Editor's note: This contribution by the late journalist I.F. Stone first appeared in our January 1975 magazine.
Fighting Bob Fest will be back in Baraboo on Saturday, September 13th, from 9am-5pm!
Fighting Bob Fest has been one of the largest gatherings of progressives in the country since 2001. The event is named for U.S. Senator Robert “Fighting Bob” La Follette, who battled the robber barons of the early 20th century that had a stranglehold on Wisconsin politics and the economy. Activists attending this year's gathering will be preparing to fight modern robber barons with tips from some who have battled and won.
This year's line up of thought-provoking speakers will include U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, Pulitzer Prize-winner Chris Hedges, Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis, Representative Mark Pocan, Mary Burke, writer Jim Hightower, journalist John Nichols, and comedian Will Durst. Folk singer Anne Feeney and the Kissers will also be performing.
The keynote speaker Bernie Sanders stresses that economic inequality in the United States has not been so disparate since the Great Depression in 1928: “The top one percent owning 38 percent of wealth in America. Do you know what the bottom 60 percent own? 2.3 percent.” Sanders is reportedly considering a run for the presidency in 2016.
Karen Lewis, President of the Chicago Teachers Union, led a successful teachers' strike in September of 2012 which enjoyed widespread public support. Prior to the strike, teachers conducted extensive community outreach educating parents and community leaders about the needs of students, schools and teacher. Not only has Lewis proved herself to be a fierce defender of free, universal public education, but news reports indicate that she has formed an exploratory committee to consider a run for mayor of Chicago in 2015.
If you can’t make it to Baraboo on Saturday, come to the kickoff event on Friday, September 12th, at the Barrymore Theatre in Madison from 7-9:30pm, featuring speeches from U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, Jim Hightower, State Representatives Chris Taylor and Melissa Sargent, and music by Sean Michael Dargan.
Find directions to the Sauk County Fairgrounds and pre-register at www.fightingbobfest.org.
See you in Baraboo!