No word yet on whether protesters will topple Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker, but the rhetoric against Walker portrays him as a petty tyrant in need of a Cairo-styled comeuppance.
“Mini-Mubarak” is the latest label being thrown at Walker, who has infuriated labor unions with a proposal to end collective bargaining for state employees. Protesters in the state capitol are vehemently opposing Walker’s effort. Walker has said that he will not negotiate with unions because the state is “broke” and has nothing to offer.
Walker told the Associated Press last week that state National Guard “is prepared to respond if there is any unrest among state employees.” The statement has caused an outcry by union supporters, who claim it as a threat of physical violence to stop protests.
A statement released Tuesday by the Wisconsin National Guard clarifies that it “has not been mobilized for state active duty… We remain in our normal state of readiness.”
The Progressive Change Campaign Committee said that Walker “threatened to call out the National Guard if workers protest against these cuts!” The claim was rated a “Pants on Fire” untruth by fact-checking organization PolitiFact, which clarified that the governor referenced calling up the National Guard if workers did not show up to work, not to squash protests.
Michael Moore writes, via his website, “Justice anywhere is a threat to injustice everywhere” and quotes a Wisconsin protester’s sign proclaiming, “Down with dictators!”
Moore links to the Mini-Mubarak website and to an op-ed by Harold Meyerson in the Washington Post titled, “Wisconsin’s pharaoh tries to silence unions.” Meyerson says that Walker’s statement about the national guard is a throw-back to the days of violent 19th-century union busting in the United States.
DJ Pangburn of Death and Taxes magazine echoes that comparison of Walker to Mubarak, writing, “Walker is Wisconsin’s home-grown Mubarak. He has crowned himself a dictator, and believes that Wisconsin is his personal fiefdom, in which he can wield the National Guard as he pleases.”
According to PolitiFact, a spokesman for the governor further clarified that the National Guard would only be used for peaceful missions. “In the unlikely event that core government services are disrupted the Guard would be used just to continue those services,” Walker spokesman Cullen Werwie told Politifact.