Thousands of Michigan union, community, student, faith and other activists are on their way to Lansing today for a massive rally to protest Gov. Rick Snyder’s (R) blatant assault on democracy with his “financial martial law” bill that won final legislative approval yesterday.
The so-called emergency managers bill would allow Snyder to declare a “financial emergency” in a city or school district and appoint a manager with broad powers, including the ability to fire local elected officials, break teachers’ and public workers’ contracts, seize and sell assets, eliminate services—and even eliminate whole cities or school districts without any public input.
Michigan State AFL-CIO President Mark Gaffney says the bill is:
an affront to the bedrock principle of a representative democracy that our nation was founded upon.
Like Republican Govs. Scott Walker (Wis.) and John Kasich (Ohio) and others who have mounted an unprecedented and coordinated assault on workers’ rights and middle-class jobs, Snyder claims the new law is simply a tool to address the state’s budget woes. But his own policies—including an 86 percent cut in corporate taxes accompanied by tax increases on working families and cuts to school budgets—strip away the claim’s veneer. Says Gaffney:
Michigan politicians have capitalized on our state’s budgetary woes in order to ram through legislation that rather than create jobs, takes away even more rights and resources from Michiganders and instead gives an unprecedented amount of power into those connected to the governor.
Working families want the politicians to set aside agendas and come together to focus on strengthening our economy.
Filmmaker Michael Moore, who is helping organize today’s protest, says Snyder ran as a pragmatic, anti-tea party Republican but “once elected, yanked off his nice-guy mask to reveal that he is in fact a multimillionaire hell-bent on destroying our state and turning it over to his buddies from Wall Street.”
We must stand up against these Draconian measures and this outrageous attempt to rip our democratic rights from us by turning our state over to well-paid hacks from Wall Street and corporate America. They see our state as one big fire sale—and they are licking their chops to get their hands on what is still a state rich in natural resources and industrial infrastructure.