Nov 15

Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions

A statement from the Socialist Party USA

Image from Jewish Voice for Peace http://www.jvpchicago.org/resources/brief-history

(passed by the SP-USA National Convention 2011)

The SP-USA supports the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) on Israel. The global movement for a campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with international law and Palestinian rights was initiated by Palestinian civil society in 2005, and is coordinated by the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), established in 2007. BDS is a strategy that allows people of conscience to play an effective role in the Palestinian struggle for justice.

For decades, Israel has denied Palestinians their fundamental rights of freedom, equality, and self-determination through ethnic cleansing, colonization, racial discrimination, and military occupation. Despite abundant condemnation of Israeli policies by the UN, other international bodies, and preeminent human rights organisations, the world community has failed to hold Israel accountable and enforce compliance with basic principles of law. Israel’s crimes have continued with impunity.

In view of this continued failure, Palestinian civil society called for a global citizens’ response. On July 9 2005, a year after the International Court of Justice’s historic advisory opinion on the illegality of Israel’s Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), a clear majority of Palestinian civil society called upon their counterparts and people of conscience all over the world to launch broad boycotts, implement divestment initiatives, and to demand sanctions against Israel, until Palestinian rights are recognized in full compliance with international law.

The campaign for boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) is shaped by a rights-based approach and highlights the three broad sections of the Palestinian people: the refugees, those under military occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and Palestinians in Israel. The call urges various forms of boycott against Israel until it meets its obligations under international law by:

Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands occupied in June 1967 and dismantling the Wall; Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194. The BDS call was endorsed by over 170 Palestinian political parties, organizations, trade unions and movements. The signatories represent the refugees, Palestinians in the OPT, and Palestinian citizens of Israel.

Mar 16

Massacre in Afghanistan – Time to End the Occupation

Statement by the Socialist Party USA, National Action Committee March 13, 2012

The bloody US occupation of Afghanistan reached a new low as a 38 year old US Army Staff Sergeant embarked on a killing spree that resulted in 16 civilian deaths.  Most of the victims were children, all were unarmed and many were not only shot and stabbed, but burned alive.  The solider had already done three tours in Iraq and had suffered a traumatic brain injury.  Despite this, the US military certified him as a sniper and shipped him out to join the occupying forces in Afghanistan – another tool in their killing machine.  So while Pentagon spinsters play off the attack as the action of one “troubled individual” with “family problems,” Afghan civilians see it for what it is – another illustration of the violence of an occupying army.

The killings come on the heels of mass protests in the capital of Kabul and other cities over the  burning of the Koran by the US military.  This, along with the videos of American soldiers urinating on dead Afghans has fueled the mass anger that was released in street protests and increased insurgent activity.  Afghan civilians have now spent more than a decade living under the military occupation of NATO forces led by the US government.   This means restrictions on civil rights, death by drone bombing and a seemingly endless  series of military offensives by NATO forces.

American elections have provided no relief to them as Barack Obama has proved to be every bit the war President that George W. Bush was.  Scandals about private mercenaries have done little to relieve the oppression.  And even the massive financial crisis that has gripped the Western world has done nothing  to weaken the will of the global militarists to rule over Afghanistan.  Deeply politically entrenched military weapons makers and military service company lobbyists have made common cause with war hawks in the Pentagon to ensure that the military occupations continue despite budget cutbacks elsewhere.

Only a globally coordinated anti-war movement that connects people in NATO countries with Afghan civilian groups can drive out the occupiers.  This movement will not be made by governments or NGOs or by social media outlets.  It can only come to life as a result of the determined resistance of everyday people who are willing to put their bodies on the line in the name of peace.

Instead of such a movement, Afghans have faced a series of betrayals by the West.  Under the guise of supporting democracy in Afghanistan, the US  installed Hamid Karzai as the puppet President of the country.  Not surprisingly, the Karzai government has proven to be a deeply corrupt and oppressive regime that aims at securing privileges for a close circle of friends while obeying the orders of the occupiers.  This has resulted in mass discontent in the population and the resurgence of support for Taliban resistance forces.  It is a cruel twist for Afghan civilians that Western Occupation has provided a new future for Taliban fundamentalism.

