OnAHighSustainedNote by Guy Mingo
Several Detroit activists spoke leading up to Cynthia McKinney's Aug. 28 presentation on her recent trips to Libya (more on that in the next post), including Maureen Taylor, Chairman of the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization. In the above track, Taylor hits a high note speaking about our responsibility to respond to continued attacks on poor Michigan residents by Governor Rick Snyder.
Michigan legislators have indicated that, if you are poor, or unemployed, you will be targeted and there is no end in sight. Cash assistance for over 12,000 welfare recipients will be cut in October at the worst time possible. With a severely depressed job market, renters, many with children, will be forced into homelessness. And the winter months are approaching.
Taylor gracefully makes the case that apathy in the face of such injustices has historically led to more repression. Corporate-sponsored legislators will go as far as they can to implement the current wave of austerity measures. But it seems that balancing the budget is a top priority only when cuts to the poor or working class can be legislated without too much political damage. At the same time, tax cuts for the corporate class and "small businesses" are created in the interests of creating jobs- there is ample evidence that the strategy is bogus.
So the MWRO is seeking to expose the contradictions and the injustices with a weekly 'Resurrection March.' The protests are taking place every Thursday outside the Michigan State Building in the New Center district on W. Grand Blvd. What is the amount of critical mass needed to penetrate the assumed agreement between big business and state representatives? How many pickets need to be carried, how many garbage cans need to be struck, how many voices need to be raised for the policymakers to break their pose?
Is non-violent protest, as a strategy for political change, effective? Is fighting to reform an inherently corrupt system to our benefit? If the Resurrection Marchers exhibit the endurance exhibited by, for example, activists staging the sit-in at the Wisconsin capitol building, it can.
So let's hope the Resurrection March lives on through the coldest winter months and draws thousands of potential activists into the streets like organizers wish. But we should accent our protests with discussions on how to continue the movement to alleviate the capitalist, competition-based modes from our political system altogether.
"Who wants to get involved in the movement to build a new world?" asks Taylor-- the Resurrection March is one, albeit very important, step towards organizing and implementing our collective desire to build a system by which all humanity profits, not just the well-connected.