A special treat for fans of Broadway: the one-time phenomenon of the Les Miserables Flash Mob, which simply has to be seen and heard to be believed. (multiple links below)
Another amazing, but less ephemeral, musical protest-related institution that has continued every week throughout the year is the Solidarity Sing-Alongs held in the Capitol Rotunda and on the Capitol Square, with songs ranging from spirituals, folk songs, Broadway showtunes, to original and adapted WI protest-specific compositions. In fact, this group has gathered every day at noon on every day that the WI Legislature has been in session. Follow this link to check out the Capitol's Solidarity Singers Holiday Songbook on line, courtesy of the Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice.
Earlier this month (December 2011), the Walker administration announced new restrictions on the ability of citizens to assemble on the Capitol Square, stating that any gathering of more than four people constituted a protest that must seek a permit. The Solidarity Sing-Along Singers will likely be the first to test that transparently self-serving and un-Constitutional protest restriction on December 19th, the Monday following this conference. Of all of the groups that have gathered this year, this one's persistent good-natured melodiousness has been said to have especially wrankled an indignant Gov. Scott Walker.
Here's a video shot just a few days before the Netroots NY conference (Wednesday, December 15th), one of the last days before the anticipated crackdown:
From ScoutP's Youtube page
(after following this link, be sure to click on the "Read More" link under the video window, to see a copy of the cleverly customized lyrics to a classic Christmas carol)
Below is a video from last spring that shows the power of a non-violent sing-along that immediately followed an unprovoked incident of violence. (See narrative that follows.)
From the videographer's notes, dating back to last spring: "On Tuesday members of the Solidarity Sing Along were harrassed by a former Republican state senator, and 2 men carrying a flag closely associated with the Tea Party. One of the latter men physically assaulted a singer. This is a short video from the Sing Along on the day After the attack. The leader of the group eloquently began with a quote by Martin Luther King Jr. on non-violence. And then they sang......Peacefully"
From the Vimeo page of scoutwillie
Arlo Guthrie joins the Capitol Sing Along Madison, WI July 15, 2011
From the Youtube Page of ProudWisconsinMom
Wow! Look at all of these videos!
Search results for Wisconsin Solidarity Singers videos on Youtube
Do You Hear The People Sing? The Les Miserables Flash Mob 2 27 2011
Blogger Lauren Peterson writes, "At 1:00 p.m. on the 13th day of protests in Madison, Wisconsin, hundreds of singers and instrumentalists suddenly burst into song. The "Les Miserables" Flash Mob was organized in a single day by community arts activists Sarah Marty and Jordan Peterson." See her blog, Going to Pieces, for further fascinating background, and links to a radio report, and another supplementary recording.
For Video, first here's Rob Matsushita's wonderfully edited version, a multi-screen version incorporating the video of eight different videographers.
Two other versions, with solid picture and sound. Here's a single perspective version, from the middle of the action in the Rotunda, by Rick Wirch.
And here's another single perspective version, also with solid picture and sound, by Charles Upham.
Just to show you how one event like this can capture the attention of multiple Youtubers, reaching tens of thousands of additional people in the process, check out these versions as well: jonathankuuskoski, antibubble8907, grandmacyd.
A Resonant Purpose
Above: Two Citizen Movements Working for Social and Economic Justice. At Left, in early 2011, hundreds of thousands gathered for rallies on the grounds of the WI Capitol; At Right, in that same year, Occupy Wall Street participants maintained an ongoing presence at New York's Zucotti Park.
When massive protests sprung up at the Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison earlier in 2011 in response to draconian anti-worker, anti-education legislative proposals by the new governor and legislature, people across the nation and the globe reached out in solidarity. Many of them had learned about developments in Wisconsin through the Social Media. In the months since then, a massive movement for workers' rights, open government, quality education, and responsive healthcare is taking hold in the US and well beyond, most recently exemplified by the Occupy Wall Street movement. While the venue and name may change over time, this movement is here to stay, and resonant non-violent protest movements everywhere are gaining strength from the organizing power of the web.
In that same spirit of solidarity, through this blog, Wisconsin activists hope to share what we have learned through our use of on-line organizing with participants in the Dec. 17-18th Netroots New York conference at Pace University, where several Wisconsinites will be presenting. As a prelude to the conference, we share these samples of innovative organizing from the Wisconsin Uprising linked to social media. Thanks to all who have produced the contributions linked to here, and to all who shared their favorite social media examples, with special thanks to Joanie Juster. Working together, we can and will make a difference!
The blog format was the fastest and most efficient way to bring together these clips for conference goers. Nonetheless, it is a topically-arranged list of content trying to fit into a chronologically-based blog format. A couple of navigation tips: 1) If scrolling through the contents in the order postings are presented, be sure to select "Older Posts" to reach additional listings beyond the bottom of each page, and 2) an ad hoc "Table of Contents" can be found in the Blog Archive list at lower right.
WI CAPITOL PROTESTS
Please venture further into this site to an archive of representative social media from this important social movement, which is still making its presence known three years later.