Protesters from across Wisconsin and beyond confronted the National Governors Association conference held at the Frontier Airlines Center in downtown Milwaukee Aug. 2-4. Undeterred by a massive city, state and national police presence, protests of various forms took place on all three days.
As governors such as Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker discussed with their Wall Street bosses how to continue plundering the working class and oppressed, a diverse range of protesters outside the conference demanded an end to racist austerity, union busting, attacks on women’s reproductive rights, imperialist war, police terror and more.
The protests were organized by Occupy Milwaukee and endorsed by numerous progressive organizations. Members from various unions in the Wisconsin AFL-CIO joined in the protests on Aug. 3.
“Wall Street and their political servants, like those at this governor’s conference, have declared an all-out state of war on us, the working class and our communities, and we must respond in kind,” said Babette Grunow, of Wisconsin Bail Out the People Movement, at a protest outside the convention center Aug. 3.
Raising the pitched class battles of the 1930s, Grunow said: “We’re continuing to think, discuss and implement our next offensive steps. We propose that we begin building People’s Assemblies created and run by us, as working people, with the most oppressed in this society taking leadership roles. If the city councils and legislatures are not going to provide us our basic human rights such as living-wage jobs, safe and affordable housing, free public education, food stamps, children’s programs and our other immediate needs, then they need to go. Dissolve the general assemblies and convene people’s assemblies! Make the racist banks pay for the crises they’ve created! Hands off the people’s pensions! Cancel the people’s debts!”
While NGA attendees dined on gourmet food and high-priced beverages at the Milwaukee Art Museum on the last night of the conference, Aug. 4, the Overpass Light Brigade confronted the gathering of the 1% with their illuminated people’s messages.
For more coverage of the protests, visit wibailoutpeople.org and occupyriverwest.com.