protest in madison

Scatterplotters may know that this is a week of protests in Madison over the new governor’s “budget repair” bill that includes repealing most collective bargaining rights for public employees. Someone posted a 30 second clip of the rally on Youtube from today’s midday rally, which seems even bigger than yesterday’s rally that was estimated at 10,000 – 12,000 and  included a lot of labor union contingents. (My impression was that the modal attendee yesterday was middle-aged, not college age.) Hundreds of people spent the night providing 2 minutes of testimony each at the legislative hearing on the bill. Today’s rally was augmented by the “sick in” of Madison’s public school teachers which led the district to cancel classes. With the schools closed, whole families are downtown at the rally, as well as substantial contingents from all the high schools. This is largely a “company town” in the sense that government employees predominate, so an attack on state employee benefits is an attack on the whole community. Outside of Madison, it seems to be the unions who are stepping up and see this as a continuation of the attack on organized labor. Beyond that, we’ve gotten to the position where government employees have become stigmatized and safe “others” to attack as part of political career-building.

Author: olderwoman

I'm a sociology professor but not only a sociology professor. I keep my name out of this blog because I don't want my name associated with it in a Google search. Although I never write anything in a public forum like a blog that I'd be ashamed to have associated with my name (and you shouldn't either), it is illegal for me to use my position as a public employee to advance my religious or political views, and the pseudonym helps to preserve the distinction between my public and private identities. The pseudonym also helps to protect the people I may write about in describing public or semi-public events I've been involved with. You can read about my academic work on my academic blog --Pam Oliver

2 thoughts on “protest in madison”

  1. That is a really impressive number of people for a small city/small state. It is great to see people actually outside protesting–it’s like a Tea Party for the left ;).


    1. Outside protesting and inside protesting — some of us slept inside the Capitol last night, and I think more of us will tonight. Following olderwoman’s remark on the modal protester, it was fascinating inside the building: while the people who actually bedded down and slept were all students or people in a student milieu, around half of the people staying until 2 AM (to make sure that, after up to nine hours of waiting, they got to speak their two minutes on the public record) were much older people, many from outside Madison. Many, many K-12 teachers, but really a range from snowplow drivers to health care workers. The actual testimony was riveting.

      (Last night’s sleepover was officially a protest of Republicans walking out of the public hearing, thereby ending its official status, before everyone who’d signed up had gotten their two minutes. People are still testifying unofficially, so it’s been continuous since 10 AM yesterday.)

      Meanwhile, today’s protest was most vocally led by reams of high school students (with lots of dancing to contribute, as well as chants and singing). I have been to many protests, but I’m not sure I’ve ever been to one that seemed to be such a cross-section along so many demographic dimensions.


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