The recent acts of the Occupiers, especially the Koran burnings and the massacre of innocent civilians, demonstrate that this bloody occupation must end immediately.  Americans have a global responsibility to participate in a movement to remove US troops immediately.  This is a desperate short-term goal for the global anti-war movement that has resonated throughout the various Occupy Wall Street movements.  In the longer term though, we need more than this.  Our movement needs a sustained push to put an end to the Military Industrial Complex.

Many people ask Socialist Party USA members why we are running a candidate for President this year.  The killings in Afghanistan provided a clear answer to this question.  Stewart Alexander and Alex Mendoza carry a clear message of anti-militarism with them on the campaign trail.  The peace initiative they propose is one that can resonate throughout the globe.  An immediate 50% cut  to the military budget, the removal of US occupying troops, the elimination of all foreign military bases and the responsible elimination of weapons of mass destruction set the Socialist Party USA apart from the Democrat and Republican parties of war.

This is not about a “disturbed” 38 year staff sergeant or about building democracy in Afghanistan or about weakening the grip of the Taliban. Democratic Socialism is about building a peaceful world that puts an end to one of the greatest threats to human security in the 21st century – the US military.  Our democratic revolution is built upon the hopes and aspirations of millions of people throughout the world to live a life based on peace, solidarity and freedom.  The immediate removal of US troops from Afghanistan and a moratorium on drone bombings are small steps in that direction.  Only democratic pressure from below can make this happen.

Nov 07

City of Detroit:
Vote Tues. Nov. 8th
Reject the Proposed City Charter Revisions!
Vote NO on Proposal C!

Detroit Socialist Party Position Statement on City of Detroit 2011 Ballot Proposal C

The Detroit Socialist Party calls upon all city voters to cast a NO vote in the citywide municipal referendum being held on November 8, 2011 on approval or rejection of the Detroit City Charter amendments proposed by the City Charter Revision Commission.

While incorporating a partial and significantly modified version of the city voter-approved 2009 ballot proposal establishing for election of City Council by district, the currently proposed Charter revisions would further extend such legislative district divisions to the composition of virtually all of the city’s (predominately mayoral-appointed) boards and commissions. The true aim of such extensive regional partitioning of the city’s executive branch is to facilitate the (Democratic Party-based) Bing mayoral regime’s overarching “Detroit Works Project” objectives, geared toward sub-dividing different sections of the city between those targeted for city-service-concentrated gentrification efforts and those targeted for further city-service diminution and neglect.

Another equally insidious element of the proposed charter revisions is the addition of an entirely new section to the Charter titled “Elimination of Redundancy in Government.” In addition to requiring the City’s Legislative and Executive branches and City Clerk to publish comprehensive reports each election cycle on all efforts being undertaken to reduce and eliminate redundancy in services, programs, activities, and processes; the proposed new section would additionally stipulate that: “As much as practicable attempts shall be made to realign ser­vice delivery systems and eliminate operational duplication and inefficiency, which may include cooperative agreements with other government entities as allowed by law [italics added].”

Particularly when examined in light of the recently stripped away removal of municipal control over Detroit’s water department last September, as well as the recently renewed efforts of the Bing regime to establish full-scale privatization of the city lighting department by state region-wide electric power provider DTE Energy (on whose corporate board Bing long personally served), one can clearly discern that the overarching purpose of this new section is to provide greater backing and citable cover for the further expanded dispossession of Detroit city residents’ control over Detroit’s most valuable public assets and resources still remaining under municipal control.

In equally parallel relation to both the recently accelerated efforts to strip municipal control of the city’s most important public resources, and the newly proposed City Charter language oriented to directly accommodating such city resource abnegation, the state of Michigan’s newly expanded “Emergency Manger” law, enacted last March, directly provides for a state-appointed Financial Manager’s power to “enter into agreements with other local governments, public bodies, or entities for the provision of services, the joint exercise of powers, or the transfer of functions and responsibilities; enter into agreements with other units of government to transfer property of the municipal government…. [and] enter into agreements with other local governments, or with private entities to the extent provided by law, for the provision of services [italics added].”

