Saturday, December 03, 2016

“When a corporation can own a town, we’re in trouble”

Rebecca Fritz, with one of her children, is sounding the alarm about fascism. She fights poverty every day, trying to raise a family on her own. She joined the bus to Benton Harbor for the protest because she recognizes the importance of the struggle there to the overall struggle against fascism. PHOTO/DAYMONJHARTLEY.COM
Rebecca Fritz, with one of her children, sounds the alarm about fascism in a talk at a protest against land theft and repression against leaders of the people in Benton Harbor, MI, a town run by the Whirlpool Corporation. PHOTO/DAYMONJHARTLEY.COM

Editor’s note: Rebecca Fritz, with one of her children, is sounding the alarm about fascism. She fights poverty every day, trying to raise a family on her own. She joined the bus to Benton Harbor from Detroit for a protest against the PGA and the lakefront land takeover by Whirlpool, Corp., because she recognizes the importance of the struggle there to the overall struggle against fascism.
BENTON HARBOR, MI — It’s nice to see how many people showed up despite the weather. I am always pumped by everyone’s enthusiasm. Our enthusiasm and fight for what’s right is all we have. I want to say something about fascism in America. Everything is being privatized. Everything comes down to the bottom line of profit. Our children are born into this materialism and it’s difficult to get them out of it. They see what other people have and want all these material things. Everything is a commercial.
I never met Rev. Pinkney, but heard about him. I could see that this is one of the towns hardest hit by corporate fascism. When a corporation can own an entire town and do what ever they please, justice be dammed—and do it openly, not even try to hide it, and get away with it, then you know we’re in trouble.
Between the Emergency Manager system in Michigan that turns public assets over to the corporations and things going on in Flint, Detroit, and here—it’s a huge warning for everybody of things to come. Precedents set here will be going on all over the country. It’s looting in the name of legality. What’s legal is not what’s right; and sometimes what’s right is not legal. One has a responsibility to disobey unjust laws.
A lot of people don’t stand up. People are still trying to hang on to their comfort and hope things will get better and that the American Dream is still alive. But the American Dream is false. Everything is rigged. Electronic voting machines can be rigged. It’s good to see a lot of people out here trying to change things by voting. But we have to realize that maybe this voting thing isn’t all that’s needed. We have to be strong on all fronts and be adaptable and put ourselves out there in multiple avenues in order to seek justice in creative ways—because there’s a whole lot of FEMA camps waiting to be filled. I think this is the direction things are going. Now they’re talking about making prisons into communities. You are talking about a legal martial law—unannounced. You’re talking about some sneak thief bull-shit. Keep your eyes open and get people you know involved. First they ridicule you and then they attack you, and then you win.
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Sunday, November 27, 2016

Let the Holiday Campaign Begin for Rev. Edward Pinkney!

By Polly Hughes
November 26, 2016 

"Therefore, if you can, along with any card or letter, please include 3-4 sheets of lined paper that he can use for his writings."  (address also in post below this)

Recently, Reverend Edward Pinkney was abruptly transferred out of West Shoreline Corrections Facility in Muskegon Heights to Brooks/Fremont Correctional Facility in Muskegon Heights. He was driven around in a van for about 30 minutes before ending up at Brooks/Fremont, which is basically across the street from West Shoreline! Both facilities are at 2500 S. Sheridan! 
What is behind this latest move? We only can surmise that it is a typical tactic used by departments of corrections to cause confusion, isolate prisoners, keep families and friends from inmates; in other words, it’s a “show them who’s boss” mentality that costs taxpayers unnecessarily and puts stress and hardships on not just the inmates, but on their loved ones. 
Rev. Pinkney reports that Brooks/Fremont is worse than the Marquette facility—a fact that is difficult to comprehend. We all know the conditions at Marquette: walls covered with black mold, unsanitary conditions, rotten and inedible food, hostile prison officials, a warden with an iron fist, poor medical treatment, and much more. 
When Dorothy Pinkney and I visited the Reverend on Saturday, November 19, he was in good spirits, talkative, joyful to have visitors, and he was hungry. At West Shoreline, visitors can bring in quarters to purchase a variety of vending machine foods for the inmate. Microwaves are provided to heat up sandwiches. He ate plentifully and talked about how much he had learned while being incarcerated for the past two years. The Reverend is always just as interested in the lives of his visitors, in their opinions and activities as he is in talking about the deplorable conditions he has endured over the past two years. He is genuinely appreciative of others, and every time I speak with him, it is a lesson in self-sacrifice, devotion to others, and compassion.
Rev. Pinkney was looking forward to the next weekend’s visit on Friday, November 25, the day after Thanksgiving. The plan was for a visit from Dorothy along with their daughter and grandson. On the 21st he was moved, and the fear was that his visits and his phone calls would be interrupted, perhaps suspended for a time. However, he did receive the family visit on the 21st and his phone calls resumed. He is so grateful for family members, friends, and supporters. 
Rev. Pinkney has repeatedly expressed his gratitude for all the birthday cards he received—about 250 from around the world! He is looking forward to receiving your holiday cards in celebration of Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, etc. He told us that the cards and letters he receives give him great joy, hope, and a real connection with others, and the communication lets him know so many individuals are aware of the injustice so many are suffering. 
Now that he is at Brooks/Fremont, his wife will have to order more pre-packaged food for him (through the prison system) that is edible (rather than eating the rotten, worm-infested food that is served daily). There are vending machines available at Brooks/Fremont, but they contain only snack foods; no sandwiches or any healthy fare is offered, and there are no microwaves for inmates’ use. 
He is determined to give the prison system as little funds as possible, but he must continue to speak out, and one means is by writing blogs and articles. Therefore, if you can, along with any card or letter, please include 3-4 sheets of lined paper that he can use for his writings. If we all write to him and send paper to him every month, he would be kept busy with his reading, research and writings until his 2.5 years are up in June 2017—a day we are all looking forward to celebrating with him. His freedom, his life, his family have been sacrificed for far too long. #FreeRevPinkney 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Rev. Pinkney's new address

