Thursday, May 24, 2018

The People Versus Whirlpool in Benton Harbor

Listen to an interview with Rev. Edward Pinkney on Black Agenda Report:


The giant Whirlpool Corporation, which has long dominated the politics of 90 percent Black Benton Harbor, Michigan, “has not paid taxes” to the city for years, said Rev. Edward Pinkney. Whirlpool’s pet project is the annual PGA golf tournament in the overwhelmingly poor town. On May 26, protesters will demand that 25 percent of all profits from the venture be turned over to community organizations.

Friday, May 11, 2018

The people of Benton Harbor win a victory against dictatorship!

Reprinted with permission from the People's Tribune.

By the People’s Tribune Editorial Board
May 2018

Rev. Edward Pinkney, a leader in the fight against corporate power in Benton Harbor, Michigan, and his supporters, gather outside the Michigan Supreme Court chambers in January 2018 where judges heard Pinkney’s appeal. Pinkney unjustly served 30 months in prison. The Supreme Court in May, 2018 overturned his conviction.
Photo/Joseph Peery

Michigan Supreme Court rules in favor of Rev. Edward Pinkney
In a victory for the people in the fight against naked corporate power and defending democracy, the Michigan Supreme Court has ruled 6-0 that Rev. Edward Pinkney of Benton Harbor, Michigan, was improperly charged with five felony counts of election forgery in 2014 by the Berrien County prosecutor, that he was improperly tried and sentenced by the Berrien County Circuit Court, and improperly served 30 months in prison as a result. In overturning Pinkney’s conviction, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that the statute he was sentenced for supposedly violating did not create any substantive criminal offense at all, but was merely a sentencing provision for other election forgery offenses which Rev. Pinkney was not charged with. The state Supreme Court ruling marked a rebuke of the Michigan Court of Appeals, which had ruled against Pinkney.

The People’s Tribune congratulates Rev. Pinkney, the people of Benton Harbor and his supporters across the country on this victory. Rev. Pinkney has been a leader of the struggle against the corporate dictatorship in Benton Harbor and Michigan for many years. The Whirlpool Corporation dominates Benton Harbor, and Pinkney has been in the forefront of the fight against Whirlpool’s efforts to take over the Lake Michigan beachfront property and public parks in Benton Harbor for private profit. He has also defended democracy in the fight against the dictatorial emergency manager system imposed by the state in Benton Harbor and elsewhere in Michigan. The emergency manager system opens up cherished public assets such as land and even water to be handed over to the corporations. Rev. Pinkney continues to fight police repression in Benton Harbor, and he helps local people have their rights respected in court.

The assault on democracy in Benton Harbor
When Rev. Pinkney stood up for Benton Harbor, corporate power used the race card to try and shut him up and to destroy democracy in the town. Benton Harbor, a poor Black community, could be easily isolated. An all-white jury from affluent towns was selected to judge Pinkney; jurists had not lived under the oppression of emergency management where corporate officials replace elected officials. During the trial, the prosecution admitted there was no physical evidence linking Rev. Pinkney to the crime they were charging him with. And yet the prosecution repeatedly introduced examples of Rev. Pinkney exercising his First Amendment right to free speech, political activities and community activism as evidence he committed the crime. The corporations thus set the stage to destroy democracy in all of Michigan, and then throughout the United States. The race question has historically been used by the powerful in America to divide and conquer the working class. Today, racial division is one of the main weapons being used to impose fascism on all of us. To win this war we must take this historic weapon of race away from the enemy, and fight for the political as well as economic rights of all Americans.

The attack on democracy and Rev. Pinkney’s conviction symbolizes an entire process under way in America. The once stable working class community of Benton Harbor has been devastated by automation and globalization. Today, the former industrial workers have become the marginally or permanently unemployed, and the open rule of corporate power is arising to oppose their struggle. The governing bodies that once controlled us by buying up the people’s leaders now turn to intimidation and brute force. The corporate attack launched on Benton Harbor is now being repeated in one form or another across Michigan and the country.

Benton Harbor shows that the corporations have continued to escalate their control over the government. That is the foundation of American fascism. They see the little democracy that still remains in our country as an obstacle to their rule. They are determined to destroy it before the deteriorating economic conditions kick the people awake.

A major battle has been won, but the war is not over. Fascism consolidates down below—by gaining victory after small victory until it has the base for the “important” struggles. This is why it is so important that the revolutionary and democratic forces learn to confront fascist, corporate power at every turn. From time to time an attack against democracy is so blatant that it symbolizes the entire process. This is the importance of the victory in Benton Harbor. The only way we’re going to ultimately achieve democracy is if the people control the necessaries of life. True democracy is the rule of the people. People can’t rule if they’re living in the streets or working two jobs just to survive. If you control the necessaries of life, you are a free person. There’s only one solution. We have to build a huge movement to take over the corporations and run them in the interest of humanity.

