Wisconsin’s Rural Schools In ‘Crisis Mode’

No matter who you ask, whether it’s education association officials, university professors, researchers or the teachers themselves, they’ll all tell you the same thing:

The number one problem facing Wisconsin’s rural school districts is finding — and keeping — enough teachers to teach in those districts.

“The teacher shortage is an issue all across the country,” says Kim Kaukl, who worked for more than 30 years as a school administrator before becoming the executive director of the Wisconsin Rural Schools Alliance (WIRSA). “But it’s really exasperated out in the rural areas because of the location of many of our rural districts, especially when you’re trying to attract young people to come out to more remote areas.”

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Private-Equity ‘Vampires’ Run Into A Wall Of Worker Resistance

At the peak of the Great Recession in 2008, General Motors was bailed out by U.S. taxpayers and survived. Bail-out money in hand, GM sharply increased its production in China and other low-wage nations on its way to recovering its past heights of profitability. But back in Janesville, Wisconsin, GM closed its plant, costing an estimated 9,000 jobs and widespread social misery that has not abated.

And now Janesville finds itself again at the mercy of another far-off corporation. OpenGate Capital, a Los Angeles-based private equity firm, is planning to close the 120-year-old plant of a company named Hufcor Inc., wipe out about 160 jobs, and ship them off to Monterrey, Mexico.

Hufcor has been an established, familiar fixture in the community, and workers are intent on keeping it that way.

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Teamsters Spent Seven Years Fighting For Their Pensions

Green Bay, WI – For the first time in seven years, thousands of Wisconsin Teamsters don’t have to worry about their pensions being cut in half.  

The American Rescue Plan, which President Joe Biden signed into law on Thursday, included the Butch Lewis Emergency Pension Plan Relief Act of 2021. The act directs the Pension Guaranty Benefit Corp. to allocate billions of dollars to avoid the drastic cuts. 

The act will shore up the Central States Pension Fund, a multi-employer fund for 1.3 million retired Teamsters, 23,500 of whom live in Wisconsin. About 3,400 members live in the Eighth Congressional District, which includes Green Bay and Appleton.

Failure to act would have dealt a huge blow to those retirees who gave up wages to keep their retirement funds, and who have come to depend on payments to survive, said Brad Vaughn, a member of the Wisconsin/Green Bay Committee to Protect Pensions. 

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Unrest In Kenosha Didn’t Come Out Of Thin Air

Eddie: A study in 2013 shows that Wisconsin incarcerated more black men than any other state in the United States in spite of the fact that the black population is only 6.5%. Also, Wisconsin has a very high rate of incarceration for indigenous people. So in light of the recent events in Kenosha, the Department of Corrections building was burned to the ground. And I have with me today, two people that work with the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee to talk about Wisconsin, its prison population, and what’s going on inside the prison in terms of organizing the incarcerated workers.

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Our Unjust System Of Mass Supervision

Wisconsin’s disastrous system of mass supervision is at odds with our widely shared values of justice, human dignity and compassion. Detaining people struggling with poverty, housing insecurity, mental health issues and addiction issues for alleged rule violations is at odds with common sense approaches to justice. Yet, public officials in Wisconsin have been keeping its prisons and jails overcrowded for many years by doubling down on this unjust practice.

A new report by Human Rights Watch and the ACLU demonstrates the deep racial injustice and extent of the harm caused by mass supervision in Wisconsin.

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Kenosha Unsurprising

Damaged young men and adolescents like the Kenosha street-shooter Kyle Rittenhouse, a Trump fan and police devotee (his social media account is filled with “Blue Lives Matter” posts) are being sparked into a fascistic frenzy by a fascist president, a white-nationalist (Republican) party, and neofascist media outlets who tell them that the Great White Fatherland is under existential assault from Communist totalitarians masquerading as civil and human rights advocates and allied with the other leading national party – the supposedly “radical Left” Democrats.

On his path to infamy, the 17-year-old psycho killer Kyle Rittenhouse became a big-time MAGA-boy, a Trump fan who traveled from northeastern Illinois to Des Moines, Iowa to hear his Dear Leader speak last January. A CSPAN photo shows Rittenhouse standing in the arch-propertarian Trump rally’s front row, gazing in rapt adoration at the indecent beast who tells police to “take the gloves off” when dealing with Black criminals and who fantasizes about attacking immigrants and protesters with “vicious dogs.”

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The Victims Of The Kenosha Protest Shooting

Friends and family remembered two men shot dead while attending protests Tuesday night for Jacob Blake, a Black man shot in the back Sunday by a Kenosha, Wisconsin, police officer. 

