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The Fight Is Not Over: 20 Thousand Rally At Wisconsin State Capitol.

By Patrick DePula

Pat mAcdonald of PurgAtory Hill performs at the Wisconsin Capitol Rally, May 14th.

Madison, WI. The sky was gray, the temperature below 50, and the wind brisk.  Perfect Wisconsin protesting weather.  Nearly 20,000 people came out to the capitol last Saturday to protest the Walker Administrations’ war on the middle class.   You’d never know that the Wisconsin Uprising continues if you get your news from the mainstream media. The rally opened with music by PurgAtory Hill, an intense and otherworldly Sturgeon Bay duo consisting of grammy-nominated Pat mAcdonald, and his partner MelanieJane. Pat dedicated the song “Reset” to resetting Wisconsin government. Essentially, PurgAtory Hill has taken delta blues, amped it up to 11, added some serious low end rumble and injected some bad-ass rock and roll to create a sound that manages to be both working-class and anti-class. As the band played, the crowd continued to grow in size. At the end of their 45 minute set, Pat encouraged the drum circle folks to give him a beat, which resulted in a spontaneous jam that included the massed crowd singing “re-call Wal-ker”.  Shortly after their set, MelanieJane confessed “I’ve never really been part of a rally like this. When I saw the union members marching in from all sides, I started to tear up a little”. Video Here.

Former Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz addresses the crowd to rousing applause.

Former mayor Dave Cieslewicz opened the program with a joke; “Hi I’m Dave,  I used to be Mayor of Madison, but when I was, they never let me speak. So today I arranged it so I could.” he went on to describe how we’ve created a true, national progressive movement that won’t stop at simply fighting for union rights.  “First, we’re going to recall those republican senators.  Then we’re going to recall Walker and take our state back”. Thousands roared in agreement.

Sen Jon Erpenbach (D- Middleton) addresses the protestors.

State Senator Jon Erpenbach (D- Middleton) took the stage next, accompanied by his son. He encouraged those attending the rally to focus on helping the democrats running in the recall elections. “This is the last time I want to see you in Madison,” he said to the massed protestors. “You can go vacation in Minocqua and help out Jim Holperin, or La Crosse, which is beautiful right now, and help out Jen Shilling.”

Ben Manski, former National Green Party Co-Chair and Liberty Tree Foundation Executive Director

Up next is Ben Mansksi, former national co-chair of the green party and assembly candidate. He stated that Walker’s budget was designed in back rooms by lobbyists and special interest groups in order to “tax the poor and feed the rich”.  He encouraged continued resistance and then led the protestors in a passionate chant; “We reject your budget!”

Mahlon Mitchell, President of the Professional Firefighters of Wisconsin.

Mahlon Mitchell, the charismatic president of the Professional Firefighters of Wisconsin, said “We have touched lives of Americans all over the United States, and they’re watching”. He recalled a recent trip to Oregon where he heard a new chant that certainly applies to the uprising in Wisconsin. He then led the crowd with “Banks got bailed out, and people got sold out”. He followed that with a question. “What is the role of the union? Well I’m gonna tell you.  The American Dream. He added “The role of the union is to make the American dream an opportunity to live with dignity, and to enjoy the fruits of your labor”.
Several other speakers addressed the protestors including Mary Bell, the President of the Wisconsin Education Association Council. “We are still here, and we are waiting to be heard”. Bell said,  ”They thought you would give up. That you’d go home and watch Dancing with the Stars and you’d forget about the largest power-grab in the history of the state of Wisconsin! Well, that didn’t happen”. Bell added,  ”They thought you’d forget about cuts to seniors, to poor children and to schools in this state. Well that didn’t happen either.”
90 days after the first protest against Governor Scott Walker’s draconian budget repair bill in February, we’re still taking to the streets.  We are unbowed.  Wisconsin citizens have  initiated 6 historic recall elections against republican state senators.  Scores of new activists and leaders are involved in making a difference. We’ve shut down banks that financed the Walker Campaign, occupied the State capitol for weeks, held up the egregious collective bargaining bill in the courts, and much more.  Dave Cieslewicz was correct; this is not just about Wisconsin, this is the birth of a new national progressive movement.  Do we stand by in our communities while a mean-spritied majority consolidates power? Or do we fight?  In Wisconsin we fight with a ferocity that made the “Mamma Grizzly” herself appear more like a frightened screeching weasel as she lied about “violent rent a mobs” and “vandalized businesses”.  While the national media came out in force to report on a tea party event that saw barely 1000 people show up, they ignored the 10′s of thousands that massed at the capitol this past Saturday. Well, we’re still here.

A creative take on what makes up Gov. Walker's Budget.

Rallying at the Capitol.

