The Green Party supports Wisconsin public employees, urges wider protest against policies that cut benefits and eliminate collective bargaining

The Green Party of the United States denounces austerity budgets, calling them a ploy to balance budgets on the backs of working people, destroy unions, and enlarge the power of corporations.

Green solution to deficits and economic recession are to rescind tax cuts for the rich, end the wars and reduce military spending, enact Medicare For All and public works programs.

'GreenStream Wednesday' on Feb. 23: online show will feature Wisconsin Green leaders and an elected Oshkosh City Council member, 10 pm ET, 7 pm PT, on the Green Party Livestream Channel.

WASHINGTON, DC -- Green Party leaders declared that the party solidly supports Wisconsin's public-sector employees protesting a bill introduced by Gov. Scott Walker to eliminate their benefits and collective bargaining rights.

"We in the Green Party are standing out front on this issue by standing with our labor and public service brothers and sisters here in Wisconsin," said AJ Segneri, co-chair of the Wisconsin Green Party.

On Feb. 17, the Wisconsin Greens issued a statement affirming that their party "salutes the state’s public workers, and stands in solidarity with their fight to retain full collective bargaining rights with their employers".

On Wednesday, Feb. 23, Wisconsin Wave will hold a demonstration at a conference of Wisconsin Manufacturing and Commerce (WMC), which includes the state's top corporate lobbyists. Wisconsin Wave is a project of the Liberty Tree Foundation and the Center for Media and Democracy; Liberty Tree's founder and executive director is Ben Manski, a Green who ran for the Wisconsin state legislature in 2010 and received the best numbers for an independent party candidate since 1944.

Greens speak out on the Wisconsin uprising:

Laura Wells, 2010 Green Party candidate for Governor of California: "At long last, Americans are pushing back against the rule of our country by corporate oligarchies. We've been inspired by the courage of people in countries like Egypt and Tunisia, and now by public employees in Wisconsin. This is more than a struggle to preserve benefits and collective bargaining rights in a single state. It's about saving the infrastructure of our democracy and preventing the US from lapsing into a new Robber Baron Era reminiscent of the late 19th century. We hope that the fire of protest spreads to every state where such budgets are proposed, whether by Democrats in California or Republicans in Wisconsin. It’s a thrill to see working people take back their rights, their freedoms, and their financial security."

AJ Segneri, co-chair of the Wisconsin Green Party: "Gov. Walker's bill to strip benefits and bargaining rights from state workers, based on the claim of a state deficit, is an old Republican trick. The governor enacted tax breaks and special interest spending for the top income brackets, then introduced a bill to solve the resulting deficit on the backs of working people in Wisconsin and break up the public employees' unions. The 14 Democratic state legislators in Wisconsn deserve our praise for denying Gov. Walker his quorum. National Democratic leaders should follow their example, instead of demanding sacrifice from working people and the needy while excusing the wealthy and corporations from paying their fair share in taxes. President Obama's budget plan would place a five-year freeze on non-security discretionary spending, affecting programs like heating assistance to low-income Americans and community-service block grants, as well as cuts in money for water treatment plants and other environmental projects and higher interest on federal loans for graduate students. The rampaging union-busting extremism of the GOP and their billionaire supporters like the Koch brothers doesn't justify the Obama austerity plan."

Howie Hawkins, 2010 Green candidate for Governor of New York: "The biggest myth is that these deficits are caused by excessive social spending and generous wages and benefits for public workers. The real cause is tax cuts for the rich, runaway military spending, and a recession triggered by the subprime mortage crisis, which was caused by deregulation of the financial industry. The Green Party proposes the obvious solution. One, call US troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan and reduce military spending. Two, roll back the tax cuts and loopholes for wealthy individuals and corporations. Three, enact Medicare For All, which will save 30% by eliminating private insurance administrative overhead and reduce the cost of health insurance for public workers. Medicare For All will also stimulate the economy by relieving the financial burden on business of providing health benefits, enabling negotiation to bring down skyrocketing drug prices and other health costs, promoting competition by letting everyone choose which physician or hospital to visit, and saving tens of thousands of people from financial ruin over medical costs every year. And four, initiate major public works projects in conservation, green energy, public transportation, and repair of infrastructure. Presidents like FDR and Eisenhower proved that public works boost the economy for everyone."

Tony Palmeri, Green city council member in Oshkosh serving his second term: "Gov. Walker says he wants to give local governments the tools to balance our budgets -- including a hammer to destroy collective bargaining rights. We reject his tools of divisiveness, and instead ask state government for assistance based on Green values, such as fairer distribution of shared revenue dollars to support local budgets; an end to needless budget-busting and polluting road projects; a fairer distribution of tax dollars to support equity in our K-12 system; increased grant money for college students; an end to special-interest tax breaks for the wealthy that drain millions of dollars from the budget; a progressive tax system based on ability to pay; and a green jobs program to help us build a sustainable, economically viable future. These measures, taken together, would save the state money and restore Wisconsin's tradition as a laboratory for progressive ideas and democracy. Citizen activism has demonstrated, in an inspiring way, that we will not let Mr. Walker and his corporate sponsors bury that tradition."