Occupy the GOP: Art for Gov May 8

Endorsements for candidates in posts here do not represent the opinions of all regular contributers, blue cheddar, or the blog’s many guest writers.

As I wrote earlier, of the four Democratic candidates vying to face Walker in the June 5 Wisconsin Recall election, my pick is Kathleen Vinehout, who has said this on more than one occasion: “If you don’t like big money in politics, vote for the candidate with the least money. If you don’t like politics as usual, vote for the unusual candidate.”

So I’m following her advice, and on May 8 I’m voting for Arthur Kohl-Riggs, who is running as a Lincoln/La Follette progressive Republican. I love the idea of a progressive running as a Republican. This is taking the fight right to Walker himself, to his territory, his own party. This is taking the offensive position. It is nothing less than an occupation of the Republican party.

The Republican party began right here in Wisconsin, in the city of Ripon in 1854, as an abolitionist force opposed to the expansion of slavery into the western territories. The first Republican president was none other than Abraham Lincoln himself, to whom Art bears more than a passing resemblance. Obviously the party has strayed far—very far—from its noble beginnings.

Arthur is serious in his determination to defeat Walker. By running against him as a Republican, he’s showing himself to be a clever, resourceful young man capable of thinking outside the box. And he is young—23 years young. In our struggle against the corporate takeover of our state, most of us thought we had no choice but to rely on the often disappointing Democratic party, but very often Democratic candidates are beholden to the same corporate forces we are fighting against and are only slightly less repugnant than their GOP counterparts.

In a way, Art’s running as a Republican brings us around full circle, creates a simultaneously new and old, authentic and innovative space in which to carry on our fight. Voting as a Democrat in the primary means choosing among four candidates—all of them good, none of them perfect, none of them eliciting the fervor of the day-after-day winter protests of February and March 2011 nor the dogged determination of the campaign to collect recall signatures.

To my mind, right now, voting against Walker is paramount. And Arthur is giving us a chance to do just that, quite emphatically, on May 8 as well as on June 5. And given that my positive feelings about the four Democratic contenders aren’t anywhere near as strong as my negative feelings toward Walker, what I really, really want is to vote vehemently, adamantly against Walker.

Arthur has developed what he calls a living platform—living, because it will grow and take shape as he responds to the concerns of the people. The one thing that has incensed me most about Walker has been his refusal to listen to the people of Wisconsin. He and his cronies in the legislature have treated us with utter contempt. The people of Wisconsin need a governor who will listen to us and identify with us, who will bear in mind and heart the present and future well-being of the people of Wisconsin.

John Nichols writes:

Arthur Kohl-Riggs runs in the Wisconsin Republican tradition, a radical tradition that embraces labor rights, human rights and democracy. That’s what Wisconsin Republicans believed in for far longer than they have embraced the boilerplate language of contemporary conservatism—as espoused by Scott Walker.

“I am a Lincoln-La Follette Republican, a real Wisconsin Republican,” says Kohl-Riggs. “Scott Walker is the fake Republican.”

Arthur wrote a great piece for the Cap Times this week in which he says, “I love Wisconsin for what our state has historically valued and for how tirelessly we will fight against those who do not have the people’s best interests at heart.”

You can see Art’s interview with Wisconsin Eye here and his interview with Channel 3 News here.

Arthur’s campaign is fun. Think of it—fun! The tag line at the top of Art’s web page says “Art for Gov: Not currently the subject of an ongoing John Doe investigation!” A couple of the homegrown, grassroots campaign posters I’ve seen show Arthur dressed in top hat and bow tie, clearly evoking a young Abe Lincoln, literally running, with a tag line that says “Arthur Kohl-Riggs ‘Running’ For Gov.” It’s not that he’s not serious. He is in earnest. But the wise know it’s best in a sustained fight against evil to nurture a healthy sense of humor, which requires perspective and humility, guards against discouragement, and keeps enthusiasm and optimism fresh and vigorous.

I’m delighted that Arthur has stepped up to challenge Walker directly on his own political turf. At worst, he may help us to keep Republicans from “messing around” with the Democratic primary. At best, we give Walker the boot a month early.

For my part, I’m completely fed up with the corporate takeover of our state. I’ve had enough of big money in politics, and politics as usual makes me utterly ill. The thought of voting in the Democratic primary on May 8 smells a lot like politics as usual to me. Whereas every time I think about voting for Art on May 8, I smile.

The Occupy Movement 09/29/11 From Wisconsin to Wall Street-A dispatch from Arthur + Lawrence O’Donnell, Michael Moore

Arthur of Shit Scott Walker is Doing to My State is on Wall Street.

If you don’t already know Arthur Kohl-Riggs, he’s the admin. behind one of my favorite facebook pages, he is a regular creator of protest videos, he’s organized more than one protest flotilla, he helped to create the hilarious 25-foot-tall blow up David Prosser, and he helped to organize a mass LAWFUL filming of a Wisconsin state assembly meeting – which was interrupted by removal of the public from chambers. He’s a Madison, Wisconsin resident, a guy I’m pleased to call “friend”, and a damn fine agitator. Now he’s on Wall Street and will be sending dispatches back to us all.
(Also on Wall St. are Jenna and the mostly anonymous Andy. Jenna-Hoping to give you your spot in the blog limelight shortly.)

Arthur left a note last night: “Tune into sly in the morning tomorrow at 835, i will be reporting live from Wall St!”
I’m not sure if he’s thinking Eastern or Central time there. This will be archived for later consumption, but if you’d like to catch ti as it comes online, you can listen live online at WTDY’s web site.

This is his video made upon arrival last night. You’ll see Michael Moore talking with the assembled before he sits down to talk to Lawrence O’Donnell of MSNBC. You get the general tone of the place at night plus you hear a protester tell you that a boycott is developing against Burger King for its refusal to serve even paying protester customers.

Arthur: “We get into town after a very long train ride, and Liberty Plaza is alive and hopping. The General Assembly starts shortly after we arrive and shortly after that Micheal Moore shows up. Also, I guess we are boycotting Burger King? That shouldn’t be hard.”

The next video is of Lawrence O’Donnell of MSNBC interviews Michael Moore. O’Donnell is much more strident than when I last took a look at his show. Michael Moore doesn’t jump in until 3:19, but I suggest you listen to Lawrence. Here’s how he starts: “Today was like every other day in Washington since the president announced his American Jobs Act: Absolutely no progress was made in passing that bill. Congress took no steps to address the 9.1% unemployment rate nationwide, the 16.7% unemployment rate among African-Americans, and the 18.1% unemployment rate among workers age 18-24 who are trying to get their start….”

The web site for the occupation of Wall St: OccupyWallSt.org