Given Bing’s repeated proclamations, during only the past week, on both the probable inevitability of Detroit’s impending placement under Emergency Manager rule by the state, and his own personally willing desire to accept the position of Detroit’s Emergency Manger if appointed (as earlier leaked reports suggest has already been pre-arranged between Bing and the Republican Snyder regime in Lansing), one can also quite reasonably infer that such proposed Charter revisions are intended to provide for some token pretext of continuity between the dictatorial actions imposed by Detroit’s likely forthcoming Emergency Manager and the directly preceding City Charter revisions approved by the people before the termination of elected municipal governance.

In addition to the above new provisions proposed to be added to the City Charter, Proposal C also asks voters to approve the establishment of a new system of city-district elected “Community Advisory Councils” (CAC’s) to directly supplant the long-established duties and role of city-district elected Citizens’ District Councils (CDC’s) (to which the Socialist Party fielded an elected candidate in the most recently held election) and resultantly marginalize and inhibit their operational effectiveness.

In spite of assigning all of the same functions held by CDC’s to the new CAC bodies, the proposed new Charter provisions contrastingly bar CAC’s from ever receiving any municipal funding, prescribe for CAC elections to take place at the same time that City Council elections are held, and further leave out the limited watchdog and community defense powers of the CDC’s, as established under state law (1945 P.A.344), including the right to delay implementation of proposed development projects, require information from any city department, and require City Council hearings to be held on proposed development projects of concern.

The Proposal C charter revisions also remove the 2009 voter-approved change to allow for office-specific city wide election of the City Council President and Council President Pro-Tempore, and instead prescribe for the nine elected City Council members (composed of seven members elected by district and two elected at large) to select the holders of those two specified Council offices from among themselves. Since the City Council President temporarily assumes the office of city Mayor in the event of vacancy, this change would remove the 2009 ballot-approved right of city voters to determine which candidate shall stand eligible for mayoral succession.

Other amending changes within Proposal C include eliminating the Charter’s formerly contained residency requirement for appointed city officers, as well as new amendments to the Planning and Development Department section of the Charter, geared toward redirecting the Department’s main objectives so as to: “provide the sup­port, assistance and conditions necessary to retain businesses,” “develop and implement a strategic plan and program focused on recruiting and supporting emerging in­dustries” (read further widening expansion of the city’s massive corporate welfare subsidies to big business) and further to: “create con­ditions supportive of global trade” (read race to the bottom for cheap labor and corporate deregulation) [emphasis added].

Taken together, Proposal C is simply the latest maneuver by the Bing-Snyder alliance to further sweep away all remaining obstacles standing in the way of the ongoing raid on Detroit’s public resources by both corporate party politicians’ true political constituency. Detroit’s working class population has nothing substantively beneficial to gain from this proposal and should resoundingly reject it at the polls on Tuesday November 8th.

Feb 25

Solidarity with Wisconsin Workers, Students, Teachers, and Unions!

The Detroit Socialist Party, with the Socialist Party of Michigan, stands in solidarity with the great people of Wisconsin, while they fight for their rights as workers against the tyrannical Governor Scott Walker. The outcry of support is not only deafening, but increasing exponentially as well (both domestically and across the globe). The struggle in which they find themselves is as disgusting as it is unnecessary: no one should be commanded to slit their own throats for the profit of a few.

 

As Socialists:
• We stand for the right of all workers to organize.
• We support worker control of industry through the democratic organization of the workplace.
• We stand for the social ownership of the means of production and distribution, and call for international solidarity among working people based on common opposition to global capitalism and imperialism.
• We believe that the international organization of labor is the only way of combating the exploitation of workers in a global capitalist
economy.
• We believe that working people have no country, but rather an international bond based on class.

As such, workers throughout the world have far more in common with their international brothers and sisters than with their native bosses. Ultimately, a socialist revolution must be an international one: a revolution which will surely not survive if confined to individual countries amidst the pestilence of capitalist imperialism. We stand with you, the worker, in this your time of need and solidarity. Furthermore, we offer you the utmost support as you not only face a wretched, petty bureaucrat who would take away your rights, both labor and human, but as you simultaneously stand against a symptom of this entire corrupt slave-system. We will not sit back and let this venomous bill infect your great state, as we know that capitalist leaders in other capitals anticipate their own chance like so many horrible dominoes. We refuse to accept it here in Michigan and urge you to continue the struggle: educating, organizing, and agitating counter to the Wisconsin capitalist machine.

