On Monday, June 13, at noon, Wisconsin citizens organized by the group Wisconsin Wave marched around the Capitol building and converged on the offices of Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, the largest business lobby group in the state, to protest the WMC's support for Governor Scott Walker and his devastating state budget.
WMC offices, located at 501 East Washington Avenue, are the home of the state chamber of commerce and the lobbying arm of 3,500 state businesses. Last year, WMC spent $950,000 to get Walker elected. Walker returned the favor, calling a special session of the legislature to pass a laundry list of items on the group’s legislative agenda.
Lowering corporate taxes, the union-busting budget "repair" bill, cuts to public services, and regulatory "reform" are among the legislative victories WMC touts on its website .
"They don't care if you lose your home. They don't care if people can't get health care," Pilar Schiavo, one of the organizers of the protest, said in her speech in the WMC courtyard on Monday. Protest organizers declared a “State of Emergency” for Wisconsin and called on the rest of the state and the nation to mobilize to defeat the budget bill in a manner similar to the successful fight against the budget repair bill last winter.
WMC President and CEO Kurt R. Bauer charged that "pro-tax" protesters defaced the WMC building with chalk on the sidewalk outside and stenciled fists on the sculpture in front of the main doors. WMC posted photos of the chalk and stencils on its web site and said police were investigating.
About 100 citizens, including teachers, nurses, public employees, and students, marched with drums and flags--one with corporate logos in place of stars--spoke, chanted, cheered, and drummed for about an hour from noon to one.