The defense of our leaders is critical to building such a movement. The case of Rev. Pinkney and Benton Harbor shows the importance of the American people taking a stand before it is too late. People rallied in support of Rev. Pinkney because of the injustice and also because he exhibited the characteristics of a new kind of leader, one that cannot be bought off or side tracked from a consistent fight for the needs of the people. When leaders like Rev. Pinkney come under attack, we must defend them. A movement that does not defend its leaders cannot grow.

The People’s Tribune has covered this fight from the beginning. We urge our readers to take this newspaper out and help awaken America. Learn more about the history of the Benton Harbor struggle by ordering copies of the People’s Tribune pamphlet Benton Harbor, MI: Fighting the Corporate Dictatorship in America’s Rust Belt. To order, email info@peoplestribune.org or call 800-691-6888. A $4 donation is suggested for each pamphlet.

Rev. Pinkney is available to speak. To schedule him as a speaker, contact: Speakers for a New America at 800-691-6888 or email info@speakersforanewamerica.com


We encourage reproduction of this article so long as you credit the source.
Copyright © 2018 People's Tribune. Visit us at http://peoplestribune.org

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Rev Edward Pinkney wins again!

The Supreme Court ruled in his favor 6-0!  

No such charge!

Docket no 154374, Argued on application for leave to appeal November 7, 2017, decided May 1,2018.....

Rev Edward Pinkney was charged in Berrien County with five felony counts of election forgery under 168.937 and six misdemeanor counts of making a false statement in a certificate of recall petition under MCL168.957 having submitted petitions with falsified dates in connection with an effort to recall the mayor of Benton Harbor. After defendant was bound over to the Berrien County circuit court for trial , he moved to quash the charges , arguing that MCL 168.937 was a penalty provision and not a substantive , chargeable offense. The court Sterling R. Schrock denied the motion. Defendant was convicted by an all white jury following the trial of all five counts of election fraud, but was acquitted of all six counts of making a false statement. Rev Pinkney was sentenced to 30 to 120 months. The Court of Appeals, O'brien, P.J. , Kelly and Fort Hood. upheld Rev Pinkney conviction holding that MCL168.937 created the substantive offense of election-law forgery. 316mich app450 2016. Defendant applied for leave to appeal in the Supreme Court, which ordered and heard oral argument on whether to grant the application or take other peremptory action. 500 mich990 2017.

In a unanimous opinion by supreme court judges and by Justice Viviano, the Supreme court , in lieu of granting leave to appeal. HELD

MCL 168.937 BY IT'S PLAIN LANGUAGE, IS ONLY A PENALTY PROVISION, IT DOES NOT SET A SUBSTANTIVE OFFENSE. AS A RESULT DEFENDANT REV PINKNEY WAS NOT PROPERLY CHARGED UNDER THAT PROVISION WITH SUBSTANTIVE OFFENSE OF ELECTION FORGERY. THERE , HIS CONVICTION MUST BE VACATED AND CHARGES DISMISSED.

  

OCCUPY THE PGA DEMONSTRATION! SAVE OUR CHILDREN

Benton Harbor residents and supporters from across the region protest gentrification

On Saturday May26, Occupy the PGA - a coalition of  Benton Harbor residents, community groups,and allies from across the region-will hold a rally and march in protest of the 2018 Senior PGA golf tournament. The rally will begin at 11am at Benton Harbor City Hall 200 East Wall St.

This year's tournament will be the fourth since the construction of the controversial Harbor Shores golf course and luxury condominium development, backed by Whirlpool Corporation.It also marks the fourth Occupy the PGA protest. The coalition has demanded that the Senior PGA transfer 25% of its profit to Benton Harbor, where nearly half of the residents live in poverty and over 90% are black
(CENSUS.gov) Occupy the PGA also indicts Harbor Shores and the Senior PGA for its unfulfilled promises of significant jobs and tax revenue for Benton Harbor residents.

The group also continue to demand a public acknowledgement at the tournament of the theft of public park land for private profit, referring to the lease of 22 acres of dunes on Jean Klock Park for transformation into three holes of the Harbor Shores golf course. The group attributes the transfer to the complete undermining of democratic structures, via former Democratic Governor Granholm's installment of an emergency financial manager in Benton Harbor in December 2010. Benton Harbor was the first predominantly Black Michigan city in recent years to be subjected to an emergency financial manager and are still suffering from the emergency managers.

Occupy the PGA organizers see the Harbor Shores development as a prime example of racist genocide by gentrification, designed to force out Black communities, residents, who have lived in Benton Harbor for generations. Instead of bring jobs and opportunities, such luxury developments at best bring only a few low -wage service jobs for locals.

Rev Edward Pinkney of the local community group BANCO( Black Autonomy Network Community Organization) said Benton Harbor continues to be a city under siege.It is  a Coup d' etat in Benton Harbor by Whirlpool Corp. The mishandling of public trust couldn't be more massive , unjust, inhumane, and unconstitutional. The Senior PGA need to hear our voice. It's time to stand up for our children and fight for what is right.

