Monday, November 21, 2016

Guess Who Else is Gunning for Cops? Republicans.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Koch Puppet, Union Buster, and Village Idiot
Cops. Depending upon who you are, they are either the mindless arm of an unjust government, or working class heroes who selflessly dedicate their lives for the public good. Either way, in the grand scheme of things, a big part of their job is protecting capital, property, and the capitalists who own it all.
As we have seen in the Dakotas recently, cops are the first line of defense when the peasants are at the castle gate with pitch forks and torches. Even the union hating, Koch puppet, Scott Walker understood this, and in all of his anti-union legislative efforts, the bargaining rights of police and firefighters were largely untouched in the 2011 right wing coup in Wisconsin. It was probably a wise move on his part, what with 100,000 pissed off union members and their supporters just outside his office door.
Fast forward to 2016, and all of organized labor is wringing collective hands, waiting for the other legislative shoe to drop, wondering who will be targeted by Republicans first. Well, wait no more brothers and sisters, because here in the Iowa I call home, all of our questions have finally been answered, and unlike Walker, Iowa Republican Governor Terry Branstad doesn't discern between unions, or who they represent.    
It can be said that in the upcoming war between labor and capital, the first real shot heard round the world (or Iowa at least) was fired by the agents of capital. And they were aiming right at the heart of every state law enforcement officer in Iowa.
Recently, in contract negotiations for Iowa State Troopers and other law enforcement officers, management has proposed to remove language regarding insurance benefits from the contract based on... wait for it... legislation that the Republican Governor and Republican State Legislature might pass in the upcoming session. Never mind that it is a current subject of bargaining under existing law, and never mind that the state cops have been bargaining over these benefits for over 40 years. And all of this at a time when Iowa law enforcement are still reeling from the recent murder of two officers in Des Moines by a white supremacist.
According to the Des Moines Register article, "Janet Phipps, director of the Iowa Department of Administrative Services, said the proposal is based on the possibility that changes could be made in the state's collective bargaining law for public employees during the 2017 session of the Iowa Legislature, which convenes in January. Under the proposal, the state would still agree to provide health and dental benefits to all eligible bargaining unit members, but the contract would no longer specify the level of benefits, which would be determined by state officials."
As the pending war between labor and the far right plays out in coming months, opening shots like this one might just make the difference between a well aimed rubber bullet, tear gas canister, or water hose, and one that falls just short of their intended target, as all of the working classes come to a collective recognition of their shared interests in winning.
Republican governors like Branstad ought to take a better look at the state police who provide their personal security and think twice about gutting their rights and benefits. Then they should look at the rest of us and realize what IWW Organizer Joe Hill said over a hundred years ago:
 "If the workers took a notion they could stop all speeding trains;
Every ship upon the ocean they can tie with mighty chains.
Every wheel in the creation, every mine and every mill;
Fleets and armies of the nation, will at their command stand still."

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