Milwaukee, WI: Anarchists Storm Bastille Day Festival in Solidarity with #PrisonStrike

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Kicking off the week of support and outreach for the #August21 #PrisonStrike, anarchists in Milwaukee put on a show at the Bastille Day festival.

We, a crew of anarchists and artists, staged a spectacle at Milwaukee’s Bastille Days festival on Saturday 14 July to kick start the week of generating support for the upcoming nationwide prison strike as well as for the ongoing campaign to close our local dungeon, the Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility.

We arrived semi-nude with messages of prison abolition scrawled on our bodies in paint, chanting “Liberty! Equality! For eternity!” and trumpeting vuvuzelas. Handing out flyers to strangers can be rough and slow going, but the stunt generated real interest from the crowd. We started as 8 people, and over the course of our walk through the streets of the festival, gained five more.

There were definitely some sneers, but few truly negative responses. We were approached by police only to say that “mothers” had complained (think of the children having to view our pastied boobs and speedo-swaddled buttcheeks!).

For our safety and comfort, it was key that we remained in a group, and we frequently counted our numbers to make sure no one had been separated. Once it began to rain, we took advantage of the captive audience of fair-goers huddled under trees and tents to perform a modified version of a speech from Robespierre about using terror against the enemies of liberty.

While we confused many, we also got several new likes on the social media campaigns for Close MSDF and had good interactions with people in the street about the work we are doing, which we hope will get people out to our general assembly this Wednesday 18 July during the week of support for the strike.

On the whole, this anarchist recommends getting as naked as legally permitted with your friends and putting on a show – it’s a great conversation starter.


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