Even as Madison teachers and students went back to work today, the Capitol building is jammed with chanting, drumming protesters.
The huge crowd fell silent for a moment at 1:30 pm, as Jesse Jackson stood up in the center of the rotunda and asked the union members and supporters to bow their heads in prayer.
"We ask God to keep us humble and focused as we seek to protect the basic rights of the workers and their families and as we seek to protect the integrity of the American Dream," Jackson said.
"Just as Egypt was ground zero in the battle for justice in the Middle East, Wisconsin is ground zero in the battle for economic justice across America." He declared.
Jackson led the crowd in a chant of "One Day Longer," and linked arms with Democratic Congresswoman from Madison Tammy Baldwin, swaying to the pounding drums.
Upstairs, the Wisconsin Assembly is meeting, and is announcing some changes to the " budget repair" bill that includes Governor Scott Walket's union-busting measure at a press conference today. Protesters cheered as a retired state worker urged them not to settle for half measures.
In a rally outside the building, where the crowd spilled down the Capitol steps and along two sides of the block, Harley workers from Milwaukee joined municipal employees from LaCrosse and the largest turnout of firefighters from around the Midwest thus far.
IBEW president Ed Hill from Pittsburgh told the crowd "If it hapens in Wisconsin, where will it stop?"
Andy Voelzke, a Harley Davidson machine operator from United Steelworkers local 202-9 in Milwaukee carried a sign that said "Harley workers oppose union busting."
"This is the first stop in a move nationally to undermine decades of rights that people have died for," he said.
"There is a misunderstanding about what public employees are," said Char Wagner, an SEIU member who drives a snowplow in La Crosse. She came down with 20 other LaCrosse city workers to join the protest in Madison. "People don't know we have been making concessions and working with municipalities to save money. We haven't had a raise in three years."
"Even in your family, when you have troubles you sit down and talk about it," Sandy Howe, a purchasing assistant for the city of LaCrosse added. "In business, that's how you solve problems. Why can't Scott Walker do that with us?"
Or, as Jesse Jackson put it, as I spoke to him before he made his dramatic entrance into the Capitol building: "Walker isn't going after the unions' pocketbooks, he's going after their heads."
There has been a huge leap in consciousness about labor rights in Wisconsin over the past week.
Despite the Fox News spin, people like my schoolteacher neighbor and her Republican husband have been galvanized to defend the unions' right to bargain.
The idea, pedaled by Fox, that the protests are just a liberal Madison phenomenon is belied by a quick look around. So is the notion that public employees are a priviledged elite.
Marching into the Capitol with the firefighters right behind her and her fellow teachers was "incredibly powerful," my usually apolitical neighbor said.
Moments ago, uniformed prison guards marched in, their drumming feet and chant of, "Union!" "Power!" echoing off the marble walls to thunderous applause and high fives from the tightly-packed crowd.
Surrounded by firefighters outside the Capitol building, Jesse Jackson spoke about the renewed sense of labor's importance, and the inspiration Wisconsin is giving to the rest of the country.
"Unions have been much too dormant," Jackson said. "They must put the marching boots back on. The spirit of Wisconsin is inspiring people throughout the nation. I am g oing on to Ohio right after this."
In Madison, the crowd in the Capitol is still there, chanting, "We're not leaving!"
It's an impressive, and moving, show of force.
If you liked this article by Ruth Conniff, the political editor of The Progressive, check out her story "My Kids Are Marching in Madison."
Follow Ruth Conniff @rconniff on Twitter.