What is the ASO?
The Autonomous Solidarity Organization (ASO) is a community-based grassroots organization built through the friendships forged during the occupation of the Wisconsin State Capitol in February of 2011. We believe that community is built through mobilization and education.
We are a non-profit civic education organization incorporated under Ch. 181 of Wisconsin State Statutes and currently working toward formal 501(c)3 recognition. The original core membership of the ASO was heavily involved with the three-week occupation of the Wisconsin State Capitol during the protests over the Budget Repair Bill (SB/AB 11). Nearly none of the original members knew each other before this event. For most of us this was our first taste of activism, while for others it was merely the continuation of years of commitment to fighting for social justice.
Our membership covers a broad spectrum of age and occupation. We are students and teachers, business owners and union members, the young and the old, the organized and the unaffiliated, but together we stand in solidarity. As an organization we stand for accountability, transparency, and egalitarianism in order to bring about the world in which we wish to live.
What is the ASO Working Towards?
The specific issues we focus on will evolve as time goes on and our group grows and evolves. Generally, we advocate for:
- Stronger community involvement in how our political system is run ensuring all voices are heard
- Civil and honest discourse about the issues facing our state, nation and world
- A just tax system in which corporations and the wealthy pay their fair share
- Living wage jobs
- The rights of workers to organize and collectively bargain
- Quality, affordable education
- Quality, affordable healthcare
- Protection of our environment
- Access to healthy food and quality housing
- A secure retirement
- Strengthened human, civil, and immigrant rights
- Restoring the central role of the Marketplace of Ideas in our communities
- Ensuring the voting rights of all eligible citizens by minimizing obstacles to voting
What Actions Has the ASO Taken?
While we have only formally existed since April 20th, 2011, our members have performed a multitude of actions which fulfill a unique role within the protests. Though we are an autonomous group, officially unaffiliated with any party or standing organization, we have fought alongside unions and community groups in the struggle for workers' rights and social justice. Our actions thus far have included:
- Organizing the "Take Back Our Busses" day of action to show appreciation for and thank the Madison Metro employees on June 15th, 2011
- Organizing the annual People's Bratfest to support local businesses, raise money for charity and build community by promoting civil discourse
- Organizing a voter education bus tour throughout central Wisconsin with the Rev. Jesse Jackson
- Amplifying the voice of the common man and woman through the establishment and operation of the "People's Mic"
- Encouraged citizens to testify against the Voter ID poll tax legislation pushed through the Wisconsin State Legislature
- Actively maintaining peace and order during the protests inside and outside the Wisconsin State Capitol
- Assisting in the organizing and maintenance of the community that thrived within the Wisconsin State Capitol during its occupation by concerned Wisconsin taxpayers
- Created a giant Monopoly board utilizing the sidewalk squares around the WI State Capitol to illustrate how much money individual legislators raised for their own political campaigns, compared to how that money could better be used to benefit the People
- Organized a city-wide toy and clothing drive for homeless children