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Jason Stein at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel lays out the specifics on what is going on in terms of Walker’s attempt to hold protesters financially liable and compel them to apply for permits for any demonstrations of four or more 72 hours in advance.
The Journal-Sentinel quotes several experts on the First Amendment who are skeptical that Walker's new polices are constitutional. This should not be surprising, since in some respects they are more onerous than those in Brunei -- which is ruled by a literal Sultan and has been under martial law since 1962.
Yet why would Walker go with this move, and why now? So far, what I’ve been hearing from Madison blogger Bluecheddar and local #occupy organizers Jenna Pope and Bill Fetty is that the specifics behind the restrictions are being taken as a direct response to the ‘Solidarity Sing Along’, which has gotten under Walker’s skin to say the least.
The sing alongs began at the State Capitol in Madison on March 11, 2011, and one has been held at the Capitol every week-day at noon since. And similarly (at least in terms of tactics) to occupation, “they serve to maintain a continuous progressive, pro-labor presence at the Capitol, as well as providing a place where union members, activists, and citizens can come together and rejuvenate their spirits through song as we continue the fight against Governor Walker and his Republican allies.”
Indeed, I've been assured that every day since the mass protests started dying down there has been an average of 50-100 Wisconsinites who go back to the site of the occupation to use song in a continuous action against Governor Walker.
The Wisconsin Department of Administration has announced a new policy that would require demonstrations inside the Capitol of four or more people to request permits of the state 72 hours in advance, and could require protest groups to reimburse the state for the cost of policing them, at a cost of $50 per officer per hour. WNPJ member group Solidarity Sing-Along would be severely impacted by the policy, as the group routinely brings more than 100 people into the Capitol rotunda for daily mass singing in support of worker rights and a fair budget, and has been doing so for more than 40 weeks. Representatives from the DOA and Capitol Police refused to clarify how they would respond to groups that continued to protest without a permit.
Take Action: Monday, December 19th will be the first day the Solidarity Sing-Along will be subject to the new policy. Please join the Sing-Along at noon in the Capitol rotunda on the 19th and subsequent days to support the group's exercise of the first amendment. WNPJ member group One Wisconsin Now has also created an online petition to allow you to express support for the singers and free speech.
Monday’s action to try and convince Scott Walker to #OccupyTheConstitution will be important to say the least. It will represent a similar standoff that we have been seeing across the country (and world) with the movement stemming from Occupy Wall Street, and which we likewise saw consistently at the State Capitol occupation last spring.
Get ready! The latest Netroots Nation regional conference -- Netroots New York on December 17th and 18th -- is coming up soon, and it couldn’t be in a better time or place.
Occupy Wall Street is rapidly transitioning, and the 99 percent movement at large is steaming full speed ahead. Likewise, I’m especially encouraged about how this conference could be used both as an assessment point for where we are at, as well as a launch pad for US as we progress further.
My confidence here is directly related to how last year’s Netroots Wisconsin conference helped ‘unite the Cheddarsphere’. As the Wisconsin uprising has illustrated, the power of connecting activists on the ground and online so that they can work in concert just can not be underestimated.
On my end, I have helped put together a Wisconsin panel with key players on the ground and in media from the occupation last spring and since, including:
[Update: unfortunately, due to last minute scheduling conflicts, Peter and Xavier will not be able to join us. Fortunately though, we picked up another amazing speaker, Blue Cheddar!]
Peter Rickman: union leader and UW-Madison graduate student that put his academic study of the labor movement to work, most famously by being a chief instigator of the Capitol occupation. In light of his efforts, Peter accepted the 2011 Paul Wellstone citizen leadership award on behalf of the Wisconsin movement at this summer’s Take Back the American Dream conference. You can check out video of him on the megaphone at that first historic demonstration below:
Jenni Dye: Wisconsin attorney, progressive activist, social media organizer, and candidate for Dane County Board. Jenni, aka @legaleagle, was one of the top tweeters during the Capitol occupation and a key organizer of the Walkerville tent city following from it. Moreover, her work at Walkerville in particular helped inspire the parallel Bloombergville occupation that proved to be so crucial to Occupy Wall Street.
