As many of you know, myself and many others have been very involved in the ground game at the Capitol. Today marked the day when the cuts to public employees began. As such, we had a rally at the Capitol, which I was told was supposed to be followed by some sort of strike, although that part never came. At the end of the day it was decided to head inside and we had, for the first time in a long time, hundreds of people in the Capitol after closing time at 6pm. We, as activists and organizers, had many different reasons why, but the decision was made to attempt to once again occupy the Wisconsin State Capitol. I will admit, I arrived a bit late to the Capitol as I was dealing with two other people being arrested. When I got there it was about 6:20 and I entered as some were leaving.
The police, at this point, were deciding what to do, most went back to the basement. I do not think they were planning on doing anything unless people left so they asked people to leave. Many left in waves, until finally there were thirteen left, myself and twelve others, one being a minor. We all locked arms and/or grabbed on to a flag in the middle of the circle. Keep in mind, everyone in this group is a regular in the Capitol protests and so we all knew each other and respected if anyone wanted to leave. But they didn’t. All that remained was us, the police, and media. The media was asked to step back and they approached me first. They asked me to get up, I refused. They then took my camera and dragged me to the basement.
I went completely limp so they put me on the ground, positioned my hands behind my back and one officer said “slight resistance in the arm, that’s resisting”. I fought this as I was not resisting other than going limp and it was dropped. Most of my arrest was handled by Officer Davis and a newer officer named, I believe Derek, although I never have been good with names and this was the first meeting. Both officers were very respectful and made sure that I was in good health and my heart was doing ok (for those who don’t know I have a very fatal heart condition, but continue fighting). Then they took me to jail, being courteous and respectful the whole time and therefore receiving the same in return. I spent about two hours in jail before ultimately being released without any bail needing to be paid.
That is what happened. But more importantly than what happened was why it happened and what it means. Every last one of us had different reasons for being there today. Every last one of the Heroic Rotunda 13 (whom have had a Facebook page created for them) stuck around each for different reasons. For me it was mainly to send a statement that the fight is not over. Facism won’t fly in Wisconsin. We as a people are prepared to stand up and fight. It was also because the only thing I regretted about the original occupation was leaving. We have waited months for this moment, a moment when we had people willing to occupy the Capitol in numbers. We will take a few hours, imagine if we did this every day. Why do we wait until there are thousands of people to re-occupy?? Sitting in is a very common and well respected form of civil disobedience. Why don’t more citizens just come starting Saturday or Monday just a little before closing time with the plan to simply refuse to leave?? Why don’t we do this all of the time?? I strongly believe that after all that we have been put through in the state that multiple groups of 13 or 20 or, and maybe I’m dreaming, 100 or 1000, we would inspire a larger scale and this would become the next February. We, as a group, want to redefine citizen involvement here in WI. Some people are not comfortable facing possible (but probably not likely) misdemeanor charges (Unlawful Assembly and Disorderly Conduct). This is fine, but if every citizen rises up in some way, whether joining the civil disobedience front or helping spread the word, or helping with the recalls, or whatever you can do, we will win. We will rise up as a people. We will be heard. Please spread this post, let’s let our voices be heard. Until then, carry on. ONE DAY LONGER! ONE DAY STRONGER!
Video of The Attempted Re Occupation:
Note: Segway Jeremy Ryan has become a full-time member of the protests at the Wisconsin State Capitol. Formerly a businessman, he gave up his business to join the fight for the middle class in the State of Wisconsin. Through videos and writings he has informed hundreds of thousands of people of what was going on at the Wisconsin State Capitol once the mainstream media had mostly abandoned the protests. His full-time activism is completely funded by the people. If you would like to help out please click here.