Solidarity Sing-Along Fills Recall Enthusiasm Gap

Solidarity Sing-Along at the Capitol Square on Recall Day, June 5, 2012

The Solidarity Sing-Along started March 11, 2011 with a simple mission:  “…a strong commitment to effecting change through peaceful action and purely non-violent means.” It has been a moving, poetic response to the brusque, machiavellian  way in which Scott Walker and the Republicans have governed this state. Over a year later the enthusiasm in some ways has carried this revolt on its shoulders, and it was stronger than ever on Tuesday (June 5) at the Capitol. 

With the Recall today many wonder if the Sing-Along will end, and indeed it will not. Aside from special events and appearances in other communities, each weekday at noon the Solidarity Sing-Along has raised their voices to provide a positive pro-labor message and as they describe on their Facebook page be a, “…place where union members, activists, and citizens can come together and rejuvenate their spirits through song.”

The group varied greatly in size day-to-day, week to week at first, filling the Capitol Rotunda with song each day at noon, but moving to the State Street steps each Friday and when the weather was especially nice.

On Tuesday they sang old favorites like “Solidarity Forever” and a new one “Orphan Girl on Forward Highway” that talks of wresting Wisconsin’s motto “Forward” back from Scott Walker who has co-opted it for his recall campaign. The song even lauds Uber-Activist Jenna Pope for her constant “Forward” motion, inspiring, knocking on doors, and prolific Facebook updates and calls-to-action.

I was an orphan

Name of “Forward”

I wished for progress

— Got Walker

I was an orphan girl.


I rode the highway

With sister Jenna

We took a clipboard

We took a songbook

I was an orphan boy.


And a later verse:

Now come a new day

From south to north land

The voices echoed

Washburn to Brodhead

Bring back that Forward song!


Their presence each day, viewed widely by many as harmless, finally exposed the fear and absurdity that commanded the Walker administration late last year. In the early days of the protests, the Walker administration and Republican legislative leaders slowly started enacting stricter and stricter access rules for the Capitol building. I guess they thought if they just closed their eyes and covered their ears we would all just go away. But the Sing-Along seemed to survive each of these new measures.

 A portion of “Solidarity Forever”

Then Walker’s Department of Administration came up with a new protest permit rule that decreed that no more than four people could congregate for political purposes in the Capitol building without a permit. The rule cynically exempted families and lobbyists. The rest could be charged for police and clean-up costs.

Squarely in their sights was the Solidarity Sing-Along which persevered as Walker and his allies slowly choked-off almost all other visible dissent in the building. Singing truth-to-power the Sing-Along threatened to defy the ban and the Department of Administration which drafted the rule backed off and modified it after a hearing.

It started with valentines being delivered to the Capitol in February 2011 and it ends to day with the recapture of "Our House"

Scott Walker has looked ridiculous from the start by attempting to quell overwhelming dissent by trying to stifle it with police-state tactics instead of letting his ideas do the talking. In taking this approach it is he, not the hundreds of thousands who oppose him, that looks like the petulant child that didn’t get his way. Walker needed to take the hint, you tried your idea, now lets compromise.

If the public thought ACT 10 was such a great idea they would not have bothered to show up everyday in the middle of winter to carry signs, yell slogans, and yes Sing-Along in Solidarity.

The Solidarity Sing-Along will continue on each Friday regardless of the outcome of the Recall.


Solidarity Sing-Along Schedule this week:

8pm – sing along and vigil, outside, State Street side of the Capitol
~9:30pm – sing along and election return watching, Majestic Theatre

Noon – sing along, outside, State Street side of the Capitol

Noon – sing along, inside the rotunda
4:30pm – afternoon sing along, in the rotunda

Noon – sing along, outside, State Street side of the Capitol

Visit them on Facebook

A few more songs from Monday’s Sing-Along

Editor’s Note: My video editing software revolted yesterday so I apologize for the raw video. 

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2 thoughts on “Solidarity Sing-Along Fills Recall Enthusiasm Gap

  1. I tried to post this on YouTube and couldn’t.

    As an avid unionist for virtually my entire adult life, I am at a loss for words to describe what you have done. The outcome of the election is in numbers…meaningless to judge your efforts! Anyone who participated won! As I have read so many times in the media…Scott Walker’s election was bought by his supporters…millionaires and billionaires…often with the quid pro quo of destroying our rights. “DIVIDE AND CONQUER!”

    Commitment to principles can NOT be evaluated by numbers! YOU ARE THE WINNERS in this long battle. I wish I could have been part of what you have done! Today must be very difficult, but if you haven’t already done so, watch some of the videos here…nothing short of AMAZING! I am proud of what my fellow my fellow unionists and the working families of Wisconsin have done for all of us! Continue to SPEAK TRUTH TO POWER.

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