The Emergency Financial Manager for the city of Benton Harbor has stripped power from all elected officials of the city in a move sure to make citizens believe they voted to shatter any illusions of democracy.
The Governor of Michigan, Rick Snyder, signed the “Local Government & School District Fiscal Accountability Act” into law on March 17th, 2011. This law allows the appointment of “emergency managers” to cities the Governor declares in a state of financial emergency. This law allows an emergency manager to not only strip away the powers of elected officials, but also nullify union contracts, fire city employees such as police and firefighters at the manager’s discretion, and even disincorporation or dissolving of a town.
The law even allows the governor to appoint a corporation as a manager. The term of this manager is also indefinite at pleasure of the Governor.
In cities such as Pontiac, already under the tyranny of “emergency” manager Michael Stampfler, the Michigan Fraternal Order of Police spokesman John Buczek said that Stampfler had reduced the city’s police force from over 100 to just 41 and was willing to terminate more. “It would appear once they abolish collective bargaining agreements they can just get rid of police and firefighters as they like,” he said. “The people who still pay taxes in those communities have no say.”
In Detroit, the emergency manager Robert Bobb, appointed specifically to the cities underfunded educational system sent layoff notices to all of the district’s 5,466 unionized employees.
This truly is rule by the bourgeois in the clearest form. It shows the façade of democracy only stands under capitalism when times are good, and when times are tough it is swept away.
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder says, “For too long in this state, we’ve avoided making the tough decisions, but waiting limits options and makes the solutions much more painful.” Rick Snyder said he wanted to reinvent Michigan, but it’s doubtful the citizens wanted him to reinvent Michigan into a fascist state where the elected officials of a community can be swept aside at the will of the governor.
The American Party of Labor stands in solidarity with the people, the workers and the teachers of Michigan!