By Matthew Rothschild on July 24, 2013

This afternoon, the Wisconsin state police arrested dozens of nonviolent singers in the capitol in Madison. Declaring an unlawful assembly, police officers handcuffed members of the Solidarity Singers -- including an 80-year-old woman. The Solidarity Singers have been at the capitol at noon everyday for the past two and a half years to protest Gov. Scott Walker's reactionary policies.

Two Democratic legislators denounced this crackdown by Scott Walker's handpicked police chief, David Erwin.

"Chief Erwin and Governor Scott Walker's militant handling of the daily peaceful singing has escalated this situation unnecessarily," said Rep. Chris Taylor. "The Capitol rotunda would have been much safer today had Governor Walker given Chief Erwin a little red rubber ball to play with in the corner instead of control of the entire police force.... This is the kind of heavy-handed police government you would expect to see in a Third World country, not here in Wisconsin. It must stop."

State Sen. Bob Jauch was equally indignant.

"It's just so unnecessary," he said. "There are more important issues in the state of Wisconsin than as to whether people are singing. Since when is that threatening? You can bring in a gun in the capitol if it's concealed but you can't come into your capitol if you're singing?"

Jauch pointed out that the singers "respectfully go outside of the building if there is someone else who is using" it.

Calling the crackdown "excessive," he added:

"It is the kind of confrontation that has been created by this ideologically driven administration who is threatened by anybody who disagrees with it. And by god that isn't the Wisconsin I live in."

If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his story Zimmerman Verdict Reveals Racist System of Justice.

Follow Matthew Rothschild @mattrothschild on Twitter.

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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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