By The Progressive on July 24, 2014

By Jessica Mason and Matthew Rothschild

Thursday afternoon, a group of 75 Wisconsin protesters gathered in the capitol to give Gov. Scott Walker an earful and to commemorate the one-year anniversary of his crackdown on free speech.

A huge banner, with the words “We Are Still Here,” hung from the balcony.

Another banner said, “Indict Walker.” And additional sign referred to the John Doe investigation dogging the governor for alleged illegal campaign coordination with outside groups.

A large sign with the word “Unintimidated” was on display behind the podium, playing off the title of Walker’s campaign book.

One speaker, Ryan Wherley, denounced Walker for several of his policies. “This day is about the arrests, but it is far more than that,” said Wherley. He mentioned Walker’s bending of environmental regulations to grant a mine permit to an out of state company in the Penokee Hills, and he mentioned Walker’s cutbacks to BadgerCare and his attacks on Planned Parenthood and contraception coverage.

“We’re here to provide a voice for the people who cannot be here,” he said.

The protesters sang the songs they’ve been singing every weekday in the capitol for the last three and a half years, including a rousing rendition of “Scotty, we’re not going away,” with its coda: “Till that day when justice is done, we’re not going away.”

Bruce Fealk, one of the speakers, saluted the 338 protesters who had been arrested for exercising their free speech rights in the capitol in 2013. “It was pretty appalling watching all of my friends get arrested,” he said to the crowd, which consisted of many of those who had gotten arrested. He said he had spoken with some capitol police officers, who told him they were just following orders.

“It’s OK to disobey an illegal order,” he said, which was met with massive applause.

That theme rang out. The singers sang “Have You Been to Jail for Justice” and “We Shall Not Be Moved,” and “Will the Circle Be Unbroken?”

The Dane County sheriff, David Mahoney, who had shown solidarity with the protesters during the crackdown, came to the event.

“Welcome to your house,” Sheriff Mahoney said. “I do want to thank you for your dedication. You did what was right. I wish you well, and keep it going.”

The protest ended, in usual fashion, with a rousing rendition of “Solidarity Forever.”


Photos by Leslie Peterson

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Comments

I'm one of the people who was arrested but I couldn't be there yesterday. Sounds like a great event! Thank you so much for covering it. My eyes filled when I read the lyrics of the songs and read your summary of some of the awful things this governor has done and continues to perpetrate on this state.
The news media in general, and this artificial and Jessica Mason & Matthew Rothschild are failing the readership... These are not protesters at all.. They are patriots and advocates standing up for justice and democracy.. Walker is the protester...protesting all that was right in Wisconsin before he and is goons took over paid for by the Koch Brothers and other 1% greedy GOP fascists ... Take our state back in 2014....
sweet goodbabys~Wish i could have come! Thankyou Ryan INDICTWALKER

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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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