If you have "no place to go," come here!

"We Are Wisconsin" Columbia, SC report back

LostClown's picture



Yep that's me. Many people commented on my sign and how good it was. I really wonder how many of them know who the Wobs are and what we did for this country. More on that later when I talk about the unionist from Savannah, GA (yes we had people from as far away as SAVANNAH, GA) who hugged me because I'm IWW; report back now.

There were about 150/160 people there at the start - we were kinda scattered all over the park with people standing near the street holding signs. Here's a picture of the most condensed area. I really should have gone up and taken a picture of the whole park, but I was too busy cheering and chanting OBU! OBU! (Yeah I'm a Wob, sue me.)


We had about 10/15 counter protesters (located off camera - they constantly had a crowd of people arguing with them too) who waned to about 6 at the end of the protest. Guess they didn't like us. About halfway through the protest someone got up to speak and talked about how the counter protesters kept saying that they would recite the pledge implying that they were "more American" then we were. So she led the crowd in the pledge. For those of you following my twitter you would note that this inspired the tweet "Since when do we have to prove our Americanness at protests? #wiunion #wearewi #solidarity" ntoddpax Tweeted back at me "Aren't protests the ultimate in Americanness?" A Big HELL YEAH to ntoddpax there. For those not in the know America was founded on civil disobedience. So there counter-protesters. Also your signs "Liberals get out of SC" are dumb because it's not just liberals who happen to be in unions. Newsflash: EVERYONE CAN BE IN A UNION and in fact REPUBLICANS ARE UNIONISTS TOO. My friend in the teacher's union in IN says that the head of the union efforts in her school is a Republican.




As was posted here the other day, what if Obama had bailed out the states instead of Wall Street? Well this guy has something to say about it:




This was one of my favourite signs and I wish would have been on a huge placard:

This guy saw me and angled his sign at me making sure I saw it. I had to try really hard not to break out into "Solidarity Forever" over the speaker at the time.

About the speakers - we had a huge line that never seemed to go down. It was straight speakers for 2 hours. People just kept lining up, even people who weren't in unions (being in SC that's not surprising) who wanted to speak out saying why they were there supporting unions and worker's rights. It was pretty awesome.

The guy on the right is AWESOME. He's the one that hugged me. He was talking about how if this country was still IWW that they'd never try this shit because there'd be a general strike. (OK I mentioned the general strike, but he fervently agreed.) At the end of the protest he was chanting ONE BIG UNION! He has an idea to take the recent tax cuts from the paychecks and put them into a union fund across unions and have a national general strike fund. That 2/3% Social Security (?) cut would garner a national strike fund millions of dollars in it's first year. It would also move the big existing unions closer to consolidating into OBU. Though I still think they should organise into the IWW which is worker run and none of the bureaucracy and problems that the big trade unions run into. It's been rubber stamped locally and is moving up the food chain as we speak so it's looking good. We're gonna keep in touch. Exciting!

So that was my day. I leave you with this song, because I wish the rally had ended with it instead of "We Shall Overcome."

Solidarity Forever
When the union's inspiration through the workers' blood shall run,
There can be no power greater anywhere beneath the sun;
Yet what force on earth is weaker than the feeble strength of one,
But the union makes us strong.
Solidarity forever,
Solidarity forever,
Solidarity forever,
For the union makes us strong.
Is there aught we hold in common with the greedy parasite,
Who would lash us into serfdom and would crush us with his might?
Is there anything left to us but to organize and fight?
For the union makes us strong.
It is we who plowed the prairies; built the cities where they trade;
Dug the mines and built the workshops, endless miles of railroad laid;
Now we stand outcast and starving midst the wonders we have made;
But the union makes us strong.
All the world that's owned by idle drones is ours and ours alone.
We have laid the wide foundations; built it skyward stone by stone.
It is ours, not to slave in, but to master and to own.
While the union makes us strong.
They have taken untold millions that they never toiled to earn,
But without our brain and muscle not a single wheel can turn.
We can break their haughty power, gain our freedom when we learn
That the union makes us strong.
In our hands is placed a power greater than their hoarded gold,
Greater than the might of armies, magnified a thousand-fold.
We can bring to birth a new world from the ashes of the old
For the union makes us strong.

No votes yet


Submitted by Lex on

I'm a big fan of the IWW. And i'll admit that i haven't looked really deeply into it, but it seems that there's not much left of its former self.

I certainly agree that a strong IWW would change the political landscape in America, and it may be the only union organization capable of representing the majority of American workers anymore...i.e. so many others are fairly narrow in who can be represented (though to be fair, unions like the UAW represent more than autoworkers).

Maybe i'm wrong and there is something left. I hope i am, because the IWW is about the only group that i can see myself joining.

Sidenote: "The Preacher and the Slave" is one of my all time favorite songs, and the Little Red Song Book is full of great ones. I sing it at work all the time and can't see a Starvation Army collection point without breaking into song that the bell ringer doesn't understand.

(a modern take on the tune)

LostClown's picture
Submitted by LostClown on

Far far from it. Haven't you read about us in the NYTimes? Well you could have read about our Starbucks Union Campaign there. That campaigns taken off like gangbusters. We even had to go to the NLRB and had a judgement in our favour. Small shops across the nation are being organised too, including sexual assault/dv hotlines in Portland, etc. Everyone thinks we're dead, but we're not really dead.

The South Street Campaign in Philly, various campaigns in Portland and NYC, the list goes on and on.

EDIT: Plus I hear that the IWW table in SF was cleaned out today and the IWWs in the Midwest are being swamped lately. The fire has been lit!

