Friday, July 6, 2018

Dispossessed in the Midwest

Dear Village Board,

For your review, from The Progressive:

The Operation: Shake the Ground! protest opposing a new Foxconn factory in Wisconsin was a spectacle of resistance and solidarity against corporate invasion.
"They stole people’s houses to build TV screens!”
(but NOT Village President David DeGroots!)
Remarks like these––reflecting anguish, resentment, and disbelief––filled the momentary pauses between speakers’ remarks at the Smolenski Park rally.
Kelly Gallaher, director of operations for A Better Mt. Pleasant, spoke of the government’s use of “shock-and-awe” tactics against Mt. Pleasant residents––an assault strategy that minimizes resistance through speed and disorientation.
“Fifty-seven days after the proposed Foxconn site had been announced, the village board approved the development agreement, conducted completely in closed session and without input from Mt. Pleasant residents,” she said in a speech. “Fifty-seven days to rush through the largest, most expensive development project in the United States. The town’s bakery took longer to approve than that.”
Resident Kim Mahoney spoke on behalf of homeowners whose properties had been wrested from them under the pretense of eminent domain.
“What’s at risk here is private property rights,” said Mahoney. “If the Village of Mt. Pleasant is allowed to bully and intimidate its residents for the benefit of a private, wealthy corporation, then the government could take your property any time it wants.”
After the rally, the protest took to the streets in a mile-long procession from Smolenski Park to the Mt. Pleasant Village Hall. The march was led by three Native American delegates, followed closely by Mt. Pleasant locals bearing a sign: “OUR LAKES FOXCONNED.”
Native Americans stood alongside white property owners in a united front against corporate invasion.
The irony was not lost on Marin Denning, indigenous activist and lecturer at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. In an impassioned speech at the Village Hall, he said, “You all standing out there have to ask yourselves the same question now that my ancestors did a hundred years ago, when they looked out across these lands that had been taken from them: Who is in charge here?”
“The politics of Walker and Ryan and Trump are all cut from the same cloth,” Christine Neumann-Ortíz, a delegate from Voces de la Frontera, said at the Village Hall. “They have built their careers on dividing one group against another, blaming immigrants, blaming refugees, blaming teachers, blaming the unemployed, while they give more money to the rich, and the poor get poorer, and the Wisconsin middle class erodes.”
As for next steps, the residents of Mt. Pleasant intend to build off the momentum of the protests. “We’re continuing what we’re doing in terms of asking questions, keeping the heat on the village board, and looking towards the next election,” Gallaher says. “If we’re not getting accountability and transparency from this board, then we’ll elect people who will give us those things.”

It's time to end the Foxconn deception and scam!


Tim & Cindy

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