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Jobs Movement Activists Stage Five-Day Sit-In at Paul Ryan’s District Offices

I criticized the American Dream Movement this morning for narrowing the focus of their advertising message to a partisan one, rather than a broader message aligned with what’s best for the country rather than a political party. However, the American Dream Movement has been a rising force in the Invisible Town Hall Revolution that’s been evident across the country this August. And, they’ve inspired those who have taken the message directly to district offices. A good case study is happening in Wisconsin right now.

In Paul Ryan’s district, activists have been engaged in five days of sit-ins at his district offices in Kenosha and Racine. Wisconsin Jobs Now has been managing and documenting the protests. Since Ryan’s constituents couldn’t directly question Ryan about his radical budget ideas or his plan to end Medicare without paying 15 dollars, they showed up at his offices.

This has not pleased Ryan or his staffers. They threatened to call the cops on protesters on two occasions, and had police remove protesters at least once. They restricted the use of cameras. They restricted parking. And now, as you can see above, they shut down the offices in Kenosha to foot traffic and forced the public out of the building. Police personnel are protecting the building.

This has not stopped Wisconsin Jobs Now. They entered and took over the office in Racine.

As Jeff Simpson asks, I wonder if Ryan thinks this is a proper use of taxpayer dollars, to kick constituents out of public buildings. Maybe he’s paying the police officers out of pocket.

This direct action is also spreading across the country. Rep. Chip Cravaack (R-MN) was hounded into holding a free town hall in the district’s biggest population center of Duluth, after being confronted by activists (he’s holding it at the Duluth Airport, where you still have to pay for parking, of course). An unemployed man has been picketing in front of Sen. Pat Toomey’s events and demanding an open meeting between Toomey and unemployed residents in Pennsylvania; he may soon get his wish.

The use of direct pressure for good jobs now is impressive, and offers at least a chance to change the conversation around the economy.

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David Dayen

David Dayen