Part II, Domestic Rule in the 2010s
(Read Part I first.)
Massive propaganda efforts disseminating outright lies and the effects of Gerrymandering have solidified gop rule in many US states, and republican state governments, unfettered by any burden of viable minority party power, have enacted their own brand of economic imperialism in state after state.
Over the past few years, we have seen numerous efforts to accomplish what General Armas did in Guatemala in the early 1950s., that is, destroy labor unions, restrict the vote to wipe out the two party system, in effect initiating their own “coups” removing duly elected local governments and replacing them with appointed government overseers, and while not outright stealing property from citizens, creating an unregulated banking system allowing coerced and fraudulent foreclosures of private property.
have used previously questionable and seldom-utilized “Emergency Manager” statutes to take power from democratically elected city officials.
The emergency manager statutes allow the governor to appoint a person to step in as THE boss of a local governmental entity, such as a school district or a city. Once an emergency manager is appointed, he has supreme power over the city or board, and the “former” mayor, city council or board members become powerless to execute the duties of the offices they were elected to hold.
The people of Michigan saw the absurdity and the abuse of the system, and voted to rescind the emergency manager statute last year. The response from the republican legislature was not only to pass a new emergency manager statute, but to both make the new one not subject to a public repeal vote and, improperly using another state law to make it effective immediately.
The latest city to suffer the wrath of Gov. Snyder and his emergency manager is the former great city of Detroit. Detroit is currently one of six Michigan cites to have an emergency manager running the show, and the pattern has been the same: Loot the city’s assets in a sell-off, where the primary entities coming out ahead are the big business interests who purchase valuable assets at a fraction of their value.
Benton Harbor, MI was the first city to make headlines over the actions of its emergency manager. The small, poor city had one major asset, Jean Klock Park, which is lakeside property that had been willed to the city decades earlier expressly to be used for “public purposes”. Ignoring the deed and the attached legalities, the emergency manager decided to sell off a significant portion of the parkland to a developer to built a resort and private golf club.
|In Detroit now, the emergency manager has announced plans to liquidate the holdings of the city’s art museum, and thousands of city pensioners have been forced to sue in an attempt to keep their modest $19,000 per year pensions. Despite the emergency manager making such drastic cuts to the lives of the city’s residents, he has announced that the city will go ahead with plans to|
spend $400 M of taxpayer money to build a new arena for the Red Wings hockey team. This in a city where 40% of the street lights no longer work and police response time to emergencies exceeds one hour.
Bloodless coups abound in the gop-led state of Michigan, just as they occurred around the world in the US State Dept/CIA world of the 1950s. No need for democratically elected governments, just let us appoint our guy to run your government. Oil and coffee will flow, art will be in every millionaire’s living room, and hockey pucks will fly in new arenas.
But, folks, as I’m sure you’ve heard, worse stuff than this is happening. As in the 1950s when the public sentiment, as misguided as it was, was courted by calling the enemies of big business “Communists”, today, the public is encouraged to believe the party line by saying new rules are needed to counter the non-existent but pervasive non-problem of “Voter Fraud”. In state after gop-ruled state, voter suppression is the name of the game, and in no state has it been perfected as well as in North Carolina. There, and in other states where gop governors and legislators hope they have accomplished similar objectives, the bloodless coup has been the product of removing vast numbers of opposition voters from the voter rolls, thus assuring themselves re-elections in perpetuity.
New laws just signed in North Carolina by governor Pat “No-Vote for Dems” McCrory require photo ID, drastically reduce early voting time, including eliminating Sunday voting, eliminates same-day registration, ends pre-registration for minors, and, in direct violation of Federal Court decisions, including the 1979 case of Symm v. U.S., prohibits students from voting in the community of their school residence. In practical application, these new rules eliminate students from voting, and make it extremely more difficult for African-Americans, 70% of whom voted on Sundays in November, 2012.
In the 1950s, US policies protecting economic interests overthrew foreign governments. Today, the gop is using their state power to ensure continued rule, and continued massive campaign contributions from big business in exchange for policies of deregulation and assault on the environment. By restricting the voting rights of people likely to vote Democratic, they are ensuring the continuation of the economic imperialism perfected by the Dulles brothers six decades earlier, and the continued obscene profits of the ExxonMobils, of the Koch Brothers, of Harold Simmons, and the rest of the progeny of British Petroleum and the United Fruit Company.