Thousands of pro-labor activists are descending on the statehouse in Madison as we speak (live feed here), but the big attraction is the tractors — dozens of them, circling the capitol:
Also expected to make their triumphant return at the rally are the 14 Democrats who went AWOL weeks ago.
UPDATE: Actress Susan Sarandon is currently addressing the rally.
UPDATE II: Reports (unconfirmed) that as many as 200,000 are in attendance. It doesn’t look that way from the live feed, but who can say? You can watch the aftermath of Wisconsin 14 press conference here:
Wisconsin state senator Lena Taylor — one of the top recipients
of union dollars in the state — accused Gov. Scott Walker of “bald-face lies” in his handling of budget repair bill. Senator John Erpenbach said Democrats weren’t disappointed by President Obama’s failure to come to Madison to stand with labor. Erpenbach said if Obama had come, the scene would have been “even more chaotic.”
The lamister senators are now marching with ralliers.
UPDATE III: Ralliers are loudly cheering the Wisconsin 14 as they pass through the crowd, shouting “THANK YOU THANK YOU!” Sen. Lena Taylor received loud applause when she announced that she had slept in her own bed for the first time in weeks. She said she now understands “what Dorothy meant when she said ‘I just want to go home.’”
Protesters are now chanting “OUR HEROES!” to the Wisconsin 14.
UPDATE IV: Sen. Tim Carpenter (D.), one of the Wisconsin 14, said just now at a press conference that he was “embarrassed” to call Scott Walker governor, and that the only thing standing in the way of the protection of Wisconsin workers are the “billions” of dollars from the Koch brothers and other outside groups.
When asked about the possibility of a general strike, Sen. Kathleen Vinehout (D.) said that the energy now is behind a “financial strike” — that is, boycotting the businesses and products of those perceived to be supporters of the budget-repair bill. “When you think about what motivates these people, it’s all about money,” Vinehout said.
Sen. Spencer Coggs (D.), the top recipient of union dollars among Wisconsin Democrats, said “18 Republicans stole democracy . . . from the people of Wisconsin” by passing the budget-repair bill, what he called a “midweek massacre.”
Sen. Chris Larsen (D.), said the exit of the Wisconsin 14 “woke up the sleeping middle class . . . to the difference between the two parties.” (However Wisconsin shakes out — he’s right.)
UPDATE V: Ralliers on the capitol steps were just serenaded with “Solidarity Forever.”