Monday, November 26, 2012

Corporate Media to Solidarity Singers: Resistance Is Futile

It's no deep dark secret that the Solidarity Singers are getting under the skins of the Republicans and their corporate overlords. The Republicans, especially Scott Walker, don't like looking bad or having anyone shine a light on their misdeeds.

In response, the Republicans have tried to squelch our free rights, including our Freedom of Speech and Freedom to Assemble.

When that didn't work, they brought in a hired henchman to try to intimidate the Singers. They resorted to going to the Singers' homes and workplaces to issue tickets for exercising their rights. Thus far, not one ticket has stuck, for the simple fact that they are without merit.

The Solidarity Singers have recently had their 500th day of this celebration of freedom and democracy. As the gentle reader might have surmised, this has sent our would-be corporate overlords into apoplectic fits.

The corporate media giant, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, belittles the Singers and expresses confusion on why the Singers haven't just rolled over yet:
But the Solidarity Singers won't accept defeat. Walker's attack on Wisconsin workers was so severe, Barwick said, that he deserves constant reminders of the damage he caused.

Their efforts might seem puzzling. Protests generally persist only as long as there's a chance to bring change. It can be hard to sustain that energy when there's no clear goal or realistic chance of success.

That's what happened with the Occupy movement, which grew out of anger at Wall Street and a financial system perceived to favor the richest 1%. The movement grew too large too quickly for organizers to keep up. Without leaders or specific demands, it eroded into an amorphous protest against everything wrong with the world and eventually fell apart.
Echoing that thought, radio squawker Jeff Wagner feels that the Singers are nothing but retired state workers with too much time on their hands:
To some, this group is simply continuing Madison's "long, proud tradition of public protests". Yeah, right. Actually, the so-called "Solidarity Singers" are walking, talking examples of God's way of telling you that you really, really, really need to get a life.

The group is composed largely of retired government workers (living on taxpayer provided pensions), bitter current government employees unhappy with having to contribute a bit more toward their health insurance and retirement accounts, aging middle-aged hippies unhappy that they missed the sixties, and college students.

At least some of the college students appear to be on the ten-year graduation plan. You know the ones. The kids that you started school with and were still there a decade later wondering why all the coeds look so young?

While I think it's ridiculous to glamorize these dead-enders, I recognize that there are probably more useless ways to spend your time than showing up every noon to disturb the peace at the Capitol. Frankly, I'm not sure what those more useless ways would be - but there are undoubtedly some.
I doubt that Wagner even noted, much less appreciated, his own irony when he referred to the Capitol as a "place of business."

Someone really needs to sit down with that idiot and teach him the history of Fightin' Bob LaFollette and the People's House, with the emphasis on people versus businesses and corporations.

What the angst and frustration coming from the right tells us is that they had not done their homework very thoroughly or very well.

If they had, they would have known about Wisconsin's long history of progressivism and our strong passion for justice. They would have learned that we are of a hardy stock. We are people that fish through ice. We blow leaves in the rain. We go to Packers games wearing cheese on our heads but with no shirts.

We are the angry badgers that make honey badgers look like newly born kittens.

If they had done their homework, they would not have been surprised and stunned when the state went strongly with reelecting President Barack Obama and electing Senator-Elect Tammy Baldwin. They would understand that the only reason that they still have control of either house is their gerrymandering, as that the Democratic candidates brought in more votes statewide than their Republican opponents.

However, freedom is not free.

The Solidarity Singers are fighting the tickets that Chief Erwin is cravenly handing out. They have a slue of lawyers, including Bob Jambois and Lester Pines, representing them. While some of them doing it pro bono, costs still come up, for the jury fees and such.

So they need our help as they stand up for all of us. From a Facebook entry discussing this issue:
Citizens are being ticketed (similar to a traffic ticket) for singing political protest songs at the Wisconsin State Capitol from noon to 1pm Mon thru Fri... (non-work hours) These citations are "valued" at $200.50 and up. As of this morning, 102 citations have been issued since new Capitol Police Chief, former Marine and body guard to Governor Scott Walker, David Erwin took over.

We are not afraid and we're not going away. Political speech is deeply revered and famously protected by the Wisconsin State Constitution and the intentional design of the Wisconsin State Capitol Building. We are ALL going to court and have requested jury trials to secure ALL Wisconsin Citizens' rights to protest our government without asking permission from the government to do so. See the problem?

We have some kick-butt attorneys who are representing us for low or no cost. But at $36 per jury fee, the costs are mounting, and we are beginning to prepare materials for those jury trials, which also will cost a chunk of change. If you have the desire to hang onto your constitutionally-guaranteed rights of freedom of speech and freedom to assemble peacefully, please consider donating whatever you feel you can, to our PayPal Free Speech Protection Fund.

How? Go to PAY PAL and write in this email address as recipient: PROTECTWI@GMAIL.COM

If you prefer to send a check, please Facebook message "Sue Trace" for details on how to help.

How else can you help? Come sing with us. Your chance of receiving a "Citizenship Participation Achievement Certificate" (as we are beginning to call the tickets) is low unless you are already known to the Capitol Police, so please don't stay away! But, we have legal help, and it has no stronger connotation than a traffic ticket, so don't worry about being arrested.
Since they are standing up for us, the least we can do is stand up with them.


  1. Thanks. After seeing the excerpt posted at D.U., I ended up donating twice.

    Those of us without particularly good singing voices -- or frankly, with Totally Horrible singing voices -- should use this opportunity to prop those more musically gifted than ourselves.

  2. I don't have a great voice, but I still go two or three times a week. It's fun, and when you're with a group, individual voices don't matter as much. Thus far, I haven't been ticketed, so I can confirm that the risk of getting cited is low.