Tea-Publican Tyranny in Michigan – Reviving the Civil Rights Movement: ‘Workers Rights Are Civil Rights’

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

Ed Kilgore captures the Randian philosophy of conservatives towards the working class perfectly in Ancient Battle:

[T]he [right to work] legislation represents an ancient, almost primal cause among
conservatives who view unions as both an economic and political threat
to a free market society in which workers are independent contractors
whose low pay and meager benefits are an accurate benefit of their
limited value to the enterprises
that make all good things possible.

In other words, your labor is just a unit cost of production that needs to be reduced as low as possible to maximize profits to the ownership class and investor class. When you are no longer of productive value (due to age, illness or disability) you are to be discarded — a cost to be externalized to society as a whole. It is a race to the bottom to reduce the unit cost of labor.

The ownership class and investor class, however, the so-called "job creators," are to be worshipped as masters of the universe for amassing great profits and personal wealth. They are the only humans who truly matter in their world. Hence the Randian "makers vs. takers" propaganda from the right-wing noise machine.

It is this Randian race to the bottom that has been playing out in Michigan this past week.

On Tuesday, billionaire Amway founder Richard DeVos and his son Dick
DeVos, and the billionaire bastard Koch brothers got what they wanted
from Michigan Tea-Publicans for what amounted to pocket change for these
arch-conservatives. Labor, Democrats ponder next moves after Snyder signs right-to-work laws:

Michigan became the 24th right-to-work state in the blink of an eye
Tuesday after the state House rushed through legislation and Gov. Rick
Snyder immediately signed it, capping a day of charged emotions, huge
crowds and mostly peaceful demonstrations.

The speed with which the controversial legislation became law
left organized labor and Democrats reeling. There is talk of legal
challenges and recall efforts. But Democrats and labor leaders say they
are mostly focused on 2014, when they hope to regain control of the
Legislature and the governor’s office in the face of what they see as a
Republican over-reach.

* * *

Because the new law was designed to include a $1 million appropriation
to cover implementation, it can’t be repealed by voter initiative, as
the controversial 2011 emergency manager law was on Nov. 6.

That last paragraph is incorrect. Apparently the reporters
do not know the difference between referendum and initiative, nor how to
read the state's constitution. Think Progress reports How Michigan Voters Can Repeal The GOP’s Anti-Union Powergrab:

Anti-union lawmakers attached a budget appropriation to the bill in order to thwart efforts to repeal it by referendum — the Michigan Constitution
provides that “[t]he power of referendum does not extend to acts making
appropriations for state institutions or to meet deficiencies in state
funds.”

This is not the end of the story, however. Under that same
constitution, Michigan voters may still restore the lost wages and
collective bargaining power denied by this bill through a state ballot
initiative:

The people reserve to themselves the power to propose laws and to enact and reject laws, called the initiative,
and the power to approve or reject laws enacted by the legislature,
called the referendum. The power of initiative extends only to laws
which the legislature may enact under this constitution. The power of
referendum does not extend to acts making appropriations for state
institutions or to meet deficiencies in state funds and must be invoked
in the manner prescribed by law within 90 days following the final
adjournment of the legislative session at which the law was enacted. To
invoke the initiative or referendum, petitions signed by a number of
registered electors, not less than eight percent for initiative and five
percent for referendum of the total vote cast for all candidates for
governor at the last preceding general election at which a governor was
elected shall be required.

No law as to which the power of referendum properly has been invoked
shall be effective thereafter unless approved by a majority of the
electors voting thereon at the next general election.

By attaching the appropriations provision to the anti-union bill, its
supporters accomplished two things: they increased the number of
signatures necessary to place it before the voters, and they guaranteed
that, if enacted, it will be in effect at least until it can be repealed
in the next general election.

Nevertheless, Michigan voters are far from powerless. In the last Michigan gubernatorial election, voters cast a total of 3,226,088 votes. So workers and their allies will need to collect just under 260,000 signatures to place a repeal initiative on the ballot.

Workers rights are civil rights, the cause for which Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was in Memphis on the day he was assassinated. It seems the idea that workers rights are civil rights died with him that fateful day. It is time to revive this civil rights movement for workers rights. It is time to collect those 260,000 signatures in Michigan and to bring an end to the Tea-Publican Tyranny in Michigan.

Screenshot from 2012-12-12 08:17:49

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