Report from Bush Protest in Milwaukee, WI
February 11, 2002
Resident Bush visited Milwaukee February 11 to headline a $1,000 per plate fundraiser for acting Governor Scott McCallum. Prior to this evening affair there were two protest marches. One was organized by The Milwaukee Labor Council(an association of unions) and the other by area peace activists. The labor rally gathered at City Hall about 4 blocks west of the swank Pfister Hotel, where the fundraiser was held. The peace activists rally gathered at the War Memorial, a public building located east of the Pfister near Lake Michigan.
I attended the labor rally held at City Hall where the focus was about equal measures of opposition to Bush and McCallum. There were about 150-200 people who listened to about 30 minutes of speeches denouncing McCallum's policies on ending shared revenue and slamming Bush for leaving no corporation behind while he put the screws to working people. The speakers included union leaders, religious leaders(including a black female pastor of a city church who ripped Bush - big time!) and the Mayor of Milwaukee. There were many signs but my favorite was "SEIU Workers Welcome President-Select Bush and Governor-Default McCallum"(McCallum took over for Tommy Thompson when he left for DC to lead Shrub's HHS). After the speeches we walked four blocks through downtown Milwaukee @ 5:00pm chanting as we made our way to the Pfister Hotel. Along the way we were viewed with interest and approval, if anything.
We were allowed the be right across the street from the Pfister where we took up chants of: "We want our jobs back - put America back to work!!!" and "We've been bushwhacked"(I was carrying a sign that read, "Don't bushwack working families"), and my favorite chant was, "Hey Mister, what's going on at the Pfister? They're passing the hat for corporate fat!" Another chant was, "we want a president, not a corporation!!!"
The labor people had the street to themselves for about 1/2 hr, then the peace activists joined us from the east. Their group was about the same size, perhaps a little larger. This younger group was more visual and louder. The had large banners, an American flag, and a woman dressed as the Statue of Liberty. These peace-loving people were much more aggressive chanting loudly and pounding on empty drywall buckets. While they chanted "1-2-3-4, we don't want your racist war", I chanted, "1-2-3-4, Bush is a corporate whore!!!" - so we found common ground.
After about 1/2 hour, most of the union people filtered away leaving the peace activists raising their holy hell.
In all, I spent a couple hours outside in 20 degree temperatures on a raw, cold late afternoon, but I was heartened by the diverse groups that came together to let Bush know how little we think of him and his corporate payback policies.
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