From the July 2008 edition of The People's Tribune. http://www.peoplestribune.org.
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VOICES FROM BENTON HARBOR
CORPORATE POWER AND THE PINKNEY CASE
By The People's Tribune
The arrest of Reverend Pinkney for utilizing his right to free speech and the indirect warning to The Peoples Tribune for publishing those thoughts needs to be seen for what they are. They are a step from the legal into the political arena to strip the people of their right to freedom of expression. It is a small part of the motion toward fascism in this country.
Rev. Pinkney became known as the leader of the community based on his almost daily presence at the Berrien County Courthouse. He exposed the racism of the criminal justice system and the willful inadequacy of the defense provided to the poor (mostly) Black defendants.
During this period, the effort by Whirlpool and the real estate interests to develop Benton Harbor into a playground for the rich was raging. The question continued to be, in whose interests was the development proceeding? In 2005, Pinkney led a recall of the City of Benton Harbor's most powerful Commissioner who favored Whirlpool's effort. An all-white jury convicted Pinkney of five counts of improprieties in connection with this election.
What this case represents for America
The attack on democracy and the conviction of Rev. Pinkney for standing up for the poor shows that the corporate power structure is determined to crush anyone who stands in their way. It symbolizes an entire process under way in America. The once stable working class community of Benton Harbor has been devastated by automation and globalization. The open rule of corporate power is arising to oppose their struggle. The governing bodies that once controlled by buying up the people's leaders now turn to intimidation and brute force.
This case is not about Rev. Pinkney. It is about how a corporate giant like Whirlpool takes over a town and a whole county. It is a harbinger of the future of America if people do not move to take over the corporations before they take over society.
Our first battle in this war is the defense of our leaders. A movement that does not defend its leaders cannot grow. Defend Rev. Pinkney. Donate money for the appeal. Take this newspaper out and help awaken America. Make a stand for democracy in Benton Harbor.