The 4:00 pm closing deadline is here, and the bottom two floors of the capitol building in Madison is still filled with protesters. Will the police take action to clear the building? If so, some resistance is expected. Watch it live…
Update: The world is watching! At 4:30 pm CDT (2:30 pm here on the left coast), there are over 10,000 people watching this live stream.
Update: The feed went dead around 4:32 CDT/2:32 PDT. Huh…imagine that.
Update: Mother Jones reports via Twitter that the internet has been cut off. Nobody is sure why.
Update (2:50 PDT): For now, you can follow the live stream at FOX News. Hold you nose, if you must, but it is just a feed…no commentary from the FAUX News entertainment gallery.
Update (3:15 pm): FOX News pulls the plug on their live stream.
Update (3:55 pm): Eric Kleefeld files this report from inside the capitol building.
Update (4:10 pm): Back to live (not–see below)…found a new video feed. (This one contains commentary.)
Update (4:18 pm): Fugitive Senators in Illinois have no plans to return to Wisconsin.
Update (4:30 pm): Okay…so the embedded “live stream” is not live. Here is a stream from someone’s iPhone that is, supposedly, live.
Update (4:59 pm): There are unconfirmed reports flying around the Tweetosphere that “Republican Sen. Dale Schultz will vote no on Gov. Scott Walker’s budget repair bill”. This was just mentioned on the iPhone live feed too. “This is the crack in the armor!”
Update (5:00 pm): Apparently…capitol police are allowing protesters to spend the night. This is an impressive symbolic victory for the protesters.
Update (5:15 pm): Yep…the announcement has come that the protesters can stay for the night. And pizza will be delivered.
Update (5:32 pm): Ok…the current iPhone live feed from brandzel here.
Update (5:38 pm): Just heard on NPR bottom-o-the-hour newscast that Walker was “clearing the Wisconsin capitol building.” Someone needs to have a little talk with NPR’s news department about Twitter….
Update (6:01 pm): Rachael Maddow looks into Scott Walker’s disastrous attempt at busting unions while Milwaukee County Executive:
Finale (7:47 pm): Well…that was exciting.
Here is, I think, the take-home from this little episode of Walker’s War on Workers. First, tonight could have been just another evening of protesters in the Wisconsin capitol…a protest sleep-over like those of the preceding fortnight. But with the announcement that the protesters would be evicted from the capitol building on Sunday at 4:00 pm, the State Department of Administration created a huge confrontation. And both the old media and new media took a keen interest in the outcome. I didn’t really plan to live-blog this event. But with the live video feeds and instant reporting available through Twitter, the confrontation came alive–an epic battle was about to unfold between Walker and the protesters.
And the protesters won–big time. Tonight was a PR disaster for Walker.
The protesters won because the Administration had no choice but to back down. With a heavy media (old and new) presence, images of handcuffed teachers, students, firefighters, construction workers, etc. being dragged from the building would have been a disaster an order of magnitude larger that what we saw.
The protesters won because Walker’s cocksure posture has now been shown to be a façade, and one that is cracked. Walker is vulnerable.
The protesters won because the media saw police and firefighters, uniformed and off duty, stand with and even join in with the protesters. It does raise the question of whether the State Department of Administration made the decision to back down or whether the capitol police simply refused to clear the protesters out of the capitol.
The protesters won because, apparently, Republican Sen. Dale Schultz has decided to vote “no” on the bill. Yeah…it could be a trick. And, yeah, the Democrats need at least two more Republicans to kill the bill. But a Republican Senator rejecting the bill is huge (if actually true—I remain cautious). A week ago, I did not expect anything but the usual monolithic Republican support for the bill. If one Senator can bail, so can others. And now that the people of Wisconsin see that they can have a voice in the process, many more citizens will feel it worthwhile to write or call their elected leaders.
The protesters won through their longevity. A week ago, I could not imagine that the protests would be sustained through the week. Hell…a week ago I though it was unlikely that the bill would be killed. Now I’m not so sure. Tonight may be a defining moment—a turnaround—in Gov. Walker’s War on Workers.