Saturday, March 26, 2011

Keep Calm and Protest On

Joy has a very useful new "word."

Actually, it's a cleverly generalized new utterance of protest.

I think it started as a "don't fence me in" kind of thing. When she encountered a door she wanted to go through, but the plastic safety-knob was foiling her, she'd demand "open" with a loud "P...puh...puh!"

That "p...puh...puh" has now become her generic noise of protest, to be used whenever she isn't getting what she wants, whether the remedy requires "open" or not. Then if we can't get her re-directed, the next step is the explosive acts we're familiar with: swatting, self/others bite attempts, pulling out her own hair though I've got it chopped down to under two inches long now.

I think I spent most of yesterday saying "p...Puh..PUH!" And it got louder in the evening.

I awoke yesterday morning to news of a blog-post by a prominent professor of history at UW-Madison. William Cronon, an even-handed, mild-mannered, non-partisan scholar, had published a magnificent blog-post the other week, detailing his findings on what organizations were involved in the flood of look-alike anti-union, anti-immigrant, anti-Medicaid, pro-big-corporation legislation that's been coming down in Wisconsin and other states. His scholarly March 15 post, Who's Really Behind Recent Republican Legislation in Wisconsin and Elsewhere? pulled the veil back on the secretive, well-financed national collaboration on the part of the Republican party that is resulting in... that which we've been protesting here.

Two days later, the Republican Party of Wisconsin set out to shut him up.

Wisconsin Republican Party headquarters served the University with a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, demanding all of Cronon's university e-mails since Gov. Scott Walker took office, containing any of the words "Republican, Scott Walker, recall, collective bargaining, AFSCME, WEAC, rally, union, Alberta Darling, Randy Hopper, Dan Kapanke, Rob Cowles, Scott Fitzgerald, Sheila Harsdorf, Luther Olsen, Glenn Grothman, Mary Lazich, Jeff Fitzgerald, Marty Beil, or Mary Bell."

First they want to catch him using university e-mail for partisan political purposes, something he's way too smart to have done. But secondly, they want to intimidate Cronon and anyone else who works at the university. And thirdly, it seems clear they want to comb through all those e-mails to find some snippet that (when taken out of context) can be used to discredit and embarrass him.

Cronon's reponse to the absurd demand, Abusing Open Records to Attack Academic Freedom, was level-headed and lengthy.

So after a day stewing about this, we get the evening news. About THE BILL that was rammed through the Wisconsin legislature via dirty tricks. THE BILL that was blocked by a temporary restraining order that had us celebrating a week ago, because now it was going to have to work its way through the courts instead of being published into law on March 25 by the WI Secretary of State.

Guess what, friends. They don't give a fig for the rule of law.

They ordered the Legislative Reference Bureau, a non-partisan agency of the Wisconsin government that analyzes legislation and keeps the archive of what's been made official... to PUBLISH THE BILL INTO LAW. Even though only the Sec. of State can do that, and he's been enjoined by the courts not to do so. And then, even though the LRB and a number of others have said that this end-run does NOT make the bill law, Sen. Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald has announced that they're going to act as if it's law anyway.


Once again, due to family obligations, we won't be on the Capitol Square this morning. Maybe we can take a trip there later in the day. I hope that the crowds are huge... and vocal... and continued non-violent, as we have so proudly accomplished through all these weeks despite the ratcheting up of the provocations.

Keep Calm and Protest On

Check out the lower button: Keep Calm, and Protest On.

I got these buttons on State Street the other Friday during my activist-date with JoyDad, an image that I had first seen on a portable sign at the top of Madison's State Street right near the Capitol. I loved it already without knowing its history. Now that I've looked it up, it resonates even more.

The underlying image is a poster that says Keep Calm and Carry On. The poster dates back to Britain of 1939, where (according to a well-sourced Wikipedia article) it was produced by the British government to raise morale under the threat of invasion. The poster was re-discovered eleven years ago and has been distributed widely since then.

Now, with the substitution of the word "Protest" for "Carry," it has become an iconic image of our Madison response. In many ways, it feels as if Wisconsin has been invaded by a hostile occupying force -- not through bombing but through stealth and lies and corporate financing.

Keep Calm, and Protest On. Here are the crucial upcoming voting-related priorities:

-- Vote JoAnne Kloppenburg for Wisconsin Supreme Court April 5.
-- Volunteer or donate to the recall efforts for the 8 eligible Republican state senators.

We won't bite. We won't pull hair, tempting as it is. We will keep calm, we will carry on, we will protest on. And we will win -- their very desperation is the best indication.


Professor Mother said...

AS a professor, I was absolutely horrified at the actions they're taking against the UWM professor- it's made the news around here. He's a professor of political science- of COURSE his emails are going to deal with... duh- politics.

Keep protesting, girl! We're behind you... and thank you for the updates- I've been telling your story down here in GA.

Suze said...

It really begs the question why Fitz wouldn't just redo the vote in a legitimate way, doesn't it? Is he afraid he wouldn't have the votes to pass this time? Is it because a redo would be admitting he was in violation of the law?

BabyWeightMyFatAss said...

Thank you for posting these articles! Down south (IL) I haven't heard of the attack on Mr. Cronon. This is of course another eye opening view of what is going on with our neighbors up north. I did just recently read a New Yorker article on the Koch brothers and it made my skin crawl. Keep Protesting!

JoyMama said...

PM & BWMFA - you're welcome, and thank YOU. Keep spreading the news. The more people know, the better off we'll all be.

Suze -- I think it's both, but especially that he doesn't have the votes. Fitzgerald as much as admitted it to Greta van Susteren on Fox the other day, when she was pushing him hard about why they didn't just re-vote with the longer notice. Video here. The money quote: "Greta, you know that the legislature is always very tentative, and you may have the votes on one day and then you don't on the next."

He's worried about the protesters too. Go us!

Suze said...

JoyMama I heard about that interview but couldn't find a link to the video. Thanks for that!
And here's a link to an NYT op-ed that will appear in Monday's paper (which you might already know about if you follow Cronon's blog, which I now do):