Watching Wisconsin – Video Tributes

A new spirit of solidarity is being born in Wisconsin and carries with it the creative need for expression. The pace of action is rapid on Twitter and Face Book  so some of the jewels of creativity can be missed in the scroll. Here are two videos of the past days that moved me and captured an essence of an alive and electric Democracy.

We Are Wisconsin video

We Are Wisconsin
from Finn Ryan on Vimeo.


Produced by Finn Ryan and David Nevala

Video and editing – David Nevala
Images – Narayan Mahon, Finn Ryan
Music – Cougar

© 2011 Finn Ryan and David Nevala


American Workers Vs Multi-Billionaires

The REAL Koch Bros

The Call was a prank….the lobbying office is REAL

This is a picture of the lobbying office that was set up near the Wisconsin Capital. Judging from the cozy conversation Scott Walker had with the prankster David Koch, one might suspect that similar calls could be made from this quaint little office.

From the Madison’s Capital Times

The billionaire brothers whose political action committee gave Gov. Scott Walker $43,000 and helped fund a multi-million dollar attack ad campaign against his opponent during the 2010 gubernatorial election have quietly opened a lobbying office in Madison just off the Capitol Square.

Charles and David Koch, who co-own Koch Industries Inc. and whose combined worth is estimated at $43 billion, have been recently tied with Walker’s push to eliminate collective bargaining rights for public workers. The two have long backed conservative causes and groups including Americans for Prosperity, which organized the Tea Party rally Saturday in support of Walker’s plan to strip public workers of collective bargaining rights and recently launched the Stand with Scott Walker website.

How deep do the Koch fingers reach into the lives of Wisconsinites? As close as their garage and local convenience store.

From Acceity

“Kwik Trip operates a fleet of tanker trunks that supply its stations with gasoline from the Flint Hills Resources Pine Bend Refinery located near Minneapolis, Minnesota. At approximately 1,000 acres, the Pine Bend Refinery is among the largest in the Midwest, and it can process 300,000 to 400,000 barrels of oil each day. It is owned by Koch Industries — the same privately held conglomerate that makes Quilted Northern toilet paper. Like Wisconsin, however, Minnesota has no natural oil reserves. The refinery relies on outside sources of oil to make its gasoline.”

Unions are not against corporations, but are opposed to corporations that govern.
Boycott Koch Bros. products and Kwik Trip Gas.

Why is the world watching Wisconsin?

Wisconsin has been a bell weather for the voice of “We the People” for decades.

Wisconsin has a long history of labor activism.

“Fighting Bob” Lafollette

The state was the first to approve collective bargaining rights for government workers. Here are a few of the highlights of Wisconsin’s labor history:

1848: A walkout by ship carpenters in Milwaukee is probably the first worker strike in the state.

1865: The first labor union forms, the Molders Union Local 125 in Milwaukee.

1886: In May, the Wisconsin State Militia opens fire on strikers who, pushing for an eight-hour work day, had shut down most of the factories in Milwaukee. Seven strikers are killed.

1893: The state Federation of Labor, which later became the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO, is founded.

1932: The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees is founded in Madison by a small group of state employees.

1959: The state Legislature passes the Public Employee Collective Bargaining Act, which made Wisconsin the first state to give local government workers and teachers collective bargaining rights.

Source: Wisconsin Historical Society

The Spark for the Dems Lift off in WI

Video: Rep. Peter Barca explodes with anger after Assembly Republicans begin voting before Democrats enter the chamber

Assembly Republicans convened their floor session a few minutes before its scheduled start Friday evening and moved Gov. Scott Walker’s controversial budget repair bill toward final passage before Democrats could enter the chamber, prompting howls of outrage from Assembly Democrats.

The action, taken on a voice vote, prevented the Democrats from introducing any amendments to the bill, which severely curtails public employees’ collective bargaining powers.

Democrats began yelling as they entered the chamber to find the majority Republicans were voting on the bill.

“This is unbelieveable. Unprecedented. Un-American,” yelled Minority Leader Peter Barca, D-Kenosha. “This is just the most outrageous thing I have ever seen.”

Barca called the actions “illegal” and a violation of Assembly rules.

“There is a stink in this body. There’s a stain on the history of this state with what you’ve done.”
The link to the full video of the proceedings that sparked the Democrat’s Departure to Illinois:
Full Video

Sleeping Giant Awakes in WI

See the awakening giant. See the thousands of government workers fighting for their rights with an unbridled passion.

Madison-based photographer Matt Wisniewski nestled himself among the chanting crows inside the Wisconsin statehouse to capture their enthusiasm and spirit. Government employees, particularly teachers, are sounding off against newly elected Republican Governor Scott Walker’s plan to cut pensions and hike health insurance rates. Walker insists the concessions are essential to plug a $3.6 billion gap in the budget.