The Songs Dave Erwin was Hired to Silence

February 18, 2013   by Joseph Skulan

SSA graphicEvery weekday from noon to 1 pm, for the past two years, citizens have gathered in or outside of the Wisconsin State Capitol to express their dissatisfaction with the Walker regime, its policies, or anything else that bothers them. Informally known as the Solidarity Sing-Along (SSA), the event is the longest sustained musical protest in American history.

Republican legislators and staffers, along with their obedient stenographers in the Capitol press room, despise the SSA and have employed a variety of more or less dishonest, sometimes bizarre, stratagems to suppress it.

In the summer of 2012 Capitol Police Chief Charles Tubbs, who took a hands-off approach to the SSA, was deposed and replaced with the former drill sergeant and body guard David Erwin. In a series of interviews in right-wing media outlets, the otherwise secretive and camera-shy Erwin made it clear that suppressing the SSA, and dissent in general, would be his top priority.

Singers sharing their messages in song, sign and banner on February 13, 2013.

Singers sharing their messages in song, sign, banner and button on February 13, 2013.

To that end Erwin initiated a crackdown on the SSA that has resulted in well over 100 citations, most of which have been dismissed in Dane County Circuit Court, and an ACLU lawsuit in federal court, but little else. The Sing Along continues, and will continue.

What are the songs that have the Republicans and their Palace Guard stewing in impotent fury? You can download one of the illicit songbooks here: 48 songs.

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