We send our most gracious thanks for igniting this most impressive movement that states quite plainly that workers are humans, not expendable cogs to be used and discarded. The voice of millions that speaks, “We have rights and we will fight like hell to keep them,” is yours as well as it is ours. Be assured, yet again, that we are with you in solidarity. An injury to one is an injury to all; therefore, it’s time for all workers, domestically and abroad, to UNITE and overturn this capitalist nightmare!!!

Feb 24

MICHIGAN WORKERS UNITE AGAINST THE SNYDER-DILLON SHAKEDOWN!

Governor-elect Rick Snyder, center, announces the appointment of House Speaker Andy Dillon, left, as treasurer and former Lt. Governor Dick Posthumus as senior adviser to the Governor at University of Michigan's Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy in Ann Arbor on Nov. 8, 2010.  Angela J. Cesere | AnnArbor.com

HANDS OFF OUR CITIES, COUNTIES, AND SCHOOLS! NO TO STATE-APPOINTED DICTATORS, PRIVATIZERS, TREASURY-LOOTERS, AND UNION-BUSTERS!

NO MORE FUNDING CUTS TO CASH-STRAPPED CITIES, SCHOOLS, AND PUBLIC PROGRAMS! NO MORE CORPORATE TAX BREAKS OR FUNDING INCREASES FOR SKYROCKETING PRISON AND CORPORATE-WELFARE BUDGETS!

NO MORE PUBLIC WORKER LAYOFFS OR CONCESSION DEMANDS! NO TAX HIKES FOR STATE PENSIONERS AND THE POOR!

NO TO PUBLIC SECTOR UNION-BUSTING BILLS ACROSS OR BEYOND OUR STATE’S BORDERS! SOLIDARITY AND UNITY WITH WORKERS’ RESISTANCE TO LEGISLATIVE ATTACKS IN WISCONSIN, INDIANA, OHIO, AND OTHER STATES THROUGHOUT THE U.S.!

Statement originally adopted by the Socialist Party of Michigan on Feb. 21st, 2011 and last updated on May 6th 2011

The Socialist Party of Michigan stands in wholehearted solidarity with the growing resurgence of labor-resistance to the recently escalated round of class warfare legislation first introduced in the Midwestern “rustbelt” states of Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio, and now rapidly expanding throughout the nation. Accordingly, the SPMI affirms its unwavering alliance with all forces seeking to further advance the growing wave of workers’ political protest and mobilization, toward an uncompromising demand for the working class’ collective seizure of political power.

In convergence with the recent wave of legislative attacks on public workers’ collective bargaining rights sweeping over each of Michigan’s bordering states and beyond; recent counterpart legislation, drafted by Republican Governor Rick Snyder and Democratic State Treasurer (and 2007-10 Democratic State House Speaker) Andy Dillon, was successfully enacted by Michigan’s own corporate party lawmakers last month, to provide for not only the unchallengeable nullification of union contracts and bargaining rights of state employees, but also the most nominal political rights of Michigan voters residing in working class communities throughout the state.

The “Local Government and School District Fiscal Accountability Act” (2011 Public Act 4) formally signed into law on March 16th, has since bestowed the state’s Governor and Treasurer with immediately effective authority to place any Michigan city, township, village, or school district into receivership status upon such officials’ allegedly perceived indication of even the most fleeting budgetary shortfall or tentative future deficit,  thereby resulting in the State Treasurer’s or Governor’s assignment of an emergency financial manager (“EFM”) to assume absolute political and financial control over all aspects of that municipality’s or school district’s governance, operations, budget, and property; including expendable and transferrable control over the entirety of its community-owned public assets.

While Michigan’s precedingly enacted “Local Government Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1990,” stopped short of furnishing the Governor’s appointed EFM’s to usurp full political control over a municipality’s or school district’s political or academic operations, Michigan’s newly enacted receivership law directly empowers an EFM to individually assume, exercise, override, appointively transfer, or otherwise suspend the powers of any and all locally elected bodies and officials at his/her own unmediated discretion,  as well as to disincorporate, dissolve, or merge state municipalities; close an unlimited number of district schools; privatize municipal or school district services; and freely lock local elected officials and employees out of their own government offices, email accounts, and public information systems.

