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Detroit: The Bell Tolls for All of Us

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A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

Detroit’s “crisis” is a yet another form of “disaster capitalism,” orchestrated by corporate America. “Wall Street is creating new law and new models for the total subjugation of American society to the Lords of Capital.”

 

Detroit: The Bell Tolls for All of Us

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

Those who would strip away democratic freedoms and privatize the public sphere have always found it easier to mount their offensives against heavily Black regions and sectors of society.”

In Detroit, even the thin gruel of democracy that America advertises to the world, has ceased to exist. Not one of its 700,000 residents retains the political rights of citizens, those rights having been usurped by the agents of Wall Street: Governor Rick Snyder and bankruptcy lawyer Kevyn Orr, the Lone Ranger and Tonto who were the sole authorities empowered to file bankruptcy for the city. Their mission is to render the judgment of capital that Detroit is too poor, in its present demographic composition, for participation in the democratic order, and must be forcibly reconstituted, beginning with a divvying up of its assets. At the end of this process, a “new” Detroit is supposed to emerge, which will have divested itself of enough Black and poor people to allow the reinstatement of some form of electoral franchise.

Or, maybe not. Direct rule by Wall Street, which is the real meaning of the Emergency Financial Manager regime, is not some idea especially concocted for Detroit. It is the political and economic superstructure that the plutocracy envisions for the whole country – for the entire planet, if they can get away with it. Due to the particular racial history of the United States, where Black citizenship rights have always been deemed illegitimate, those who would strip away democratic freedoms and privatize the public sphere have always found it easier to mount their offensives against heavily Black regions and sectors of society. White people with identical interests in democracy and fairness in schools, public services and in the workplace root for the plutocrats when Blacks are under attack, never imagining that the same weapons will soon be turned on them.

Their mission is to render the judgment of capital that Detroit is too poor, in its present demographic composition, for participation in the democratic order.”

Thus, Detroit’s dissolution is perceived as a Black problem – more politely referred to by its euphemism: an “urban” crisis.

However, Wall Street and its mercenary law firms, like Kevyn Orr’s godfathers at Jones Day, are not motivated by petty racial prejudice; they are simply skilled at taking advantage of it, always aiming their daggers at the soft spots in democracy, where Black people live. With Detroit and the other largely Black cities of Michigan, where half of the state’s African American population has been disenfranchised, Wall Street is creating new law and new models for the total subjugation of American society to the Lords of Capital.

Primary elections are scheduled for Detroit, in August. Mayor Dave Bing, who swung wide the gates to the city for the conquistadors, won’t be running for reelection. City council president and former mayor Ken Cockrel Jr. says he doesn’t see any point in running. But, they are irrelevant. The Detroit model for imposing direct rule of the rich can only be challenged by a mass movement of the hundreds of thousands who remain in the city – either by choice, or by no-choice – and by the millions elsewhere in the country who are next on the corporate juggernaut’s quickening agenda. The resistance must choose its tactics from a menu of “By any means necessary,” make the enemy understand the meaning of “No Justice, No Peace,” and show him that we are deadly serious when we say, “We shall not be moved.”

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to BlackAgendaReport.com.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

 

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