Friday, April 29, 2011

Excellent Roger Bybee article on Snyder, Michigan, and Benton Harbor

Democracy vs. Profit is Central Issue in Takeover of Benton Harbor, Mich.

By Roger Bybee Apr 26, 2011

There is no place in the United States that more cruelly illustrates the intensifying conflict between corporate power and democracy than Benton Harbor, Mich., the first city to be placed under what some Michiganders call “financial martial law.”
(Photo by Daymon Hartley/VoiceofDetroit.net)

In March, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder won approval of Public Act 4 (i.e., the Emergency Manager law), which permits him to declare that a city is in fiscal crisis and then to appoint an overseer with unlimited powers including the elimination of existing union contracts. Significantly, chief sponsors of Public Act 4 were State Rep. Al Pscholka, who was a former aide to Whirlpool heir U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, and also "a former vice president for one of the major entities involved in building the luxury golf development,"...

...Benton Harbor's population is 92% African-American and deeply impoverished by the de-industrialization of the city and surrounding area. Whirlpool’s recent plant shutdown is the most recent, crushing blow as the corporation continues to expand significantly in low-wage plants in Mexico, despite taking $19 million in federal recovery funds. Benton Harbor is plagued by the lowest per capita income in Michigan ($8,965), with 42.6 percent of the population living below the poverty line, including a majority of kids under age 18.

Full article: http://inthesetimes.com/working/entry/7237/democracy_vs._profit_central_issue_in_benton_harbor_takeover/

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