We Need A Peoples’ Movement And Not The World Economic Forum

Detroit, which remains a major industrial center in the sectors of automotive and other sources of production and services, is a focal point for the economic and social transformations of urban areas in the United States and internationally.

Since the 19th century, the city has been a location for various forms of manufacturing, mining and shipping.

Initially there was the strategic location linked to the Great Lakes and rivers which flow into them. The mining of copper during the mid-to-late 19th century which fueled migration eventually gave way to steam engine manufacturing for shipping and the timber trade.

By the early decades of the 20th century, the first assembly line within auto production was established by Henry Ford. The production of millions of automobiles within a matter of years, created the demand for jobs and the consequent suppression and division of labor.

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Black Radical Internationalist Traditions

In the 1950’s and 1960’s, it became a juxtaposition of highly educated workers for the most advanced productive forces on the planet, but developed within the unresolved, deeply violent, four hundred year-long colonial and racist architecture of the US. It was externally influenced by the period of the explosion of national liberation socialism that began with the Chinese revolution and was punctuated by the defeat of the US empire by the Korean and Chinese revolutions and at great costs to their peoples. The 1950s were capped off by the historic 1959 victory in Cuba, whose significance reverberates to this day in all of our lives.

Many of the most significant and radical intellectual and revolutionary formations of the US were born between the years 1959 to 1967.

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Detroit Voters OK Launching Reparations Commission

Detroit voters favored launching a reparations commission Tuesday, and a proposal to decriminalize psychedelic plants passed by a wide margin.

Another, Proposal S, failed with 53.9% voting no to amending a section of the city charter to allow voters to push ordinances that include appropriating money.

More than 80%  of voters said yes to Proposal R, which calls for the launching of a reparations commission, while 61% of voters said yes to decriminalizing psychedelic plants.

Another ballot proposal to amend the city charter to allow for citizen-driven ballot initiatives tied to city spending, Proposal S found no support among nearly 54% of voters, while 46% voted yes.

Proposal R asked whether Michigan’s largest city should form a committee to consider reparations for residents, 77% of whom are Black.

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World Economic Forum Targets Detroit

The World Economic Forum (WEF) has announced plans to open a “Global Center for Urban Transformation” in Detroit in October 2021. The WEF is an international non-governmental organization (NGO) that describes itself as aiming to improve “the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic, and other leaders of society to shape global, regional, and industry agendas.” It has been in existence since 1971 and is based in Switzerland.

This won’t be the first time the capitalist corporate, banking and political power-brokers have focused on the Motor City to promote their plans to strengthen their exploitative system on the backs of poor and working people.

The Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice (MECAWI) and the Moratorium Now Coalition played a pivotal role in all of these earlier actions and are part of a growing coalition to once again confront them.

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Environmental Racism And Detroit

Oftentimes, racism and environmentalism are thought of as separate issues. Since the Black Lives Matter uprising of last summer, however, there has been a growing awareness of the scope of racism and its existence in every facet of society. The legacy of racism, dating back to the enslavement of Black people in this country, is woven into the fabric of American society. It has existed in many forms on structural and personal levels, including racist real estate practices such as redlining and restrictive covenants, as well as discriminatory employment practices. Not to mention how Black folks are criminalized, brutalized, exploited, and killed by police and the prison industrial system. The list goes on, and it also includes being more vulnerable to environmental pollution.

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Detroit Teachers Vote Overwhelmingly To Authorize Safety Strike

During an emergency special meeting Wednesday, members of the Detroit Federation of Teachers (DFT) voted to authorize a potential safety strike aimed at pressing the Detroit Public Schools Community District to implement basic science-based safety protocols before schools reopen during the continuing coronavirus pandemic. 

The vote authorizes the DFT executive board to call a safety strike if the union and the school district do not reach an agreement. Members voted 91 percent in favor of authorizing a safety strike. 

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Amid Calls To Defund Police, Detroit Leaders Weigh In On Alternatives

In the wake of Floyd’s death, protests have mobilized in several states, and locally in Detroit, where protesters have marched regularly since late May. While most protests have mostly been peaceful, there have been instances of violence, including during the early days of the protests when demonstrators were met with tear gas, shields, and handcuffs, with scores arrested after being out past curfew and reports of some protesters hurling objects at police; a police car driving through a crowd of protesters; and the fatal shooting of Hakim Littleton by police near Six Mile and San Juan. Police footage shows Littleton being shot after firing at officers who were arresting a man on a separate matter, sparking a protest that resulted in eight arrests.

