"Bread and Roses," A Statement From Artists United in Solidarity With Wisconsin's Public Sector Workers

We, the undersigned musicians, artists and cultural workers state our wholehearted support for Wisconsin’s public sector workers in their battle against Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s draconian anti-union bill.  Furthermore, we demand the Governor immediately rescind the aforementioned bill, despite its recent approval by the state Senate. 

Governor Walker has threatened to do away with any collective bargaining power for Wisconsin’s public sector unions.  Tens of thousands of teachers, office workers, nurses, public parks employees and others have been hung out to dry, the security of their families’ futures thrown into deep question.  If successful, it’s only a matter of time until all workers in every sector and every state face the same attacks.

The toll of this will go well beyond simple bread and butter.  As artists, we understand that a robust culture is dependent on everyone having access to the means to create and express themselves.  A further decline in working people's living standards, in essence, means that the arts and all the finer things in life will become the providence of the privileged.

Gov. Walker and others in support of this legislation have waxed sanctimonious about “shared sacrifice” in the name of balancing the state’s budget, but we know better.  We know from history that troubled economic times always bring with them politicians seeking to pay for a crisis on workers’ backs.  Walker obviously plans to walk in this same ignoble tradition.

We also know that in times like these, workers learn to fight back.  History is filled with such heroic men and women who stood up for their rights to dignity and recognition in this country and beyond.  From Cairo to Madison, today’s workers appear ready to do the same.  

When ordinary folks recognize their own power, it can change everything.  Such moments have produced some of the best music, art and writing of all time.  “This Land Is Your Land.”  “Guernica.”  The Grapes of Wrath.  The question for every artist, worker and community member today is the same today as it was then: “Which Side Are You On?”

BBU, hip-hop group, Chicago
Son of Nun, activist and emcee, Baltimore
Phillip Morris, rapper, Chicago 
Mike Alewitz, muralist and artistic director, Labor Art & Mural Project, New Britain, CT  
Invincible, hip-hop artist and activist, Detroit 
Bucky Halker, musician and labor historian, Chicago
Jared Paul, Strange Famous Records on AFW 
Alan Hague, Prayers for Atheists (and member of AFSCME), Providence, RI 
Agents of Change, Chicago
Socially Conscious Arts | SOCIARTS, Los Angeles
Reebee Garofalo, musician, HONK! Organizing Committee 
Mat Callahan, musician and author of The Trouble With Music
Alexander Billet, music journalist, Chicago 
Parviz Azad, composer and pianist, Woodland Hills, CA 
Trish Kahle, fiction writer, poet and blogger, Winston-Salem, NC
Pedram Moallemian, writer and artist, Los Angeles 
12Petals Media Group, San Francisco
Maryam Tabibzadeh, author of Persian Dreams, Raleigh, NC 
Phillip Grant, anthropologist, translator and poet, Irvine, CA
Nalika Gajaweera, anthropologist, artist and teacher at UC Irvine
Mark Clinton, poet, political scientist, teacher, Holyoke, MA
Afsaneh Art & Culture Society - Ballet Afsaneh, San Francisco
DC Larson, former CD reviewer for Rockabilly Magazine and freelancer, Waterloo, IA
Steven Damewood, co-founder, Art for a democratic Society (A4dS), Oakland, CA
Nick Farza, composer and producer, MASQUE MusicArt, Boston
Generic Concession Stand, band, Philadelphia
Sh Massoudi, artist and teacher, California
Rebel Time Records, Hamilton, Ontario
Bahar Badizadegan, artist, musician, DJ, organizer and activist, Los Angeles
Benjamin Solah, horror writer and poet, Melbourne, Australia
Bita Shafipour, artist and activist, Santa Monica, CA
The Accountants of Homeland Security, sketch comedy group, Chicago
Negin Karbassian, artist, Los Angeles
Fereshteh Amin, educator, Los Angeles CA
Matthew Filipowicz, comedian, cartoonist, satirist, Chicago 
Kevin Holm-Hudson, music theory professor, University of Kentucky 
Max Monclair, graphic artist and media observer, Omaha, NE
Eric Hagstrom, block print maker and wood carver, Madison, WI
Jerry Briardy, artist/musician, Omaha, NE 
Wally Brooker, musician and journalist, Toronto


Tom Morello, Wayne Kramer, Tim McIlrath, Ike Reilly and Street Dogs performing Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land" in front of Wisconsin's Capitol on February 21st:

Jasiri X, "American Workers vs. Multi-Billionaires," filmed in and around the occupied State Capitol:

Street Dogs' "Up the Union," Rally for Your Rights, February 21st, Madison:

Peter Yarrow (of Peter, Paul and Mary) performing "Which Side Are You On?" at February 26th rally in Madison:

Kramer, Morello and Street Dogs, "Kick Out the Jams," Rally for Your Rights: