We slept, that night, on beds made of blankets and vodka. Before falling asleep we watched various coverage of the protests on multiple networks. When we watched Ed Schultz, notable liberal commentator, not only broadcasting for us but with us, it prompted one of my friends, easily the most negative person I have ever met, to go off on a positive tangent.
“Yeah, he’s a good guy. He’s on our side,” I recall him saying.
The media gets slammed constantly by right-wingers for having a “liberal slant,” or, “liberal bias,” or being “goddamn Jew-run media fucking Muslim bullshit,” but the fact of the matter is that history has a strong liberal bias and progressive policy is rooted in the advancement of humanity. Historically, the labor movement led to the eight-hour workday, the two-day weekend, and the paid holidays that we all enjoy and mostly take for granted. Without the organization of the working class, without that frustration of mistreatment by Boss Tweed types, without that sense of justice, those of us working in the private sector would be without family, friends, a way of life. Those factories are the places where things like worker’s rights happened, where the basis for collective bargaining for basic rights spurred, where men and women took a stand and said, “Hey, you know what? Fuck this, I want my Saturday back.”
As it is, the AFL-CIO organized in 1955, a merger of the AFL and the radical CIO. The CIO, being then perceived as communists, were threatened to take an oath swearing that they were in fact not communists, an oath they refused and which was later found unconstitutional, as being a citizen of the United States and also believing in the basic tenets of communism does not mean that you should be fucking drawn and quartered.
That morning we awoke to beer and coffee, our alcoholic political spree being in full motion at that point like the peak of an adrenaline rush. The weather was horrible. We were greeted with mist and sleet and rain on a miserable February morning, but still that did not deter tens of thousands of protesters from coming out. Snowblowers, government issued, blared their horns as they did their work in solidarity, driving parallel down roads mired in slush and ash.
It is safe to say the weather was not on our side, not for a second. But fuck February.
That didn’t drive off the numbers though, and neither did it drive off the celebrities and musicians who showed that day to publicly back the struggle we were going through.
Tom Morello was probably the most prominent figure in attendance that day. Most notably famous for his work in Rage Against the Machine and his unfortunately named solo project “TheNightWatchman,” Morello actually has extensive education in the field of workers’ rights and union solidarity.
A graduate of Harvard with a degree in Social Studies (and an extensive focus on politics), Morello’s studies affected the views that he was confronted with on a near daily basis. A professed socialist ala prominent senator Bernie Sanders (I-VA), he continued to let his views influence his art, being a notable influence on RATM vocalist Zach de la Rocha, whose diatribes on the Vietnam War and racism in the south would be a continuous force in American media.
That day, Morello confronted protesters in solidarity, affirming his stance alongside us in our struggle as Walker lay dormant in his Madison office despite our cheers and jeers.
An acoustic performance was put on by Morello on that Monday, as well as the prominent punk-rockers The Street Dogs. We watched and listened that day on the Capitol lawn, outside in the freezing rain, alongside the agonized teachers, janitors, and firefighters meticulously displaced by Walker’s anti-public worker agenda.
The day continued as we marched, not losing a step but for a break to hit some whiskey, fueled only by our emotions and revulsion at the perplexity of the situation become us.
Things like this don’t come easy. Things like Walker’s assault on the working class don’t come on aside from populous rage perpetuated by the rich-sucking GOP, attempting to destroy any and all progress of the middle class made in the past 50 years. The free market has demonstrably failed us. By today’s standards, Reagan would have been a communist traitor. We require a stand and a say in the day to day workings of the stock markets, of the economy, of the oppression of the working class put on by greedheads and liars like Paul Ryan and Scott Walker. I feel for those of you so duped by the GOP’s mentality that you are convinced that the Republican party is on Your Side. They are not, and they have not only abandoned you, but exploited you for future use.
I don’t want to be poor as much as the next asshole I encounter at the bar, but the rags-to-riches myth perpetuated by the GOP has to come to an end.
We have been approaching this for some time. Now is the time to act.