On Friday, February 25, law professor/blogger Ann Althouse and her husband, Laurence Meade, had a much-publicized interaction with protesters in the Capitol Building who had set up an “information station” which involved trashing the Veterans Memorial which has stood in the West Gallery since 1933. Not yet publicized is the background of one of the leaders of the protesters who appeared on the video, Kelty Carew. As indicated on her nametag (visible in the video) and on her Facebook page, Ms. Carew is a member of the Wisconsin Workers Solidarity Sit-In Committee (WWSS), one of the groups most committed to maintaining a continuous occupation of the Capitol Building until the demands of the fugitive Wisconsin “Badger 14” senators are met. As the group’s Facebook page states:
We exist to maintain occupation of the Wisconsin State Capitol until our collective voices resonate forever in these halls. We are here to express our outrage at the usurpation of Our Rights, to expose the exploitation of Our People, to bring to justice the powers who connive to divide for their own profit. . . . [W]e have been and shall continue to occupy the Capitol for as long as it takes to prevail. The Capitol is OUR HOUSE, and we will not go quietly. Governor Scott Walker has declared a war against the people of Wisconsin. We will not take this lying down. We will stand up and fight.
In particular, Ms. Carew was the lead organizer of the massive “Kick the Koch Habit” rally held outside one of the offices of Charles and David Koch, high-profile supporters of Governor Walker (Facebook page on the event here), at which she was interviewed by at least two journalists. One journalist quotes Ms. Carew as exhorting the demonstrators that the occupation of the Capitol Building
needed to continue. She noted that Sen. Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee), one of the so-called “Wisconsin 14” who have fled the state to stall passage of Walker’s bill, has called the occupation of the Capitol “vital.” “They need our help,” Carew told the crowd. “The longer we hold out, the longer people are going to see how this is going to hurt everyone. Get in there during the day and get in at night. We’ve got the infrastructure in place to take care of one another.”
Another journalist gave this eyewitness account of Ms. Carew’s role in the demonstration:
“Expose the truth! Expose the truth!” shouted Madison activist Kelty Carew into a megaphone, leading the protesters in a chant.
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“The longer you stay here, the more the corruption is going to be exposed,” said Carew. “Your occupation is vital. The longer we hold out, the more people are going to understand how much this is going to hurt everyone in the state!”
Update (3/2, 7:30 p.m.): According to a Feb. 28 Capitol Times article by Judith Davidoff and Shawn Doherty, Ms. Carew was among “a group of around six people” — the hardest core of the hard-core protesters — who on Feb. 27 disobeyed police orders designed to facilitate the cleaning of the Capitol Building and “refused to head upstairs, parking themselves on the floor of the Rotunda. There they waited for possible arrest, surrounded by the discarded signs and a few empty water bottles left by the crowds that had used the area as the center of protests for days.” (It appears Ms. Carew is depicted in the accompanying photo sitting on the floor, second from the right.) Dismissing the urging of “[d]ozens of people up in the balcony” to “Get up here please!,” the Times reports that “Kelty Carew, a recent UW-Madison graduate, noted from her post on the ground floor that the Democratic senators who fled to Illinois to delay a vote on Walker’s budget repair bill have expressed support for the protesters’ continued presence in the Capitol. ‘The occupation is vital,’ Carew said.”
Every protest movement has a leader who through some combination of preparation, luck, and possibly fate, rises from obscurity to become the face of the movement — a Lech Walsea, a Wael Ghonima, a Vladimir Lenin. The following biographical music video supplies further background on this remarkable new leader of the progressives in Wisconsin.
Partial transcript of the conversations between Meade and Althouse, and Ms. Carew and her sidekick, here. Update (2:15 p.m.) An alert reader points out that another especially active progressive protester who frequently posts on Ms. Carew’s Facebook wall, Jimmy Haggerty, apparently did not get the memo from President Obama about the importance of civility in public discourse. Mr. Haggerty is an active Democrat who worked last year for six months on Senator Feingold’s reelection campaign. A student at the Univ. of Wisconsin — Eau Claire, he helped promote a February 17 student walk-out. As he relates on Facebook, Mr. Haggerty has “been taking an active role in a group that we call the Wisconsin Workers Solidarity Sit-In Committee” (WWSS), working “in direct contact with the Chief of the Capitol Police . . . .” In fulfilling his objective of doing his “best to keep the people of Facebook updated with the most current of information,” Mr. Haggerty has celebrated “hatred” (Feb. 17) and the need “to raise hell” (Feb. 19, Feb. 22); has republished an image labeling Governor Walker a “DOPE” (Feb. 23); has thanked Kelty Carew for a “[g]reat job” in putting together a protest against private citizens (the Koch brothers) (Feb. 24); has written, in an apparent effort to encourage others to pursue Governor Walker on his private time: “Scott Walker has dinner reservations at The Harbor House by discovery world downtown at 7:45 tonight — pass it on!” (“pretty stalkerish,” one friend observed) (Feb. 25); and has mentioned that he’s at the point where I want random bad things to happen to Scott Walker” (prompting another friend to remark that his “mindless rhetoric and vitriol is unappealing and incomprehensible” (Feb. 25). Final confirmation that Mr. Haggerty did not get the memo about the importance of civility (or that he and other progressives don’t even pretend to follow the rules for civil discourse which they seek to impose on those who disagree with them) is that on his Facebook wall Mr. Haggerty links to what apparently is fast becoming the official protest song of Wisconsin progressives: F*** You (Scott Walker). The following somewhat uncivil lyrics are included in the video:
I see you trample workers down In the state I love And I’m like, “F*** you”
I guess the voice of democracy isn’t enough So f*** you And f*** Fitzgerald too
If I was richer You’d be my bitch-er Ain’t that some s**t
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I pity the fool who votes again for you Oh s**t, he’s a union buster Don’t be such a big c***sucker
(Would publish more, but the asterisk button on the keyboard wore out after this excerpt.) For readers who wish a better understanding of the progressive mindset, here’s the video: