Detroit, Michigan - Following in the footsteps of neighboring Hamtramck, Detroit has become the biggest U.S. city so far to pass a “Move the Money” resolution. The measure, approved unanimously by City Council on Tuesday, calls on the U.S. Congress and the president to shift public money away from the military to fund social services. The Michigan Peace Council, a major backer of the campaign to win the resolution, praised the council vote, which came on the same day that nearly 101,000 Michiganders voted “Uncommitted” in the Democratic primary to oppose President Joe Biden’s support for Israel’s brutal war against Gaza.
This week, the neoliberal, war-mongering machine known as the Democratic party held its presidential primary in Michigan - a key state that will play a major role in the outcome of the general election in November. Michigan is home to Detroit, one of the largest Black cities and the largest Arab population in the nation, including the state’s majority Arab city of Dearborn, roughly nine miles from Detroit. Both the Black and Arab populations are critical voting blocs that both corporate political parties are looking to for electoral success, the Democrats much more so than the Republicans.
Activists are calling for a ballot protest at Michigan’s February 27 primary, in an effort to push President Joe Biden to support a ceasefire and end the administration’s support for Israel’s brutal assault on Gaza. Our Revolution has become the latest organization to back the movement. The progressive action group recently sent an email to 87,000 of its members in Michigan and nearly 225,000 supporters in other states, calling on them to vote uncommitted. “We need to send President Biden a message: We are outraged by U.S. complicity in the destruction of Gaza, the killing of thousands of civilians, including more than 10,000 children, and it must STOP!” read the email.
This year, thanks to the tireless efforts of dedicated advocates and organizations, we’re witnessing a remarkable shift in the political landscape when it comes to expanding and protecting the right to vote for justice-impacted people. Advocacy Based on Lived Experience (ABLE) – an organization dedicated to working to engage people in the democratic process – held several community events across Kentucky, allowing attendees and lawmakers to hold discussions on pertinent issues in their communities, regardless of their political affiliation. Participants frequently discussed state legislation that would restore the right to vote to over 160,000 Kentuckians who are disenfranchised due to their history with the criminal legal system.
The Line 5 oil pipeline that snakes through Wisconsin and Michigan won a key permit this month: pending federal studies and approvals, Canada-based Enbridge Energy will build a new section of pipeline and tunnel underneath the Great Lakes despite widespread Indigenous opposition. You may not have heard of Line 5, but over the next few years, the controversy surrounding the 645-mile pipeline is expected to intensify. The 70-year-old pipeline stretches from Superior, Wisconsin, through Michigan to Sarnia, Ontario, transporting up to 540,000 gallons of oil and natural gas liquids per day. It’s part of a network of more than 3,000 miles of pipelines that the company operates throughout the U.S. and Canada.
Last week, the University of Michigan student body was set to vote on a resolution calling for the university to recognize the genocide in Gaza and to assess the ethics of the institution’s investments, including investments in the State of Israel. The campaign has been led by the Tahrir Coalition, a broad and diverse group of over 60 student organizations. As the vote was underway, the university administration buckled to pressure from a coalition of off-campus Zionist organizations and canceled the vote, citing improper use of a university listserv to promote the vote. Michigan Hillel, with the support of an off-campus Zionist coalition including Maccabee Task Force, the Anti-Defamation League, Stand With Us, The iCenter, and the Israel Forever Foundation, raised $46,000 to influence the student vote and promote their own pro-Zionist resolution.
Wayne, MI – Since 12 a.m. September 15, over 4000 UAW Local 900 auto workers have been on strike at the Ford Michigan Assembly plant in Wayne, which is located just outside of Detroit. Since the strike was announced, the UAW workers have received much media attention nation-wide, and many Detroit residents are excited about the kind of fight the UAW are leading and the implications a win could have for them. UAW local 900 workers and their supporters were in high spirits and the atmosphere on the ground is electric. There is a 24/7 picket running along a mile stretch in front of the massive assembly plant, with hundreds of picketers spread across several entry gates at any given time.
