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Michael Berkowitz Headshot

Dear Wisconsin Friends...

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There really are no words of consolation. Despite our work together, last night's recall election fell just short. One could say that there were two victories... but that was when we needed three. One could say that we got our arguments out to people... but if so, why didn't more people, the majority of people, listen?

Here is what I need to say instead of kind, soothing words: we are not going anywhere. We are firm in our beliefs in union rights, worker's benefits, economic justice for all, politics that serve community and not Big Money.

The Wisconsin recall election results, close though they may have been, did not bring a new Democratic majority to undo the damage done by the Republican legislature and governor. But even the Democratic Party's national victory in 2008 was not able to do that.

Right now our country seems politically adrift, squeezed through a huge economic wealth transfer that benefits only those at the top. The Right Wing agenda, financed by Big Money, has penetrated even into local political races, like Walmart insinuating itself into local communities, squeezing out the last dollar of profit. The rationalization of economics and politics has yielded a bleak landscape, a harbinger of perhaps worse.

So after the thank you's, the clean-up and the appropriate mourning... what is to be done? Back to the grassroots, certainly... the meetings with constituents, groups, organizations. Back to the base and re-organizing. Back to strategy and planning. And back to educating people on issues, exposing the toxic influence of the big money of large corporate interests like the Koch Brothers, Big Oil, Halliburton and Walmart.

You might say, That's easy for you. You live in California under relatively benign Democratic control. But as you know, that takes hard work, organizing, education... and some measure of luck. Among our responsibilities is certainly to show how our government works better for most of the population than the regressive policies of Scott Walker.

So as long as there is injustice, there is work to be done wherever one lives. It doesn't yield easy victories. Sometimes, like last night, it is extremely painful. The only thing we know for sure is that history and justice are on our side. Small solace, I know. But we'll be there next time and the times after that. Like I said, we are not going anywhere.

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