Submitted by Lex on

No on the NYTimes, but i have heard about the Starbucks campaign.

Last night i looked into it, and i'll be signing up...not that there's any chance of unionizing where i work given that i'm the only full-time employee. On the other hand, maybe that makes it the easiest shop in the world to unionize....

LostClown's picture
Submitted by LostClown on

Welcome Fellow Worker!

danps's picture
Submitted by danps on

Thanks for going and for the report back! (Incidentally, you've performed more journalism on the protests than CNN has today.)

LostClown's picture
Submitted by LostClown on

Yeah I figured.

twig's picture
Submitted by twig on

You not only scooped CNN but McClatchy, msnbc, NY Times, Yahoo and probably lots more. They had nothing on any of the protests, unless I missed it.

Well done!!

Submitted by hipparchia on

but obama's worst night mare is baaaaack! the 60s! oh noes!

the aerial views of the crowds are amazing.

Submitted by lambert on

Seems like a success from WI. No sensitive singer/singer songwriters need apply.

OK, Pete Seeger. But I think that the pervasiveness of drums is important and unifying, and importantly, is not necesarily performance with a player and an audience, hence can never devolve into spectacle.

Also, tactically, drums can work a non-digital hence non-jammable signaling devices, unlike guitars, so there is a stacking of functions.

On the sixties, no no no no. The sixties succeeded on some social and many cultural aspects, but we are now living the consequences of our failures political economy.

Also, I have no doubt that Versailles will adopt the sixties framing as a generational wedge. Please, let us not reinforce that.

UPDATE This kind of headline -- Largest crowds since Vietnam War march in Wisconsin -- is exactly what is not wanted. We can't prevent it, so all we can do is not play into it.

LostClown's picture
Submitted by LostClown on

of the IWW. They were accessible. Not like the songs of the 60's. I say we sing those songs. ;) I mean Solidarity Forever is timeless and it's not all introverted and it's very accessible.

Submitted by wlarip on

about that.

For any movement to succeed, it has to involve majority youth. They have the energy and lack of fear.

The early '60's were about 'life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness'. The apogee of the descent into 'drugs, sex and rock and roll' began with the assassination of JFK. It was a seminal event because it signaled that 'they' would rather kill us than permit change.

The Middle East is changing by virtue of the energy of the youth. What does Gaddafi say? It's the drug-fueled youth inspired by the West. We will always be demonized. It goes with the territory. I do agree that Abby Hoffman higher than a kite does not win the heart of a Kansas farmer.

Youth is about egocentric naivety. That is why it does not shrink from things that make the rest of us cringe. Altruism is an acquired taste and usually develops with age once freed from the corrupting influence of greed. If you want to enlist the youth to mobilize against DADT, embed the message in a Lady Gaga video. They respond to the honesty and the music. That's '60's from the jump.

Demonization also has an upside. There are a billion people outside this country who know we are being lied to because they have been lied to for several centuries. You don't have to look far to realize what is happening is global. To reject the established order is to win friends and influence people.

I agree the key issue is how it is phrased. But to reclaim the '60's has more upside than down.

Submitted by hipparchia on

But to reclaim the '60's has more upside than down.

Submitted by lambert on

But to relive the sixties has more downside than up. Show me how the reclamation is taking place in some other way than than mere repetition, and I'll be a lot more sympathetic. "Hey hey ho ho, Governor Walker has got to go?"

UPDATE Just looking at outcomes: Positives (leaving aside brilliant cultural efflorescence in, say, music) -- women's liberation, gay liberation, civil rights legislation; alternative technology, environment. Negatives: disconnect to unions, Weatherman fail, overwhelming fail in political economy, leading to the rise of neoliberalism, flattening of real wages for a generation, financialization of everything, our current plight. My failure to react to the reaction as much as anyone's, for sure. But "How could we have seen" is not an answer.

Submitted by hipparchia on

i don't even know where to start on this. srsly.

Submitted by wlarip on

wrong reply.. sorry!

Submitted by hipparchia on

see below...

Submitted by hipparchia on

it's not helpful as a starting point, but yeah, it was my first, and overwhelming, reaction.

Submitted by hipparchia on

impressive turnout for a southern state.

using the payroll tax cut to fund a general strike - i like it!

Submitted by scoff on

are troubling.

Too much gray. Maybe it's just the photos you posted, but there aren't many young people in the crowd, and that's a major concern for the future of unions and America.

Submitted by lambert on

The WI crowd was much more diverse, from the images. Has anybody done any analysis on this?

Submitted by hipparchia on

moveon? positive?

mixed, at best. yesterday's rallies, reported on by wlarip and lostclown, were moveon-related - one good thing that moveon has contributed to the overall effort.

but my point was about the demographics question: why wi and sc rallies were so different in age. i'm guessing that part of it is the age demographics of the different groups that started/sponsored/publicized/wev the different protests.

LostClown's picture
Submitted by LostClown on

there were only a handful of African Americans there and they were mostly off camera when I took that picture. They did, however, all get up and speak, which was nice.

Submitted by hipparchia on

They did, however, all get up and speak, which was nice.

yay! i'm really glad to hear that. thanks.

LostClown's picture
Submitted by LostClown on

but I agree not too many. The few of us that were there all drove long distances to be there however (the other grad student drove 3 hours - I drove 2.5)

LostClown's picture
Submitted by LostClown on

In the upstate (where I live) we were on both the Spartanburg and Greenville local news (the 2 biggest cities in the Upstate), so yay! they even said that they thought future rallies may be even bigger. (So reports a friend)