A Question About the Arrests of the Solidarity Singers in Madison

Over the past two weeks we’ve seen dozens and dozens of protestors in the Wisconsin Capitol Rotunda in Madison arrested for participating in the Solidarity Singers or sometimes for simply observing them. Although up to a hundred individuals have participated on any given day, usually about two dozen individuals are selected for arrest.

Now the question I have is: Who selects who gets arrested? Is there a plan? Are there directions on who to single out? Is someone pointing out certain individuals?

We’ve seen them arrest 80 year old women, retired clergy, 70 year old Viet Nam War vets, women on crutches and mothers with children. We’ve seen them mishandle American flags, collapsed participants with cardiac problems and an individual who fell on the steps. They place them in flexible hand cuffs and escort them downstairs and hold them, still cuffed, essentially until the sing along is over. Then they hand out their $200 fines for not having a permit. But who picks out those to be arrested?

Don’t the realize how bad it looks for 3 or 4 uniformed Capitol Police officers to be filmed dragging away quietly singing octogenarians? Or do they think they can intimidate the others by picking on the most vulnerable?

But, hell, if they really want to rile up their own core constituency, shouldn’t they pick out and arrest those union thugs in the AFSCME t-shirts or teamsters baseball caps?


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16 thoughts on “A Question About the Arrests of the Solidarity Singers in Madison

  1. Good questions. It’s the Solidarity Sing Along, by the way – an activity, not a defined group. I’ve been there almost every day of the crackdown, and each day is a little different. They always arrest a handful of specific regulars that they don’t particularly like, but from there it varies. The first day or so, the lieutenant in charge was up on the second floor directing things, but since then he’s been down on the ground floor. They do seem to have some sort of plan, since when you’re near them you can hear them responding to something in their earpieces and then going for a particular person. They’ll take one person who’s been doing a lot of moving around, and ignore the person next to them who’s doing the same thing. They arrest people who are just in the Rotunda holding a sign, and not singing. They arrested a guy who was doing nothing other than clapping. Most of the regulars have been cited, but not all. They do go for people who have come for the first time, perhaps to send the message to the world that anyone who comes to the WI State Capitol between 12 and 1 could be arrested (welcome, tourists!). From what I’ve heard from parents and grandparents taken with kids, they were perhaps taken as an intimidation tactic – the specter of calling child protective services in has been floated if these people bring their kids in again. Most of the CPOs are fine (my arresting officer was rather nice, considering the circumstances), but a few enjoy it a bit too much.

  2. Could it be that the Capital Police Officers are simply cowardly, and choose to arrest those who couldn’t fight back, even if they wanted to? The facts seem to fit the premise.

    1. Bingo..they r bullying..Ic they only realized Walkers including th in act 10..thats right, they r voing to be stripped of their rights, collective bargaining as,well..now what?

  3. Could it be that they’re secretly on our side? Making arrests of the most vulnerable individuals in the group for the sole purpose of intentionally making the Scott Walker Corporation, LLC look bad? Am I hoping for too much that there might be a Machiavellian thought process going on with the Capitol Police? Probably… (sigh)

  4. “It’s the Solidarity Sing Along, by the way – an activity, not a defined group.”

    I have a blog post working in my head that will discuss this ‘concept’…hopefully I can find the time to post it today or tomorrow.

  5. How about obtaining some ID? Do the Walker/Hubesh/Erwin thugs have a name tag or badge number that can be reported. We need to provide recognition for their public “service” especially those who are more enthusiastic in the performance of their duties.

    1. Well of course they do…at minimum they have badge numbers…but I would guess they have last names on name plates as well like most police forces.

      1. SC,
        I agree with you!!
        Even if the singers were singing pro Walker songs they should go home. Enough is enough.
        20 singers x 500 days @ 1 hr. = 10,000 hrs. Imagine a food pantry, homeless shelter, habit for humanity, etc with this dontated time.

        1. Independent Guy,

          Thanks for doing the arithmetic, but what I had in mind was 10,000 hours of reaching out to low wage working families with specific information about the range of budget cuts that adversely affect programs they depend on like Badgercare, child care subsidies, food share, earned income tax credits, etc, and who proposed/voted for those cuts.

          But that’s probably not nearly as much fun as going to the capitol rotunda five days a week to try to piss off republican legislators.

          1. Steve,

            Your reply illustrates perfectly the difference between a “Progressive” and a productive individual.

            Independent Guy sees the wasted opportunity for productive service to those truly in need that 10,000 man-hours of volunteer work could provide, while you can only see a lost opportunity to squander 10,000 man-hours on perpetuating the “free-handout” mentality of Government-Should-Provide-Everything-For-Everyone liberalism at its ugliest extreme.

            Your final comment merely drives home the fact that you would gladly spend all of your time doing nothing more than getting in other people’s way.

            Independent Guy for the Win!

  6. I think the singers should go home. There are much better ways to spend ones time in an effort to oust Walker in 2014 than this. The argument that they’re defending free speech is weak at best. Get out into low income neighborhoods in rural areas outside of Dane County and start talking to people who are going to lose their Badgercare come October. Much better use of time and resources with much more potential to affect 2014 elections.

    1. The free speech argument is only in defense of their not getting a permit…so that’s a more recent development than protesting Act 10 which started the whole thing.

    2. Hey Steve, to each his own. You and I do comments on BB. The Solidarity Singers do their thing in melody at the Capitol.

      Perhaps you misjudge them. They are not limited to a one hour stint on weekdays and may very well be advancing the progressive cause and human rights issue elsewhere at other times than at noon on weekdays.

      I think the singers should do what whatever they want do based upon their time and talent. They are an inspiration to those who do nothing by staying “home.”

  7. Duane 12,

    I’m not suggesting people do something I haven’t already done and am doing. We can’t win if everyone does what suits them. This is an ongoing problem on the left, in my view, and I guess I’m singling out the singers right now because they’re in the public eye.

    The singalong is a feel good effort that will ultimately go nowhere. It’s been going on for over two years. It’s time to go home and regroup.

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