By: Trevor Loudon
Red Reps 7 here.
A former chief of staff to Michigan’s pro-Marxist congressman John Conyers, Hansen Clarke seems to be following in his former mentor’s political footsteps.
In 2008. Hansen Clarke worked closely with Detroit leaders of the Workers World Party on the house foreclosures issue. Clarke drafted and sponsored SB 1306 with long time W.W.P. collaborator Reverend Ed Rowe of Central United Methodist Church, a co–initiator of the Moratorium NOW! organization. Rowe further pledged ongoing support to the coalition, whose office is in his church. Most key leaders and personnel in Moratorium NOW! are also Workers World Party activists. Writing in Workers World on Jan. 14, 2008, Detroit W.W.P. leader Kris Hamel discussed the origins of Moratorium NOW!
“More than 400,000 jobs have been lost in the state since 2001. Now, that economic crisis has extended nationwide… According to a report issued on June 5 by the Mortgage Bankers Association, approximately one of every 11 mortgages in the U.S. was past due or in foreclosure at the end of March… Falling home values have left many homeowners with mortgages in excess of the value of their homes… The Moratorium NOW! Coalition to Stop Foreclosures and Evictions is organizing around the state to win passage of SB 1306, a two-year moratorium introduced into the Michigan Legislature by state Sen. Hansen Clarke. In 2007, activists with the Michigan Emergency Committee Against War and Injustice began to popularize the idea of a foreclosure moratorium based on the emergency powers invested in the governor by the state constitution during times of disaster. Demonstrations were held at the state capitol in Lansing demanding that Gov. Jennifer Granholm declare a state of economic emergency and impose a moratorium to stop foreclosures and evictions.”
Hansen Clarke became heavily involved in the W.W.P. campaign in 2008, when a Detroit family, the Maxwells, were faced with losing their home. According to the Workers World, “the dumpster was returned to the Maxwell home on the morning of April 23, one week after “community activists” successfully emptied it and moved the family’s belongings back into their foreclosed home on Detroit’s near northwest side.” An emergency demonstration called by the Workers World Party front Moratorium NOW!, convened at the home in the afternoon in solidarity with the Maxwells and “all those facing foreclosure in Detroit.”
Activists with another W.W.P. front, the Michigan Emergency Committee Against War and Injustice, the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization, ACORN and other groups participated. An emergency motion was filed in Detroit’s 36th District Court to set aside the judgment for eviction entered by the court on Feb. 28. On April 25, community activists packed the courtroom with the Maxwell family as Judge E. Lynise Bryant-Weekes heard arguments on why the family should be allowed to stay in their home. After the hearing, as supporters gathered in the corridor outside the courtroom, Maureen Taylor of Michigan Welfare Rights Organization stated: “This proves that poor people have no rights, that if you can’t afford an attorney, so be it. Poor people cannot get justice in a courtroom. We need to keep fighting.”
W.W.P. Detroit leader Abayomi Azikiwe of Michigan Emergency Committee Against War and Injustice, told Workers World: “This is precisely why we need a moratorium. There are thousands of families like the Maxwells all throughout Metro Detroit. We need to step up the struggle to force the state legislature to enact the two-year foreclosure moratorium law. We can’t wait another day.”
M.E.C.A.W.I. organizer and W.W.P. leader Jerry Goldberg spoke at the Labor and Community Conference held at United Auto Workers Region 1A on April 26. Sponsored by the Labor Studies Center of the University of Michigan, the conference linked community issues such as health care and the environment to the labor struggle. Goldberg spoke on the foreclosure crisis and motivated the audience to support the two-year mortgage foreclosure moratorium introduced by State Sen. Hansen Clarke. Participants “signed up to support the bill and responded enthusiastically to the developing struggle.”
Abayomi Azikiwe and State Senator Hansen Clarke co-chaired a Town Hall Meeting on June 14, 2008 at U.A.W. Local 7 in Detroit. The event, a statewide organizers’ conference, demanded the passage of Hansens’ SB 1306 imposing a two-year moratorium on foreclosures in Michigan.
Workers World Party Leader Abayomi Azikiwe with Hansen Clarke, Town Hall Meeting, June 14, 2008
Workers World Party Leaders Jerry Goldberg and Abayomi Azikiwe, with Hansen Clarke, June 14, 2008
Later that year, 72 year-old Rubie Curl-Pinkins, was threatened with eviction from her home behind the James Cole Funeral Home on West Grand Boulevard. Hundreds of neighbors, relatives, church members and activists from the Moratorium Now! Coalition, Call ‘em Out, ACORN and State Senator Hansen Clarke and his staff rallied against Countrywide Home Loans/Bank of America, which planned to evict her family on July 25, 2008.
The rally went on from 4 p.m. until almost midnight and was given extensive coverage by Detroit’s Channel Seven, which also interviewed Clarke about his pending bill for a two-year moratorium on foreclosures, S.B. 1306.
Unlike many other Detroiters facing foreclosure, Ms. Pinkins had the money to pay what she owed on the home, obtained through a reverse mortgage. Her attorneys, W.W.P. affiliate Vanessa Fluker and W.W.P. member Jerry Goldberg together with Bruce Feaster of Clarke’s office, said Countrywide earlier lured her into a predatory adjustable-rate second mortgage at a 10 percent interest rate.
Workers World Party Leader Abayomi Azikiwe, Sen. Hansen Clarke, Rubie Curl-Pinkins, WWP Member Alan Pollock, Debbie Williams, Unidentified Man and WWP Member Sandra Hines on the Porch of the Curl-Pinkins Home in Detroit, Aug. 22, 2008
Hansen Clarke’s ties to the Workers World Party went beyond the anti-foreclosure campaign.
In 2009, Hansen Clarke was listed as an endorser of the Committee to Defend Diane Bukowski and Freedom of the Press.
Detroit radical journalist Diane Bukowski, was convicted May 1, 2009, on two felony charges stemming from her involvement as a reporter on the scene of a deadly police chase in Detroit on November 4, 2008. Michigan radicals from several Marxist organizations, including Democratic Socialists of America, Communist Party USA, Solidarity and especially the Workers World Party formed the committee to defend their comrade.
City Councilwoman JoAnn Watson, Workers World Party Leader David Sole and Diane Bukowski
Other listed Committee endorsers included Hansen Clarke’s old boss John Conyers, Communist Party USA supporter John Woodford, Democratic Socialists of America members Phil Schloop and Al Benchich, Solidarity member Peter Solenberger and Workers World Party members David Sole, Sandra Hines, Cheryl LaBash, Bryan Pfeifer and W.W.P. affiliated Detroit City Council member JoAnn Watson.
Hansen Clarke likes to portray himself as a moderate and has yet to join John Conyers in the far left Congressional Progressive Caucus.
However, Clarke’s willingness to work with a group that idolizes North Korea and maintains close ties to Communist Cuba, marks him out as a legislator of the extreme left.