late monday as it gets colder and uglier in Madison

Although I’ve been sick, my spouse and I decided to go to the 6pm rally for a while. It’s been in the 20s today — not all that bad for here — but it is supposed to get down to 12 overnight. (That’s in Fahrenheit, or -11 for the rest of the world.) It is clear that the goal of clearing the Capitol is to get dissident voices out for the Governor’s budget message tomorrow. Rumors are flying. Continue reading “late monday as it gets colder and uglier in Madison”

policing, repression & solidarity

It’s getting tense today in Madison. The Department of Administration (not the Capitol Police) has issued a series of orders that have the effect of not allowing protesters into the Capitol and of making things tough for the few still inside. People who are authorized to enter by a legislator are being escorted in and out, not permitted to stay and join the protest. There are rumors that the small numbers still inside are being played on national media (FOX anyone?) as a sign of diminished protest enthusiasm. The police and protesters are trying to work ways around this, but the police are following orders and are apparently unwilling not to follow orders. Protesters accuse the Governor of trying to force a confrontation between police and protesters. There are actually lines in the Wisconsin Constitution that say that the Capitol must be open to the public so groups are filing suit to get court orders to reopen the Capitol. In short, even police who side with the protesters can engage in repression if they follow orders.  The commitment to peacefulness and cooperation has been the protest’s strength, but this commitment has [edit: I discovered this sentence fragment: the sentence should end with something like, but may be its undoing? or . . .  opens questions about this strategy?]

The Governor will be giving his budget message tomorrow and he is hoping to have a clear field. A rally has been called for 6.

policing a protest

I thought some of you would enjoy this local color on police-protester relations in Madison. From the article’s conclusion: “Members of the national media who were present to cover the arrests complained that there was no story here. They’re missing the point. The Governor ordered the Capitol closed and everyone in it ejected. Protestors didn’t leave, and the police didn’t make them. As I prepared to leave, I passed a few dozen protestors waiting in line for free pizza. As with everything else the protestors have done in the last two weeks, the line was peaceful.” By the way, the local group blog from which this comes, http://www.dane101.com is a good source of on the ground reports.

protest friday

Depending on your preferred news source, the “story” in Wisconsin is the ongoing legislative standoff and/or the building national solidarity movement. Here on the ground, it’s that, yes, but a lot more. From a state worker’s perspective and a social services for the needy perspective, there is no way this can end well, and a lot of ways it can end extremely badly. Continue reading “protest friday”

what, harvard, no fanfare this time?

Harvard has decided to start admitting applicants early again. Princeton immediately followed. In their announcement about eliminating early applications back in 2006, Harvard spoke of the “fairness” of such a move. The argument was that early admissions is a mechanism for richer people to have an easier time getting into college, either because of financial aid (whose decisions come in much later), access to information, or quality of college counseling. Harvard was right in 2006. I suspect they thought more people would follow their lead, and only Princeton and UVA made serious efforts to. That’s over now. Not as much of a celebration this time. Probably because they’ve given up on a significant step to create greater class equality in higher education.

madison and back to disparities

Quote of the evening (partly paraphrased): “I know you sat around and let Walker get elected. You-all didn’t think Walker was going to hurt YOU-all, just us Black and Brown and poor people.”

This seemed fitting, as I’ve been party to many political conversations about the narrowing of the protest to the collective bargaining issue. Continue reading “madison and back to disparities”

hitting close to home from 925 miles away

As I watch the protests from Madison (and get updates from our very own ontheground correspondent), I am amazed at the resolution and determination of the protestors. In no small part because watching what is happening in Madison affects good friends dearly and gives the rest of us pause to think about what kind of country we want to live in.

With deference to President Obama, this isn’t an “assault on unions;” this is an assault on the fundamental idea of equality in our country.

Unions are the medium through which equality is accomplished, not the end in themselves. I don’t support unions because they are unions; I support unions because they are one of the few institutions in this country that create a playing field that is anything close to level. This protest hits particularly close to home for me. I include among my friends members, leaders, and staff at TAA, as well as their sister union from UW-Milwaukee the MGAA. There are not two more capable and energetic locals.

Continue reading “hitting close to home from 925 miles away”