MacIver News Service
By M.D. Kittle
MADISON, Wis. – Left-wing activists committed to doing whatever it takes to stop Foxconn Technology Group’s massive manufacturing campus in southeast Wisconsin are planning to rain on the tech giant’s ground-breaking picnic.
Organizers held a conference call Sunday evening to talk about their plans for a rally and demonstration on June 28, the day Foxconn is scheduled to hold its ground-breaking ceremony on its proposed $10 billion plant in Mount Pleasant. MacIver News Service obtained the call-in information and covered the planning session.
The idea, organizers say, is to assemble a coalition of diverse progressive groups – from environmental organizations to civil rights leaders to Foxconn-hating politicians. While each group will bring its own social and environmental complaints to the table, they will all rally around their abhorrence of the Foxconn economic development plan, according to the coalition-building plan.
“We want to stop it in any way we can,” a coalition member told participants on the call. “If we can’t stop it, we want to give them bad publicity. We want to be able to, like, make them aware that the community is aware. We want to show that, ‘Hey, we’re not going to give you an easy fight here.”
“Take a stand against Foxconn. For our fellow Wisconsinites, join the effort and help us SHUT FOXCONN DOWN,” a progressive coalition Facebook alert states.
The short-term goal is to stop Foxconn. The long-term mission is to fire up the liberal base to take out Republican Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican-controlled Legislature that championed the largest development deal of its kind in U.S. history.
“We want this to not only be against Foxconn … but also be against those things that are happening due to the corruption of Walker being in office. But it will mainly focus on Foxconn,” one of the leaders of the campaign said during the call.
The anti-Foxconn group plans to bring into the coalition representatives from indigenous rights organizations, social justice groups, lawmakers and someone who represents the “youth voice.”
“We’re contacting some of the high school students that are speaking out against the NRA right now because they have a huge crowd of those in Milwaukee,” the lead organizer said.
Coalition organizers plan to be at Monday night’s special meeting of the Mount Pleasant Village Board, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. They are hoping to speak out against the project.
Group members talked about making the focal point of their resistance movement the Mount Pleasant-area residents facing the loss of their properties to make room for the Foxconn factory, but it was clear by Sunday’s conference call that the left-wing activists have broader objectives in mind.
“Beyond the immediate need for citizens to show up in support of the victims of Scottconn (the group’s portmanteau combining Gov. Scott Walker and Foxconn),we will also be discussing the planned Action for the 28th,” the group’s email urged. The email also seeks “volunteers to help with Voter Registration.”
“Additionally we will need volunteers and eager helpers willing to be trained by MKE Street Protectors to assist in facilitating and monitoring our action to ensure the safety of attendees as well as creative writers to submit LTE’s not only to the news outlets in the affected area but also our hometowns throughout the state,” the email stated.
Media cooperation and partnership is definitely a big part of the rally and planned demonstration. As of Sunday, the plan was to hold a rally first at a park or the Mount Pleasant Village Hall and then march to a planned demonstration against the Foxconn project, before rallying again. Some on the call wanted to make the event a day-long protest, but a top organizer reminded the group of the importance of the news media’s deadlines and schedules.
“If we do it as a longer event, it’s best to make it six or seven hours max, just because we don’t want people coming and going throughout the day and then when we actually have the rally portion most of those people aren’t there, and it doesn’t look like it’s as impactful because when we have media there we want that to be during the main rally,” the organizer said. “And we want to show all of the different groups that are there all at the same time advocating for the different causes and expressing the different concerns they have.”
Foxconn’s manufacturing campus in Racine County is expected to ultimately employ 13,000 people at the plant itself, and many more thousands to construct the facility and to serve it. The production plant will make liquid crystal display panels. It comes with a hefty state incentives package based in large part on job-creation goals.
Extreme environmentalists in particular hate the development plan, predicting that the production facility will destroy southeast Wisconsin’s air and waterways. While they have blasted Walker’s administration for softening permitting standards, Foxconn has and will face rigorous state and federal requirements that demand substantial mitigation and other environmental safeguards.
The anti-Foxconn coalition campaign is brimming with liberal politics. One participant on the conference call said he attended the Democratic Party of Wisconsin’s state convention in Oshkosh over the weekend, where there was plenty of anti-Foxconn talk by the crowded field of Democrat contenders for governor.
“There was universal disdain for Foxconn,” he said. “I’m sure they (the candidates) would welcome any kind of demonstration that would take place that would kind of help their credibility as well and maybe get some of them to actually show up.”
M.D. Kittle is an Investigative Reporter with the MacIver Institute. This article appears courtesy of the MacIver Institute.