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From "Lorenzo Ervin" <komboa@hotmail.com>
Date Tue, 12 Dec 2000 04:21:41 -0500 (EST)

      A - I N F O S  N E W S  S E R V I C E

by Lorenzo Komboa Ervin


Recently Governor John Engler, Republican Governor of the state of Michigan, 
sponsored legislation which outlawed so-called "Living Wage" laws, 
championed by both civil rights and labor groups, in the state. This far 
reaching legilstion not only outlawed existing laws in several cities, 
including Detroit, but also prevented other cities from adopting it.

This action is in line with other acts of Governor Engler, who was elected 
as part of former Newt Gengrich's right-wing Republican mafia, that took 
over Congress and got elected in several of the states in the early 1990's, 
on an anti-worker, anti-Black, anti-gay, pro big business campaign. One of 
the first acts of his administration was to do away with welfare, most 
worker rights legislation, and weaken civil rights laws. Since that time he 
has progressively whittled away at all democratic and legal rights for 
oppressed groups, has taken over the Detroit school system, is stripping 
away the city police and hospital authority, and tried to usurp the city 
council. Now he has done away with living wage legislation. Should anyone be 

His actions do not startle me; he is a racist and fascist politician, a 
total demagogue doing the bidding of big business. What does startle me is 
how people are laying down and just letting him get away with it. I don't 
know if this is because the left and labor is so pathetically weak at this 
time, or if it's because of treachery by their leaderships, or if the people 
are truly demoralized, or just what? What I do know is that in an industrial 
state such as this, which has suffered from tremendous economomic distress 
and mass unemployment over the last 25 years, it is amazing that no one is 
talking about, less known organizing around this.

True, living wage laws are a moderate attempt to deal with the inequality of 
the capitalist system, but they are important and can provide some relief on 
the local scene, where people are hardly paid enough to live on and have no 
benefits to accompany their salaries. Just like social security and the 
walfare laws, they are a form of *survival program*, fought for and won by 
the labor and civil rights movement. Now, this political pimp proposes to do 
away with them, and to prevent elected local governments from even proposing 
them as solutions to local economic problems. Does anyone *not* understand 
that this is part of a class warfare agenda of the most reactionary elements 
of the Republican Party? [I don't mean to imply that the Democrats are 
innocent in all this, hey Clinton signed and supported the federal bill 
which outlawed welfare nationally when it was presented by Newt Gingrich's 
Congressional Republican allies).

I guess what I'm trying to do here is not give a dry lecture, but to talk a 
little bit about how class warefare really plays out in daily life, not just 
in some 100 years old theory. The state has taken a huge hit with the 
dismantling of the auto industry. in my opinion, the fact that we are not 
fighting this on the labor Left [in a major industrial state], whether 
Syndicalists, Socialists, Black Radicals, Anarchists or whatever, shows us 
we really don't understand the question, much less the issue, and that we 
have no will at all to resist capitalism. How long will we just take it on 
the chin? The people have to fight back, whether organized or unorganized.

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