Thursday, February 23, 2012
Rob Recommends "We Are Wisconsin"
One year ago the state of Wisconsin was in an uproar. Governor Scott Walker and the Republican state legislature proposed a far-reaching law restricting the rights of government workers to bargain collectively. The reaction was immediate and unprecedented. The Democratic members of the Senate walked out, staying in Illinois for three weeks to block the vote, and tens of thousands of people converged on the capital, some camping out in the Capitol building for weeks. The protest in many ways paved the way for Occupy Wall Street later in the year. The crowds were non-violent, diverse, exuberant, cooperative, creative, angry and persistent. Though the walls of the Capitol were covered with posters, the occupants used non-marring tape to protect the walls. Cleanup brigades made the janitors' work easy. People around the country called in orders to Ian's Pizza to feed the multitudes. Police (who were exempted from the law) maintained easy dialog with the protestors and joined the crowd after their shifts. We Are Wisconsin is one of several books chronicling those heady moments. The book collects short columns, blog posts and even Twitter tweets to give readers the flavor of the movement and some brief analysis. Unfortunately there are no pictures.
For those not following the events, here's what happened: The legislation ultimately passed but in the recall elections which ensued two Republicans were defeated. Over one million signatures were gathered to recall the governor and a recall election is likely this spring. Reading the book will give you some idea of what is was like to participate in this historic moment.