The ZRC’s twitter feed exploded yesterday with news of a controversial protest of enormously unpopular and markedly Anti-Zombie Governor Scott Walker yesterday. There were a lot of quite frankly hysterical accusations that the protesters, dressed up as Zombies, had ‘shouted down’ the governor at an event for the Special Olympics.
Of course, nothing could be further from the truth, and in the digital age any decent protest is up on Youtube by the end of the business day:
The State-Journal confirms that this SILENT protest was in fact not at all disruptive of the Special Olympics event and part of a larger day of campaigning:
Earlier in the day, the group was part of a “Die-In and Zombie March” by about 50 people protesting cuts to student aid and a new voter ID law that critics say will make it harder for students to vote, said Erika Wolf, field organizer and lobbyist for the United Council of UW Students, an advocacy group that represents about 150,000 students throughout Wisconsin.
Participants wore zombie makeup and red-streaked T-shirts stating “Students are as good as dead” and lay on the steps of the Capitol while a “eulogy” was read and other protestors, dressed in black, posed as “mourners,” Wolf said. The group then marched through the Capitol and later stood near a crowd outside where Gov. Scott Walker was addressing a group from Special Olympics Wisconsin.
Kelly Kloepping, vice-president of communications for Special Olympics Wisconsin, said the protesters were respectful and caused no disruption.
There was even a somewhat touchingly Zombie Friendly sentiment to the protest:
With the zombie theme, the group was trying to do “something funny and interesting and eye-catching, and show that even if they’re going to have their rights stripped from them, they’re going to rise up,” Wolf said.
Precisely so; if beaten down by injustice and/or Death, you should rise up, as a Zombie if possible, and have fun. Global Reanimation Block Party!!
As to the negative media coverage and attempt by many conservatives on Twitter especially to demonize this protest:
Ok, listen. The ZRC is non-partisan, in that both Republicans and Democrats traditionally have oppressed the Differently Animated. Recently, especially at the local level, some Democrats (like our own mayor here in Madison, Paul Soglin) have come out strongly in favor of Zombie Rights, and we support them for that. Still, the national parties have both been strikingly silent about Zombies. I don’t want to give anyone the impression that this particular organization in the Z-Rights movement has thrown in formally with a national party.
At the same time, however, the Walker administration in Wisconsin has been particularly Anti-Zombie, with voter suppression policies tailor-made to suppress the student vote (and completely eliminate the homeless vote) hitting the Zombie voter hard either intentionally or as collateral damage. His attacks on the basic principle of collective bargaining, a core value in the Zombie Community as seen in their nearly-total membership in representative unions popularly called ‘hordes’, is also alarming.
It’s natural that Zombies would want to protest the Governor, and at least understandable that Living people might avail themselves of the trappings of Zombie culture to engage in similar protest.
The ZRC cautions Living individuals, however, to be sensitive to the Zombie Community when walking for a day in their Undead shoes. First, your actions can and may be misinterpreted, even lied about, and these lies used to undermine Zombie Rights, which is an equally worthy goal by any measure. Second: if you don’t put a bit more effort into your makeup, you look kind of silly.
Seriously; torn white t-shirts and a little karo syrup with food coloring doesn’t make you look ‘Zombie’, it makes you look like a college kid who just ate a watermelon on laundry day. If Zombiism posed no greater difficulty than a bit of red on you and a torn shirt, the ZRC would hardly be necessary. Not all Zombies are afflicted with obvious gore, of course, but this is political theatre we’re talking about. Don’t demagogue, but don’t trivialize either, and get some spirit gum and latex going for Pete’s sake.
Alternately you could just invite some actual Zombies, you know! They turn out if you ask nicely, and so does the ZRC:
We even have relevant literature about Zombies and their relationship to Governor Walker’s radical politics that you can peruse.
In summation: The ZRC supports yesterday’s peaceful, non-violent and respectful protests at the Capitol featuring students dressed up as ‘Zombies’. We simply ask for continued respectful treatment of the Zombie Community and an awareness amongst protesters of the potential fallout for actual Zombies from protests using the symbols of Zombie Culture.
A little mutual understanding goes a long way. Zombie-Living Solidarity!