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Detroit Students Sued For Literacy And Won

The hard-fought, four-year Gary B. literacy case, in which seven Black students in Detroit sued the state of Michigan in 2016 to improve the school system and literacy access, was settled on May 14 in favor of the students, Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s office announced. In the complaint, students shared a laundry list of educational and literacy issues in the public schools, such as predominantly having books with pictures instead of words in primary school when students are first taught to read. 

The landmark settlement means that $94.4 million will support literacy-related programs and initiatives throughout the Detroit Public School Community District (DPSCD), for which Whitmer will propose legislation during her first term and the seven students will share a $280,000 payout.

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Detroit Bus Drivers Win Protections Against Virus Through Strike

Detroit bus drivers collectively declared Tuesday morning that they weren’t going to work without safety precautions. A city worker is cleaning at the end of the line. Photo: Jim West / jimwestphoto.com. Detroit bus drivers collectively declared Tuesday morning that they weren’t going to work without safety precautions. Bus service was canceled throughout the city because of “the driver shortage,” as city officials put it.

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Groups Demand Whitmer Enact Water Shutoff Moratorium To Fight Coronavirus

Hundreds of thousands of people in low-income families across the state have borne the brunt of the record rise in the cost of water services and the unaffordable water bills that have resulted from that rise. The unconscionable act of depriving anyone of water because the cost is more than they can afford has resulted in a health crisis, that, with the advent of coronavirus, has the serious potential to be magnified and spread due to thousands not having access to water.  The ultimate solution is to implement income based water bills based on the Water Affordability Plan. The immediate, short term solution must be a moratorium on water shutoffs and the immediate restoration of service where it’s been disconnected.

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Environmental Activists Claim Victory After Detroit Incinerator Closes

The recent shutdown of the largest municipal trash incinerator in the U.S. marks the end of a long-fought battle for a majority Black neighborhood that has for decades fought a constant stream of pollutants and pungent odors of trash. Activists have spent decades fighting the incinerator, known as Detroit Renewable Power, which burned one million tons of solid waste from 13 counties in southeastern Michigan each year to create steam and electricity, according to Breathe Free Detroit. “Most of the waste [came] from whiter…

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Detroit Police Commissioner Arrested For Questioning City’s Use Of Facial Recognition

Last night, a police commissioner in Detroit was arrested for questioning the city’s use of facial recognition at a public hearing. Commissioner Willie Burton, who is black, was surrounded by police officers and handcuffed from his place at the head of the meeting on Thursday night, shouting “get your hands off me!” as he was taken out of the room with hands behind his back and put into a police car. He was questioning the police department’s use of facial recognition known to be biased against people of color, in a city with a high proportion of black residents.

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Detroit Residents Organize Community With 12th Annual Rally To Silence The Violence

Michigan residents have been coming together as apart of the Silence the Violence Rally for nearly over a decade. Silence the Violence continues to be an opportunity for people to show their commitment to ending violence in their communities and has grown from a local rally to a national event. This year’s rally locations have spread from Detroit into Chicago, Atlanta, New Orleans, Baltimore, New York, and Boston; as well as a host of other local cities in the Detroit area that include Flint, Pontiac, Highland Park, and Ypsilanti. Attendees use the event to define violence in a variety of ways from individual, gang violence to domestic and state violence.

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When Cities Shut The Water Off

In 2014, the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department started its most recent egregious campaign of mass water shutoffs that targeted low-income, residential customers who were behind in payments. In June of that year, rumors started to surface about poisoned public water in Flint, Michigan. Both issues marked the start of long nights of terror for blue-collar workers, a terror that has not yet ended. Concerns over water were not new to those in the American Rust Belt, but never before had their ferocity and scale reached such depths.

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Shutoffs Continue As The People Of Detroit Fight For Water As A Human Right

Step onto downtown Detroit’s tiled sidewalks past the Kern Clock Tower and storefront restaurants and you’ll find Campus Martius. This small park at the center of the greatest comeback story in post-industrial America has become a symbol for life continuing after ruin. Climb into your car and drive down Woodward Avenue. Hear the bell of the QLine cars and the vibrant nightlife of the restaurants, clubs and concert halls. These are what leaders call signs of economic progress in a major city that the State of Michigan can finally take pride in. Now take a turn down any of the major bisecting streets. Drive past the Eastern Market or Wayne State University.

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