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Jesse Jackson Speaks Out On Emergency Financial Manager Law

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Jesse Jackson gives a thumbs up during a MLK rally at the state Capitol in Madison, Wis., Monday, April 4, 2011, with thousands of union protesters. (AP Photo/Andy Manis)

Jesse Jackson gives a thumbs up during a MLK rally at the state Capitol in Madison, Wis., Monday, April 4, 2011, with thousands of union protesters. (AP Photo/Andy Manis)

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BENTON HARBOR (WWJ) – Calling Michigan’s Emergency Financial Manager law the equivalent of a “dictatorship, not a democracy” and “Libya-like,” the Reverend Jesse Jackson visited to Michigan to protest on behalf of distressed communities.

LISTEN: WWJ’s Live Interview with Jesse Jackson

Jackson spoke out against the controversial new EFM law while in Benton Harbor on Wednesday.

“There should be a major lawsuit filed to protect the right to vote… both the collective bargaining of workers, as well as the right of people to vote,” Jackson said.

“The people vote and elect the mayor. Thee vote and elect the council. And to unilateral removal of those officials –that’s undemocratic,” he said.

“This is clearly a Supreme Court case. We’ve just fought for the right of workers, people to vote in 1965. But in one swell swoop a state’s right can trump a federal right to vote, and that undermines all that we’ve  the last 50 years,” Jackson said.

A state panel appointed former Detroit Auditor General Joseph Harris the Emergency Financial Manager of Benton Harbor on April 1. Officials say Benton Harbor has a growing deficit and needed an infusion of cash from the state last month, just to make payroll.

Speaking live on WWJ Wednesday afternoon, Jackson said what’s happening in Benton Harbor will happen in Detroit — unless someone puts a stop to it.

“You cannot imagine whole cities, empowering emergency managers to dislocate city councils, and school boards and elected officials. What will happen is more wealth and more wars up top and more poverty at the bottom. That’s an economic crisis,” Jackson said.

Jackson is making his way to Detroit for an awareness event planned for Thursday.

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