A tribute to the 99ers: We are not invisible.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Progressive Radio, Wisconsin and H.R.589

I was in the car a lot at the end of last week which allowed me the opportunity to listen to the local progressive radio outlet, WCPT. The populist response to Wisconsin Gov. Walker was the primary topic of conversation. Here are just a few things I heard:
  • On Friday morning a caller to the Stephanie Miller Show supported President Obama's quiet reaction to  the Wisconsin teachers by adding that Organizing for America was providing organizational support.
  • Thom Hartmann suggesting that Unions provide organization to the 99ers. Thom thought the major reason organized labor hasn't lent more support to the long-term unemployed is organized labor is fighting for it's own existence.
  • Caller Dan (or Don), a self identified conservative on the Norman Goldman Show reframed the conversation about demonstrations in Wisconsin: "This isn't about unions. It's about our neighbors." Dan also added that any true conservative should support the teachers because the Governor's actions were big government defined.
  • Brian Glassel of Glass Nickel Pizza interviewed on the Ed Schultz Show Thursday. Brian mentioned that teachers frequently eat at Glass Nickel. His concern was that if the draconian cuts we're employed teachers would have to cut back their patronage of his restaurant. If teachers and others cut back too much there would be no Glass Nickel Pizza. The staff at Glass Nickel would be unemployed driving down revenue at other local establishments. The spiral would continue downward.
  • Ed Schultz concluded his radio on show on Thursday with a reminder that he had not forgotten about the 99ers and a promise to continue fighting on behalf of the unemployed and underemployed of America.
What are the lessons for the 99ers from this list of radio comments? How can the unemployed gain insight in the battle for H.R.589 and beyond?
  1. Success requires organization. Ideally organized labor could provide this assistance to the long term unemployed. The Wisconsin teachers and public employees already have a union and still got help from Organizing for America.  It's great OFA jumped in to help in Wisconsin. Attention OFA: The 99ers also need your help.  
  2. The conversation needs to go beyond the needs of the 99ers. Brian Glassel pointed out that his restaurant needs the teachers patronage. Caller Dan reminded everyone that it's not about Unions, it's about neighbors and neighborhoods. 99ers need to recruit and/or develop similar third party assistance.  Frame the conversation about everyone but the 99ers.
  3. Despite the steep uphill battle, 99ers still have media support.  Ed, thank you for keeping the 99ers on your agenda. Would you mind placing a call to Senator Debbie Stabenow and Rep. Jim McDermott? 99ers would love to hear from them, too.
On a final note, don't forget tonight's 99erAid Twitterchat, 8 PM EST. The hashtag is #99erAid and the Facebook Event is #99erAid. I look forward to tweeting with you tonight, please join the conversation. 

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