Akron DSA Condemns the Undemocratic actions of Akron City Council
December 13, 2022
On December 12, after many weeks of tireless work by Akron city residents, Akron city council narrowly passed the toxic White Pond legislation and then took a targeted approach to silence those who spoke up against it. Council members largely fell in line with the wishes of the mayor, and when those who showed up to speak had an understandably emotional reaction to the vote, they were removed from council chambers by police — a clear violation of first amendment rights.
During continued chants in the hall, a police officer issued several orders to disperse, including an “official” order to vacate the floor and the building. At this last request, many residents began to descend the stairs from the third floor. Eleven individuals who had planned to speak made it out of earshot or off of the premises before those who remained were told by two councilpeople that there would still be a chance to speak during the public comment portion. Several residents requested Zoom call-in links be sent to those 11 who had registered to speak and were now absent, but these requests were denied. then denied the right to speak via Zoom during public comment.
In the interim, behind closed doors, Council passed legislation to add mandatory minimum jail time for individuals found to be “menacing” toward city workers and public officials. Only one councilor, Councilman Russ Neal, voted against this legislation with concern about it being used only to advantage the city and silence those who speak out against them. Indeed, the wheels of fascism are turning. The City is afraid of dissent, and, with menacing’s vague definition, can now jail residents for disagreeing with public officials.
We know as socialists that those in power fight to maintain the status quo; but that does not mean we will tolerate it. Like the rubber workers who fought for better conditions against political and police violence, the Civil Rights movement that fought laws based in white supremacy, and all other working class movements around the world that don’t back down, we will continue to fight. We know that the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.
Our capitalist, neoliberal society breeds inequity, but as socialists, it is our moral and ethical obligation to continue to fight to build an equitable and just Akron.
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