The casual observer might have difficulty ascertaining the validity of union protests as they have arisen in and around the capitols of several nearly insolvent states. This can prove particularly difficult with the national news media running interference for those taking part.
Such difficulty would quickly evaporate if one cared to do some research into the flocking birds gathered to take part in the protests.
One such mottled fowl is Cheryl LaBash whose recent pilgrimage from Detroit to Madison, Wisconsin was chronicled yesterday in the left leaning Detroit Free Press.
If that newspaper were one's only source of information, LaBash is merely a retired construction inspector in Detroit and is there only to stand in solidarity with other people concerned about the middle class.
Her trip has been selfless and tortured.
She sleeps on a marble floor surrounded by hundreds of other protesters, most of them decades younger. LaBash brushes her teeth and washes her face in a public restroom and grabs the occasional shower when she runs into a friend who has rented a hotel room during the protests.What is conveniently left out of the article is LaBash's long activist career within the communist community, serving as a national organizer and correspondent for the World Workers Party.
She's been living on bratwursts, pizza and pastries donated by union sympathizers and longs for cups of coffee that she took for granted until her adventure began last week.
She loves her some Castro, Lenin, Stalin, and cop killers, and her affiliations suggest strong support of the Soviet invasions of Afghanistan, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary, as well as a yearning itch that only the memory of Mao Zedong's magical fingers can adequately scratch.
Her heroes murdered as many as one hundred million people in the past century and enslaved many times more. But those, of course, were the wrong kinds of people.
LaBash is a woman of conviction and she has come prepared.
"There's a long tradition of people going to jail for their convictions," LaBash said.A Michigander can only hope.
She's ready to be jailed again, when police try to remove protesters from the Capitol at 4 p.m. today. If she's evicted, she brought along a tent just in case.
"Who knows, maybe it will be Madison this spring and summer."