Home(less) in Wisconsin
Although most of the Wisconsin Uprising protestors were not literally homeless, they were engaged in a battle to define what it means to be at "home" in Wisconsin. For many, Governor Scott Walker's Act 10 was not only a violation of the principles they felt defined their home state but was, in effect, the beginning of a class war. Throughout the protests, a number of visual images bespoke the connection between this kind of psychic homelessness and actual homelessness: people sleeping on the ground and in tents; people standing in long soup kitchen-esque lines; and references to eviction. Some protestors had sleeping bags. Others had not even a blanket. And when protesters were prohibited from sleeping inside the capitol building, many moved outdoors to sleep in the Walkerville tent city. This encampment was reminiscent of homeless tent cities that had popped up across the country in recent years to protest a lack of affordable housing and shelter solutions for homeless people. (A Seattle tent city that popped up in 2008, for example, was called "Nickelsville," after Mayor Greg Nichols.) Protestors also regularly carried homemade cardboard signs, similar to those seen in the hands of homeless panhandlers. These are particularly striking in the hands of protestors standing in the long lines to get through security in the later days of the protests. This strongly resembled iconic images of poor people waiting to enter soup kitchens or homeless shelters.