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Take Back the Capitol Recap

The week of Dec 5, thousands of people from all across the country descended on DC to let our legislators know that “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.” Of those thousands, about 150 dedicated Sconnies made the trip, and are happy to report that we’re all back in one piece. This is what happened on the voyage.

Day 1 was taken up mostly by bus rides. We arrived in DC at about 3am on Day 2, and after a short break, the action really began in earnest. The Wisconsin delegation marched on the congressional offices of Rep. Petri, Duffy, Ryan, and Sen. Johnson. All but Paul Ryan agreed to meet with us and discuss what their plans were for addressing the jobs crisis. Long story short, their plans are to follow the Tea Party line and continue with their “cuts not jobs” agenda. It’s shocking to me that these members of Congress are so beholden to corporate interests they either avoid their constituents altogether or have the gall to accuse them of being lazy for asking Congress to extend unemployment benefits. Apparently tax cuts for the 1% are more important than allowing people to stay in their homes and put food on the table.

Day 3 was astounding. Wisconsin’s group first marched on GE’s lobbyists to decry their tax-dodging ways. We went on to Wells Fargo to demand they be held accountable for their part in the financial meltdown. Next, we joined 4 massive groups and marched on to the heart of K street. Thousands flooded the intersection at 16th St, stopping traffic, and making sure that the giants of lobbying heard the 99%’s demand to strip money out of the political process.

Day 4 was the search for Speaker Boehner. As the lead obstructionist to job-creation, we first stopped by his house for a breakfast chat. After being met by only bicycle police, we marched down to his office at the Capitol. The crowd was so massive it shut down traffic on Constitution Avenue. After gathering for an interfaith rally for good jobs, a 99-strong delegation of the unemployed went to meet with the Speaker and demand he confront those he’s about to cut off. Unfortunately, as we’ve learned to expect, Boehner wasn’t around and never attempted to reach out to these concerned Americans.

Overall, the trip was rainy and cold and tough – but well worth it. This is one of the few times in recent memory when throngs of ordinary people stood up to directly challenge the status quo in our nation’s Capitol. In doing so, we shut down roads, made Congress members answer tough questions, and made scores of headlines. But headlines alone won’t be enough to change the corporate control of our government, so we’ve brought what we learned in Washington back home.

To start, Walker’s war on workers is starting to bleed off into the private sector. So this Thursday a group of those of us who went to Washington are gearing up to help out Milwaukee union janitors that were just fired and replaced by poverty-wage non-union cleaners. This is just the tip of the iceberg – and in this fight we can win and drastically improve those workers’ lives here at home.

Click here to learn more about the struggle and to come help out on Thursday,

It’s was a good week and it was just the beginning.

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