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The community protests the opening of the Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course on public parkland in Benton Harbor, MI.
Photo/Brett Jelinek

By Rev. Edward Pinkney

BENTON HARBOR, MI—COGIC Village, a low-income apartment complex in Benton Harbor, Michigan is driving more and more residents out of the community into homelessness--or out of the town altogether. In addition, Black employees were fired, and apartment residents have been subject to racist slurs by the management company.

Carolyn, a now homeless, former resident of COGIC Village says: “If you have never been homeless, it is tough to describe that first night sleeping on the street. The fear and disillusionment are paralyzing. I was previously employed. Whirlpool Corporation started outsourcing all the manufacturing jobs. I lost my job, home and car. I lost everything. Whirlpool makes life miserable for Benton Harbor’s poor. Now that Whirlpool has built its office complex downtown, we can’t stay under the bridge where I sleep with other homeless people. We are harassed constantly by Benton Harbor police who are promoting Whirlpool’s agenda. I even was cited for sleeping on the sidewalk. It is a hard life. I moved into COGIC Village Apartments. It was a living Hell, worse than living on the street. Kim Hunt, the apartment building manager, fired all of the Black employees and hired her family and friends. Kim, a white female, was brought in by President Rod Littlepage of Eagle Point Management to chase all the Blacks out of the COGIC Village Apartments. Kim calls Black ladies “niggers” and “Black bitches.” If someone stands up to her, she has them evicted. She has had many residents evicted. They are now homeless. I would rather live in an abandoned building in the winter without heat, than live in COGIC Village Apartments. I am again homeless.”

Whirlpool, the giant global corporation that rules the town of Benton Harbor is behind this inhuman situation. Benton Harbor, once a thriving industrial town, has an unemployment rate of over 65 percent. The jobs left years ago. About 90% of the population now lives below the poverty line.  As the industrial base was desimated, Whirlpool and other big money interests launched a “redevelopment” plan. That plan is to turn this lakefront town into a vacation land for the rich. What is happening at COGIC Village is part of this plan to force the poor out and to bring the rich in. 

The community is taking matters into their own hands. In October, people protested the mistreatment of residents of COGIC Village. The demand was for management to remove Kim Hunt from her job and for Manager Rod Littlepage to sit down with the group. This is an important step in defense of the poor and against corporate power.

By Marian Kramer

In a victory for democracy and against corporate power, Michigan’s Public Act 4, the “dictator” law, was voted out onNovember6bya52to48 percent margin. The coalition, Stand up for Democracy, or- ganized the recall effort. Pub- lic Act 4 allowed “dictators” appointed by the governor to come into fiscally troubled cit- ies, throw out democratically elected officials, take over whole school districts and turn them over to private cor- porations, renegotiate union contracts, and more. Had the recall failed, it is likely that states across the nation would have enacted such corporate led, fascist legislation. This is a tremendous victory. But it is important that we not let our guard down. The corporations are out for blood. We must be ready for their next move. Congratulations to the Michi- gan workers!





Do these “We the People”
Of these United States in the Americas
Understand
That electing war mongers
Sends us all into the dark halls
Underneath the draped robes
Where wanders power seeking more power?
Not humanity seeking more humanity?

Can you feel the blood tears on your cheeks
Dripping on your hands?
Is it red-orange and fresh?
Is it burgundy, dried and caked?
Is it pooled and spreading?

Can you see upon the oily pools
The spectors swirling
Of limbs lost, eyes blinded, hearts burst?
Can you see the babies and mothers buried
under shelters once called homes
with beds and blankets,
hearths and windows, blooming gardens?

Can you see the grandfathers orphaned?
Can you see the boys and girls camouflaged
Into killers?
Can you see them suckling now
Nationalism laced
With depleted uranium
At the breast of Lady Macbeth?

Go ahead,
Try to wash your hands.


~Karen S. Harper 11-4-04

Karen Harper is an activist who is an active member of Occupy Long Beach and the Long Beach Historical Society






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— People’s Tribune Editorial Board On Nov 21, 2012, at 12:21 PM







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