Today started out interesting. In preparation for the new Capitol rules and having developed a pretty high tolerance to the level of Morphine they have me on from the police assault on September 14th, I was too busy thinking and in pain to get much sleep. I did, however, get a couple of hours and seemed to have a bit more energy today so I decided to get a start on my day. I checked my inbox and had over a hundred messages between Facebook and e-mail congratulating me for becoming Time’s Person of the Year. I was thinking that I was never interviewed nor was I in the running, and I figured it was a joke. I then realized what people meant when I actually followed the link. Time Magazine had given their annual “Person of the Year Award” to “The Protester.” I was quite glad to hear this as the mainstream media has been anything but fair to us as a group. I then realized that the cover story alone was eight pages along with several sub articles, each one on the protests this year.
I agree with this “Person of the Year” choice. But as I read the story and the attached sub articles, I realized something shocking. The article moves from the revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt, Greece, Spain, and elsewhere overseas to Occupy Wall Street. Unfortunately, in this they missed a key piece of the pie making this story unable to be considered on “The Protester” and more on “Selected bits and pieces of the protests.”
The missing piece I am talking about is Wisconsin. Whereas the revolution abroad started in January, the revolution in the US, started and was sparked all the way back in February, when a small (comparatively) group of individuals decided to protest the injustices going through their Government, a protest that became both as bipartisan and as hated by the mainstream media as Occupy Wall Street itself. In fact, many people I have talked to from across the country, since the days of the original Capitol occupation, see Wisconsin as the direct precursor to Occupy Wall Street and occupations across the country. I have been in this battle since day one and believe me it is just as important as the Occupations elsewhere.
The fact is that the media turned a blind eye on Wisconsin in March. But our presence, and the effectiveness of the activists here hasn’t died down. No one can say whether Occupy Wall Street would or wouldn’t have happened without Wisconsin. But it is my belief that the battle in Wisconsin and the spark it struck and continues to strike (late this week or early next week mass arrests are likely due to the new “pay to protest” policies, eliminating the Constitution), make the Wisconsin uprising just as important.
But as I went through the entire cluster of articles, sub articles, and photos, and all I could find in relation to Wisconsin was a one word reference in an interview with an Occupy Oakland protester and a photograph of a Wisconsin teacher with a short paragraph. Clearly the editors of Time Magazine were off and owe an apology to all of those Wisconsinites who have worked so hard. We may continually be ignored or attacked (often personally) by the mainstream media. What we did may not be worthy to Time of even a paragraph but we know what we did. We sparked an uprising here in the United States, we halted legislation and we turned the eyes of the nation to a state that was under the first assault in a wave.
We, here in Wisconsin, showed OUR country how to respond to Government and set an example for occupations. I think that at least deserves a paragraph. But no matter what, whether we ever get the mainstream media props we so rightly deserve, we will continue fighting. And we will continue setting examples for the nation. As we have been doing for the last ten months, whether people knew or not, we will continue to stand up for our rights and stand against the corporate takeover of our state currently in progress.
We have actually reversed and changed policies in this state. I am proud to call Wisconsin, and Madison in particular, my home. This is where it started. But the Wisconsin uprising is so much more than what most people even realize. What we did in February and March is a sliver of what has actually been done. Once the majority of people left the Rotunda, I continued to return. I remember days when the Solidarity Sing Along (getting upwards of 100 singers a day now), was only five people and sang on a Sunday. I remember days when I would only see two or three people a day who were not politicians at the Capitol. But it took less than a month for things to pick back up, people started coming back out, and a smaller group (smaller than the thousands before) held the Capitol. You see although the Occupation ended, we never gave the building up. The legislators know this is OUR building not THEIRS and simply the presence of opposition is making it increasingly difficult to continue trampling Wisconsin families. We have actually and literally changed unconstitutional laws and policies and set up lawsuits and injunctions to change the rest. There was a time when you couldn’t hold a sign anywhere but the ground floor. We changed that. There was a time when you couldn’t film committee meetings or hold signs silently petitioning your Government in committee meetings. We changed that. And in this we set examples that have been used by and have helped the other struggles across the country.
We have done so much and continue to do so much with so little. After March we have seen very few national and accurate articles on Wisconsin. We too have suffered police brutality. We too have suffered and continue to suffer a media blackout. But we deal with what little resources we have and keep moving. We will continue our fight. No matter how long the media ignores and lies about us. No matter how long we have to. But please share this article. On Twitter, Facebook, and Google +1. Please let our story get out too. There is no denying that the Wisconsin Movement, at the very least, provided much of the inspiration behind Occupy Wall Street. Time Magazine may not give us credit, but we can share this article as a supplement. And we can all fight. We can all be that “Person of the Year.” Whether or not Time Magazine acknowledges our contributions accurately or fairly. We always come back. One day longer! One day stronger!
Defending Wisconsin PAC
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Note: Segway Jeremy Ryan has become a full-time member of the protests at the Wisconsin State Capitol. Formerly a businessman, he gave up his business to join the fight for the middle class in the State of Wisconsin. Through videos and writings he has informed hundreds of thousands of people about what was going on at the Wisconsin State Capitol once the mainstream media had mostly abandoned the protests. His full-time activism is completely funded by the people. If you would like to help out please click here.