The Goblin Speaks
Democracy dies in Michigan, but who mourns it’s passing?
On January 30, 1933, Adolf Hitler was appointed chancellor of Germany following the victory of the Nazi Party in the German federal elections of 1932. Once he had been appointed, he wasted little time dismantling the erstwhile coalition government that he ostensibly headed and busily began to establish the Third Reich, a totalitarian dictatorship whose record on the world stage is a matter of ugly and well-known record.
During those early days, however, the Nazi leadership brought every aspect of government, at every level from national to local, under their direct control. The following March, in the wake of the Reichstag fire on February 27, the Enabling Act was passed, which altered Germany’s constitution to allow Hitler’s government to operate with virtual impunity, banning opposition parties, virtually abolishing state governments, and according to Wikipedia;
“Local government also was deposed; Reich governors appointed mayors of cities and towns with populaces of fewer than 100,000; the Interior Minister appointed the mayors of cities with populaces greater than 100,000; and, in the cases of Berlin and Hamburg (and Vienna after the Anschluss Österreichs in 1938), Hitler had personal discretion to appoint their mayors.”
Earlier today, the state of Michigan, right here in the USA, supposedly the bastion of participatory democracy in the world, passed a bill straight out of the program of 1933 Nazi Germany.
Under this bill, pushed for by Governor Rick Snyder, would allow “emergency financial managers,” appointed by the state, to annul the contracts of teachers and government workers at will, and perhaps even more onerously, would allow these unelected and totally unaccountable bureaucrats to strip local, democratically elected public officials of most of their powers, creating a virtual Lansing-based dictatorship in any municipality that Governor Snyder and his henchmen consider “failing” or “in crisis.”
Clearly, local democracy in Michigan is not of particular concern for Governor Snyder, what is more important is being able to unleash whatever draconian economic program his administration desires, without the consent of the municipalities affected. This also make union-busting a much more low-profile and concealable affair, as most Michiganders have little or no knowledge of events occurring just a few towns over unless they involve fires or crime.
What makes this bill even more insidious is the cynical cuts in state aid that Governor Snyder has also proposed, which will have the effect, intentional or not, of driving more cities and towns into financial difficulty, creating more opportunities for the governor’s corporate managers to impose Greek-style austerity on the people of Michigan, and remove the casual annoyance of actual local democracy.
Governor Snyder’s priorities are clear. Far from being concerned with Michigan’s most vulnerable citizens in the state’s most impoverished communities, he is quite clearly working diligently to make this state safe for Wall Street and the wealthy, regardless of the human and social costs. The fact that he would also unleash this assault on democracy in Michigan bears the truest witness to where his loyalties really lie.
I call on all Michigan citizens to resist this heinous assault on democracy and to contact their state representatives immediately.