Working people confront congressperson in Wisconsin
Published Sep 17, 2011 9:55 AM
WW photo: Bryan G. Pfeifer
Dozens of poor and working people from Milwaukee, Kenosha, Racine and other
cities in Wisconsin came out to protest U.S. Congressperson Paul Ryan on Sept.
6 in Greenfield, a suburb of Milwaukee. For weeks Ryan has been ignoring his
constituents who have been attempting to see him at his offices in Wisconsin.
Poor and working people in his district and elsewhere are demanding he use his
power in Congress to alleviate the jobs crisis and not dismantle Social
Security, Medicaid and Medicare. Unemployment is officially 9.1 percent in
Wisconsin and much higher in cities such as Racine and Kenosha, where there
have been numerous union manufacturing plant closings.
In Milwaukee, unemployment for African-American males is over 50 percent.
Unemployed workers and their allies, such as union and community members, youth
and students, have occupied all of Ryan’s offices over the past few
weeks, protested outside them, e-mailed and called Ryan. Despite this, Ryan
refuses to meet with his constituents, many of whom are facing absolute
destitution. Yet Ryan always finds the time to meet with his rich backers.
Thus, when it was learned Ryan was to have a pay-per-view $15 luncheon at a
Rotary Club in Greenfield, the Service Employees union/community organization
Wisconsin Jobs Now! immediately called a protest. At the supper club, those
demanding jobs drowned out right-wing Ryan supporters, some of whom were also
across the street from the supper club. Many youth, students and community
members participated, including union members from the Service Employees, the
Milwaukee Graduate Assistants Association, the Steelworkers and the Electrical
Workers. Others participating included the secretary-treasurer of the Wisconsin
State AFL-CIO, Stephanie Bloomingdale; members of the workers’ center,
Voces de la Frontera; the Wisconsin Bail Out The People Movement; Citizen
Action; Workers World Party; and many more. During a speakout at the protest,
many testified about how their lives are being destroyed by unemployment and
about the refusal of states and the federal government to enact jobs programs,
the refusal of corporations to hire despite sitting on trillions in cash and
the banks being bailed out in the trillions, all while poor and working people
are left to suffer, starve and die.
When Ryan arrived at the supper club, he was booed down. Some protesters who
decided to pay the $15 for the luncheon took their seats and then completely
disrupted the event by confronting Ryan directly about his refusal to fight for
state and federal jobs programs and his attacks on social safety net programs.
When one protester was dragged from the room by police and security, another
one would stand up and confront Ryan. Ryan’s cold-bloodedness came out
after a 70-year-old protester with medical challenges was tackled to the ground
and handcuffed by security and police. Attempting to make a joke of the
situation, Ryan said, “Hope he took his blood-pressure
After the protesters were all removed by security and the police, they again
joined with their sisters and brothers on the outside and vowed that their Jobs
Now campaign has just begun.
For more information, updates, photos and videos of protest actions:
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