20110223

Unions are a human right.

Forward is the motto emblazoned on the Wisconsin flag. America and Wisconsin share the belief that *we* are a light to the world, the *we* hold the torch of liberty high, the *we* stride before the huddled masses, *forward* into a future that assures justice, *forward* into a world of limitless opportunity. It is the America that believes in that commitment to *forward* progress that I write this for.

Eleanor Roosevelt, the widow of President Franklin D. Roosevelt was appointed as a delegate to the United Nations by President Harry S Truman. On December 10, 1948 she presented to the world, a gift of liberty drafted from the poetic heart of the America dedicated to *forward* progress; the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In her address to the UN General Assembly introducing the declaration she said: "We stand today at the threshold of a great event both in the life of the United Nations and in the life of mankind. This declaration may well become the international Magna Carta for all men everywhere. We hope its proclamation by the General Assembly will be an event comparable to the proclamation in 1789, the adoption of the Bill of Rights by the people of the US, and the adoption of comparable declarations at different times in other countries."

Article 23 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights guarantees to everyone, "the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests."

The European Union also incorporates as a fundaments human right, the right to unionize and the right to collective bargaining. Collective bargaining is recognized as a human right in Article 28 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union of December 2000 and in Article 12 of the Community Charter of the Fundamental Social Rights of Workers of 1989, as well as the 1961 European Social Charter of the Council of Europe (Article 6). Modern Europe bears the imprint of the American commitment to *forward* progress in these documents.

America's commitment to *forward* progress is what differentiated us in the eyes of liberty loving peoples everywhere, making us a superior choice to monarchial imperialist in the 19th century and totalitarian communism and fascism in the 20th century. The lack of malice shown toward us by the liberty loving youth on the arab streets, owes much to an admiration for American's commitment to *forward* progress.

In Madison Wisconsin we now face a choice. Do we maintain America's commitment to *forward* progress, or do we not? Do we stand for the fundamental and globally recognized rights of working people, or not?

Shall we passively watch as Scott Walker leads Wisconsin back to a new Gilded Age, or shall we resist?

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