Since February 12th, I have been involved in participating in and documenting the protests against Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s “budget repair bill,” underway at the State Capitol in Madison, WI. As an academic engaged with issues of both labor as well as critical media scholarship, I have been keenly aware of the peculiar situation of being both directly involved in the protests while attempting to think about them in the context of my academic work, and in terms of larger-scale sociocultural movements of the past 30+ years. Throughout the past three weeks, I’ve found myself routinely returning to a position of negotiation between my public and private, political and professional, student, academic and grassroots self. Of course, the binarisms of these juxtapositions are false from the get-go, but perhaps the negotiation process has been made more apparent and more acute as I’ve found myself, moment-to-moment, simultaneously making decisions, documenting, responding to developments online and off, and simply facing the challenge of extended time periods in very cold weather.
Radical author/artist/activist/zinester Sloan Lesbowitz contacted me and asked me if I’d be willing to talk to her about what has been going on in Madison, in part, in the context of the online technologies and media (e.g., Twitter; Facebook) at the center of so much attention and activity in Madison and elsewhere in the world. Her questions were so thoughtful and provoked so much reflection in me that I asked her if I might share it with others. With Sloan’s permission, the conversation is posted below, with a few modifications as needed (and the original can be found here and here). I hope it is of interest.