The protests that erupted in February helped galvanize the left against Gov. Scott Walker's agenda. But they couldn't be sustained forever: Eventually, people stopped sleeping in the Capitol and went back to work or school.
But with the Legislature deliberating on the budget this week, Ken Dunbeck is hoping for a repeat performance. A substitute teacher, Dunbeck helped form the Autonomous Solidarity Organization to link the various factions protesting Walker.
The group has been organizing events to keep momentum going. In May, it put on the People's Bratfest. And on Wednesday, it organized a "Take Back the Bus" event to encourage people to ride the bus and thank drivers for their service.
"You can do more than go to a protest," Dunbeck says. "You can go thank a public worker. As the son of a Milwaukee bus driver, it's exciting for me to go say 'thank you.'"
The larger message, Dunbeck says, is don't despair. The protests this spring didn't stop the Republicans, but they attracted worldwide notice, energized opposition and spurred recall campaigns.
"We need that to happen again," he says, "because this budget is 1,000 times worse than anything we've seen."