The UAW Arrives.

Firefighters coming through with bagpipes.

Look at those "thugs". Right.





30 Responses to “The Fight Is Not Over: 20 Thousand Rally At Wisconsin State Capitol.”
  1. JUST A THOUGHT says:

    Why is there a web link for the TRASH PALIN FAMILY in this article?

    Anyone wanting to read about this HILLBILLY FAMILY can purchase
    People Magazine and other trashy tabloids at the checkout counter.

    Who cares about SARAH WHO??

    Go Wisconsin! Continue to raise your voices, your fists and stand up
    to your corrupt Gov. Scott Walker. May your example start a revolution
    against corrupt governors throughout the USA.


  2. pccel says:

    Patrick, thank you for the excellent update on the WI situation; I’ve followed it since the beginning; my father was born in WI and I spent a lot of time in Madison during my college years as it was/is such a great city with wonderful people. I applaud the tenacity of the WI people who continue the protests, the recall efforts, etc (I hear it’s hard for Walker to go to any official gathering w/o being met by protesters). As I live out of state, I have supported the recall efforts the only way that I can and that is financially and will continue to do so. I hope others will do the same especially when it is time for the Walker recall efforts to really get under way.

  3. scout says:

    ON Wisconsin!!
    Kloppenburg Responds to Shameful ‘Journal Standard’ Editorial Mocking Need for WI ‘Recount’
    By Brad Friedman:

    “Why recounts are a vital part of election process”
    By Joanne Kloppenburg

    snip “The right to vote is fundamental. It is a right that courageous people fight and die for every day. In America, that right carries with it a promise: that elections are fair and open, that election results are untainted by deceit or fraud and that the electoral process provides every eligible voter with an equal opportunity to privately and independently cast a ballot.” snip

  4. Alaska Pi says:

    Go WI !!!!

  5. Kath the Scrappy says:

    Thanks Patrick! I had read that this event was being organized but this is the first and BEST reporting that I’ve seen.

    Go Wisconsin, the nation is counting on you to keep leading the way!

  6. Zyxomma says:

    Tens of thousands of protesters don’t rate a peep on the news, but a couple of TP idiots get 10 minutes. Cognitive dissonance.

  7. ks sunflower says:

    I am so proud of the people of Wisconsin who are standing against Gov. Walker and his corporate agenda.

    I wish Kansans had half the backbone, half the intelligence, and half the spirit of the protesters in Wisconsin. No one seems to notice here that Gov. Brownback and his Sec. of State Kobach are enacting repressive laws against women, against education and against working people. Our Governor wants to repeal all taxes for corporations – can you imagine??? Yet, all over Kansas the only sound is that of crickets chirping.

    I salute and applaud the people of Wisconsin. You are the role models for citizens across our country. How I wish Kansans were more like you! Thank you for your courage, your tenacity, and your desire to ensure democracy works as it should. Please continue. If you achieve your goals, we will need to follow your example here.

  8. ibwilliamsi says:

    My heroes!

  9. DuckDriver says:

    Stay strong my brothers and sisters in Wisconsin. You shall prevail!


  10. DonnaInMichigan says:

    Congrats to Track and Britta on their marriage…

    Yes’m, they had a shot gun marriage there in Alaska.

    Todd and Sarah along with Duane and Elizabeth Hanson, are just proud parents!!

    Every girl dreams of her wedding day, by wearing black jeans, black shirt, and white blazer!!

    The “happy couple” will probably be announcing their little happy news, I would say in about a month or two…..

    Shall we take bets on what the child’s name will be?

    My pic? STREAM.,,20496049,00.html

    • tigerwine says:

      Donnal – thanks for the link. I haven’t heard about this! Why is SP expounding on all things political, yet has not said anything about the marriage of her son? And, why, is the bigger event at Alyeska going to be in the winter, supposedly when family and friends can be there? Having lived in AK, I know how busy folks are during the fishing season, but honestly this makes me think of when SP brought Bristol’s into the nationa spotlight, and said she and Levi would get married in December.

      I truly wish Track and Britta the best, but this is truly bizarre, the way SP has an opinion on every subject under the sun, but fails to announce her son’s marriage.

      I’m off to finish reading Dunn’s book.

      • Riverwoman says:

        Because in six more months, the baby will be in attendance.


        • ibwilliamsi says:

          I think baby will come several months early and weigh at least 9 lbs. They’ll blame pre-eclampsia.

