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Rev. Pinkney Jailed for Being a Spokesperson for the Poor

From the People’s Tribune Editorial Board  |  Issue: October | November 2015

Rev. Edward Pinkney, convicted without evidence of changing dates on petitions in a Benton Harbor, MI recall election of corporate-backed Mayor James Hightower, has filed motions to be released from prison pending the appeal of his conviction. That the powers that be in the area, controlled by the giant Whirlpool Corporation, have refused to allow him to remain free while his appeal is pending shows how much they want him silenced.

The Whirlpool Corporation, the largest producer of household appliances in the world, is the dominant political force in the area. While its international headquarters is in Benton Harbor, they ceased production there long ago. The electronic revolution that has been going on for decades affected not just Whirlpool, but all manufacturing in Benton Harbor (and the surrounding area), decimating the job market. As jobs left, in exact proportion, poverty, hunger, destitution and homelessness increased.

A once thriving working class community of more than 20,000, Benton Harbor is now transformed into a population less than half that size with a growing new class of impoverished workers who are permanently under-employed and unemployed. At the core of this new class are the homeless and completely dispossessed workers. It is Reverend Pinkney who has been the most vocal spokesperson for their interests against the powerful corporations. It is for this that he has been railroaded to jail.

This is an attempt to silence the demands of the impoverished for food, clothing, housing, health care and education and a new society that provides for everyone’s interests. The dictatorship by private corporations like Whirlpool, now merged with the government, will not allow the demands of the poor to be met. Their survival can only be solved by public, not private ownership of the new automated production, now owned by the corporations, so the necessities of life can be provided for all based on need. The struggle in Benton Harbor is a harbinger for all of society and affects us all.

Donate to Rev. Pinkney’s appeal. Send to BANCO, 1940 Union St., Benton Harbor, MI, 49022, or visit bhbanco.org

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