Yesterday was my first chance to get a little bit of downtime, and of course now that means I'm fighting off yet another cold that's trying to take up lodging in my throat. But my plan for the week is to keep at it - see things through until some sort of resolution is reached.
There are lots of events planned for the week here in Madison, as well as rumors of surprise guests, anti-union agent provocateurs, efforts to clean up the capitol building, and about a billion other things. I've tried to compile as comprehensive a list of everything below, hopefully for your edification.
I've been nothing less than impressed and inspired by how peaceful everything has been up until now, so let's keep it that way, folks!
Monday, Feb. 21:
- Noon rally on the State St. side of the capitol, "Speakers will include former Green Bay Packer wide receiver (1994-95) Charles Jordan."
- 5 p.m. rally, State St. side of the capitol, including a concert with Tom Morello (of the Nightwatchmen, formerly of Rage Against the Machine), Wayne Kramer (solo acoustic, of the MC5), Mike McColgan (singer of the Street Dogs, former lead singer of the Dropkick Murphys), Tom Gabel (from Against Me!), and Tim McIlrath (from Rise Against).
- Noon rally on the State St. side of the capitol.
- 5 p.m. rally on the State St. side of the capitol
- THIS COULD BE REALLY IMPORTANT: Wisconsin Manufacturer's and Commerce (WMC), a notoriously right-wing corporate lobby with way too much influence in our capitol, is holding a "Business Day in Wisconsin" at the Monona Terrace Convention Center...which is just a couple blocks away from the capitol building in Madison. Featured guest speakers at this event include Rep. Paul Ryan and Gov. Scott Walker. Might be time for the protesters to take a little detour to make their voices heard and presence felt. (this event was organized prior to the beginning of the protests, so keep your eyes peeled if they make any last minute agenda changes) UPDATE TO ADD: A picket is being organized by Wisconsin Wave at 1 p.m. - more details here.
There are plenty of anti-union people and organizations doing their very best to smear the image of the protesters and feed the media a message that they've been violent and are just a bunch of extremist thugs. No surprise there, but we can all be vigilent in making sure that 1) none of us do anything to feed their fires by remaining peaceful and respectful, and 2) being on the look-out for some good old fashioned agent provocateurs.
Raging right-wing talk radio host Mark Williams out of Sacramento, for instance, has decided to publicly announce on his blog that he hopes to "infiltrate" a solidarity rally being held in his city, under the guise of being an organizer, with the sole intent of feeding extreme images to the media. Thus typed Williams:
Our goal is to make the gathering look as greedy and goonish as we know that it is, ding their credibility with the media and exploit the lazy reporters who just want dramatic shots and outrageous quotes for headlines. Even if it becomes known that we are plants the quotes and pictures will linger as defacto truth.Williams also claims that he's received a "flood" of emails from fellow "Tea Party patriots" vowing to do the same in their respective states where solidarity events are being held. It's entirely possible that these are just the ramblings of one loose screw and not likely to impact events very much, if at all, but it's important that we remain aware of the possibility of people showing up at rallies with less-than-honorable intentions. If you see one of these chuckleheads, be sure to point them out loudly to everyone nearby but not to engage directly with them.
The best thing we can all do is go on being peaceful, respectful, clear-headed, and focused.
RESOURCES, ACTIONS, AND PETITIONS
- The ACLU has been handing out these "Bust Cards" (pdf) to protesters as a solid reference for what to do in the off chance that you find yourself in conflict with law enforcement. Know your rights and responsibilities!
- The TAA has put together a website where you can donate money for either rally organizing and food, and/or to help clean up the capitol building itself. Many volunteers have already been working hard to keep our beautiful capitol clean during its occupation, but more can always be done! This is a great way to support your state and to make the cause look even better.
- Wisconsin Wave's petition "Against Corporatization and Austerity and for Democracy and Shared Prosperity."
- One Wisconsin Now's petition opposing Scott Walker's unprecedented power grab and move to take rights away from Wisconsinite's while refusing to negotiate with them.