Most of the progressive media are whining about how unfair the Republicans in Wisconsin are for taking away the collective-bargaining rights of state employees and promising we’ll take back the legislature there someday. This is not the time for whining — it’s the time for progressives and union loyalists to start a systematic boycott of Wisconsin products and bring the state to its knees.
This has been done before. In the early ’90s, Colorado passed a virulently anti-gay constitutional amendment, and several other conservative states started pushing to do the same thing. So a group of gay and lesbian activists in New York City [one of whom was me] organized a boycott of Colorado products.
A fairly small segment of the population was involved in that boycott, but it still led to significant hardship in the Colorado tourist and convention industry (and also led to editorials and columns in Colorado wondering why the voters had been such idiots to pass the damn thing and how could they get rid of it). Eventually the amendment was struck down by the Supreme Court, but in the meantime NOT ONE of the anti-gay referendums passed in other conservative states.
A boycott of Wisconsin will be much easier than Colorado was. First, there’s a broader base concerned about the issue. Also, there’s the Internet now to spread the word and to research what products come from Wisconsin. Finally, Colorado simply didn’t sell all that much out of state, but Wisconsin sells a huge number of agricultural products that people can easily find substitutes for in other states. (And as a biker, I can’t help noticing that there’s a well-known motorcycle company in Milwaukee. You can probably guess its name).
Boycotting Wisconsin will not only pressure the Republicans there to reverse course, but it may also keep other Republican states from doing the same thing. So spread the word and let’s do it. Don’t buy Wisconsin agricultural products, and stop patronizing restaurants that use them (if there’s a way to find out what they’re using). Finally, you have to tell merchants WHY you’re boycotting, so they can change suppliers and also so the state will find out.