John Quinlan: Madison, WI-based community leader, journalist, nonprofit development consultant, civil rights activist, media reformer, gay community leader, and radio show host. John has an almost unparallelled understanding of Wisconsin’s media environment, and has been documenting and producing social media coverage of the uprising through ventures like the Media Coverage of WI Capitol Protests Facebook group.
Xavier Lopez-Ayala: New Media Coordinator at The New Media Firm, which ran the online advertising for We Are Wisconsin in the recall elections. Xavier worked with on the ground activists in Wisconsin to build up their Facebook pages in the early days. The New Media Firm is a full service political media consulting and advertising agency specializing in the integration of traditional and new media for democratic candidates and progressive organizations.
I absolutely can not wait to get these Wisconsin activists in the same room as their New York compatriots, and couldn’t be more excited about the potential results from it!
The panel and the conference at large truly will not be events to miss. You can register here, and as we say in Wisconsin: forward.
At the crack of dawn this morning, the Job Party joined Rebuild the Dream, MoveOn, United NY and more at the Grand Hyatt Hotel where Mitt Romney was holding a fundraiser to sponge up Wall Street cash.
We chanted "We Are The 99%! Romney's Mr. 1%!" while holding up great "Greed is Good: Romney / Gekko 2012" signs. Check out our flickr set of photos of the festivities here.
Now of course, this tact of democratic discourse was none too appreciated by Romney's 1%-er friends. Likewise, when we went inside to try to speak with the would-be president of the 99% about JOBS, the director of security let us know in no uncertain terms that they were not interested:
As we left, we finished up with a "we'll be back!" message. Considering the extent to which Romney is a creature of the worst kind of Wall Street excesses---the latest of which being ties to an $8 billion ponzi scheme---he better look out.
"Let them eat cake!" rang out Sunday evening at our @OccupyGracie event outside of Mayor Bloomberg's Gracie Mansion.
While we rallied outside, New York City's exceedingly out of touch Mayor for the 1% was hosting an intimate dinner party for Senators and corporate executives to urge the SuperCommittee to "go big" and cut $4 trillion in federal spending.
This would mean that much more dire straights for the 99%, given their desire to slash Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and everything else essential to our survival. It is also that much more ludicrous considering that if they really wanted to eliminate the budget deficit, they could simply tax the top 1% through a Millionaires Tax and a Robin Hood Tax on Wall Street speculation and that would be that.
So, since we weren't invited, we thought we would show up to let them know just how far removed from the people they really are. Fortunately, Marie Antoinette and Louis the XVI were able to join in the festivities, and they brought along plenty of cake to serve to us peasants!
Yet alas, peasants in this day and age especially have no need for cake. We want jobs, as you can see in no uncertain terms in the response to Marie and Louis below:
A great time was had amongst the hundred or so participants at large, and we clearly got to the Mayor, if only considering the excessive police presence. They even shut down the public part next door to the mansion, much to the chagrin of the would-be dog walkers in the park. One thing I think even the least political amongst us know: dog-lovers are a constituency not to be trifled with!
And a big hat tip to our Marie Antoinette, Job Party star supporter Rosemary Topar, for absolutely nailing the role! We had only heard about Bloomberg's special plans on Friday, so this kind of event was only possible due to unflappable activists like herself stepping up (and then some) last minute.
Plus, Marie clearly had the line of the night, as when she was being rained down upon with chants of "off with her head!!", she responded in an inquisitive French accent: "but I thought this was a non-violent movement?!"
If only Mayor Bloomberg and all the other social-safety-net-slashing 1%-ers could see the irony.
This afternoon, Occupy Wall Street, the Job Party, and the coalition of organizations behind the Occupy The Board Room project headed to the big banks' door steps to deliver the over 6,000 letters submitted already from their customers.
You can check out our pictures here, but it's hard to put into detail the sheer emotion on display as speakers read aloud what they wished these bankers ruining their lives would understand. Occupy The Board Room has clearly struck a nerve, as evidenced by all of the banksters who came to the window to watch--and who could clearly hear us---as well as by the heartfelt nature by which participants expressed their most devastating bank-induced problems.
Emblematic of the effort at large, an Egyptian woman joined us in a show of solidarity with the 99%, and discussed how inspirational Occupy Wall Street is even to the Egyptian revolutionaries who so inspire us.
Inspiration in these movements runs reciprocally, as in Egypt inspiring the Wisconsin occupation, Wisconsin in turn inspiring New York, and then New York coming back around to inspire Egypt once again.
