Not surprisingly but still depressingly, the authoritarian faction of Wisconsin politics is beginning to assert itself over the pro-speech/pro-dissent faction, as Scott Walker has closed the Capitol to any citizens not already there. In fairness, if he didn’t start to shut off the protest this might lead to even more speech that violates arbitrary etiquette rules with the Capitol building, and it’s hard to see how that could be consistent with democratic values.
UPDATE: Jesse Walker, despite his political opposition to the labor protesters, gets the speech issue right:
Maybe this really is a matter of letting the cleaning crews do their thing, but reading the Madison ACLU’s Twitter feed isn’t making me optimistic: “Capitol: metal screening, limited doors,” “Dividing crowd into 3 lines – scheduled mtg, public hearing, protesters,” “windows being welded shut.” I’d hate for this standoff to end with construction crews (unionized or not) digging a moat around the capitol.
This should be a transpartisan issue. Wisconsin’s permissive public-access policy is a practice worth saving — and if it makes it easier for peaceful protesters to squat in the state house, then I say that’s a feature, not a bug. Today the unions, tomorrow the Tea Parties, next week the Juggalos: Stand up for liberty and let ’em all come.
More on the window-welding here.