Citizen Action Weekly; January 8, 2021
Friday, January 8th
Citizen Action Statement on Trump Insurgents Breaching the Capital
Citizen Action’s Director had the following reflections on the storming of the Capital instigated by President Trump
Although most of us were shocked when our TV screens and social media feeds exploded with images of the first breaching of the U.S Capital since the British army burned it down in 1812, upon reflection we should not be surprised. This has been brewing for decades because of the actions of the most powerful people in American society. As excellent recent books by Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson, Nancy Maclean, Jane Mayer, and many others have documented, the malignant brand of right-wing conservatism that has seized control of the Republican Party and its voters over the past five decades is bent on unwinding democracy and majority rule to hold power and dictate national policy.
It is critical to understand that this has not been the work of a few demagogic politicians, not even Donald Trump who has merely exploited the opportunity. Many of the richest people in America, and the leaders of our largest and most powerful corporations, unsatisfied by the most equal distribution of economic benefits in American history from the end of World War 2 through the mid 1970s, deliberately invested in a movement to appropriate the lion’s share of economic growth for themselves. The electoral and communications machine that they built (and are still lavishly funding) used hatred, fear, and racism to build a voting base that will remain a danger to democracy long after Donald Trump has passed from the scene. According to a major poll, nearly half of Republican voters approve of the assault on the Capital!
We have seen many GOP figures and some big corporate trade groups call for the removal of President Trump. We should not be fooled, they are repositioning themselves, and can be expected to continue to underwrite the proto-fascist movement that brought us to this dangerous precipice. One of Wisconsin’s Senators was a ring leader in overturning the democratic election of President-elect Biden, and two newly elected Wisconsin Congressman voted to overturn the election, even after the insurrectionists were cleared from the building. These are not strategic masterminds, but political weathervanes, reading the currents of public and elected opinion in their only party!
The real power behind the conspiracy continued to foment strategic racism to mobilize their base and seize power. As powerful thinkers such as Michelle Alexander, Ibraham X Kendi, Ian Haney Lopez, and Isabelle Wilkerson show, racism is not merely a matter of bias which can be vanquished through training and moral inspiration, it is a system deliberately created to serve the economic and political interests of the ruling elite.
The best counter to organized money is organized people. The only answer to this on-going conspiracy against democracy and equality is to continue to build an antiracist progressive movement powerful enough and strategic enough to both achieve governing power and achieve fundamental structural reform. That is what Citizen Action leaders and members are working towards across Wisconsin.
If you have not already, please join one of Citizen Action’s organizing co-ops and get involved. If you are already a co-op member, please contact your co-op organizer about getting more deeply involved in one of our major issue campaigns.
Citizen Action Statement on Charging Decision in Shooting of Jacob Blake
This week Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley announced his decision not to criminally charge the police officer who shot Jacob Blake seven times in the back this summer.
Citizen Action of Wisconsin stands in solidarity with Jacob Blake, his family and friends, hundreds of thousands of protesters across the country fighting for racial justice, and every person who loves humanity and is demanding real action to address America’s structurally racist criminal justice system.
As the Wisconsin Examiner reported: “Michael Graveley said his role was only to make a narrow legal decision over whether there was probable cause that the officers committed a crime.” Gravely and many legal analysts point out that it is extremely difficult to prove that a police officer in a shooting did not act in self defense, whether or not it’s true.
This means that the laws and legal precedents that have created the current self-defense standard have racist impact, as Black people continue to be shot and killed by law enforcement officers without legal consequences. This is a threat to the entire justice system, which cannot operate effectively when large segments of society justifiably do not have faith in its decisions.
Michelle Alexander’s penetratingly eloquent The New Jim Crow and Ibram X. Kendi’s brilliant pair of books Stamped from the Beginning and How to Be an Antiracist, call for every moral person to use their power to disrupt and unwind structural racism.
While DA Gravely may well be right that the case is unwinnable under current standards, this does not absolve him of moral responsibility. In the era of slavery and Jim Crow, heroic attorneys filed cases and DAs pressed charges that they knew would be shot down by a racist legal system. We should expect no less today.
Graveley’s decision also passes on responsibility to lawmakers, who have the power to create a legal system where black lives matter and everyone is truly equal under the law. But so far Wisconsin’s state leaders have not proposed or pursued effective action up to the scale of the problem.
For Professor Kendi, one can’t meet his definition of antiracist without both recognizing the deep racism in our society and in each of us, and taking effective action to replace racist structures. For him, the defining mark of antiracism is effective deeds, not words or personal reflection. All those with substantial power such as our political leaders, corporate leaders, and at a lesser level of power nonprofit leaders, and every person with love in their hearts for all humanity must do more.
Citizen Action asks every elected leader, and every person within the sound of our voice with influence over these leaders, to take meaningful steps to unwind the structural racism that made the murder of George Floyd and the shooting of Jacob Blake possible. Meanwhile, our thoughts and prayers are with Jacob Blake and his family.
Citizen Action of Wisconsin’s Green New Deal State Budget Priorities.
2021 is our best chance to win climate justice reform in over a decade. We can’t let this opportunity slip away! Citizen Action is fighting for a Green New Deal for Wisconsin rural and metro areas, both to head off a climate genocide and create true economic equity for everyone, especially for communities of color and rural areas excluded from opportunity.
