Tea Party backers outnumbered in Wisconsin budget demonstrations

by on February 19, 2011 · 9 comments

in Civil Rights, Economy, Labor

By James Kelleher / Reuters / Sat Feb 19, 2011 3:55pm EST

MADISON, Wisconsin (Reuters) – Supporters of legislation to reduce public employee union bargaining power and benefits in Wisconsin were far outnumbered by opponents on Saturday, as the two sides shouted competing slogans under clear skies.

Tens of thousands have demonstrated throughout the week against Republican Governor Scott Walker’s proposals, which supporters say are necessary to bring state spending under control and opponents contend are aimed at breaking the back of state worker unions.

Both sides drew thousands on Saturday, but opponents appeared to have several times as many on hand as those attending a rally backed by Tea Party groups, the first such demonstration this week.

The bill’s opponents marched counter-clockwise around the State Capitol, encircling its supporters, and chanted “kill the bill” among other slogans.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Iris in Philadelphia February 19, 2011 at 1:42 pm

The few t-partiers were despite Sarah Palin’s urgings. It’s a sign sanity and humanity may win in the end.


barbara February 19, 2011 at 4:11 pm

Just in case anyone might be interested. Sent from a teacher friend who is there.

Just in and so easy to do! When I was at campcasey protesting, we had a pay pal account set up for us protesters in Crawford at the local Pizza joint. It was awesome. The owner was with us all the way which made it all the better. Here is number to pizza house in Madison.

Ians Pizza 608-257-9248 will deliver to them with your message!

The tea party is there today but greatly outnumbered. 3000 tea partiers and at least 10 times that many union supporters. (Yes, the limited government tea partiers are in Madison to support the government attack on unions. Go figure.)

Many of the protesters are sleeping in the capitol building and have been there since Tuesday. The pizza would be greatly appreciated.

Here is an incredibly inspiring video: http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/80x67G/www.rawstory.com/rawreplay/2011/02/student-captures-spirit-of-wisconsin-pro-union-rallies-in-music-video

The bagpipers at the end of the video are firefighters and they are excluded from the governor’s attack on unions, but showing up in Madison to show solidarity with the teachers and other government workers being targeted by the governor.

Please forward this email!


annagrace February 19, 2011 at 6:05 pm

Barbara- an absolutely awesome video! And we are going to donate a pizza with the works to the workers! Thanks for your comment and links.


annagrace February 19, 2011 at 6:55 pm

I am truly impressed with the organization of the protest and the kind of support it has received from the larger community. People gotta eat, and Ian’s Pizza decided to throw themselves behind the cause and it has been very good for their business, too. Which is the way it should work. I spoke to Nick at Ian’s. They are working 12 hours a day and are high energy. The establishment is closed to all orders except those for the protesters. Wow! That’s commitment. I emailed my thanks to them and gave the link to the Obrag website coverage.

The YMCA has advertised the availability of child care at their sites. This is very important and very civilized. Food and childcare can’t be underestimated, and hats off to the citizens of Madison for figuring it all out!


annagrace February 19, 2011 at 8:14 pm

This interview with Chris Hayes of The Nation and Naomi Klein (Shock Doctrine) isn’t as emotionally accessible as the video Barbara provided above, but it is a focused and fine analysis about the importance of the protests in Madison. PS- It has something to do with Walker and public education.


barbara February 19, 2011 at 8:20 pm

Thanks for your kind words tonight. Glad you got through. Will look at video, love them both.


annagrace February 21, 2011 at 7:55 am

Pizza’s for Protesters update! ” In an act of intercontinental solidarity, an Egyptian has ordered a pizza for Wisconsin protesters, reports Politico. The call from Africa is just one of many streaming into the Madison, Wisc., pizza parlor Ian’s from all over the world. So far, people from 12 countries and 38 states have rung up looking to help get free pizza to the Wisconsin protesters clustered in the Capitol. On Saturday, Ian’s distributed more than 1,000 free slices and sent 300 pizzas to the Capitol. The trend continued on Sunday, as staff member fielded calls from as far away as Turkey, Korea, Finland, China, and Australia. The trend began when a mother of a University of Wisconsin student called in offering to donate $200 to feed the people occupying the Capitol. The pizza chain’s postings on Twitter and Facebook soon led to so many donations that they had to shut down on Saturday night.”


Frank Gormlie February 21, 2011 at 1:41 pm

Geez, all that cheese. Hopefully, they’re giving out veggie pizzas and not just cheese.


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