The following is a guest post the Wisconsin Solidarity Sing Along
Wisconsin working families’ hearts were full of song and fight on Valentine’s Day, 2013 as we observed the second anniversary of the Wisconsin Uprising.
Two years earlier, the first union protesters surged into the State Capitol with thousands of valentines for the governor (“Gov. Walker, Don‘t Break Our Hearts!”) to protest his attack on voice at work. The Tea Party attack on collective bargaining triggered 100,000-strong protests and an unprecedented 17-day overnight occupation of the State Capitol building – the first “Occupy” in America and the longest such protest in American history.
It’s not easy to overturn such a highly-funded, highly coordinated corporate attack on workers and the “Wisconsin Idea” but we’re still here and we‘re still at it, day by day. And in honor of the Second Anniversary, as well as the 500th consecutive weekday Solidarity Sing Along (we’re not kidding), hundreds of regular folks gathered throughout the state of Wisconsin to sing a revised version of “This Land is Your Land.”
Among other key lines, we substituted “Lake Geneva to Madeline Island” for “Redwood Forests to the New York Islands.” Singers appear in our video from those two towns, plus Wausau, Amery, Eau Claire, LaCrosse, Watertown and Madison. One singer sings from under a palm tree and bamboo in Florida, to mock the 2011 Fox News report that accused Wisconsin protesters of violence – but showed footage of protesters under palm trees in California. The key line at the end: “This House is Your House, This House is Our House” (the state Capitol) “from the Rotunda to the Governor’s Office.” Wisconsinites know that Scott Walker’s legislative agenda became law only because legislators decided that Open Meetings Laws didn’t apply to them – that the people had to be locked out in order to stifle their voices.
And so we still sing. Meanwhile, these days, we’re also fighting the next round of right wing mining and anti-family legislation with new hearings, protests, and vigils at the State Capitol. With us at the Statewide Solidarity Sing Along, you will find Arlo Guthrie backing up on his daddy’s song, and American Federation of Musicians Local 1000 leader and renowned folk performer John McCutcheon (of Wausau, Wisconsin!). Our revised “This Land is Your Land” was written by the fiddler in this video, Daithi Wolf. The video was edited by Jeremy Gotcher. Have a look, and next time, let’s make it a national working family sing along!