By Jennifer Page on April 18, 2011

The week of April 10-16 saw the layoff of every public school teacher in Detroit, and the initial fruition of the highly-contested bill that allows emergency financial managers to have unconditional control over a city in a financial emergency. The city of Benton Harbor, Michigan, declared to be in a financial emergency by Governor Rick Snyder, now knows that, according the Snyder, the voter's voice doesn't really matter anymore.

Map of Benton Harbor, MIJoseph Harris, the city's new Emergency Financial Manager (EFM), dismantled the entire government, only allowing city boards and commissions to call a meeting to order, approve of meeting minutes and adjourn a meeting.

The law that allows Harris to "exercise any power or authority of any office, employee, department, board, commission, or similar entity of the City, whether elected or appointed," was passed in March after the urging of Governor Snyder, and despite thousands of protesters who came to the Lansing capitol throughout February and March.

The Michigan AFL-CIO released a press release in response to Benton Harbor: "This is sad news for democracy in Michigan. It comes after the announcement of Robert Bobb in Detroit ordering layoff of every single public school teacher in the Detroit Public School system," says Mark Gaffney, President of Michigan AFL-CIO. "With the stripping of all power of duly elected officials in Benton harbor and the attack on Detroit school teachers, we can now see the true nature of the Emergency Manager system."

Earlier in the week, TMP Muckraker reported that the Detroit Public Schools' EFM, Robert Bobb, sent 5,466 unionized teachers layoff notices "in anticipation of a workforce reduction to match the district's declining student enrollment." The notices are a part of the Detroit Teachers Federation collective-bargaining contract. TPM also reported that "Non-Renewal notices have also been sent to 248 administrators, and the layoffs would go into effect by July 29."

Comments

=Just got back from a tax protest put on by MoveOn.org. This ass that runs my home state is unbelievable. If I know Michiganders they are fuming. This should be the shot that is heard around the world. People! This is for real put down your cell phones and video games and kick some civil disobedience sand in that big bully,s face!

Fuming does not describe the emotion that I am feeling! We can not allow this man (Rick Snyder) and this form of so-called government to take control. The real reason for this particular action was best described on the (Rachael Maddow + April 18 + Jean Clark Park). How MI "financial martial law" is being used to steal Benton Harbor's beach! Their local government has been dissolved! What is being stolen is not JUST a beachfront, buy a government by the PEOPLE! Greed is what is in control! We CAN NOT be complacent! Take notice as to what our governor is doing! We are allowing this to happen right under our noses! Take time to see what is really going on in Benton Harbor! Check it out! Whatever your political views are, I can not imagine that you can agree with what is happening. Pay attention! AND SPEAK UP!

Is this even legal? Is anyone planning to file a lawsuit to stop this? People this could happen in a town near you!!!!! Republicans have lost their minds and Rick Snyder is the latest example of their insanity!!!! America it's time to take a stand!! We must not let this kind of authoritarian action stand!

I am an called an ultra-conservative republican and I don't agree with this action. Not all republicans agree with this Governor.

"We the People" are the sovereign government on the federal, state and local levels. That means no government entity can void an uncontested election without proving in a court of law that the elected representative has committed malfeasance or a felony against the people.

Michigan and Detroit citizens should take a lesson from Wisconsin. Peaceful, sustained protests work, and are guaranteed in the First Amendment!

I debated about whether to title this "corporate" or "Nazi" States of America. After all, it's one and the same. If this were happening in my home state of Illinois, I would be ready to burn the state capitol building down, with the Republicans in it. If they tried to escape from the inferno, I would be only too happy to see someone shoot them as they stumbled through the smoke billowing out the windows and doors of the capitol.

This is treason against the people of Michigan! They don't need a recall, they need a lynching of this corporate Nazi!!!!!!!!!!!1

What is happening in our country is absolutely TREASON! People Beware!It may be happening to our neighbors right now but it will happen all over OUR COUNTRY if we sit back and do nothing to stop this Corporate take-over. WAKE UP PEOPLE before it's too late and costs us all that we hold dear and have unfortunately taken for granted.This is a life and death struggle here. 'Slave traders' is the real nature of this Corporate BEAST. Humans have become mere merchandise.Remember the BEAST that was given power over the nations at the end times? Well Wake up and smell the destruction!

I certainly sympathize with your frustration, outrage and horror, but I was saddened by the blood-thirsty nature of your response. Even though I disagree with the majority party, that is no reason to wish someone's DEATH not only by the hand of fire, but with FIRE ARMS -- it is so unproductive to say this kind of thing because firstly, it is not actually a solution you will take, and secondly, it comes in the wake of Representative Giffords' shooting. We are supposed to be a country run by protesting, negotiating and oversight, not by brutality.

My comment does sound like I'm promoting violence and that is not my intent.Rather,I do see that as a nation we are being destroyed from the inside by manipulation of the ignorant masses and illegal manipulation of our laws by border-line politicians. The democratic system that we have enjoyed and that has made our country great for the masses is at very great risk. I spent my childhood in a country(U.S.A.) that went through much violence and upheaval to assure certain rights and priviledges. We fought hard as a country to achieve these precious rights for everyone. These efforts have been effectively put at great risk because of apathy and willful ignorance. Our young people grew up in priviledge and freedom. They have not been tested concerning what they have necessarily taken for granted. Patterns are important, thats why we study history. I am old enough to see patterns repeating themselves. Without a doubt, if we don't take these signs seriously, we will be at the non-mercy of the Corporatocracy that is destroying our country before our eyes and indeed the whole planet is at risk, seriously. This is truely about saving LIFE in all forms. For this I would be willing to fight. I pray we can/will stop this greedy destruction before it's really too late for all of us.

I am wholly with you. I am an Illinois native, now living in the crazy state of Arizona. It is a nazi state here, too; the Repubs have had control for years, our school system is in a shambles, and they have closed several state parks! Recently, our idiot, illiterate governor decided to stop organ transplants on our health care program, and she has killed 2 people already. I agree; if it happens, the people responsible should be the recipient of violent action as needed.

I am a leftist, and thus, usually opposed to war. However, our nation wasn't born because we sent nice notes to England to ask them to please stop giving tax breaks to the East India Trading Company while taxing our colonists to the point they could not compete. No, we ended up in a bloody war. Freedom is not free; it does require violence, because power never gives up power willingly, but is FORCED to give it up.

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