Imprisoning our leaders will not stop the movement

Supporters in the courtroom gather around Mrs. Pinkney after the sentencing of Rev. Pinkney for 2 1/2 to 10 years for phony vote fraud charges. PHOTO/DONATED TO PEOPLESTRIBUNE.ORG

Supporters in the courtroom gather around Mrs. Pinkney after the sentencing of Rev. Pinkney for 2 1/2 to 10 years for phony vote fraud charges.

On December 15, Rev. Edward Pinkney of Benton Harbor, Mich. was sentenced to 2 1/2 to 10 years in prison on a trumped-up charge of changing dates on petitions to recall Benton Harbor’s mayor. There was no evidence to prove he had done anything wrong. Everyone familiar with Rev. Pinkney and the struggle in Benton Harbor knows this was a political show trial, intended to remove a leader in the fight against the corporations and intimidate the people. But the people will not be intimidated.
This is the second time in seven years that Pinkney has been charged with so-called “election fraud,” when his real crime has been to try and use the electoral process to represent the true interests of the people. At the sentencing, Judge Sterling Schrock had the nerve to say Pinkney had “disenfranchised” people by undermining their faith in the electoral process. Wasn’t it really the State of Michigan, which the judge represents, that has disenfranchised people by imposing unelected emergency managers on a number of cities, including Benton Harbor? Hasn’t the people’s faith in government actually been undermined by the government’s refusal to provide justice in the numerous police killings, and by the government’s denying even food, water and housing to those who need it?
The government at every level, from the president down to the street cop, is in the pocket of the corporations and their billionaire owners. We are living under a corporate dictatorship that is steadily moving toward open fascism. This is so because the billionaire-controlled economic system we have today is providing for fewer and fewer people. The computer and the robot offer the corporations more production with less labor, and so the jobs have been wiped out in Michigan and throughout the country. The result is growing permanent unemployment for many and poverty-wage jobs for those still working. Today, those demanding jobs and living wages are a threat to the system because they are demanding what the system can no longer provide. So the corporations make war on us. Democracy is wiped out to hobble our ability to resist, racism is used to keep us from uniting around our common class interests, and we are threatened with police terror and prison cells.
What Whirlpool Corp. and their servants in Berrien County have done to Pinkney is a metaphor for what the corporations are doing to the whole country. The entire working class is under attack. This case makes clear, once again, that the people will never get justice from a government that is in the hands of the corporations.
Imagine the society we could have if the people controlled the government and owned the means of producing the wealth, instead of the corporations and billionaires. We could end poverty. We could guarantee democracy, justice and fairness. As we defend our leaders and confront every act of injustice, we, the people, should think about how we can build the consciousness and organization to wage the struggle for a new society. Uniting around the demand that the government guarantee the basic necessities of life for all is key. Such fighting unity will make us unstoppable.

The People’s Tribune has been in this struggle since the beginning in 2005 and will continue to publicize it until justice is served.We encourage reproduction of this article so long as you credit the source. Copyright@2015 People’s Tribune. Visit

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