Wiener on Cronon

by Harry on March 28, 2011

Jon Wiener on Bill Cronon at the Nation’s blog.

I especially liked this:

He’s not Bill Ayers, the education professor at the University of Illinois-Chicago who happily defends his Weatherman past. Cronon describes himself as a “centrist.” He says he’s never belonged to the Democratic (or the Republican) party. Yet he faces a Republican demand for his e-mail, while Bill Ayers never did.

But also:

The power of this simple fact lies in the way it disrupts the Republicans’ explanation of what they are doing in Wisconsin. They say the new law there ending collective bargaining with public employee unions is an emergency response to this year’s fiscal crisis. They say it’s a response crafted by local Wisconsin state representatives to help their neighbors who are facing big new tax burdens. Cronon suggested that none of this is true: the law is not a response to the current fiscal crisis, it’s been a Republican priority for decades; it’s not a Wisconsin idea, it comes from a national Republican think tank. And the goal is not to protect the little guy in Wisconsin but rather to help the big corporations that fund Republican operations.

One tangential observation. A lot of people round here are getting new email addresses, and migrating sensitive work-related (including student) correspondence to them. Me too.

Additional Update
: Imitation is the greatest form of flattery (Michigan: it’ll be in your state soon).

1) see Anthony Grafton (hat tip: JW)
2) from Cronon’s blog, the Republican Party’s extraordinary response to his second blog post: read in full, but pause, first, to remember Peter Cook (I don’t know why I thought of him, but it does look as it Cook wrote it, doesn’t it?):

For Immediate Release
Contact: Katie McCallum, Communications Director (608) 257-4765
March 25, 2011
In response to Professor William Cronin’s deplorable tactics in seeking to force the Republican Party of Wisconsin to withdraw a routine open records request, Executive Director Mark Jefferson released the following statement:
“Like anyone else who makes an open records request in Wisconsin, the Republican Party of Wisconsin does not have to give a reason for doing so.
“I have never seen such a concerted effort to intimidate someone from lawfully seeking information about their government.
“Further, it is chilling to see that so many members of the media would take up the cause of a professor who seeks to quash a lawful open records request. Taxpayers have a right to accountable government and a right to know if public officials are conducting themselves in an ethical manner. The Left is far more aggressive in this state than the Right in its use of open records requests, yet these rights do extend beyond the liberal left and members of the media.
“Finally, I find it appalling that Professor Cronin seems to have plenty of time to round up reporters from around the nation to push the Republican Party of Wisconsin into explaining its motives behind a lawful open records request, but has apparently not found time to provide any of the requested information.
“We look forward to the University’s prompt response to our request and hope those who seek to intimidate us from making such requests will reconsider their actions.”

3) Today’s Times.

Today’s Times


Wisconsin comes to London

by Harry on March 28, 2011

Ok, I’m being a bit parochial, but our UK-based colleagues haven’t posted on it, so I felt I should say something. (I thought about threatening them that I’d embarrass the whole site with a loving review of the new Slade Boxed Set (UK) if one of them didn’t do that, but then figured that I’ll probably be compelled to embarrass them all anyway). NYT coverage here; weaker BBC coverage here. The Met decided not to count the numbers, so we can’t be sure, but the standard report seems to be that about 250,000 people marched against the cuts in London on Saturday. I would take this opportunity to point out to my fellow Wisconsinites, what this means about the scale of the protests we have participated in — over 100k in a city of 200k and a state of 5m, versus 250k in a city of 7.5m and a country of 70m — I don’t say that to diminish the significance of the London march, but to remind those on this side of the Atlantic that our own movement has enormous potential, if only we have the nous to know what to do next (more on that later). Not being on the ground I’ll refrain from commenting on the potential of the UK march, but I did want to point to our friend CP’s comment on the role of the anarchist block in deflecting attention away from the political aspects of the demonstration and onto their own self-indulgence.[1] And this rather good, if in some parts unlikely, comment about Fortnum and Mason and the Bullingdon Club, and this, on the BBC website, from a former Met officer.
Comment away.

[1] Yes, I know all about the Poll tax riots and about the role of violence and rioting in British political history, and those are fair points to make, but entirely irrelevant to the matter at hand, which involves a group of people who know perfectly well that what they are doing is self-publicising, not triggering any sort of larger and more threatening action.