Police arrested and charged 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse with murder in the shooting of several people at the protest. Two men were killed, and a third was seriously injured.

Here’s what we know about the victims.

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Milwaukee Bucks Skip Playoff Game To Protest Shooting

The Milwaukee Bucks boycotted their playoff game against the Orlando Magic on Wednesday afternoon to protest the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wis., on Sunday.

The game was scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. EDT, but minutes before tipoff, the Bucks still had not taken the court.

“Some things are bigger than basketball,” Alex Lasry, senior vice president of the Bucks, tweeted Wednesday afternoon.

“The stand taken today by the players and org shows that we’re fed up. Enough is enough. Change needs to happen.

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Rebellions Break Out In Lafayette And Kenosha

A new round of uprisings has kicked off across the so-called United States following the police killings of Trayford Pellerin, “a 31-year-old Black man who was fatally shot Friday night” in Lafayette, New Orleans and 29-year-old Jacob Blake, also Black, in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Pellerin was killed after police were called to the scene of a convenience store after someone called in reports of a man walking around with a knife. Police responded by first tasering Pallerin and then shooting him after he walked toward a gas station door.

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NAARPR Calls For Justice For Jacob Blake

Once again the hour of tragedy strikes for another Black family, in another Black community caught in the grip of the pandemic crises of COVID-19 and racism.

First of all, we want to express our solidarity with the traumatized family of Jacob Blake, and the protestors in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Sometime after 5pm on Aug. 23, 2020 Jacob was returning to his car, unarmed, after attempting to break up a fight between two women. The police arriving, guns drawn, were pleaded with by bystanders not to shoot, yet they shot Blake 7 times as he was opening his car door.

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Grand Jury Resistor Jailed For Fighting Federal Repression Against BLM

At 3:00 pm, Wednesday, August 19th, Jesse Shackelford, 28, was taken into federal custody at the Dane County Jail and joined a long history of grand jury resisters. He claimed his Fifth Amendment right to silence in order to protect himself and his community and in a strong stand against both this grand jury in particular and the grand jury process as an oppressive, movement-busting tactic.

For refusing to testify in front of a grand jury targeting the Black liberation struggle and uprisings in Madison, Jesse was charged with civil contempt and put in a cage: he is currently being held in solitary confinement. This was his second call to the federal grand jury convened by US Attorney Scott Blader this summer. It is FFLS’ understanding that Jesse is the first grand jury resister nationally to be incarcerated in contempt as a result of the 2020 Black liberation uprisings.

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Police Shoot Man; Video Shows Officer Firing Several Shots Into His Back At Close Range

Kenosha police shot a man Sunday evening, setting off unrest in the city after a video appeared to show the officer firing several shots at close range into the man’s back. The shooting victim has been identified as Jacob Blake, a Black man, by Wisconsin officials. He was in serious condition at Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee as of early Monday morning.

The Wisconsin Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation said early Monday that the involved officers have been placed on administrative leave. The Kenosha News reported that neighbors said Blake was trying to break up a fight between two women. Bystanders said he was Tased and then shot several times.

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How To Turn Your Non-Profit Into A Worker Co-op

If people who want to start a worker-owned cooperative are currently working for a government agency — like we were working for a nonprofit that was contracting with a government agency — but even if you are working directly with a government agency and they’re going to outsource your jobs to another company, you have the best expertise that anyone could have for doing your job. And if you form a worker cooperative and put in your own bid, there’s nothing to stop you from doing that. And your bid will probably be the most attractive because you know the best of how much things cost, and what to expect in the way of expenses. And you can also address how the work will be done better than anyone else could. And so your chances for keeping your jobs that way are, I think, really good, as as we were able to do. And so I think what we did could be a model for any government employees where they’re going to get laid off, and the job is going to be outsourced. All government agencies have to put bids out for proposals.

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Arrest Of Activist Leads To Protests; At Least Four Vehicles Strike Protesters

Hundreds of people are protesting in downtown Madison after the arrest of activist Yeshua Musa.
Videos of the arrest posted to social media show as many as five police officers wrestling Musa, also known as Devonere Johnson, to the ground and carrying him to the back seat of a police cruiser, while he asks what he’s being arrested for. After officers get him into the car, he can be seen jumping out of the opposite car door before being tackled again and taken into custody. In one of the videos, witnesses can be heard asking why Musa is being arrested and saying he had only been speaking in a megaphone, exercising his first amendment rights.

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