BANCO has lead multiple petition drives to recall local officials as one strategy of their campaign to promote democracy, civil rights and economic justice in Berrien County.Rev Pinkney is currently appealing a conviction for allegedly changing dates on a petition drive to recall the former puppet Benton Harbor mayor James Hightower. Hightower's opposition to a city income tax that would have affected Whirlpool Corp, resulted in the community's effort to recall a Whirlpool puppet.

We must confront Whirlpool Corporation, Harbor Shores and The Senior PGA,

WILL YOU JOIN ME IN BENTON HARBOR ON MAY 26 2018M AT 11AM , CITY HALL...........    

Thursday, April 05, 2018

A Miracle is Unfolding in Philadelphia

Philadelphia DA Larry Krasner Promised a Criminal Justice Revolution. He’s Exceeding Expectations. 

Shaun King, for The Intercept
March 20 2018, 3:59 p.m. 

WHEN LIFELONG CIVIL rights attorney Larry Krasner was elected in a landslide this past November to become the new district attorney of Philadelphia, to say that his fans and supporters had high hopes would be an understatement. Anything less than a complete revolution that tore down the bigoted and patently unfair systems of mass incarceration would be a severe disappointment.

Across the country, talking the talk of criminal justice reform has gotten many people elected as DA. Once in office, their reforms have often been painfully slow and disappointing. Krasner was the first candidate elected who publicly committed not just to intermittent changes, but a radical overhaul.

So far, having been in office less than three months, he has exceeded expectations. He’s doing something I’ve never quite seen before in present-day politics: Larry Krasner’s keeping his word — and it’s a sight to behold.

In his first week on the job, he fired 31 prosecutors from the DA’s office because they weren’t committed to the changes he intended to make. “Change is never easy, but DA Krasner was given a clear mandate from the voters for transformational change,” his spokesperson said at the time. “Today’s actions are necessary to achieve that agenda.”

Next, Krasner obeyed a court order to release a list of 29 officers from the Philadelphia Police Department that were on a “do-not-call list” — meaning that they were so tainted that they would be considered unreliable as witnesses. The police officers on the list had either been charged with crimes or found responsible for misconduct in internal police probes conducted by the department’s Board of Inquiry. Among the offenses, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the police officers had lied to their fellow investigators, filed false reports, used excessive force, driven drunk, and burgled.

After that, Krasner’s office made it clear that he would not oppose rapper Meek Mill’s release on bail. Krasner’s office said in a motion that it was likely Mill, who was arrested almost 10 years ago on drug and gun charges, would win an appeal on his original case. (Mill is in jail for minor probation violations.) The sole officer who testified against Mill is Reginald Graham, who is not just on the list of unreliable cops, but was reported by a former police officer to have lied under oath to put Mill behind bars.

All of that is big, but nothing is as essential and revolutionary as the internal five-page guiding document of new policies that Krasner sent to his staff. While the document appears to have been sent to the staff of the Philadelphia DA’s office on February 15, 2018, it only became public a week ago.

Read the document and the rest of the story at The Intercept.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

America is a fraud

The truth is America is a fraud, the land of the free and the home of the brave. We have the most corrupt system in the whole wide world. The court system is rigged, judges are brided, you have phony and fake trials, extortion by fake lawyers, who refuse to defend any black defendant.

Berrien County, Michigan, is the most corrupt county in the world. It is led by Nazi's, Klansmen and other white supremacists such as Judges Dennis Wiley, Sterling Schrock, Scott Schofield, Charles LaSata, Art Cotter, and we can not forget the Grand Wizard, prosecutor  Mike Sepic.

You could easily be the next victim in Berrien County, innocent and sent to prison for the rest of your life or strapped to a table to die, or robbed of your life savings by a lawyer, who could care less about you, only because you are black. 

If you are a mother beware, your child or children can be taken without a reason and no lawyer will protect you and your child. The recent pattern of American violation of the law is ultimately based on the corruption of Berrien County family court. This phony court is a danger to every individual who takes the risky step of entering into  Berrien County territory. The corruption in Berrien County is well known but also well hidden by the fake news service of the Herald Palladium newspaper, which is owned by the Paxton Family, who has a history of racism.

The Lakeland Regional Hospital in St. Joseph, Michigan, Berrien County has an outstandingly poor record of caring for and serving black patients placing thousands of black lives at risk. The pediatric care unit has reported far too many black infant deaths with the black infant death rate continuing to rise. There have been just far too
many black babies dying in this hospital. The problem is nobody really cares in Berrien County and around the state about black babies dying. Most blacks, young and old, are afraid to go to Lakeland Hospital in Berrien County. Most black people believe Lakeland Regional Hospital is selling body parts of black people for profit.

While corruption may facilitate criminal enterprises such as selling body parts, drug trafficking, money laundering and mail fraud, it is not restricted to these activities.  Corruption is so common that it is expected when an ordinary business or citizen interacts with government officials, such as juror Gail Freehling of Three Oaks, Michigan, a known racist, who prosecutor Mike Sepic got a lawyer because she had lied during the trial.

We must confront Berrien County judges, prosecutors county commissioners and stop all corruption.