Reverend Edward Pinkney, #294671
Brooks/Fremont Correctional Facility 
2500 S. Sheridan Dr. 
Muskegon Heights, MI 49444

Monday, November 21, 2016

Attention: Rev. Pinkney Will Be Transferred

Rev. Edward Pinkney, political prisoner and civil rights activist, will be transferred from West Shoreline Correctional Facility in Muskegon Heights, Michigan, to an unknown facility. We will give an update on his final destination when we know it. This is an abrupt transfer and Rev. Pinkney does not know at this time to which correctional facility he will be moved.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Happy Birthday, Rev. Pinkney!

Here are more photos and video from the Oct. 24 birthday party in Detroit for Rev. Pinkney! Thanks to Moratorium Now who supplied postage stamps for birthday cards and frequently monetary donations to Rev. Pinkney's Legal Fund. A birthday cake and punch were supplied by Marcina Cole of Observers In the Court. Many thanks to Leona McElevene for the photos and video!

Photo credit: Leona McElevene

Photo credit: Leona McElevene

Marcina Cole and David Sole speaking at celebration of Rev. Pinkney's birthday.
Video credit: Leona McElevene

Friday, November 18, 2016

The All-White Jury, that has never been under a Dictator Emergency Manager, is a tool of the Establishment

By Rev. Edward Pinkney
Let the truth be told. As it is known, I was convicted by an all-white jury that ignored the law and evidence in reaching a capricious verdict, by a jury that based its verdict on unrevealed, deeply held prejudices. The verdict against me was not based on a desire to achieve a fair or moral outcome. 
This all-white jury had never been under the Emergency Manager Law. Not one of the members of the all-white jury lived in Benton Harbor, a city with a 96% Black population or in Benton Harbor Township, which is 70% Black. Not one single juror knew the power of the Emergency Manager. 
In 2010, Gov. Jennifer Granholm appointed an Emergency Financial Manager (EFM) under Public Act 72 to assume control over Benton Harbor’s finances. This EFM was one of a number appointed across Michigan in the 2000s. The EFM had limited power initially. However, in 2011, the Michigan legislature passed Public Act 4 which gave the EFM much broader powers to overrule all elected officials and take dictatorial control of any cities and school districts the State deemed in need of management. 
Benton Harbor was one of the first cities to be assigned an EFM when the people of Michigan overturned Public Act 4 by referendum in 2012. But, the legislature thumbed its nose at the people of the State Michigan and promptly passed a new, even more dictatorial, version of the law, Public Act 436, which is not subject to referendum. 
The Emergency Manager Law allows EFMs to take over cities and school districts, to replace local officials, to sell public assets, to privatize public services, to dismantle collective bargaining agreements, and much more! EFMs are dictators in the service of corporations that have purchased our public officials. 
Between 2010 and early 2014, Benton Harbor had two separate EFMs, and they both stripped the elected city officials of their power, cut city spending and continued giving away public land to the greedy, blood-sucking Whirlpool Corporation, which has its corporate headquarters in Benton Harbor. 
The case of Rev. Edward Pinkney is but the latest saga in a ruthless pursuit of the naked corporate rule that is gripping the whole country. We are witnessing the establishment at work in its promotion of fascism.
The all-white jury has never been under the Emergency Manager Law, and members of the jury never knew of the dictatorship that exists in Benton Harbor. The jury never learned about the dismantling of democracy in the city of Benton Harbor. The attack on democracy in Benton Harbor shows that the corporate power structure is determined to crush anyone who stands in its way.
Benton Harbor and the State of Michigan, with their growing poverty and the assets of a city turned over to the banks and corporations, while establishing martial law, are emerging as the center of the fascist assault sweeping the nation. 

The all-white jury has exposed the establishment for what it is, for who they are. What we, as Americans, are facing is bigger than that all-white jury. It is the establishment using the all-white jury as a tool to complete the establishment’s mission. We must come together and confront this fascism being promoted, even forced, upon our nation and its citizens.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

A cake for Rev. Pinkney!

Birthday greetings to political prisoner in Michigan

pinkney-birthday-2016The Rev. Edward Pinkney, Michigan political prisoner, turned 68 years old inside prison on Oct. 27. The African-American community leader from Benton Harbor, Mich., has been receiving dozens and dozens of birthday cards from people around the country showing support for the unjustly convicted activist. In Detroit, supporters held a birthday party in Rev. Pinkney’s honor on Oct. 24.
Rev. Pinkney received added support when Green Party vice presidential candidate Ajamu Baraka visited him in the West Shoreline Correctional Facility on Oct. 19. Rev. Pinkney was able to tape a message of thanks to a Workers World Party forum in Detroit on Oct. 29, which featured WWP vice presidential candidate Lamont Lilly.
(Photo: Leona McElevene)

Wednesday, November 16, 2016


We found a quotation that is more than appropo for the decision to imprison Rev. Pinkney:

"Remember, when the judgment's weak, the prejudice is strong." 

-Kane O'Hara, (1711/1712-1782)