OpEdNews Op Eds

Fighting Bob Fest North: Wisconsin Grassroots Keep Growing

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 1 of 1 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com Headlined to H3 5/23/11

Become a Fan
  (11 fans)

I love my native state of Wisconsin.   And I will bear with her as she goes through this schizophrenic part of her history.  As difficult as that may be.   This week was another case in point.  Wisconsin is home to some of the deepest progressive roots in this country: Fighting Bob LaFollette and the birth of the Progressive Party; Senator Gaylord Nelson, who founded Earth Day; and a state history of voter inclusion that is unparalleled around the country. That was of course until last Thursday (May 12).

The now Republican controlled legislature and radical right-wing Governor Scott Walker pushed through voter suppression legislation that will now make it incredibly difficult for legitimate voters in Wisconsin to cast their votes. My heart sank on Friday when I contemplated what that meant. I've asked myself the same question dozens of times since last November: "How could so many Wisconsinites have fallen for the snake oil that these Republican salesmen were pushing?"

Then came Saturday (May 21) and the first ever "Fighting Bob Fest North" in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. The perfect antidote for what happened in the Wisconsin legislature last Thursday.  

Fighting Bob Fest Founder Ed Garvey by Joanne Boyer

Many may be familiar with the Fighting Bob Fest that has been held every September in Baraboo, Wisconsin for the last nine years. The annual event, founded by Ed Garvey, provides citizens with a forum for democratic participation where frustrations with current policies can be constructively molded into calls to action. The event has grown to the point where this year's gathering will be held indoors in Madison with an expected attendance of 10,000. The success of this wonderful gathering prompted an expansion into other parts of the state and thus, the inaugural Fighting Bob Fest North.

So, this past Saturday, after Walker and the current power grabbing Republicans dealt another blow to Wisconsin's rich heritage of "forward thinking," hundreds gathered in a small northern community for the inaugural Fighting Bob Fest North.

Saturday's event featured great speakers, including U.S. Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin and former U.S. Rep. David Obey.   Just as encouraging were the great new voices that included John Bonifaz (Free Speech for People), Mike McCabe (Wisconsin Democracy Campaign) and Kaja Rebane (South Central Wisconsin Move To Amend). This trio energized those gathered for a workshop designed around the efforts to amend the U.S. Constitution to state that corporations are not people and that money is not speech.  Listen to any interview Vermont Independent Senator Bernie Sanders gives these days, and almost all of them end with a statement from him about his desire to amend the constitution on this issue. It's a legitimate movement underway around the country.

To borrow from Thomas Paine, these are times trying the souls of many in Wisconsin and around the nation. Sometimes it may seem as though the odds are too great and the forces too strong to overcome.  But you'll never convince those who gathered at the Fighting Bob Fest North of that.

Is the task difficult?   Yes.  Will incredible hard work and organization be needed?   You bet.  Will the progressive movement ever be silenced?   Not a chance.

For this attendee, the Fighting Bob Fest North was a reminder:   Wisconsin (and hopefully the nation) will work its way through these conflicting times. 

The message on how to get there was clear, perhaps best articulated by one of the exhibitors whose booth regarding alternative energy encouraged people to Start somewhere.  

And that somewhere begins with each of us.  

Grassroots is still the power the corporations and the plutocracy can never take away.   Grassroots organizing and individual action remains the greatest power there is.   Or to quote that great progressive/activist Dorothy Day: "No one has a right to sit down and feel helpless. There's too much work to do."

 

www.WisdomVoices.com

Joanne Boyer is founder and editor of Wisdom Voices Press and www.WisdomVoices.com. Her first book is "Wisdom of Progressive Voices." Joanne has worked in professional communications for more than 30 years. Her career includes being the first (more...)
 

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon

Go To Commenting
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Can Occupy Wall Street Push Us To Single Payer?

Doing The Work For The Real Health Care Victory: Single Payer

The Breadth and Depth of Voter Suppression Should Scare Us All

The Fraud of 'Voter Fraud'

Too Early To Chill The Champagne? Action Heats Up On Overturning Citizens United

On, Wisconsin: The Legacy of "Fighting Bob" LaFollette

Comments

The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
No comments