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WI protesters continue to occupy State Capitol

Since union advocates are about as welcome on the teebee -- except for Russia Today -- as single payer advocates on career "progressive" blogs, I thought I'd check Pravda and Izvestia for something current. Nothing, but what did you expect? McClatchy:

MADISON, Wis. — Faced with several hundred drum-beating, dancing [#36] and chanting demonstrators who refused to leave the Wisconsin state Capitol after the doors were closed at 4 p.m. Sunday [#173], police decided to let the crowd spend the night and continue the protest against Gov. Scott Walker's budget-repair bill.

"The people who are in the building will be allowed to stay," Capitol Police Chief Charles Tubbs said Sunday night. "There will be no arrests unless people violate the law."

Well, I should hope not. Not to be snarky, since Tubbs did the right thing, after all -- make public space for non-violent protest -- but did I not get the memo? Or can police just "arrest" people whenever they feel like it?

It was unclear how long the protesters might be able to maintain their nightly vigil. The policy will be reviewed, Tubbs said [and by whom?] ...

Tubbs announced the decision to let the protesters stay after he saw how they moved aside while work crews went about cleaning the Capitol, including mopping and polishing floors [#33].

"People are very cooperative," Tubbs said. "I appreciate that."

It was yet another surreal [A little editorializing from McClatchy, no?] moment in the continuing saga of political chaos at the Capitol.

"We delivered a message to Governor Walker. We'll continue to be here to kill this bill," said Peter Rickman, 28, of Neenah, during a news conference [#10] held shortly before the doors shut.

Protesters said they were prepared to be peacefully arrested to make their point [#196] that the Capitol should remain open ["remain open" is nice framing. Kudos to whoever did that.]

"No one had planned to stay here," said Alex Hanna, 25, a University of Wisconsin-Madison student. "It emerged organically." ...

Among the signs: "Please remember this is a peaceful protest." [#8]

"Cheddar Revolution." [#7]

"Using a recession created on Wall Street to try to bust unions on Main Street." ...

At a few minutes past 4 p.m., an announcement came over the sound system: "The Capitol is now closed."

Scores of demonstrators left the building, while a few hundred made their way to the first floor. They vowed to hold their ground inside the building that has emerged as the focal point of pro-labor demonstrations [#137].

Dena Ohlinger, 22, a University of Wisconsin-Madison student, said for the last week, she had gone to classes and worked during the day and used a yoga mat and blanket while sleeping atop the cold marble floors of the Capitol at night.

"Everyone has been incredible here," she said. "Regular social barriers have been broken down."

Blanca Martin, 29, of Stevens Point, said the protests accomplished many things even as the budget-repair bill makes its way through the Legislature. All 14 Democratic state senators fled to Illinois to block final passage of the bill.

"We've had unity of purpose, unity of spirit," Martin said. "Everyone who has been here has been transformed for life."

During the protest, demonstrators organized cleanup details, set up a system of marshals and brought in food. [Self-organization is the story here, too, #174]

"There has never been a cleaner group of protesters or a more public health-conscious group of protesters," said Matt Kearny, 28, a research assistant at UW-Madison.

Shortly before 8 p.m., a worker on a waxing machine polished the main floor of the rotunda and dozens of demonstrators chanted: "Thank you. Thank you."


NOTE Izvestia has a similar story, buried in the Economix section. Here's the tell:

I happened to be visiting the University of Wisconsin in Madison last week.

Izvetia couldn't be bothered to send a reporter? Even so -- or perhaps exactly because the author, Nancy Folbre, is not a "reporter," -- there's some good information in the article:

The extraordinarily passionate yet disciplined, virtually nonstop demonstrations in the state capitol building have dramatized opposition to a national Republican legacy party strategy: tax breaks for the rich [passed by the Ds], reductions in public sector wages and benefits [advocated by Ds also, for example Andrew Cuomo], privatization of public enterprises [accomplished de facto by a D right here in Zone 5b] and strategic investments in political camouflage [like the Ds don't do that]. ...

Both posters and T-shirts request respect for the predominantly female public sector workers who have been the particular target of Governor Walker’s proposed legislation: “Care for Teachers the Way They Care for Your Children” and “Nurses’ Rights = Patient Rights.” ....

Meanwhile, the less-affluent critics of the governor’s plan were contributing money to send pizza to demonstrators camping out in the capitol. The large white boxes were immediately converted to additional poster boards. When pizza satiation set in, New Yorkers started a fund-raising campaign called “Send Pastrami to the Cheeseheads.”

I can't find a link to "Send pastrami to the cheeseheads," but it's interesting that the tactic of using America's sophisticated supply chain to send the protesters stuff emerged organically in many places, not just here at Corrente.

NOTE Krugman notices the parallel between the news blackout today on unions and on the Iraq demonstrations in 2003. Seven years, and nothing has changed. That's odd. Or not. Joseph Goebbels would be proud.

UPDATE Now there is a story in Izvestia's US section (via Susie). There wasn't when I started this post.

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quixote's picture
Submitted by quixote on

the legal idea behind "arrest." That you do it on suspicion of a crime, and all like that.

Capitol Police Chief Charles Tubbs said Sunday night. "There will be no arrests unless people violate the law."

I've seen Tubbs on First Draft's videos, and he seems like he knows exactly what he's doing. So far, anyway. I bet he was explaining for the benefit of the doofus he was talking to.

It's been amazing, watching First-Draft's videos and reading their reports from Madison. Such spirit, it comes right through the LCD!

That makes the whole news blackout triply obvious.