In late winter of 2011, while the Middle East was deep in the midst of the “Arab Spring,” United States workers in the state of Wisconsin found themselves embroiled in a take-down struggle with Governor Scott Walker and the Wisconsin Legislature to preserve their collective bargaining rights. With one side citing budget concerns and the other advocating universal workers’ rights, an amazing drama of populist action and consciousness raising began playing out in the hallways of the Wisconsin Capitol building.
Highlighting the voices of six ordinary worker/citizens involved in the protests, filmmaker Amie Williams crafts the story of their growing awakening, camaraderie and insight into political process in “We Are Wisconsin.”
Her film focuses on the experience and human story of its narrators, giving voice and responsibility for action directly to the workers in this precursor to the Occupy Movement. These are the stories of ordinary neighbors who come together to craft a unified voice: one that is uniquely theirs, not a manipulation of partisan politics or national power brokers.
As one protestor says to another, who is complaining about the absence of national politicians stepping in to their defense, in a scene shot during the 26 day occupation of the building, “…I don’t think any major leaders should come, look at us, this is about us, …this is about the peoples’ rights.”
A free screening of the feature length documentary “We Are Wisconsin” takes place this week at 6 pm on May 23, at The Seattle Public Library’s Capitol Hill Branch as part of MayWorks, the month long celebration of labor and workers’ culture in Washington State.