Pro-Democracy Movement Rises Against ‘Disaster Capitalism’ Dictatorship in Detroit

Jon Queally writes at Common Dreams:

Community and pro-democracy activists in Detroit have no intention of rolling over and playing dead for Kevyn Orr, the city’s new ‘emergency manager’ appointed by Republican Gov. Rick Snyder, who will begin his contract to run the city as a one-person government on Monday.

Called a “bloodless coup” by some, the appointment of an ‘emergency financial manager’ (EFM) will allow Orr to take full control over the city’s resources now that the city council and school board have been stripped of their governing powers.

Justified as a tool to ‘bring the city bank from the financial brink’ by its proponents, critics of Orr’s position say the whole reason for the emergency manager is to further gut the city by carving off public assets to the highest private bidder.

“Emergency managers do not work. They are supported by big banks and by big business to steal public services.” – Gwendolyn Peoples, Detroit resident

“Over a decade of experimentation has shown that the emergency manager model is undemocratic and it hasn’t worked,” said John Philo, director of the Sugar Law Center, which has taken legal action against Michigan’s emergency management model. “The stated goal is to balance the books and the emergency manager model fails to deliver that in the long term. What it does do is force privatization of public resources and guts the public sector unions. But that hollows out your tax base and the city continues in a downward spiral.”

“The people of a city need to decide how to get out of a financial mess and how to prioritize necessary sacrifices,” he continued. “Do they want to sell a park or eliminate a tax break for some business? These are policy choices that residents, not technocrats, should decide.”

Read more here.

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  • James Phillip Schmitt

    l have lived in the Detroit area my whole life. The whole situation is fucked, and I find myself being eerily attracted to the concept of an EFM, much like a late night viewing of “Ilsa,She-Wolf of the S.S.” The democratically elected officials are incapable of doing anything, the state of Michigan refuses to pay the city the 230 million that was granted to the city by the federal government, the EFM law was rejected by voters in November, implemented anyway in the infamous lame-duck session that resulted in Michigan adopting Right to Work, and any attempt at helping the city is rejected by the City Council in some bizarre racial isolationist Civil Rights era cum early onset senile dementia siege mentality. That being said, when you look at the examples of Pontiac and Benton Harbor (cities that have been under EFM rule for about the past few years), it’s going to 3 or 4 guys before they find someone capable of finding the hole in their asshole without a map, flashlight, two hands,and help. Meanwhile, Wall Street has already made 550 million off of the federal bailout of the automakers, which leads me to believe everything is going according to plan. The Arsenal of Democracy looks rather spare when you only have a 30% voter turnout.

    • kowalityjesus

      While popular opinion place Detroit as the capital of “down and out,” there are some seriously nice homes and neighborhoods still within the city bounds. I place hope in the fiat sovereign from Lansing in bringing a reality check into the morass.

      • James Phillip Schmitt

        Midtown, Corktown, Woodbridge, and Sherwood Forest come to mind. The East side is a bombed out wreck.

      • Andrew

        What sort of “reality” check?

        • kowalityjesus

          When I was living in Baltimore over a year ago, my landlord told me the story of how the housing projects that were a couple blocks away got demolished 5 years prior. For the next few years there was a ridiculous crapload of rats scuttling around even during the daytime. The housing values for all the surrounding area rose dramatically.

          Taking over the city is like demolishing the housing projects. There will be rats scuttling everywhere that used to dwell in the framework that was so weighed down by corruption and incompetence that it couldn’t even stay afloat. Some will find a new niche, but many will be eaten and die and then Detroit can start to concentrate on its REAL problems (not just sapsuckers) and everyone will be better off.

          This is a allegory that I find widely applicable for many ensconsed desperate and dirty institutions.

    • IokSotot

      Hey James. What do Detroiters? Detroitians? think about Robocop? The movie, specifically the eerie prescience of the back story?

      • kowalityjesus

        Robocop was filmed in Hamilton, Ontario. A kickstarter project is making a statue of the superhero and trying to find a place for it somewhere around the city.

  • Anarchy Pony

    Needz moar Delta City.

  • I_abide

    They can’t do this yet! I haven’t finished my ED 9000 prototype. It’s still got this funny tick where it won’t shoot unarmed civilians… stupid three laws.

  • jnana

    What decisions can he make to better Detroit’s economy that wouldn’t be made by the previous government of elected leaders or by the people themselves?

    • Andrew

      Killing all the homeless and using their bodies as fuel for the Detroit Stock Exchange.

      • jnana

        that’s the impression I get.
        he can make the “tough” decisions that the elected leaders and people wouldn’t.
        y’know if the powers continue on this path, they’re only going to rile the masses. kinda like beating a pitbull to train it. for a time that dog will be obedient, but you never know when it will snap. I would think that the powers realize this aspect of human nature, but I imagine they’re banking on drugs, gadgets, and poor health to keep the masses docile enough to not snap back.
        isn’t it disgusting the way we’re treated?!?

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