At the 33rd annual Martin Luther King Jr. celebration in Wisconsin's state capitol yesterday, Dr. Margaret Rozga received the MLK Heritage Award on behalf of her late husband, Father James Groppi, who was among the leaders of the struggle for fair housing in Milwaukee in the 1960s.

A poet and professor at UW-Waukesha, Rozga delivered a fiery speech calling people who don't ordinarily concern themselves with social justice issues but pay lip service to Dr. King's legacy one day a year "photo-op do-gooders."

Governor Scott Walker sat stock still a few feet away from the podium as Rozga slammed his socially regressive policies of curtailing voting rights and union busting. To the rousing applause of the crowd, she said that her late husband "believed in addressing the root causes of poverty, and those causes are backwards social policy. He believed in the tradition summarized by St. Thomas Aquinas that the super-abundance of the rich belongs by natural right to the poor."

Prompted to wrap up her speech, Rozga went on to thank the people of Wisconsin who continue to stand up for human and civil rights, including the immigrants rights group Voces de la Frontera, striking Palermos workers, the Overpass Light Brigade, the Solidarity Sing Along, and the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, "people who took care of this land before my grandparents came from Poland."

This last reference was a timely one, since the one and only public hearing on a catastrophic mining deregulation bill is scheduled for today at the Capitol. If passed, the bill would pave the way for a 21-mile-long, 1,000-foot-deep mountain-top removal project that would likely destroy the headwaters of the Bad River and pollute Lake Superior with millions of gallons of sulfuric acid.

Saying it was his number-one priority, Walker spent an inordinate amount of time during his State of the State address pushing the bill, and trotted out hard-hat-wearing folks to join him at the podium in a pathetic attempt to pander to working people. The Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity is organizing busses from across the state and free lunch for their supporters to testify in favor of the bill.

During her speech, Rozga told the crowd, "As someone who is a member of a family that loves Wisconsin's natural resources, I know that if you endanger those resources, you are not standing with us." Indeed, as most of the other guests rose to their feet in applause at the end of her speech, Walker remained seated.

Rebecca Kemble reports for The Progressive magazine and website.

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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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