      • Baker's Dozen says:

        We must be careful not to exercise hypocrisy with this wedding. The bride’s parents are “thrilled.” Whether they are or not, this is the correct public response. Remember how horrified we were with Bristol’s ads saying that it was hard to be a teen parent and she wished she’d chosen differently? We were all aghast at what that said about her baby and how he’d feel when he’s older. And, frankly, it’s the same for the Palins. No matter how they feel, at least they’re supportive in public. Her lack of twitters is a relief after she paraded poor Bristol around on stage.
        I look at the humiliation for Maria Shriver, for her children, for the household “help,” whose name escapes me, her ex husband, and the son. How about other politico’s wives? There have been a lot of humiliated people out there. Those that acted despicably got what they deserved. The innocent family they drug into this did not.
        I applaud the families for being publicly supportive, and hope they really feel this way. No matter when the baby comes, I hope everyone is kind to them. No matter what they deserve, the baby deserves a break.

    • ibwilliamsi says:

      Do I detect a strategically placed bridal bouquet? A “baby doll” top?

    • beth says:

      I had to chuckle…on the Open Thread for the day, I made comment that $P hadn’t Twittered about said wedding. I snarked too soon…she’s Tweeted it. Well, she’s Tweeted a link. To a Sea4Pee site which reports the People story verbatim (and an ABC story that also reports the People story). Somehow I was sort of hoping for a full-blown Fb announcement, or something, from a mother to her son and new daughter-in-law about how to have a good marriage. I had to console myself over that let down by reading the comments made on the C4P site…the bots did not disappoint. beth.

  11. Marilyn says:

    Love ‘screeching weasel’….nothing could be truer…go Wisconsin!!

  12. barbara says:

    it is a great state, Wisconsin. keep on trucking.

  13. Mo says:

    This is the best thing I’ve read all day. Thank you.

  14. BeeJay says:

    Thank you for the update, Patrick!

    I think Walker’s whole problem is he forgot what a real badger is like: lots of sharp teeth, big claws, and absolutely hates being cornered.

    Go Badgers! On Wisconsin!

  15. Nan (aka roswellborn) says:

    Go Wisconsin!

    You all ROCK!

  16. Baker's Dozen says:

    Wow! Progress is a law, you know. Set backs are only temporary and actually end up aiding progress.

  17. GoI3ig says:

    The best trick of the GOP is how they get people to vote against their own interests in mass. I would be willing to bet that many of the affected union members voted for Walker.

    The same scenario is playing out in Anchorage. Just because the unions representing police,fire, teachers,etc support a particular candidate, it doesn’t mean the rank and file will vote that way.

    Many members of the APD and AFD bemoan the Sullivan administrations policies, and then in the next breath admit that they voted for him. It is paradox I have never fully understood. I wonder if these “conservatives” have a hate of homosexuals and abortions that is enough to make them Republican above all else?

    • BeeJay says:

      I’m no Alaskan or Anchorage resident, but did Sully truly and fully show his stripes before and during the election? Methinks that much like $P, he is simply not who he said he was. The rank and file might not have been able to perceive the difference, and thought him the least of evils, not realizing he was the evil. Just like we lower 48 voters were told: $P was simply the gov at first, and not the whiny narcissistic power-mad creature that she really is.

      • TX SMR says:

        Sully was as slimy as could be — it was quite apparent during the campaigning.

        I could not then, and still cannot, understand the people all over Anchorage & Mat-Su who were voting against their best interests.

        It’s interesting to me how group-think works… A firefighter down the road who voted for Sully. Military bible thumping whackos next door to them pouring poison into their brains 24/7. The military couple across the street who voted for McLame then Sully, because “Republicans are the ones who support the military…” And we, as oil-industry employees, surrounded by a bunch of brainwashed oil-industry-rhetoric-spewing idiots.

        Now that we live in Texas it is unbearable to me. Of course it was in Alaska before we left, as well. We left about a month after Sully was elected, and it was a good time to leave.

        I think about all of this often here. Cognitive dissonance. Anti-immigration smack-talkers who have Mexican men out mowing their lawns — who else can they get to do it for $20 a week? Same with their housecleaner.

        I hope that the people fighting the good fight in WI inspire others in other states. I am with you in spirit!

        On the very positive side for us, personally: we are moving to Denver next month and leaving the land of crazy! Woot woot!

        • BeeJay says:

          Good luck in Denver! I used to be an oil person myself – I worked in marketing for Texaco in the Northwest for 8 1/2 years. Glad to be out of it certainly.

          Here in AZ we have our own issues, as most folk are aware. Loons galore, and I don’t mean the avian kind.

        • mike from iowa says:

          My sister and brother-in-law live in Longmont,Colo. He was employed by a refinery in Denver and recently retired after refinery was sold. Then he was rehired to install new computer system for them. He is quite the Rethuglican,but,with all the medical problems he and my sister deal with,I am hoping his political stance softens. I love those two to death,I just don’t like their politics.

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