Thursday, October 20, 2011

Redneck Party Says: 'Carpetbagger, Go Home'

Redneck Party and Williamson Countians Decry
Wisconsin Governor's Fundraising Trip to Franklin 
FRANKLIN, TN---It won't be a Civil War reenactment, but the appearance of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker at a Republican fund-raiser on Tuesday will be met with a peaceful protest from Williamson County residents and the Southern-based Redneck Party, workers' advocates who will trek to Franklin to act in solidarity with Wisconsin teachers and workers.
Walker, whose 2010 election was bankrolled by Tea Party funder David Koch and other extreme, neo-conservative special interests, will be raising money in Franklin for his recall election.  The following day, Walker will be in Iowa for a fund-raiser; so his journey south to get money from the locals and then scurry back northward with his bounty mimics the Northern carpetbaggers, who came south after the Civil War to meddle in politics and exploit Southern states. 

          Walker will be the keynote speaker at the Williamson County Republican Party annual Reagan Day Dinner at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday Oct. 25 at Embassy Suites in Cool Springs.

The Tennessee Redneck Party's Facebook page says its members "will be coming with…cow bells and whistles.  We want Walker to feel right at home."  "Cow bells and whistles" is a reference to loud and boisterous protests in Madison, Capitol of the Dairy State, earlier this year when Walker was passing bills to cut teachers' pay and to outlaw unions. 

