Mike McMahon, LSP: Why We’re Here At the Tractorcade in Wisconsin

The Land Stewardship Project is here today participating in the Farmer-Labor Tractorcade being led by Wisconsin farmers because of the actions taken by Gov. Scott Walker.  Walker and his allies have enabled a power-grab by big corporations to the detriment of the land, and people, of Wisconsin.

We know what happens under unchecked corporate power – the people suffer.  That’s why family farmers across the Midwest organized in the 1890s, and the 1910s, and the 1930s, and the 1980s – building farmer co-ops, passing public policy that reined in corporate power and assisted family farms, and establishing farm organizations to fight for the well-being of family farmers, rural communities, and the land.

Today is another such time, in which predatory corporations like Monsanto, Dean Foods,  Smithfield, and the Koch Brothers, are grabbing control over our seeds, our milk, our livestock, our land, our public assets — even our democracy.  And now their political allies in Madison are attempting to pass and implement extremist legislation that breaks the power of working people to organize on their own behalf.  They believe it will greatly diminish the power of people to rein in corporate greed that knows no bounds.  They further this attack on the middle class by attempting to divide portions of the middle class against one another, alleging  that the fight is between a unionized worker and someone who is not in a union.  All of this to advance a pro-corporate agenda of business tax cuts, public asset fire-sales, reduced corporate accountability, and increased profits for the biggest of the big.

Land Stewardship Project is a membership organization active in the Upper Midwest and based in Minnesota.  More than 200 Wisconsin families are LSP members, most of whom are farmers.  We recognize that the long-term care of our precious farmlands are imperiled when family farmers are driven into poverty or off the land; when the voice of the people is stilled by attacks on democratic institutions like local government and citizen organizations; and when major corporations drive public policy to maximize their own profit and control.

What happens here in Wisconsin affects all Americans.  It affects the very health of our democracy, and the ability of average Americans who work for a living – on farms, in state office buildings, police precincts and firehouses, and in factories – to organize in their own interests, to build a good life for themselves and to support healthy communities.  That is why Land Stewardship Project members are here today – to add our voices to those from Wisconsin Farmers Union, Family Farm Defenders, from the labor organizations who have stood so strong here these past weeks, and from others from across the state and the region, to say NO to Walker’s giveaway of the rights and the assets of people of Wisconsin to benefit unchecked corporate power.

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