As Gary Younge wrote in yesterday's Guardian this battle tells us much about the state of the working class in the US and the price it is continuing to pay for the economic crisis. In effect, and with no attempt at grandstanding, Younge reports on the clash between this Tea Party Republican and the Wisconsin labour movement, as nothing short of class war.
The full article is here, and well worth reading: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jun/03/class-war-wisconsin-democrats-kumbaya
Allied to the situation in Wisconsin is the backing by US multinationals of Walker's campaign and, as Rachel Maddow, amongst others, has shown, what we are witnessing is an assault on workers' right backed principally by corporate interests. This clip of Maddow was shown at last Saturday's TUC Grassroots event and underlines the real concern about democratic accountability broadly, but more specifically the outcome of the Wisconsin recall for trade unionism across the US: http://tinyurl.com/cnwu6ng.
A key theme of Younge's piece, and of much coverage of the labour matters globally, is the extent to which workers, their families and communites are paying a high price for an economic crisis not of their making.
Whilst I wouldn't suggest that UK trade unions face the same local onslaught as sisters and brothers in Wisconsin, the national threat overall is very similar. Clearly the thrust of the Beecroft and Lofstedt reviews of employment and health and safety law, for example, are posited in the same oxymoronic tone by the Coalition as their acolytes in the Republican right - you can create new jobs by destroying existing ones, and if trade unions are the defence of workers and those jobs, well, we'll get rid of them too.
Obviously, we send a strong message of solidarity to US trade unionists today, and hope the that the Wisconsin recall goes the right way. If it does, then let us spend some time understanding how and why, and using this experience to defend workers' rights in states with Republican governors as rabid as Walker.
If not, then the battle in Wisconsin gets repeated across the US and our support in this fight will be required more than ever, not least because, their fight is ours.