Solidarity Singers. Sign: We don't need a permit in our own house.

A first-hand account of arrests for singing.

Tonight’s musical selection is Arctic Monkeys, “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?” Thanks, again, to @RealLipsMcGee for the suggestion.

OWStreetnet has a first-hand account of the Wisconsin Solidarity Singers and their frequent arrests.

The rules weren’t new, Walker had introduced them early on during the Uprising, they just hadn’t been enforced until October. Because during the occupation, Charles Tubbs was the police chief in the capitol, and everything was great. We had a relationship with his officers, we would say hello and goodbye at the start and finish of the day, and everything was for the most part very genial. Then Tubbs got a new job. It was the best decision for him, but some people think he was pushed out a bit, because he saw things very differently than Walker and his administration did. Walker said he wanted to put “plants” in the protests, and Tubbs wasn’t about that. There’s a pretty famous phone call where someone posed as David Koch and called Scott Walker directly, and managed to get through; Scott Walker thought he was actually talking to Koch, and they talked about using baseball bats against the protestors… That’s not how Tubbs did things.

But Tubbs’ replacement, David Erwin, was a former marine, and he was the former head of Scott Walker’s personal security. I would see Tubbs every day in the capitol, but I’ve never actually seen Erwin, and we’ve never been able to talk to Erwin, we’ve never been able to negotiate with him in any way. My legislator had a meeting with him, and he walked out of the meeting. She asked him questions that he did not want to answer. It was a meeting about the tickets, she was just asking him questions, and he didn’t want to answer her questions. Recently, the Dane Country Sheriff came to observe the Sing Along, and several Madison officers with Cops for Labor, have joined in. Some of police officers are choosing to watch over this, to act as Observers.

Have you ever been to the Wisconsin State Capitol? It’s always been kind of a People’s Mic. In the rotunda, on the ground floor, there are diamonds made of stone and, from the diamonds, you have the best acoustics. So we would stand on the diamonds and sing. We would stand on the diamonds so our backs are facing the outside perimeter, and usually the police will come and tap you on a shoulder and say, “you have been identified as participating in an unpermitted …” When there are more than 20 people, which is the “magic number”, then this bullhorn blares Erwin’s voice, and we can’t really understand what he is saying, but something about this being an unlawful assembly. So we’ve never really seen him, and we can’t really even hear him. And then they go around the circle and arrest us.

What’s on your mind tonight? It’s an open conversation in the comments.

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Photo by Emily Mills released under a Creative Commons No Derivatives license.