Segment Synopsis: Initially heard about protests from friends on Facebook, but was not interested in the Valentine's Day rally. Decided to go the following day so as to take part at least once. Was concerned about vulnerability of graduate students in such areas as tuition remission and having a union contract.
Keywords: 2011 Capitol Protests; Valentine's Day Rally; social media
Segment Synopsis: At first thought protests weren't useful and favored other forms of direct action. Several days into the protests helped collect names of people pledging to recall their state senators, began to feel more invested. No single thing was definitive, though.
Keywords: 2011 Capitol Protests; volunteering
Segment Synopsis: MG talked to his father, an electrician and long-time union member, on the phone, who was supportive of MG's participation in the protests. Seeing the electricians' union at the capitol reminded MG of his father as well. Didn't like how the bill was being pushed through, thought the bill was a moral attack on working-class families.
Keywords: 2011 Capitol Protests; Electricians Union
Segment Synopsis: MG talked with his advisor, Kurt Squire, a number of times about what was going on, what the meaning of the protests was; one night in particular at Cooper's Tavern was relevant. MG and his advisor study how to get students to go from gaming (i.e. video games) to being involved in their communities, thought that they themselves needed to go out and do things if they were going to be advocating civic activism for others. MG didn't think of bill as a larger moral attack initially, but came to this view after thinking about how to frame events so as to create a sustaining movement that could push back against wealth disparity throughout the state or country. Various discussions with other friends, and online, contributed to this view as well. MG saw a chart online about the growing difference between people that have a lot of money and people that don't.
Segment Synopsis: One day early on while handing out fliers on State Street, saw undergraduates marching up and felt excited about how many people were rallying to this cause; also felt inspired seeing high school students and firefighters marching, wasn't only academics that were involved in the protests. Many times in the capitol almost moved to tears. Felt outraged about protesters being called thugs or outsiders. MG remembers one time while outside the legislative chamber being moved to tears, thinking this was the fight of his generation.
Keywords: 2011 Capitol Protests; Firefighters Union
Segment Synopsis: Was the night that the senate voted on the bill [March 9], following the joint assembly-senate committee meeting that was announced at 4pm and held at 6pm. MG remembers watching a video at home afterwards of Peter Barca demanding that the joint meeting be stopped. At the time of the committee meeting MG was outside the chamber, recalls that state police were wondering what was going on. Disheartening for MG to see politicians not listening to the people.
Keywords: 2011 Capitol Protests; Budget Repair Bill
Segment Synopsis: MG has been less involved in the protests since then; that night may have contributed, but there have been other factors as well. Did feel defeated, that there wasn't any more to be accomplished by protesting at the capitol. Also saw, however, that the next step was to focus on recalling Scott Walker and Republican state senators.
Keywords: 2011 Capitol Protests; Gov. Scott Walker
Segment Synopsis: Went to an academic conference in California and after getting back focused on prelim exams that were due shortly. Being involved in the protests made studying impossible--frequently checking Twitter feeds, Facebook updates, staying current on what was going on--so moving on was important.
Segment Synopsis: Spent first week trying to figure out how to help out around the capitol. Eventually began working on organizing names and phone numbers of volunteers--had experience doing this from the Obama campaign. Became frustrated about the lack of information about how to volunteer on the TAA and Defend Wisconsin web sites, talked with a computer science friend (Kevin) about what a better set-up would be. Got TAA to agree that MG and Kevin could revamp the web site, did so starting on a Sunday night, worked on this until Monday morning. Web site crashed after getting major media attention and more page views, Tuesday spent getting site running again. Otherwise, MG stayed at the capitol tracking down information, would relay it to Kevin, who would then update the web site from elsewhere since a good internet connection was necessary for this. Would typically work from 10 or 11am until 2 or 3am.
Keywords: 2011 Capitol Protests; Defend Wisconsin; T.A.A.
Segment Synopsis: The TAA provided some information about volunteer opportunities, such as picking up trash around the capitol or what materials (supplies, food) were needed. Connecting with other unions was difficult, MG sent emails to AFSCME and MTI but often they didn't have any information to be posted online. Often people would come to 300 North (one hub of activity) and provide information, for example someone from United Council and an ACLU lawyer.
Keywords: Defend Wisconsin; T.A.A.; unions; volunteering
Segment Synopsis: The emotional experiences from earlier are very vivid, will last a long time. MG was bothered by disparity between major news coverage and what was actually happening, felt the protests were mostly downplayed or portrayed as crazy union members. Would like those who participated in the protests to rely on their own memories, rather than the accounts or narrative presented by the major media. Don't forget that "you" saw the protests being peaceful, that tens of thousands of people came together in solidarity. MG felt like the protests were about the people standing up for what they believe in, not about the money or the budget.
Keywords: 2011 Capitol Protests
Segment Synopsis: MG hopes the protests were a step away from apathy of his generation, towards regaining agency over governance. Lesson is that people have to participate, that government is currently not moral and is driven by making money, that morals or values need to be re-injected into government. Lesson is also that people are working against this aim, and that major/corporate media can't be relied on for information or to present this side because they have investments at stake. "Get out, do stuff, and also watch your back."
Keywords: 2011 Capitol Protests