Just because Scott Walker was declared winner of the recall election on June 5 doesn’t mean that the movement sparked by his attack on public sector workers, women, public education, public health, treaty rights, the environment, open government and the common good has gone away.

While the Democratic Party and national labor union leadership shift their focus to the Obama reelection campaign, Wisconsin organizers and activists are redoubling their efforts to resist the worst depredations of the Walker regime and to strengthen alliances within radical and progressive labor and human rights organizations.

This growing solidarity has been evident on the picket line at Palermo’s Pizza, where 125 workers have been on strike for 3 weeks. Local labor and other activist groups from throughout southern Wisconsin have joined workers on the picket line protesting health and safety conditions at the factory and supporting their right to form a union.

Last week a group of protesters turned out to the Governor’s Mansion to protest his beer and brats unity summit to which legislators from both parties were invited. They showed up to remind lawmakers that regressive social and economic policies are just as bad if not worse when both parties approve of them, and to put them on notice that citizens will continue to monitor and hold them accountable for the fallout of those policies.

Making good on that promise is a group of 40 to 50 people who continue to show up to the capitol every day at noon to sing songs of solidarity and defiance against unjust laws and economic conditions. Even though the quasi-official Solidarity Sing Along sponsored by the Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice has scaled back to singing once per week on Fridays, there is a group of unrepentant lovers of free speech and open government that continue to assert their presence in the rotunda every other day of the week.

Solidarity Sing Along.

The Capitol Police have assigned at least one officer to monitor and patrol the group, and a few rightwing operatives have been seen taking pictures, tweeting and lurking around the group. One even wrote on the Solidarity Sing Along Facebook page, “Walker won – TWICE. It’s time to accept it and move on.”

Some singers worry that the Department of Administration will begin to enforce the ridiculous rules they put into place last winter outlawing protests by groups of more than three people at a time. But so far, the group has not been asked to disperse. If the latest banner hanging in the rotunda, which reads, “We’ll be here until Wisconsin gets better,” is to be believed, they have no intention to comply with any such order any time soon.

Rebecca Kemble is an Anthropologist who studied decolonization in Kenya. She serves on the Board of the US Federation of Worker Cooperatives and is a founding member of the Wisconsin Citizens Media Cooperative.

Add new comment

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.


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).

Public School Shakedown

Progressive Media Project