The Supreme Court’s decision today in Janus v. AFSCME is the latest assault in the ongoing war on working-class Americans.
This decision comes as no surprise to us. We have seen a once vibrant Wisconsin democracy transformed into a feudal estate, run by and for the benefit of the capitalist class. In the six years since Scott Walker and Wisconsin Republicans gutted collective-bargaining rights for most public workers, median salaries for teachers in the state have fallen by 2.6% and median benefits have declined by 18.6%. To permanently lock-in their control of state power, Republicans have gerrymandered the state’s legislative districts beyond all recognition. They have blocked access to Medicaid benefits for hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites and, most recently, have sued to eliminate protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
The Supreme Court’s conservative majority has helped Wisconsin Republicans wage this war at every opportunity. In just a single term, they have turned a blind eye to the abuse of democracy in Wisconsin (Gill v. Whitford), to workers’ rights to engage in class action lawsuits (Epic Systems v. Lewis), and to the right of persons of color to vote (Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute). Like Scott Walker, the Supreme Court envisions a world in which capitalists do what they will, and workers suffer what they must. The Janus decision is just the latest, and starkest, reminder that politicians who do the bidding of capitalists (whether or not they wear black robes) will never deliver for working and will fight us at every turn until we decide to rise up and strike back.
Milwaukee Democratic Socialists of America condemns the Supreme Court’s imposition of the will of unelected judges on working-class Americans in the strongest possible terms. A century ago, Milwaukee was a cradle of worker power and democratic socialism in the United States. By organizing a major multi-racial and multi-sectoral movement of poor and working-class people—who greatly outnumber the capitalists—Milwaukee DSA seeks to win the basic elements of a dignified life: collective-bargaining rights, living wages, free healthcare and education, clean water, and communities where democracy can flourish.