Unions WORT A. Beck 6/21/2012
The year 1848 marks the founding of WI as a state and the collapse of the revolutions in Europe named by that date. The German Socialists fled, many of them finding refuge here, bringing with them the intellectual philosophy known as The Enlightenment, the basis For The Age of Reason. For 100 years it sustained WI as the
“Athens on the prairie”. By 1948 the USA, drunk with victory, was recruited by Churchill’s dominance over Truman into the Cold War on the side of imperialist capitalism against any expression of democratic socialist thinking. McCarthyism grew at the expense of the Enlightenment and WI inched over into its rural outlook. When the Civil Rights Movement came along 20 years later, WI unions were crushed between the righteousness of that Cause and the wish of rural White people to retain their privileges at the expense of African-Americans. Many turned away from the Athens of the Prairie and left WI in the middle between the spirit of the 18th Century and that of the 20th. The ghost of The Enlightenment continues to fade here on the prairie and the advanced unions have faded with its fortunes. Today, the spirit of the Cold War is triumphant in America and billions of dollars have taken the place of the Constitution as the model for our political life.