Recently Gov. Tony Evers’ climate task force, Chaired by Lt. Gov Mandela Barnes, released its recommendations for action. But this does not mean they will be included in the Governor’s state budget.
We need your voice to be heard now to make serious progress on a climate transition that improves economic opportunity and racial equity.
We are calling on Gov. Evers to include the following policies in his state budget:
- State funding for local Climate Action Plans (CAPs), to give every community the resources needed to develop and begin to implement climate & equity plans.
- State funding for New Deal-style transitional jobs programs for getting everyone locked out of economic opportunity into energy conservation or renewable energy jobs that cut climate emissions.
- To avert massive home energy shut-offs once the pandemic is under control, forgive all consumer utility debt run up during the health emergency.
- Mandate all utilities to provide “on-bill financing” for home solar panels and energy conservation upgrades at no cost to homeowners and renters, slashing utility bills, and generating green jobs.
- Allow cities and municipalities to raise building standards in order to cut greenhouse gas emissions and generate local renewable energy and conservation jobs.
Please contact Gov. Evers today and ask him to include these climate & economic opportunity policies in his next state budget scheduled for release on January 26th.
Take Action Now: What we can do RIGHT NOW to combat the climate crisis, a virtual climate change webinar
It is past time to take action to save the planet. Now with Democrats in control of the Presidency, both houses of Congress and the Wisconsin Governor’s seat we have the political power to take real action on climate change. We need to do everything we can on a national and personal level to stop the climate crisis.
While we lobby for climate action on the state and nation level there are steps we should all be taking RIGHT NOW. Citizen Action of Wisconsin’s Driftless Co-op is hosting a very special, virtual event to highlight actions we can all take now to save the planet. Many of these action will reduce your carbon footprint, create jobs, save you many and boast your local community. This is your chance to learn about personal actions you can take RIGHT NOW to reduce carbon output, save money and protect the planet. It will also be a chance to learn how you can win a $25 gift card to the Driftless Cafe.
Join us virtually and learn about:
- Free small scale energy efficiency kits through the “Focus on Energy” program
- Green Home upgrades including solar panels at no upfront cost
- “Renewable Connect” programs offered by local energy utilities
- La Crosse’s “Solar on Schools” program
- “Ready For 100” clean energy lobbying initiative
- Citizen Action of Wisconsin lobbying campaigns for climate action in the 2021-2022 state budget
- On-Bill Financing programs
- Sustainable Tiny Homes Project in La Crosse
This virtual meeting will be your chance to learn about all the actions you can take now. In order to have the greatest impact we all need to do our part to recruit as many people as possible to take action. To that end we will be also be announcing a very special contest to see who can mobilize the most friends and families to take action as well! The winner of this contest will receive a $25.00 gift certificate to the Driftless Cafe in Viroqua.
This meeting is open to the public.
RSVP here for the Zoom link. Please join us so that we can all take action to save tomorrow!
Tell Gov. Tony Evers we need a BadgerCare Public Option in his next State Budget
TAKE ACTION! Contact Gov. Tony Evers and tell him to make sure a BadgerCare Public Option is included in his next State Budget.
No matter what we look like, where we live, or what’s in our wallets, we all need good affordable health care. But for too long, we’ve let a powerful divide us to pad their own profits.
The COVID-19 pandemic reveals what has always been true, excluding people from health care is a threat to the entire community. Crippling costs deter the uninsured and everyone who can’t afford massive co-pays, deductibles, and surprise medical bills from seeking testing and treatment, helping the virus spread.
Millions of Americans have lost health care coverage due to job loss during the pandemic, and hundreds of thousands in Wisconsin.
Healthcare is a human right and no one should go bankrupt because they get sick or delay medical treatment because they can’t afford it.
We need to make sure BadgerCare is opened to everyone in Wisconsin as a public option, lowering premiums and eliminating large co-pays and deductibles, so that all of us can get the care we need without going bankrupt or having to wrangle with an insurance company.
New polling completed in late November 2020 by Badger State Research found 78% of Wisconsin voters support “creating a BadgerCare public option that allows people to purchase health care coverage through BadgerCare rather than private insurance.”
Ask Governor Evers to put Badgercare Public Option in the Budget!
Citizen Action in the News
Citizen Action’s Robert Kraig was on the Pacifica Radio network during the Trump Insurrection to discuss its origins and the danger to democracy. The program airs on the 200 stations national radio network. Listen here.
Citizen Action’s Robert Kraig responded to Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke’s claim that the Trump riot in the U.S. Capital was similar to the Act 10 protests. Read it here in UpNorthNews.
Citizen Action’s Robert Kraig was on the Jeff Santos radio show to discuss the big Georgia special Senate election and governing in the Biden era. Listen here.
“The power behind the insurrection” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast
We give our reactions and initial analysis of the unprecedented Trump insurrection at Congress. What does it mean for American democracy? We dig into how the shocking events at the Capital lay bare our white supremacist society. Insurrectionists were largely allowed to enter and leave Congress with little resistance and few arrests after sowing chaos in their effort to execute a right-wing coup. We welcome Lauren Jacobs, the Executive Director of the Partnership for Working Families, to discuss the real power behind the insurrection and how the progressive movement’s response and commitment to multiracial organizing around our values of caring for everyone can be an anecdote to Trumpism.