In congruence with such other dictatorial new measures, state lawmakers further added additional new language to the Public Act 4 legislation for the explicit purpose of legislatively nullifying the recent ruling of the Wayne County Circuit Court, following a successful legal challenge by the Detroit Public Schools district’s presently elected board, that the district’s longstanding Granholm-appointed EFM Robert Bobb “cannot usurp the elected board’s authority over academics and curriculum matters.” Consequently, Michigan’s recently enacted EFM legislation now includes an additional new provision serving to render any school district-installed EFM with supreme and unilateral authority to develop and impose, “for school districts, an academic and educational plan.”

As a further means of  preemptively curtailing the capacity of the Detroit School Board, or any other receivership-subjected local body, to attempt to mount any more future judicial challenges to the dictums and encroachments of their state-appointed EFM’s,  Michigan’s new receivership law additionally establishes strict new limits on the court’s jurisdiction to review EFM decrees, while further compelling the local government seeking judicial relief to bear all of the State Attorney General’s legal expenses for defending the appointed EFM against the local government’s own legal claims. In adding even further insult to injury, the newly effective legislation also provides no limit on the length of time during which a municipality or school district can be placed in EFM-subordinate receivership, while nevertheless requiring any municipality or district faced with such a status to bear the entire cost of financing, not only the full salary of its appointed EFM, but also the costs and salaries of any unlimited number of financial management assistant staff, or outside consulting, collection, and accounting firms that its commanding EFM may independently choose to hire.

The consequences of such an arrangement have been particularly devastating to the Detroit Public Schools (“DPS”) district over the course of the past two years under the reign of its Granholm-appointed EFM Robert Bobb, during which his astronomical expenditures on private consultants, and apparent penchant for six-figure-per-month travel expenses, have resulted in the near doubling of the district’s deficit since the time he assumed full control over the district’s financial operations.  In spite of such exacerbation of the district’s financial woes, Bobb has simultaneously ordered the lay-offs of hundreds of DPS workers, including the outsourcing of the district’s custodial and security staff to private corporations, and the closure of approximately 60 district schools, all while receiving a supplementary salary from the billionaire-directed and pro-education privatization Broad Foundation and Kellogg Foundation, in addition to the $280,000 personal salary (not counting the numerous other six-figure salaries owed by DPS for each of Bobb’s EFM-hired “consultant” staff) that DPS is compelled to pay annually to Robert Bobb alone.

As with the state’s other three local governments in Benton Harbor, Ecorse and Pontiac, already contending with the presently enacted system of EFM-led receivership; the recently enacted receivership legislation procedurally provides for the DPS district’s automatically added subjection to all of the newly added stipulations of the current receivership law within sixty days of its enactment. Accordingly during the final weeks of his two-year contract as the Detroit Public School’s EFM, Bobb has most recently issued lay-off notices to all 5,466 Detroit Federation of Teachers members, while correspondingly declaring his intent to hire only a fraction of such teachers back for the forthcoming school year, and to abrogate the existing union contract of those teachers who are able to return. Moreover through a new district-structuring arrangement jointly established with State Treasurer Dillon, Bobb has now additionally designated approximately one-third of the district’s remaining schools to face corporate bidding for control under a charter-school structure, while further slating dozens more of the district’s schools for unconditional closure. Benton Harbor’s EFM similarly wasted no time in already issuing an order providing that “Absent prior express written authorization and approval by the Emergency Manager, no City Board, Commission or Authority shall take any action for or on behalf of the City whatsoever other than [to] call a meeting to order, approve of meeting minutes, or adjourn a meeting.”

As with the counterpart legislation confronting workers in Wisconsin, Michigan’s newly enacted receivership legislation is equally, if only more insidiously, directed toward the same political effort to strip away the right, or otherwise meaningful ability, of public workers to engage in collective bargaining. Michigan’s new receivership law additionally grants automatic authority to an appointed EFM to act as the sole agent in collective bargaining with employees of a local government facing receivership, and to “reject, modify, or terminate” the terms of any existing labor contract or collective bargaining agreement at will. Furthermore, the new Michigan law exempts a local government from state collective bargaining requirements for up to five years from the date its placed in receivership status (should it continue to be imposed for that long), while also prohibiting an elected local government from subsequently amending its outgoing EFM’s developed two year post-receivership budget (including all contractual and employment agreements) without approval from the State Treasurer, or from revising any order or ordinance implemented by its former EFM during its period of receivership before to the passage of a full year after the date on which its status of receivership is terminated.

