By Rebecca Kemble

About 150 people showed up at the Madison Capitol rotunda today for the Solidarity Sing Along after news of the Capitol Police delivering citations to people’s homes spread last night.

Jason Huberty answered a knock on his door yesterday afternoon to find two Capitol Police officers delivering citations for allegedly violating the Wisconsin Administrative Code earlier in the day at the Sing Along.

“When they came to my home yesterday they said that any subsequent tickets would result in a trip to jail,” Huberty says. “I’m not going to be intimidated by threats of jail. I’ll continue to do the things that I believe are within my rights in that building.” After the Sing Along today, Huberty called the Capitol Police dispatch office to let them know what time he would be home in the event that they wanted to arrest him then.

Brandon Barwick was waylaid by the police as he was walking through the Capitol yesterday afternoon and given a citation for the alleged violation of “obstruct access, passage, ect. (sic).”

Bart Munger who received his citation at work.
Bart Munger who received his citation at work.: Rebecca Kemble

And Bart Munger found the police waiting for him at his place of work this morning to deliver a citation to him for holding a banner the day before. “I live in Milton, 40 miles south of here, so they didn’t want to come to my home,” says Munger, who calls the police visit to his place of work “an attempt to get me fired.” Munger works at the University of Wisconsin plumbing shop. “I told the police, ‘You could have waited till noon. You knew where I’d be.’ ” (Munger is at the capitol at noon every day for the Sing Along.) He says one of the officers answered him: “We were told to bring the tickets to me” at work.

The reason they knew where he worked is because, when he was arrested last week for protesting in the capitol, a police officer riffled threw his wallet and found his work ID, Munger says, and put it aside with his driver’s license. “I knew there was something they were going to do about it,” he says. “I just didn’t know it was going to be this extreme.”

Protesters also gathered to denounce Capitol Police chief David Erwin for referring to them, the day before the anniversary of 9/11, as “terrorists, for lack of a better word.” One defender of free speech held up a sign that said, “Singing Is Not Terrorism.”

In attendance at the Sing Along today was Marty Beil, executive director of the Wisconsin State Employees Union. He described the recent crackdown on free speech activists as “unfortunate.” Said Beil, “David Erwin is the sock puppet of Mike Huebsch (Secretary of the Department of Administration) and Scott Walker. They’re using him to crack down on political opposition.” He added, “The Capitol Police have been remarkable over the past year and a half because of their professionalism. They had credibility. But now their new leader has created a whole new law-enforcement regime. They should be spending their time tracking down people creating real problems and protecting children. Instead they’re going to people’s homes in the middle of the night ticketing them. People aren’t intimidated by these tactics. Continuing to make arrests would be the worst thing the Capitol Police could do.”

Bill Dixon, longtime Madison lawyer and former campaign manager for Gary Hart’s presidential run in 1984, attended the rally, as well. Dixon was holding a sign that said, “Protecting Our Constitution.” When asked why he was there, he said: “It’s obligatory. I took an oath forty years ago as a lawyer to protect the Constitution. It’s as simple as that.”

Michael Kissick, a Sing Along participant and occasional legal observer for the ACLU, was also outraged at the crackdown on free speech. “What people complaining about the continued presence of people here fail to understand is that the only reason we’re here is because our political representatives refuse to listen to us,” he said. “Lobbyists and wealthy business people can pay to get an audience with Scott Walker, but the rest of us are left out of the discussion. This is the only venue left for us to express our views on the actions of our government.”

As if to make Kissick’s point, a well-dressed lobbyist for the Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators walked by shaking his head. He said, “I’m trying to make a phone call. I wish it were a little quieter in here.”

Rebecca Kemble reports for The Progressive magazine and website. She also participates when she can in the Solidarity Sing Along.





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A huge win, it's also just a hit on the pause button. Here's some context and ideas about paths forward.

The reach of this story extends from the lowliest working stiff to the highest court in the land.

White supremacist posters on campuses play on ignorance and fear within the very institutions that should be our...

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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