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Who organized the protest at Gov. Whitmer’s home on Thursday?

April 24, 2020

Yesterday, several dozen people protested outside of the Governor’s mansion in Lansing, calling on Gov. Whitmer to re-open Michigan’s economy.

The person credited with organizing the demonstration is Brandon Hall. Hall was quoted in the news source, Up North Live as saying: 

“Gretchen Whitmer is tyranny, this is like a third world country. It’s like V for Vendetta and Idiocracy hooked up and they produced this baby that is 2020.”

Brandon Hall is originally from Grand Haven and was sentenced to 30 days in jail in 2012 for election fraud. Hall is the editor of a blog called West Michigan Politics, which ironically has as its banner on Facebook an image of Richard DeVos Sr. 

Brandon Hall said that Nick Somberg, a lawyer, also helped to organize the protest. Somberg, is also with the group Michigan United for Liberty, which brought a lawsuit against Governor Whitmer a few days ago. 

Michigan United for Liberty is a fairly new entity that has a number of people on their “team” who have previous experience with campaign organizing and other conservative efforts. Michigan United for Liberty is claiming that Facebook has blocked their anti-government protest events on the social media platform, but that is not preventing them from promoting several upcoming actions.

On April 30th, Michigan United for Liberty is hosting another protest at the State Capitol in Lansing. According to their announcement, Governor Whitmer’s, “executive orders are direct violations of our constitutional rights and are infringing upon our basic freedoms.” The protest on April 30 is also sponsored by the Michigan Conservative Union, a group that has been around since 1975 and includes former State Rep. Dave Agema. The other group involved in the April 30th protest is Libertarian Party of Michigan.

Then on May 1st, Michigan United for Liberty is organizing a MayDay to PayDay action. This action is a call to business owners to start back up again, regardless of what the Michigan Governor has to say. The MayDay to PayDay action says:

Calling all small business owners! Are you fed up? Ready to re-open and start making an income again?

Michigan United for Liberty believes ALL jobs are essential and we want to help you re-open! Unite with us as we band together to make this a reality!

Join us in our stand for freedom by committing to re-opening your business on May 1st!

Clearly, the groups involved in the April 15 protest at the Lansing State Capitol, the protest at the Governor’s mansion and the upcoming protests have generated a fair amount of interest from the public. It would be a mistake to be dismissive of these groups, as Ben Burgis stated in a recent article in the Jacobin Magazine

Many on the Right have cheered on the protesters. Centrists have mostly just rolled their eyes. The Left needs a better response. While the lockdowns are necessary, it’s unacceptable to ask everyone to continue paying their bills without far more robust government assistance. We should offer genuine solutions to legitimate economic worries even as we acknowledge that much of what was said and advocated at the protest was irresponsible and absurd.

In addition, I think it is not a matter of simply giving blind support to Gov. Whitmer. I agree with the stay-at-home orders, since we need to flatten the curve. However, people are hurting and we need some short-term and long-term ways of addressing the fact that millions of people are struggling around having basic needs met. We need to pressure the State Government and Gov. Whitmer to make sure that people are being taken care of. We need a rent freeze, an end to evictions, and to release people from prisons, jails and detention centers. We need to demand that health care workers, agricultural workers, those working in grocery stores and fast food restaurants, along with all other essential workers – who do essential work – get real, substantive hazard pay.

Some conservative groups are saying, We’re suing that woman from Michigan, while liberals are saying, We support that woman from Michigan. Such simplistic slogans are meaningless if we don’t have clear-headed strategies and plans to make sure that people have the resources to make sure they can stay safe, have access to food, housing and the health care we all need.

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