Protests greet Biden outside the Pabst Theater in downtown Milwaukee
Milwaukee, WI – Despite bitter cold, on February 16 protesters demanding a people’s agenda gathered outside the Pabst Theater where President Joe Biden was hosting his first event outside Washington, DC since being inaugurated.
In total, more than 100 people were present, with that number dwindling as the cold crept in. Closer to 40 stuck it out until the end, listening to all the speakers from the organizations that came together to sponsor the planned event.
“It’s so important for us to be out here tonight, standing in solidarity with one another to call for a people’s agenda. United front organizing and keeping it in the streets is how we will win all of our demands,” said Piper Hogan, a member of Freedom Road Socialist Organization and the emcee of the event.
Speakers from the different groups touched on each of the five main demands that served as the basis for the event, which were: 1) Relief for the people; 2) End police crimes and white supremacy; 3) Defend indigenous sovereignty and protect the earth; 4) End the wars and no more sanctions; and 5) Legalization for all and abolish I.C.E.
“We’re not going to pretend like this election has solved all our problems. I’m tired of hearing that we need to be patient with this administration. The oppressive systems that are screwing people over haven’t taken a break, so why should we?” said Alan Chavoya of the Milwaukee Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression.
Chavoya continued, “Biden rejects calls to defund the police because he has always been a pro-cop, ‘tough on crime’ politician who has built his career drafting racist policies that have and continue to screw over Black and brown working-class people. We know that Biden does not want cities like Milwaukee to have community control of the police. Through CPAC. Through community control, the people decide if, when, and how to use the police. With community control, the people don’t have to depend on corrupt DAs to convict cops. Through community control, the people determine the funding of the police.”
“The future of these demands will not come about unless we are willing to fight for it because the future belongs to those who are willing to fight for it. We’re not going to wait for the Biden administration to act in accordance with the people’s needs,” said Chavoya. “Only the people united can bring about such a future in which the people have CPAC, in which the families of Alvin Cole, Jay Anderson, Antonio Gonzales, Joel Acevedo, and too many others get the justice they deserve!”
Other groups and people that spoke included a representative from the Burmese community of Milwaukee, FRSO, PSL, Our Wisconsin Revolution, the Milwaukee End the Wars Coalition, The People’s Revolution, Milwaukee Students for a Democratic Society, and the Wisconsin Coalition to Normalize Relations with Cuba.
Art Heitzer, with the Cuba Coalition, read a statement from two Milwaukee residents currently at Cuba’s Latin American School of Medicine to close his remarks.
“Cuba’s mission has always been and continues to be to save lives, to create health infrastructure, to share its knowledge and human resources internationally – especially in times of need – and to make the world a better place,” the statement read. “Milwaukee and the U.S. at large would immensely benefit from Cuba’s innovative medical and public health knowledge, and Cuba would benefit from Wisconsin’s agricultural surpluses. There is no better time than now to come together as an international community to share knowledge and resources and save lives!”
The event included a pitch for attendees to tune in to FRSO’s International Women’s Day program online on March 6 at 5 p.m. Central Time. It closed with the crowd chanting in honor of Fred Hampton: “I am – a revolutionary!”