Call to Action: 400th Solidarity Sing Along marked by increase in police vigilance

Whether the Fitzwalkerstanis Like It or Not,
We'll Be Here 'Til Wisconsin Gets Better

Guest post by MoD contributor 
Ryan Wherley

I am strongly encouraging as many people as possible to head on down to the Capitol for tomorrow's 400th Solidarity Sing Along in the Rotunda, Monday June 25th, from Noon until 1 p.m.  The Capitol Police force's post-election behavior has been increasingly bizarre, from an increased presence that has been following certain individuals around, to approaching other citizens and asking them why they keep coming back to the Capitol with ther signs.  Most notably alarming, various police officers have been taking thorough notes profiling all singers/dissidents in attendance daily and writing down verbatim the content of signs being held inside of the Rotunda.  Additionally, there has been a noticeable influx of plain-clothed "observers" making their presence felt on a regular basis.  Proceedings under the dome seem to be trending towards the Department of Administration and its secretary, Mike Huebsch, feeling that the time is drawing near to begin enforcing its unconstitutional rules passed last December against the First Amendment rights of individuals inside of and around the Capitol building.

The crackdown on the rights to freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and the freedom to petition our government for a redress of grievances easily could have already taken place last winter.  However, approximately one thousand individuals showed up in defiance and Solidarity to sing in the shadow of the Capitol Rotunda's beautiful holiday tree, on December 19th, 2011, the day the new and unconstitutional rules were supposedly to be put into effect.  Before and since that day,  a dedicated group of citizens and heroes of the movement show up without fail at the Capitol to sing inside of the Rotunda on every Monday through Thursday and occasionally some Fridays after the outdoor Sing Along has ended.  These Wisconsin Winter Soldiers' constant presence on the ground floor, first floor and second floor of the Rotunda is an important and necessary reminder of why we're still here, tracing a direct lineage back to the original Capitol Occupation attempting to stop the passage of the Budget Despair Bill in the winter of 2011.  Not so coincidentally, the Capitol Police and DoA never bothered attempting to quell dissent by enforcing these new anti-protesting rules.  Or so it seemed, up until Capitol Police Chief Charles Tubbs ended his time overseeing the bulding shortly before the election, in order to pursue a job working for the Dane County Emergency Management Agency.

They hoped we would go away after the June 5th Recall election.  We didn't.  They hoped the numbers would dwindle around the Capitol on a daily basis.  They haven't.  They hoped that we would forget and pretend everything is all gravy in Wisconsin now.  We didn't and it's not.  Scott Walker's bought and sold victory in the election on June 5th means one thing for the sake of Wisconsin's future: it's in as much trouble now as it was on June 4th.  The need to maintain a consistently visible and vocal presence inside of the Capitol is as important now as at any time since the original Occupation last February and March.  The Fitzwalkstanis now bellow hollow rhetoric about "moving forward" and "working together"  in hopes that everyone will forget what happened to our state under the Governer's shameful idea of "leadership" over the past 18 months and what will continue to happen going forward.

I've said before that I and hundreds of thousands of others were awakened in the beginning months of 2011. I'm sure as hell not going back to sleep now, even if the habitually untruthful and heartless Scott Walker essentially tells us that it's time to move along...nothing to see here.  Sure thing, Scooter.  Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain trying to amend the state constitution in order to take away the citizens' unabridged rights to recall elected officials, hold them accountable for their actions and prevent the elected despotism we've become accustomed to in Fitzwalkerstan.  Cover your ears when State Assemblyman and Joint Finance Committee co-Chairperson Robin Vos and Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus unconscionably drum up fears of rampant voter fraud for weeks before the recall elections, only to use the city of Racine and Democratic Senator John Leman's narrow victory on June 5th as guinea pigs for their implicitly racist and explicitly unfounded theories.  Turn away from the television when Scooter refuses to address the question of whether or not he would sign a statewide union-busting Right to Work for Less bill into law if it should MIRACULOUSLY find its way to his desk, even though he has "no interest in pursuing that."  Don't ask any questions when members of the United State Congress follow up with the Governer as to whether or not he'd like to amend his public testimony last year to account for its perjurious nature following the release of his explosive "Divide and Conquer" conversation with billionaire Diane Hendricks.  Cast the newspaper aside when radical, anti-choice organizations say they are eagerly hoping that the Republicans re-claim control of the state Senate in the November elections so their orgs can resume pushing their extreme anti-women's health agenda through the Wisconsin legislature.  Bury your heads in the sand when thousands of teachers are laid off, countless public employees see massive pay cuts to their newly calculated "base wages" as their current union contracts expire, extracurricular activites are cut and class sizes rise in schools and class offerings decline and tuition rises at our public universities, as the painful reality of another $800 million worth of scapegoating policies and shamelessly austere cuts to public education hits home.  Oh yea, and definitely avoid visiting websites where Capper Liebenthal, Jud Lounsbury, Lisa Mux, Greg Gordon and countless other citizen journalists and bloggers uncover and report on an ever-unfolding story as the federal government and Milwaukee County D.A.'s office closes in on Scott Walker and his Criminal Defense Fund via the ongoing John Doe investigation.  Can't leave that one out!

There are plenty of reasons to keep showing up at the Capitol, continue speaking our minds and serve as omnipresent reminders to a corpo-fascist like Walker that although we may not have recalled...we will assuredly never forget.  I hope to see a large turn out to sing songs of hope, labor, Solidarity, populism and especially, Wisconsin, inside of the Rotunda tomorrow.  Bring your singing voices (no matter how off-key,) bring your banners (no matter your level of artistic ability,) bring your signs (but not on sticks)  and bring your unbridled passion for social justice and the First Amendment.  Just make sure that you don't bring your snakes, though, (you hear me, Matt Johnson?)  as, for some unknown reason, those are still notably banned from entry into the Capitol. Don't be shy.  Remember to keep showing up inside of Our House whenever you have the chance...for as recently-passed activist Doleta Chapru penned in "Pass the Cheddar," one of her many Wisconsin-based song remakes, "We'll be here 'til Wisconsin gets better"...and we have a long ways to go before that day comes.  SOLIDARITY!!

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