do with Wisconsin’s fiscal problems (which are far less serious than those of many other American states). Instead, it represents the culmination of a long right-wing effort to eliminate the power of unions altogether. During the Great Depression, Franklin Roosevelt redefined American politics by forging a majority political coalition that included labour unions, white ethnic minorities (Irish, Italians, Jews), African-Americans in the North, liberal intellectuals, Southern whites and, after the passage of the Social Security Act in 1935, the elderly. The New Deal coalition proved powerful enough to enable Democrats to win seven of the nine presidential elections between 1932 and 1964. One of its key achievements was the Wagner Act of 1935, which gave most workers the legal right to form trade unions. Continue reading

Wisconsin Protests Draw More Than 70,000 In Largest Rally Yet

AP/The Huffington Post

PATRICK CONDON and TODD RICHMOND

02/27/11

 

Wisconsin Protests

MADISON, Wis. — Chanting pro-union slogans and carrying signs declaring “We are all Wisconsin,” protesters turned out in cities nationwide to support thousands of public workers who’ve set up camp at the Wisconsin Capitol to fight Republican-backed legislation aimed at weakening unions.

Union supporters organized rallies from New York to Los Angeles in a show of solidarity Saturday as the demonstration in Madison entered its 12th straight day and attracted its largest crowd yet: more than 70,000 people. Hundreds banged on drums and screamed into bullhorns inside the Capitol as others braved frigid weather and snow during the massive rally that flooded into nearby streets.

“I want to thank you for coming out here today to exercise those pesky First Amendment rights,” actor Bradley Whitford, who starred in television’s “The West Wing,” said as he rallied his hometown crowd. “This governor has to understand Wisconsin is a stubborn constituency. We fish through ice!”

Republican Gov. Scott Walker has introduced a bill that includes stripping almost all public workers of their right to collectively bargain on benefits and work conditions. Walker has said the bill would help close a projected $3.6 billion deficit in the 2011-13 budget, and argues that freeing local governments from collective bargaining would give them flexibility amid deep budget cuts. Continue reading