Tuesday, February 22, 2011


There are literally hundreds of signs surrounding the rotunda in the worker and student occupied state capitol building in Madison. More are added every day.

There are some signs that are mass produced, such as the United Steel Workers’ “One day longer” or the very powerful AFSCME sign “It’s about freedom!”

And another mass produced sign that cuts straight to the issue is:
“Care about educators like they care for your child”

Finally, there are several signs posted around the rotunda, sometimes with different words, saying:
“Five states prohibit collective bargaining for teachers. Their rankings in combined ACT/SAT scores are as follows: Virginia 44th, Texas 47th, Georgia 48th, North Carolina 49th, South Carolina 50th. Wisconsin is currently tied for 2nd.

And on the edge of the rotunda there is a large sign:
“Peoples Popular Assembly”

BUT… nearly all of the hundreds of other signs in the Madison capitol building surrounding the rotunda are hand made with a personal message for the world.

Here is a partial list. My two daughters and I walked around the rotunda and scribbled them down. We didn’t write down the many that simply identified a union in solidarity, but only the ones with a personal message.

This is what democracy looks like!

I’m not afraid to take a stand. Everybody come take my hand!

Small business owner for worker rights

We shall not be moved!

Keep the faith, Wisconsin!

Rights are not something we “sacrifice”

Non union worker for union rights!

Scott Walker is the Koch brothers’ minion

Private sector worker for our unions

Home is wherever I’m with you

No hate!

Shabazz High School class in session!

Forward not backward

I skipped school today so I can learn about tomorrow

This is what class consciousness looks like

You’re the evil dude my Mom warned me about

We already gave back $100,000,000

If your children attend a public school and you are not outraged, then you are not paying attention!

Think big, act boldly, spirit has no bounds

Be loud, be proud, be peaceful. The success of this protest lives and dies by the peacefulness of its supporters!

This is our house

I’m retired Army and I served to protect workers’ rights

Cops for labor

Nurses rights = patient rights

This is my teachable moment

People have died for labor rights! How dare we give them up?

Wisconsin, thank you for standing up for my family

Watch us defend our country

National Association of Letter Carriers: Neither rain, nor snow, nor gloom of night will make our union give up this fight!

Pro-union veteran

The movement loves you!

This isn’t about the $. It’s about our rights!

Sierra Club supports public workers

This is not a budget bill. It is a union busting bill

Governor Walker: The whole world is watching

Never been so proud to be a Wisconsinite

How many more in one class??

Why can’t we be friends with benefits?

Ever notice that a 30% tax increase for the wealthiest Americans is “socialism’ but a 14% pay cut on the lower middle class is doing your part?

Dear media, we’re not greedy. You are!

Collective bargaining gave WOMEN educators
- equal pay to men
- maternity leave
- sexual harassment protections
- grievance procedures
- etc.

Scott Walker proving maybe it does take a degree

Sisters, brothers – be brave, be kind, stay strong. Together we are standing for the rights of us all

Let’s build a U.S. for all of us! No room for racism!

Union rights are equal rights

Stay until the whole bill is killed

Screw us and we multiply

Has a teacher helped you?

Free math tutoring. Republicans encouraged to attend.

I love my teacher

Recall Walker

Nobody wins when teachers lose

Miss a few days of school? Or jeopardize education for the future? It’s a no brainer

I’m not in a union, but I support unions

Today, tomorrow, next week, next month, next year. Stay Involved

Finally, if you’ve read this far, here is perhaps my favorite sign as it captures the spirit of the Wisconsin workers’ rebellion. This is a handwritten note on a letter size paper that is taped to a wall near the rotunda:

Welcome to the capitol!
We come together for a common cause and a community has formed where people share resources and responsibilities with no sense of reward. Valuables have been left and remained safe while surrounded by thousands. Food is shared and people line up to help distribute it. Feelings of love and solidarity are in the air. Proof is all around of another world possible. Welcome (drawing of a valentine heart)

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