Crashing An Anti-Immigration Overpass Protest in Milwaukee

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Milwaukee, WI - Perhaps those planning anti-immigration overpass protests around the nation should have thought about the fact that the majority of Americans do not support their hate. In Milwaukee they had to find out the hard way.

When I arrived at the original overpass bridge chosen for the Saturday protest I immediately found that it was closed for construction. Counter protestors were already milling about wondering if the protest would be cancelled, as there were no protestors to be seen. The gathered counter protestors collectively decided to change course and simply walk to the nearest busy street corner and hold signs, which they did for about 20 minutes when word came that Anti-immigration protestors were spotted on a different bridge a quarter mile away. Everyone immediately made the move to the new location.

When I pulled up to the Howard Avenue overpass bridge there was a group of about 7 (6 on one side of the street and 1 on the other) holding “No Amnesty” and “Defend Our Borders” signs to traffic passing underneath. Counter protestors had already begun to arrive filling the opposite side of the bridge quickly outnumbering the few protestors present.

Photo credit: C.M. DeSpears

Photo credit: C.M. DeSpears

Once the opposite side of the bridge filled, several counter protests began making their way to the opposite side of the overpass strategically positioning their “Mr President: Stop the Deportations” banner immediately next to the protestors effectively co-opting the original thrust of the  action.

One of the child migrant protestors, upset over the counter protestors’ actions told them to leave his side of the bridge whining that, “they were there first”. The video embedded below captures one of the proud counter protestor’s response.

Pro-immigration groups ended up outnumbering the anti-immigration demonstrators by about 5-to-1, drowning out their hate and sending a message that Wisconsin welcomes immigrant children and rejects the hate of those stalking and harassing migrant children. Apparently the same thing happened on an overpass in Philly. If these so-called “patriots” continue to meet this kind of reaction from everyday Americans perhaps they might think twice about displaying their hate in public for all to see.

Crashing An Anti-Immigration Overpass Protest from Occupy Riverwest on Vimeo.

Milwaukee Stands in Solidarity with Those Fighting Water Shutoffs in Detroit

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Milwaukee, WI - Certain things, such as air, water and the sun should never be owned by any private individual, group or corporation. But that’s exactly what’s happening in Michigan with their water. Whether it’s Nestle sucking community wells dry or the recent Detroit water shutoffs, the people are having their rights trampled, but that doesn’t mean people aren’t fighting back.

National Nurses United joined the Friday protests in Detroit against water shutoffs (photo credit: National Nurses United).

National Nurses United joined the Friday protests in Detroit against water shutoffs (photo credit: National Nurses United).

Thousands descended upon Detroit Friday to protests against the city’s water shutoffs affecting its poorest populations. The United Nations has even weighed in on the city’s policy as well saying it:

“constitutes a violation of the human right to water and other international human rights”

Another protest took place Friday night except this one was on the other side of Michigan, Lake Michigan that is. The Overpass Light Brigade‘s chose one of the largest sources of fresh water in the world to shine their message in support of those fighting the water shutoffs and although their action wasn’t as loud or large as the ones in Detroit, they weren’t any less visible.



Join the Detroit Water Brigade and find out how you can fight back wherever you are.

Water Meme

Is a Bomb Train Running Through Your Backyard?

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Wauwatosa, WI - Last night we visited the Village of Wauwatosa to hold an Overpass Light Brigade (OLB) action to raise visibility about bomb trains running through the area. Minutes before we pulled out the lights for our “OIL TRAIN BLAST ZONE” message an actual bomb train happened to pass through. Thanks to veteran OLB Holder of the Light Jayne Mullins for capturing the moment on video. We edited that footage to make this video about these ticking time bombs chugging through our communities.

Is a Bomb Train Running Through Your Backyard? from Occupy Riverwest on Vimeo.

Deadly Bomb Trains Chugging Through the Heart of America

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The fireball that followed the derailment and explosion of two trains, one carrying Bakken crude oil, on December 30, 2013, outside Casselton, N.D.

The fireball that resulted from the derailment and explosion of a train carrying Bakken crude oil outside Casselton, N.D. on December 30, 2013.

Most Americans would want to know if a massive explosion could happen in their backyard. Well, right now “bomb trains” carrying highly flammable Bakken Shale crude are running all over the country, and if you live within a mile of the railroad tracks, then a fireball like the one in the photograph above could become reality for you.

