by: Josh Healey on June 13th, 2012 | 5 Comments »
It is election night in Madison, Wis., and I am standing where it all began, in front of the state Capitol here in the heart of America’s rebel dairyland.
Earlier today was the recall election against Gov. Scott Walker, the viciously right-wing governor whose legislative attacks on public workers and unions sparked a grassroots rebellion in early 2011 involving hundreds of thousands of angry Wisconsinites. The Wisconsin uprising, through its occupation of the Capitol and its sheer massive numbers, inspired people across America and beyond to fight for economic justice in bold new ways, paving the way for Occupy Wall Street in the fall.
For me, the movement was as beautiful as it was personal — I’d gone to college in Madison, taught in the Milwaukee public schools, and organized events in Green Bay. Scott Walker was attacking my old teachers, my students, and my friends. But they fought back, and hell, it looked like they – we! – might actually turn the tide against decades of corporate rule. Standing here outside the Capitol on election day, amidst the glorious Solidarity Singers leading 1,000 people in rousing versions of “Eyes on the Prize” and “Union Maid,” the smell of hope was strong in the summer air.
And then the results came in.