By Abayomi Azikiwe
On July 30 and 31 the attention of the national media in the United States was focused on the Fox Theater in downtown Detroit where 20 Democratic Party candidates for the presidency debated various issues presented to them by anchors from the Cable News Network (CNN).
What went largely unmentioned by CNN and other corporate and government-sponsored media outlets were the events taking place in the surrounding blocks near the debate venue.
On Tuesday July 30, several organizations led by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), along with a number of environmental and social justice groups, held a rally at Cass Park beginning four hours before the commencement of the first night of the debate. SEIU workers began to arrive before 4:00 pm in buses from cities as far away from Detroit as Philadelphia, Milwaukee, Cleveland, Chicago, Flint, among other municipalities.
The members wore t-shirts which said “Unions for All.” The SEIU organizes low-wage employees such as janitors, security guards, restaurants and fast food workers.
Speakers from the podium discussed issues involving the need for a $15 per hour minimum wage and the right to union representation for the purposes of collective bargaining. Other speakers were invited by a coalition of largely non-profit organizations known as “Frontline Detroit.”
Sunrise, a nationwide group said to have been inspired by the newly-elected New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, had in conjunction with SEIU, put together the alliance which sponsored the rally. An entry on the Sunrise website says of the group that:
“We’re building an army of young people to make climate change an urgent priority across America, end the corrupting influence of fossil fuel executives on our politics, and elect leaders who stand up for the health and well being of all people…. We are not looking to the right or left. We look forward. Together, we will change this country and this world, sure as the sun rises each morning.”
Many of the rally participants held signs calling for the implementation of the “Green New Deal”, a campaign which in broad generalities proposes the conversion of some aspects of the productive capacity in the U.S. to environmentally safe industries curbing the utilization of fossil fuels, a major component in the rapid process of climate change. Nonetheless, there were no specific demands from the July 30 rally proponents of the “Green New Deal” urging the transformation of the U.S. economy from capitalism to socialism, a prerequisite for genuine change towards social equality, the economic empowerment of working people and the nationally oppressed….