What makes up the Bakken Shale oil? (Source: Wall Street Journal)

Breakdown of Bakken crude. (Source: Wall Street Journal)

ForestEthics just put out an “Oil Train Blast Zone” map that details the path of these deadly trains, and the expansive swath of blast and evacuation zones. You might be surprised by the routes these trains take, so type your zip code in and see if you are in a blast zone.

In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, these deadly trains run right past a popular gathering place in the Wauwatosa village. On the evening of July 12, 2014, the Overpass Light Brigade braved pouring rain to let people know that their favorite restaurants and bars lie well within a blast zone, with these explosive payloads passing by multiple times a week.

Communities should not have to bear the risk of catastrophic explosions from Bakken oil. Along with other forms of extreme energy, Bakken crude isn’t worth the risk. We don’t need exploding trains, groundwater turned toxic by fracking, or tar sands pipelines. It’s time to reign in the big oil companies that profit off of these dangerous fossil fuels, and demand clean, renewable alternatives.


Is a Bomb Train Running Through Your Backyard? from Occupy Riverwest on Vimeo.

Wisconsin Working Hard to Get Money Out of Politics

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“We, the People of the United States of America, reject the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling and other related cases, and move to amend our Constitution to firmly establish that money is not speech, and that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights.”

- Move to Amend website

Milwaukee, WI - Ever since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that corporations were people and money was a form of free speech in the 2010 Citizens United decision, big moneyed interests have hijacked our democracy. Groups like Move to Amend have been organizing around the country against the ruling, but nowhere is the resistance greater than Milwaukee.

Move to Amend has been working to get referendums on ballots across the country declaring opposition to the controversial decision. Nowhere has that fight be as successful as in Milwaukee and around the state of Wisconsin, where 42 different resolutions and referendums have been passed. The victories come despite the best efforts of elected officials like Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele. Milwaukee County residents have tried several times to get a referendum on the ballot, but those efforts have been nixed by Abele, but finally in May the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors overrode his veto clearing the way for a November non-binding referendum that says:

(ITEM ) A resolution by Supervisors Weishan, Jr., Broderick, Johnson, Jr., and Rainey providing for an advisory referendum on the November 4, 2014, election ballot on whether the United States Constitution should be amended to establish that only human beings, not corporations, are entitled to constitutional rights, money is not speech, and therefore regulating political contributions and spending is not equivalent to limiting political speech, by recommending adoption of the following:


WHEREAS, the United States Constitution acknowledges the rights that every person deserves, and it guarantees those rights to the people of the United States of America; and

WHEREAS, in delineating the rights of every person, the Framers did not state that any of the rights of persons are also rights of corporations, nor do the United States Constitution and its amendments use the word “corporation” even once; and

WHEREAS, acceptance by the courts of the doctrines of corporate personhood and the equivalence of money and speech has enabled corporations to spend money in much greater amounts than the vast majority of living human beings to influence political and governmental decisions and the results of elections; and

WHEREAS, by enabling candidates and their supporters to raise unprecedented amounts of corporate money, the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision of 2010, in effect, requires constant fundraising by candidates, diverting their attention away from the interests and needs of people they would represent; and

WHEREAS, the Citizens United decision has allowed and will allow unprecedented amounts of money contributed by corporations and other wealthy donors to influence the American political process, posing a direct threat to our democracy and feeding a growing movement toward a plutocracy by influencing candidate selection, election results, votes by public officials, and policy decisions while diluting the power of individuals as active, voting citizens; and

WHEREAS, when accorded the rights of human persons, large corporations and other wealthy groups have greatly exceeded less affluent human persons in political influence, resulting in elections, laws, and government policies that enable the corporations to carry on activities detrimental to the wellbeing of human persons; and

WHEREAS, the people of the United States have previously used the constitutional amendment process to correct those egregiously wrong decisions of the United States Supreme Court that undermine our democracy; and


Milwaukee will likely follow the footsteps of other communities around the nation in passing, by a wide margin, the November referendum and start the process of ending the richest take all politics climate we currently have. It’s time to put our democracy back in the hands of the people.


This action and others like it are taking place all week around the nation in part of a series of creative protests called the “Rolling Rebellion for Real Democracy”. Check to see if an action is taking place near you.

Overpass Light Brigade Rolling Rebellion actions in Milwaukee and Madison this week.

Overpass Light Brigade Rolling Rebellion actions in Milwaukee and Madison this week.