Thursday, July 05, 2018

Benton Harbor A harbinger of America 's future

How could a minister in America be arrested and imprisoned for quoting the Bible? It may seem strange, but this very thing happen in Benton Harbor, Michigan.

As the economic crisis continues to grip America and threaten to get deeper, in working class communities across the country are beginning  to stand up and demand that the government serve the people's interests not those of the corporations. And as they stood up, the people have come under fire from the corporations and government. This is especially true in America's former industrial heartland, the rust belt.

The struggle that has taken place in recent years in Benton Harbor is a case in point, and one that holds a number of lessons for the America people. The fight in Benton Harbor is a war whether Americans will have prosperity and democracy, or live in poverty under the heel of open corporate rule.

Benton Harbor and its sister community across the river, St. Joseph are in Berrien County, on the southwestern shores of Lake Michigan. Historically , the Whirlpool Corporation, a global appliance manufacturer has been the largest single employer and main political influence in the county.. The factory jobs its provided gave the workers of the now predominantly Black Benton Harbor and predominantly white St. Joseph stability and good standard of living. Then in the late 1990's in a pattern typical of the Rust Belt, the jobs began to disappear, partly because of globalization and partly because advance technology replaced manufacturing labor with robots and computers. What had once been a relatively prosperous working class in Benton Harbor , became plagued with unemployment and poverty as Whirlpool and other , corporations began transitioning the area from an industrial to a tourist, real estate and service based economy. This process has prompted a resistance from the people of Benton Harbor, and that resistance prompted a political attack on the people by Whirlpool and its local political machine.

Let 's make this struggle in Benton Harbor a victory for all who are victim of the economic crisis in every city and town in America.