Around 300 people showed up for the Solidarity Sing Along this noon at the capitol in Madison, Wisconsin. The crowd was several times larger than the one yesterday, as protesters gathered to defy the police crackdown.

Just as they did yesterday, police officers insisted on making about two dozen arrests for gathering in the capitol without a permit.

Moving in with teams of six or seven officers, the capitol police arrested three or four people at a time whom they had singled out.

Robert Koenig was arrested while his ten-year-old daughter was trying to hold his hand. With her other hand, she held a sign that said, "This Is What Democracy Looks Like!"

"Rights are just like muscles," Koenig says. "If you don't use them, they atrophy."

"Shame, shame, shame!" the crowd yelled each time as police handcuffed the peaceful protesters.

"I feel sorry for you that you have to do this," one demonstrator told the officers.

Like yesterday, today there were several Democratic lawmakers in attendance, showing their support for the Solidarity Singers, who have been gathering every day in the capitol for two and a half years to protest Scott Walker's reactionary policies.

Sen. Bob Jauch was present again.

And Sen. Tim Cullen was also there, denouncing the crackdown.

"I think it's outrageous," he said. "This is a beautiful thing. It doesn't disrupt the capitol. I love the songs." Cullen said the Walker administration was displaying "the same mentality" of bullying that it is displaying up north with its aggressive support for mining in the Penokee Hills.

Cullen predicted that Walker and his cohorts wouldn't be able to get away with the suppression of free speech in the capitol.

"They won't prevail," Cullen said. "This is America."

Members of the state assembly, including Diane Hesselbein, Sondra Pope-Roberts, Melissa Sargent, and Chris Taylor, also showed their solidarity.

"It's hard to describe how absurd this is," said Pope-Roberts. "It's almost like a page out of the Onion."

"I'm here because I firmly believe in the right to petition the government," said Sargent, who was there with her son Devin. "Everyone is being peaceful, and people's voices need to be heard."

Many protesters carried inventive signs. Peppi Elder had one of Scott Walker pointing and saying, "Hey, You...Singer with a Sign! You're Under Arrest."

Elder tries to come to the Sing Along three times a week, she says, because "Scott Walker is ruining the state of Wisconsin."

The Sing Along ended with "Solidarity Forever" and many vows to come back.

If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his story Zimmerman Verdict Reveals Racist System of Justice.

Follow Matthew Rothschild @mattrothschild on Twitter.


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Trump's politics are not the problem.

The fiery Milwaukee Sheriff is on the shortlist to head the Department of Homeland Security.

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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