Recent indications made by Michigan’s new Wall Street CEO-Governor have left little question regarding the extent to which the state’s current leadership aims to use the new receivership law as a mechanism to impose economic austerity measures within working class and oppressed communities throughout the state. As reported in the Detroit Free Press more than a month before the legislation’s passage, Dillon had already begun the process of training forty-five new EFM’s during the month of February alone, in confident anticipation of the legislation’s forthcoming enactment. As still yet another apparent means of further assuring the state’s widespread application of the new receivership provisions (or even the weight of the threat thereof), as both an instrument of privatization and billy club to strike and threaten the state’s organized workforce; Snyder’s concurrently drafted state budget includes a proposed  33% cut to state revenue sharing to cities, villages, townships, and counties, as well as a $470-per-pupil cut in state revenue to Michigan’s school districts.

In direct contextual reference to such local revenue sharing cuts, Snyder himself was bluntly quoted in the February 18th edition of the Detroit News as noting that “there could be a number’ of cities that require an emergency financial manager in the coming months as a result of economic conditions.” Correspondingly, while the drastic state budgetary cuts to local government revenue sharing may serve to ensure that the state’s intensified receivership program obtains a wider application;  the state’s corresponding ability to appoint an official with the power to unilaterally amend, eliminate, or renegotiate virtually any given state employees’ collective bargaining agreement at any time would serve to present the state with a much more readily attainable means to force such pre-budgeted public employee concessions to come to fruition.

In addition to the ominously unexplicated concessions commitment and major cuts to municipality and school district funding, Snyder’s FY 2012 budget also includes pending legislative proposals to: (a) eliminate the state-income tax exemption for both public and private pensions; (b) eliminate the state; Earned Income Tax Credit and state Home Heating Credit for low income families, and reduce the Homestead Property Tax Credit for elderly and disabled state residents; (c) impose a 48 month life-time limit on welfare recipients with limited potential exceptions; (d) impose a 15% cut in funding to the state’s fifteen public universities; (e)eliminate 300 fieldworker jobs within the Department of Human Services; (f) impose a $2.3 million (9.4% ) cut in state aid to local libraries; (g) impose a $45 million cut to the Michigan Department of Community Health and the bouncing of  200,000 Michigan dually-eligible Medicare/Medicaid recipients into HMO-modeled programs; (i) privatize the dairy farm milk safety inspection process under the control of dairy industry representatives themselves; (j) eliminate Department of Agriculture inspections of animal shelters; and (i) expand low-wage privatization of services within state prisons and state veterans’ homes.

When looking upon the already skyrocketing budgets of the state’s suppressive and corporate welfare apparatuses, however, Snyder’s ardent insistence on the need for “shared sacrifice,” appears, like the many similar appeals made by his Democratic predecessor throughout her last term, to entirely exempt such components of the state budget from its applicable scope. Despite already surpassing the state’s educational budget, even without Snyder’s most recently proposed school district and university cuts, Snyder not only refrains from proposing any corresponding cut to the Michigan’s obscenely soaring prison system expenditures, but actually recommends further increasing the Department of Corrections’ appropriations by nearly five million more dollars for FY 2012, followed by a second raise to the Department of Corrections budget by nearly eighty-two million more dollars for FY 2013.

A similar examination of Snyder’s Executive Budget Recommendation for the Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) correspondingly reveals no deviation from the enduring bi-partisan consensus on its seemingly sacrosanct status. While the Department of Corrections appropriations serve a latent corporate welfare function for the many profiteers of Michigan’s unceasingly nurtured prison-industrial complex, the MSF’s orientation to that function is entirely manifest. While constituting a state appointed public body composed of a handful of big business executives and several select state bureaucrats, the MSF operates almost exclusively as a legal intermediary to transfer state treasury money to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) – a cabal of corporate gangsters from each of the most Michigan-invested Wall Street firms, who thereupon function to grant out such public money directly to corporations throughout the state, as a form of dividend return on their sponsorship of, and investment in, the electoral and political operations of the two big-business parties.