Warren, Michigan - Sunday afternoon at the Auto Workers (UAW) Region 1 Pavilion in Warren, Michigan, felt a lot like church. Auto workers came together in sweltering heat to rally each other with fiery speeches, cheers, and songs in the first Big 3 contract rally anyone can remember. The contracts with Ford, General Motors (GM), and Stellantis expire September 14. “I’ve been told throughout this thing that we’ve set expectations too high. You’re damn right we have, because our members have high expectations, and record profits deserve record contracts,” said UAW President Shawn Fain at the rally. “As a union, we have to lead the fight for economic justice—not just for ourselves but for the entire working class.”
A growing problem in American classrooms is that teachers don’t resemble the students they teach. Eighty percent of the nation’s 3.8 million public school teachers are white, but over half of their students are Black, Hispanic, Asian, Native American and mixed races. The small slice of Black teachers has actually shrunk slightly over the past decade from 7 percent in 2011–12 to 6 percent in 2020–21, while Black students make up a much larger 15 percent share of the public school student population. A Black teacher can make a positive difference for Black children. Research has shown that Black students are less likely to be suspended and more likely to be placed in gifted classes when they are taught by Black teachers.
In the middle of Amazon’s Prime Day promotional sales rush, 60 warehouse workers walked out for more than three hours at its delivery station in Pontiac, Michigan—bringing the facility to the brink of a total shutdown. A delivery station is the last warehouse an Amazon package passes through before it is loaded into a truck or van en route to the customer. This year’s “Prime Day” shopping bonanza July 11 and 12 set a record for the largest sales day in Amazon’s history. The crush of Prime Day puts even more pressure on workers to keep up with conveyor belts overflowing with boxes that can weigh as much as 50 pounds.
On Sunday, May 21, 2023, at 6:30pm, DPSS police officer John Buehler (#167) approached a graduate student in GEO (AFT Local 3550) at their home. Buehler knocked on the door and the student answered, and the cop proceeded to attempt to intimidate the student as they stood in the doorway. Buehler threatened to file a report with the Washtenaw County prosecutor’s office regarding a previous picket action, advised the student to “reach out to Student Legal Services,” and left his business card. On Monday, May 22, 2023, at 10:00am, another graduate student with GEO received an email from the same cop, John Buehler, making similar demands of this student.
Graduate student workers at the University of Michigan have been winning a series of small skirmishes in their strike against the huge billionaire institution. But the university administration has shown the darker side of their corporate-style approach to negotiating with their own students, turning increasingly to violence in the face of community support for strikers. The strike, which began on March 29, came after several months of negotiations, and were often stalled by administration in moves to limit the format of bargaining meetings. When the roughly 2,400 graduate student workers overwhelmingly voted in favor of the strike, the administration immediately filed for an injunction against the Graduate Employee Organization (GEO) chapter representing grad workers.
For the second time in three years, University of Michigan graduate students are on strike, fighting for a starting wage of $38,000 per year to meet the soaring costs of living in Ann Arbor. These demands come as the University’s endowment continues to balloon, surpassing $17 billion as of last year. Graduate students are also asking for gender-affirming healthcare options, better workplace protections against sexual harassment, and an approach to campus safety that doesn’t depend solely on a militarized police force. After raising similar issues three years ago, the Graduate Employee Organization (GEO) ended the strike when the U of M administration threatened legal action that could disband the union, lead to job losses, and subject leadership to arrest.
The scene at the Michigan Capitol in Lansing March 14 was reminiscent of mass protests there in December 2012. At that time union members packed the State House to pressure then-Governor Rick Snyder not to sign a bill making Michigan a “right-to-work” state. But Snyder broke his campaign promise not to sign, making Michigan the 27th state with the union-busting law on the books. While a union in a workplace is legally required to represent members and nonmembers alike, in a right-to-work state the union cannot negotiate a contract that makes union dues or service fees mandatory. This weakens unions and lowers the average wage in what have for decades been nicknamed “right-to-work-for-less” states.
Across the U.S., a staggering 55% of teachers are thinking about leaving their profession earlier than they had planned, according to a National Education Association survey. Those who go through with the change would join the roughly 600,000 teachers who, per U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, left the job between 2020 and 2022 — and the impacts on kids are dire. To fill the gaps created by the teacher shortage, classroom sizes swell, courses are canceled, and unqualified educators are brought on to fill open positions. One school district in Michigan has seen success with an innovative solution to help recruit and retain educators: Helping cover their rent and housing costs.