AFL-CIO Blog: In Wisconsin, a Repeat of Revolutionary War History?

February 28, 2011- Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker reminds me of old Lord North. OK, I’m a history teacher.

North was the Revolutionary War-era British prime minister who wanted to bust the American colonies. Walker is the Wisconsin governor who wants to bust public employee unions in the Dairy State.

•North was an uber-conservative. So is Walker.
•North’s strategy was divide and conquer. I suspect Walker’s is, too.
•It backfired on North. It may boomerang on Walker.

Anyway, after the famous Boston Tea Party of 1773, North got Parliament to crack down on Massachusetts in part by closing the port of Boston until the tea the local patriots dumped in the harbor was paid for.

North figured other colonies would let Massachusetts suffer alone. After all, he reasoned, they weren’t being punished.

But the other colonies rallied to beleaguered Massachusetts. We know the rest of the story.

My guess is when Walker and his labor-hating Republican legislators took aim at public employee unions, they figured the private-sector unions wouldn’t do much about it.


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