Accordingly, Snyder quite evidently illustrated the true meaning of his calls for “shared sacrifice,” by recommending, within his presently pending state budget proposals, that Michigan workers share approximately four-hundred million tax dollars with the MSF’s corporate beneficiaries over the course of the next two years. Moreover, in further eliminating the state business tax liability for all non-‘Class-C’ stock issuing firms, Snyder’s overwhelming commitment to share such previously taxable income with the ‘business community’ stands resolute even in spite of the fact that the state’s resulting $1.8 billion dollar revenue loss substantially exceeds the total amount of the state’s entire current deficit altogether!

Although Snyder, like Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, happens to align with the Republican wing of the two capitalist parties, the growing movement of workers’ resistance to the recent wave of attacks we’ve been dealt could make no greater error than to accept the illusory claim that any official section of the Democratic Party could be trusted to genuinely and positively align its hopes or preferences with our present struggle’s continued expansion, persistence, or success. Whether one looks to State Treasurer Andy Dillon’s development and administration of the state’s new system of receivership and union-busting, the simultaneous legislative attacks on public worker bargaining rights and contracted benefits initiated by Democratic majority legislatures in Massachusetts and Connecticut,  or the practically universal union concession fights waged by virtually every notable Michigan Democratic politician elected to chief executive political office in recent times, (e.g. former Governor Granholm, current Detroit Mayor Bing, or even Lansing Mayor and so-called labor-rights-champion Virg Bernero); the Democratic Party cannot honestly be said to characteristically and meaningfully demonstrate any greater degree of loyalty to the labor movement than its GOP counterpart, nor truly even any greater reticence toward browbeating and suppressing it when in political power.

While some Democrats have historically supported varying forms of olive branches to quell rising threats of working class upheaval, such instances of placatory posturing have always remained equally and unexceptionally in the service of U.S. ruling class and the defense of the systemic status quo. Stemming from that foundation, the Democratic Party has always operated as a co-optationally oriented death trap for progressive social movements, particularly those centered on rank and file struggles of labor. As even the Democratic Party of Michigan itself declared in the Party’s official press release-response to Snyder’s State of State speech last month, “Democrats will work with Governor Snyder to seek bipartisan solutions that reform our government, create jobs and help restore the economy … We will work with Republicans in the legislature to pass sensible, bipartisan reforms.”

As leaders of both of our state’s corporate parties declare empty platitudes about a new era for the 21st Century, and bipartisan pathways toward the reinvention of our state, the Socialist Party of Michigan contrastingly stands committed to the principle that any such meaningful process of reinvention must begin with the working class’ united seizure of political power from our present corporate oligarchy, and its corresponding establishment of democratic ownership and control over our political system, economy, and workplaces, as the basic prerequisite for obtaining genuinely free and autonomous self-direction over our own daily lives.

The Socialist Party of Michigan Platform outlines an extensive program, aimed at cooperatively developing a contemporary and real-world path and vision for a truly democratic workers’ state government, run by and for the state’s working majority, rather than its richest one-percent. Since the time of its initial adoption nearly a decade ago the contemporary version of the Socialist Party of Michigan Platform has also specifically called for the “abolition of the right of the state government to stage ‘takeovers’ of community institutions;” as well as calling for full employment with a minimum wage of at least $15 per hour; a steeply graduated state income and estate tax; abolition of regressive sales, sin, and property taxes; a 100% capital flight tax on corporations that attempt to cut labor costs by leaving the state; full funding for state and municipal services to meet the needs of Michigan’s workers and environment; an immediate end to all forms of corporate-welfare; and the placement of all major corporations under democratic collective ownership and workers’ self-management.

The specific and simultaneous selection of the Midwestern historic-rustbelt states, as staging-grounds for the present wave of anti-labor attacks, should leave little doubt that real focal point of our ruling class politicians’ vision for the “reinvention” of Michigan, and “new era” for the wider U.S., principally centers upon the working class’ numerous historic gains during the past century, and their targeting for a sweeping reversal in the new one presently unfolding. If you agree that the present struggle to build a fundamentally new society for the future must go hand in hand with a steadfast defense of lasting gains won in all earlier historic labor and social struggles of the past, then we strongly encourage you to join the Socialist Party and help us win this fight!

SP-USA National Campaign to Defend Public Employees and Government Services

SP-USA Statement in Solidarity with the Wisconsin Workers’ Uprising