While we were venting our outrage at shenanigans in Wisconsin politics, in fact while Republicans were planning last night’s attempted coup, the Michigan state legislature quietly passed a bill giving the Governor of Michigan martial control over the state. Except instead of using actual military, the Governor is more likely to use private security. But make no mistake–rights would be suspended.
Here’s how it works:
The governor, on his own initiative, can declare an economic emergency in any town and appoint an administrator. The administrator can be any person, including a corporate person.
The administrator has the power to do anything in the name of economic stability, including void contracts, void collective bargaining agreements, dissolve the town council, dissolve the school board, fire anyone including elected officials, hire private security, unincorporate the town, and sell off public property.
The people of the town have no say in this. They can neither demand nor turn away the administrator. That is because this provision is meant to be used against the people.
What might constitute an emergency in the Governor’s eyes?
A labor strike is the first thing that comes to mind. Too many foreclosures. Crime! In short, anything he wants it to be–and with billionaire backers, any controversy can be created.
What might the administrator do in that emergency?
First, privatize everything. Fire public workers and take over all public functions–running schools, police and fire service, and so on. Michigan just made this legal.
Second, imprison dissidents, shutter businesses, and seize property by eminent domain. This is not legal, but hey, that didn’t stop the Wisconsin Republicans.
In short, take over control and turn it into a corporate town.
We need to pay attention to Michigan because they are farther along the road to corporate statehood–to where the Republicans want to take all of us.
Other things you should know:
–The outnumbered Democrats in Michigan tried to add an amendment that the administrator’s could be paid no more than the governor, but that was voted down. All the better to drain the public treasury.
–Michigan voted to increase taxes on the poor and elderly. What little property they own will belong to the government soon.
–Michigan voted to disallow charitable tax deductions for donations to universities. When universities depend more on public money, it is much easier for the government to control them. Universities liberalize people, so they must be changed.
–Finally, people have been leaving Michigan in droves due to its poor economy. If there had been no auto bailout–and it was hotly contested even by non-corporatists–there would be ghost towns all over the state. As it is, there are large ghost neighborhoods. These empty public nuisances are ripe for corporate ownership.
This is the Republicans’ end game: drain public entities of assets, privatize, turn what’s left over to corporations to run. In the running, they will use onerous taxation or find other ways to take away ownership of what is now privately held.
Corporations will control the government, and between the two of them, they will own all property. And there will be nary a peep in the bulk of the media because the corporations control that too.
We can stop this, and the protests that started in Wisconsin are the way to start. It may get uglier before it gets better, but we can take our country back.
Image: Business Insider