Texting from Madison: martial law?

    "Cops like calendar photo"

    The saga of our special correspondent Quince Mountain’s stay in the occupied Capitol building in Madison, Wisconsin, continues from yesterday. Today he remained inside; protesters who tried to leave even just for a breath of fresh air were not allowed back in. Authorities are clearly intending to make the protesters will leave, but they have yet to take forceful action to make them do so. Receiving his text messages over the course of the day was surreal as I worked at my computer, and rode my bike into Manhattan, and went to a dental appointment where CNN was reporting that Charlie Sheen is demanding a multi-million dollar raise. Needless to say, I was glad that at least someone was paying attention while history is being made.

    Here’s a sampling of Quince’s dispatches over the course of the day.

    9:17 am

    There is a confrontation? Not clear. A guy in the center is yelling about tension. People are asking cops yelling why aren’t people allowed in?

    Use of the word fascist. And peace.

    These teachers union guys on the bottom are running a certain part of the show.

    But I don’t feel a lot of confidence in a revolution this morning.

    Coffee might help.

    Now they’re singing “we love u” to the police.


    Guy from fox business network clear to say he’s not fox news network. “we’re straight”


    My friend just texted asking if I’m willing to get arrested.

    “Why?” I wrote.

    Oh. And now he wrote “jail is awesome for trans folks”. I suppose, huh?

    [On what happened last night:] I walked in at this key moment where ppl were almost leaving but didn’t. Just chose not to. And last night so many ppl I talked to attributed that to who got on the mic when. Like these five ppl basically just worked the crowd and were like “we didn’t need to leave”. Like ending exactly when the main push to eject ppl happened. And they just stayed.


    So it’s like… A standoff? 25 cops with dogs at every door and only letting anyone in for each person who goes out?


    [While in the bathroom, he hears a noise.]

    Is that a saw or grinder? Or some ocd senators beefcake electric toothbrush?

    Oh. the grinder was to grind off the screw heads [to keep people from breaking in with screwdrivers]. They did a nice job. I’d give it a B.



    Or at least hallelus.

    12:37 pm

    Tmrw at 4 pm the gov reveals probably nasty budget.

    So ppl are trying to stay in bldg. Gov trying to “threaten and bully the senators”

    People don’t even want to let the gov in the building. Though I’m sure he’ll get in.


    Release: “no additional protesters allowed til the situation has resolved”. What situation???

    Firefighters now in playing bagpipes. National anthem. A few ppl singing.

    Right now it seems there are more cops than protestors.

    Some ppl want to kill the whole bill. I wonder if some wouldn’t just settle for keeping collective bargaining.

    Solidarity version of Barney theme song

    There isn’t actually some clear unity of motive and method. Yet something coherent comes out of this. It’s quite a thing to see, for me.


    Woman from Pakistan. “interesting. I’ve grown up in a country under martial law and it’s amazing how similar this is”


    Keeping absent senator office warm while he’s in Illinois. Quiet place for napping, and someones gotta do it.

    People talking about (second?) “jumper” who got arrested for climbing cap building.

    “what an idiot. Makes us all look like lunatics”

    There’s also the ecstatic dancing and the nightly “ohm in the dome” ritual and the unshaven days of sleeping on pieces of foil and the solidarity version of the Barney theme. I mean, just in case there were no building scalers to project lunacy.

    What if some people just like climbing buildings better than singing we shall overcome?

    I think much of this is aesthetic. Ritual. Tradition. Who you want to go to bed with.

    Is that reductive?

    Curled up under democratic senator chris larson’s desk.



    Ok so there’s lots of affidavit submitting going on.

    One public health nurse testifying that she’s seeing symptoms of norovirus. Which is some respiratory nastiness that happens on cruise ships, people think.

    Exiled senator chris Larson likes to run marathons and triathlons it looks like. There are some real swell pictures.


    So I guess yesterday the teamsters ordered 500 pizzas when they meant pizza for 500.



    Some woman just walked in and cops apprehended her but she just came in anyhow and they let her go.

    Figuring out what orders police are operating under is like playing that summer camp game where people pass each other sticks a certain way and u do it right or wrong til you can infer what the rules are.

    "Whilst channel 27 does a piece about how we have no access to food"


    Things getting weird. I wanna leave but I’m not.

    Ppl are making weird claims like that it’s been “extremely difficult to get food or basic medical supplies”.

    At which I point out that I’ve eaten a bagel and a croissant and a pbj and 9 slices of pizza and a chocolate bar etc etc. And coffee and tea and donuts and.

    And ibuprofen and lavender and skullcap and wipes and contact solution and foil blankies and and and.

    I also ate two oranges, a banana, a pear, and a Clementine.

    Oh. Did I say a croissant?

    And a granola bar.


    There were cookies too

    And the pizza had macaroni on it.

    I haven’t had dinner yet tho.

    Sandwiches and salad are coming.

    So anyhow I just suggested at first gently that maybe we shouldn’t mislead people by saying it’s been Extremely Difficult.

    it just seems like a pointless claim when there are so many blatant violations to focus on like people just not being allowed in there.

    So anyhow. Re press release. They kept insisting how Extremely Difficult it was to eat here and I was like, “has anyone in this room wanted more to eat today or needed a medical supply and not gotten it? Have heard of anyone else with difficulty?”

    Ppl Were like “I’m vegan so it’s been a little tougher” and “there hasn’t been enough lettuce”

    Oh there were also scones.


    Had a nice chat with representative Brett Hulsey. He talked about how freedom family fairness and future are core values that drill deep. Unlike, say, rights. Rights is secondary. Freedom is the core underneath.

    I am happy for the freedom to use representative hulseys office.


    News of window jimmying and directions in Spanish. People camping outside on the lawn. Tent city erected And razed Sleeping bags only on lawn I’m wiped. Mainly annoyed at everyone for being so busy and loud. For being good protestors, basically.

    Recent Stories

    • Q&A

    Lessons from transgender Stonewall icon Miss Major on survival and hope

    June 2, 2023

    A new book explores how Miss Major has persevered over six inspiring decades on the frontlines of the queer and trans liberation movement.

    • Excerpt

    The power of humor in Indigenous activism

    May 31, 2023

    Humor in Native culture has never been simply about entertainment. Comedy is also used to fight cultural invisibility and structural oppression.

    • Analysis

    WNV is hiring an Interviews Writer

    May 26, 2023

    Waging Nonviolence is hiring a writer to interview leading movement figures and analysts and produce one Q&A-style article per week.  The writer will work with our small editorial team to identify the interview subject each week. For the most part, we’ll be looking to hear from activists, organizers and scholars who can shed light on…