After a spirited and well-attended event at the Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center, followed by refreshments at The Weary Traveler, Sander & Co. arrived at the State Capitol shortly after the 4 pm police deadline for protesters to leave the building, which had been occupied for two weeks. As we got there, hundreds of protesters inside were refusing to leave, and a crowd outside shouted, honked and bullhorned its support. Sander later apparently managed to penetrate security and make his way into the blockaded building...
Here is Sander's own report, posted to his blog:
OK – THIS PART IS PRETTY BIG for me. Madison, WI.
Tour Manager Lisa Ross (who joined the tour briefly in Madison and her native Iowa) said this about this stop:
Synchronicity is bringing the Slingshot Tour to Madison at a very exciting time. This is not an accident. Attend and be a part of the Digital Revolution!
At this moment in history, the people have risen up, here in Madison, WI. Most of us know that there has been international media attention, about the labor struggle, regarding public service workers VS. a right-wing Governor Walker. Gov. Walker has been eager to slash workers pay (and the union went along with that) but also remove completely the unions’ rights to organize and collectively bargain at all (and no union can ever go along with that.) Hence, a stand-off, in which an already politically-charged community has risen up, and SEIZED the State Capitol building.
So, we had a great gig that day, at a local community center very close to the Capitol. AND we made a march to join the struggle the final part of events of the day. The gig was great, because I had three local activists speak: Phil Zimmerman from Christians for 9/11 Truth, Eric Sayward from We Are Change Madison, and of course, event host Dr. Kevin Barrett, who is active in a number of groups, most recently, Muslims for 9/11 Truth. His eloquence is inspiring, and so flattering I am flattened. See a sample, here:
I read that on my phone as I pulled into town and knew it would be a great gig. I spoke a lot more about Jesus, as the “original Truther” in this talk. The Wil-Mar community center is a former church, and we were gathered there around Peace and Truth. I couldn’t think of a better Sunday afternoon. Lots of religious activists were in the crowd, eager to hear about my experiences with Catholic Worker, NYC.Later, after a lovely snack with local microbrew at “The Weary Traveller” Kevin Barrett and the local public access TV guy Matt set up seats in front of the capitol and shot an impromptu debate about labor politics in WI, with a local attorney who agreed to argue the other side:
We were told we couldn’t get into the beautiful domed structure up the hill, the doors were locked. People inside had bedding and food and were planning to continue to occupy the building. It was only the second day of the stand-off, only the second night (I believe) that activists had slept in the building.
Good photos and OK reporting, here:
We were all like “Aw shucks” we can’t get into the building anymore. But at one point I decided I felt like getting really close to the building, so I walked up the steps to the temple-like place. Then, a men’s room window opened, and about 7 or 8 of us just dove in. It was like the kind of move you have to make when you are marching with the black bloc at an anti-war protest, and you know that you have to be spontaneous, and not over-think anything.
Once inside the men’s room, I met two young protestors in t-shirts, with wide smiles on their faces: “Did you hear? Schultz has caved in!” They meant that a GOP state legislator had backed away from supporting the draconian Walker budget. The people were only two votes away from victory.
Inside, the mood was jubiliant. There was electricity in the air, sounds of drums, a young woman addressed the crowd on a megaphone, to a packed assembly under the Rotunda. “We have good news, we will be allowed to stay the night!” Sounds like the cops couldn’t have it any other way, if they tried. There was an intense irony to the classical gilt architecture, draped with TAX THE RICH banners.
From there, I came South to Iowa, outside Des Moines, in Adel, a nice crowd of about 20, mostly farmers and workers, some Tea Party people angry at the betrayal of the Tea Party, voting for the PATRIOT ACT’s renewal. Great dialogue, great mix of politics. We had everyone in the room: Democrats to anarchists to libertarian conservatives. The Truth Party is getting started.
OK, gotta get out the door to Branson, MO.