A foundation is being increasingly established. It is self-perpetuating, and it is grand.
The Occupy Wall Street movement is speeding along rapidly and acting as a platform for bigger and bigger #Occupy efforts.
This weekend, I was part of a group brainstorm at the Yes Lab with a host of brilliant and creative progressive New Yorkers---including Michael Moore(!)---to discuss one effort in particular: Occupy The Board Room.
As we told you last week, this action allows anyone to write a personal letter to a bank executive, which we then deliver to them.
The Occupy Wall Street Global Day of Action this Saturday was a galvanizing experience, as momentum from the victory but a day before at Zuccotti Park coalesced across the world.
There were actions all morning across New York, coming together aftewards to combine forces at Washington Square Park. From there, a march to Times Square commenced, culminating in a mass action that looked like this from above:
As per our forte, we repped Wisconsin as best we could, and received a near constant flow of responses almost exactly the same: “Hey, Wisconsin! You all started this! Thank you.”
Our photo set shows a series of others wearing Wisconsin gear of their own accord, and broadly, I can’t emphasize enough how open almost everyone on the ground seems to be to accrediting Wisconsin here.
However, very unlike Wisconsin, the NYPD seems to be growing increasingly out of control with their belligerent and dangerous actions towards peaceful protesters. Allison Kilkenny has got the scoop in her report back on the day for The Nation.
From this expanded perspective especially, the Job Party was that much prouder still to take part in the Occupy the Boardroom effort launched for the Global Day of Action, which gives everyone an opportunity to participate from the safety of the Internet.
This project came together through the Beyond May 12 coalition working in league with Occupy Wall Street organizers and netroots players, and provides a fantastic opportunity for anyone to take part in the world-wide occupations even if they can’t show up in person.
We can’t let momentum fizzle from the historic events only but days old, so take action, whether it be online by Occupying the Boardroom from anywhere, or in person at your local occupation.
Collectively and indvidually, let's keep progressing forward!
You can check out our Flickr set of photos and watch the video below of Nelini Stamp announcing this massive victory to the crowd of supporters risking arrest at Zuccotti Park:
This shocking turn of events was only possible due to both the heroic and rapid response of the large body of New Yorkers who showed up and put their bodies on the line, as well as to those taking action from afar by calling to voice their dissent and signing petitions online.
In fact, last night MoveOn.org delivered a petition of over 240,000 signatures to City Hall, and even led a march afterwards to a ritzy restaurant where Mayor Bloomberg was dining with the 1% to let him know in person!
I am still processing all that has happened, but truly feel proud to have been a part of it. As a Wisconsinite, I come from as strong a progressive tradition as there is, and doing my part to expand on these kind of Madison Moments makes me that much prouder still.
As they said on the People's Mic: "One of the most beautiful aspects of this movement is the solidarity!"
All in all, we must keep this momentum rolling however which way we can. In that vein, today should make tomorrow’s international day of action that much more powerful.
So get ready to take action, whether it be joining a local occupation's event or taking part in the awe inspiring online action to 'Occupy the Boardroom' from anywhere. This is all a building thing, and this movement is growing in force and scope as we learn from lessons past.
As consistent with the Madison Moment we described last week, our Wisconsin gear was praised widely, and the precipitating events dictated just how much New Yorkers are building momentum in a manner only seen in Wisconsin in recent history.
The event consisted of stopping by a series of Billionaires' houses to see how the 1% live and to let them hear what we think. Our stops included, NewsCorp CEO Rupert Murdoch, David Koch, Hedge Fund Manager John Paulson, Real Estate Developer Howard Milstein, and JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon.
Roughly 500 protesters, their chants and signs mirroring those deployed by the growing Occupy Wall Street movement, took to the streets on Manhattan's Upper East Side, home to many of the finance and media plutocrats the movement seeks to hold to account for the ruination of America's economy and politics.
The group, diverse in ethnicity, age and organizational affiliation, chanting, indignant and demanding justice, must surely have looked strange to passersby, who are accustomed to encountering primarily visitors to the Guggenheim and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, along, of course, with the denizens of the buildings on these streets. Here, the "and so are you" rejoinder to the "we are the 99 percent chance" becomes obsolete.