The Redneck Party is so named to commemorate coal miners who tied red bandannas around their necks to identify each other during the battle of Blair Mountain (West Virginia) in 1921.  The Redneck Party is a "grassroots coalition formed to be a Southern labor movement for those who honor our nation's labor history from right-to-work states," said Redneck Party co-founder Jeana Brown of Screven, Georgia.
"My concern for the South is that many people have been voting against their own best interests," said Brown. 
There are Redneck Party affiliates in 14 states, including the Tennessee Redneck Party based in Franklin, the Wisconsin Redneck Party and even a New Jersey Redneck Party.  
"We want to get the message to Southern working folk who vote against their own best interests that we stand in unity with teachers and fire fighters in Wisconsin, Tennessee, Ohio and Florida," said Brown, who also is 1st Congressional Chair of the Democratic Party of Georgia. 
Brown definitely puts a twist on "redneck."  The vernacular "redneck" has come to stand for a bigoted and stupid Southern lout.  Many Tennesseans trace the term's origin to farmers who got red necks from working in the sun. 
On the web site, the founders explain:
"We are reclaiming the word 'Redneck' after the miners in the 1921 West Virginia Coal Mine Wars, also known as the Battle of Blair Mountain. Striking miners tied red bandannas around their necks to identify supporters; the other side tied white bandannas as arm bands to identify themselves."
Brown grew up hearing stories from her great-grandfather, who fought in the coal mine wars.  Coal miners who tried to organize unions encountered violence from company-hired thugs with guns.
"We need to recall labor history so that we will not repeat it," Brown said. "European Immigrants, slaves and indentured servants recently freed by the 13th Amendment were enticed to the coal fields by advertisements of homes and jobs; they quickly found themselves and their families entrapped in servitude under very brutal conditions.
"The story of Blair Mountain and the Redneck War is a reminder that we must not give away our rights so easily," Brown said. "I am only too happy to come to Franklin to see that carpetbagger back North. We don't need his kind in the South.
"Rednecks are going to get the FOX out of our Southern Hen House once and for all."
The Redneck Party web site states it stands for labor; a free, quality education for all, and environmental stewardship while opposing mass incarceration and prisons for profit.  
Walker is the national poster boy for firing teachers; busting unions; rejecting federal money that would make jobs, and making war on middle-class working people.  Walker this year gave no-bid contracts to cronies; appointed unqualified relatives of contributors to cushy jobs, and pushed legislation to protect giant, multinational corporations at the expense of regular people.  (Link to a list of Walker's misdeeds from Wisconsin Democrats:
Before even taking office, then Gov.-elect Walker succeeded in scuttling plans for a high-speed rail system which was being funded by the federal government.  Thus, Walker lost jobs for the state, lost the opportunity to advance green technology and lost millions in federal funding.  The state is now facing at least $209.1 million in rail-related costs, which would have been covered by the federal funds.  
That was a close call for oil billionaire Koch, who undoubtedly pulled Walker's puppet strings on that one.  Koch likely told Walker something like this: "We don't need no stinkin' energy efficient trains; cars run on the oil I sell.  I would be missing a buck." 
The perilous pairing of Walker and Koch exemplifies what goes wrong when rich special interests buy and control politicians.
Koch, the richest resident of New York City and on Forbes' roster of the 400 wealthiest Americans, has been spending large on extreme right agendas to put down unions, teachers and working Americans.  Koch gave $43,000 to Walker's 2010 campaign for governor.  He gave $1 million to the Republican Governors Association, which spent $3.4 million on commercials supporting Walker. 
 So extreme was Walker's broad-ax agenda that Wisconsin workers and citizens turned out in huge numbers, more than 100,000 at a time on some days, to protest the assault on the middle class and workers.
The orchestrated right-wing movement against teachers and workers played out in more than 30 states this spring, including Tennessee, which made laws to limit collective bargaining, workers' rights, consumer protections and voters' rights.  But no state and no politician received such immense national attention as did Wisconsin and Walker.
Walker infamously believed he was talking to Koch during a recorded phone call in which he said he was considering an assortment of dirty tricks to pull on Democratic state senators.  Walker told not-Koch he had thought about hiring thugs to infiltrate the ranks of protestors outside the Wisconsin Capitol to cause trouble and make the protesters look bad.
Walker is now on a barnstorming tour to raise money for a likely recall election.  Wisconsin residents must obtain 540,206 signatures on petitions by Jan. 13, 2012, to force the election.  So galvanized is the revulsion of Walker in Wisconsin that Walker is acting as if it is a fait accompli. 
Walker traveled to Kentucky, where he drew protesters, to raise money on Sept. 15; he has traveled to Florida, and now he has Tennessee on Tuesday, Iowa on Wednesday ( and later Arizona on his money-raising agenda. 
Walker no doubt has been told that Williamson County is the 18th wealthiest (median income) county in America. 
In May, these same Republicans in Williamson County thought they would inspire their base and increase donations by bringing in Muslim hate-monger Geert Wilders, a Dutch politician, for "photo opportunities" with locals. 
While there was general public rebuke of Wilders and his bigoted message smearing all Muslims, including an excellent editorial in The Tennessean, the Williamson Republicans did not get the message.  By showcasing Wilders, they were appealing to a small but fervent group that demonizes those who do not dress or talk like them. These Republicans continue to conspicuously swim against the spirit of Nashville and its neighbor communities, who in the main reach out to help each other regardless of how they look or speak. 
The Williamson Republicans clearly are running the same play again.  Like Muslim-hater Wilders, the incendiary Walker is being promoted as a celebrity draw.  He is being hero-worshipped in effect as an example of a great man, although Walker's infamy is gutting workers' rights and freedoms while repaying his corporate sponsors with bad bills and favors. 
"Scott Walker symbolizes the corporate buyout of our politicians and the war on the middle class," said Peter Burr, chairman of the Williamson County Democratic Party.  "While Tennessee has a 9.7% unemployment rate and people are struggling, it rubs salt in our wounds for local Republicans to bring in this notorious politician.
"While the world is waking up to the consequences of Wall Street's power over government and politics, Walker is the most inappropriate person to sell as praiseworthy at the worst possible time," Burr said.  "Walker is not welcome in Williamson County."
For motorists during Tuesday's drive home, it will be easy to distinguish those protesting Walker from the Williamson County Republicans.  The protesters will be the ones wearing red bandannas; the Republicans will be the ones dressed for their $125-apiece dinners.
After the anti-Walker visibility in Franklin, Brown will speak at a Williamson County venue about her political awakening and her message for Southern workers.
For further information, or to schedule a phone or personal interview with Jeana Brown, contact:
Gary Moore
Citizens Media

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