Letter to the Editor: The Right of Revolution

Throughout history, when the wealthy, aristocratic ruling class becomes excessively greedy, oppressed citizens eventually revolt. This right of revolution comes from the philosophy that all people have the right to life, liberty and a fair share of wealth. When this is not happening, people have banded together to instigate a revolution and replace the government with one that serves the interests of all citizens. Some philosophies see the right of revolution as an obligation – a safeguard against tyranny.

The wealthiest Americans have put a lot of time, effort and money into creating politics that support their positions. They’re not going to voluntarily rebalance the needs of the commonwealth with their marketplace positions just because we ask nicely. We’ve tried.

Wisconsin’s legislative leaders and representatives – nourished by the greediest among us to carry out gerrymandering, union busting, assaults on voting rights, a lame-duck session, regressive taxation, and eviction and incarceration policies (including the 2019 Tough on Crime legislation [AB 805, 806, 808 and 809]) – could be Richard II and the Bishop of Rochester in 1381 (or Louis XVI in 1789), wondering whether their latest poll-tax policies might have been tipping points. Wisconsin did not become known overnight as the Worst Place in America for African-Americans to Live. Now we’ve also earned the distinction of Wisconsin: Where Democracy Went to Die. 

In 1381, non-agrarian artisans, apprentices, merchants and local urban officials joined the rebelling agrarian class – like now, when some altruistic neighbors are standing, writing, contributing and supporting. If Wisconsin’s commonwealth democracy is dead, the current unrest is on us – not on our Assembly representative whose suggestion to “look at better screening” of those entering the police force echoes centuries of systemic racial injustice in Wisconsin and America.

We “privileged whites” worked, accomplished, earned and gave back, but we also had a huge, unfair head start. Eventually, enough people will stand with Black Lives Matter, and there will be enough voices and votes. Sprinter Peter Norman was ahead of his time. Miss “Forward” – for Wisconsin’s black community – is a misnomer.

Norman J. Wilsman

Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin