Growing and strengthening west Michigan's middle class
Sean Egan (IBEW 275) is the president of the Kent-Ionia Labor Council.
Washington State Republican Senator Doug Ericksen is planning to introduce legislation to establish a criminal Class C felony based on a new crime of “economic terrorism.” This is in response to the ongoing protests against President-Elect Donald Trump in Washington state. The aim is to have a felony that punishes peaceful protesters and those engaging in civil disobedience (protected by the Constitution that he apparently hasn’t read) as well as groups that fund or support those protestors.
When speaking to press, and in his own press release, he describes the protestors more simply as terrorists. Not knowing Mr. Ericksen I must assume that he is a buffoon to equate American citizens exercising their protected rights with acts of terrorism.
I am not going to use the word terrorism for my for my counter-argument to Mr. Ericksen’s legislation, as that term implies violence and it degrades all those using or being labeled by the term who are otherwise peaceful people. Simply put, the term “terrorism” should never be used to describe citizens exercising their rights under the Constitution.
But if Mr. Ericksen’s so concerned with protecting the economy, perhaps he should start with protecting working people. Maybe Mr. Ericksen should include in his proposal felonies for those that practice Economic Tyranny.
This could include corporations that extort tax breaks from cities and towns to keep their profitable operation in the same location, or move to the location only to create minimal or low wage jobs.
How about corporations whose employees earn so little they qualify for public assistance? What about state legislators that eliminate business taxes and move the cost of society solely onto the backs of working people, retirees, and the poor? What about state legislators that continuously cut school and college funding or revenue sharing to cities, which then cause public deficits?
How about the privatization of good jobs to companies that reap profits by way of low-pay jobs and low standards, which ultimately put veterans—and all of the public— at risk? Or how about prosecuting legislators who force a labor organization to provide a service to someone for free, through right-to-work laws?
Certainly, as you read this, I’m sure you can come up with more questions for Mr. Ericksen, or more items for Mr. Ericksen to include in his law. I doubt he’ll modify his proposal, and fortunately it appears that ACLU has already chimed in and the Washington State legislature probably won’t do anything with this bill.
Right now Mr. Ericksen’s type of thinking remains on the fringe and we can fight this unconstitutional fascist thinking. But we must remain engaged to identify and speak out on it before people start taking it seriously. We must never let this type of fascism become accepted.