The 2014 Detroit Bankruptcy

The model for America: Ruling elites dispense with democracy in Detroit

By Jerry White, 29 September 2014

The new arrangement is part of a reorganization of political structures in the city to ensure the permanent exclusion of any opposition to the dictates of the corporate and financial elite.

Detroit political establishment reaches deal to extend financial dictatorship

By Thomas Gaist, 27 September 2014

The agreement is aimed at cementing in political form the conspiracy against the working class to restructure the city of Detroit using the bankruptcy courts.

Testimony reveals public health danger and suffering caused by Detroit water shutoffs

By Lawrence Porter, 26 September 2014

Victims of water shutoffs and public health experts gave evidence about the impact the city’s water shutoff policy.

Detroit officials defend water shutoffs

By Jerry White, 25 September 2014

US bankruptcy judge Steven Rhodes will issue a ruling Monday on a lawsuit seeking an injunction to stop the shutoff of water for thousands of low-income households.

Detroit bankruptcy judge holds hearing on water shutoffs

By Thomas Gaist, 23 September 2014

The present proceedings are in the main political theatre aimed at boosting the credibility of the judge as a supposedly “neutral arbiter.”

The “Detroit Homecoming”: City planning by and for the billionaires

By Thomas Gaist, 22 September 2014

A select group of billionaires and wealthy private foundations gathered at an invitation-only event this week to plan Detroit’s future.

Detroit bankruptcy conspiracy enters its final stage

By Jerry White, 17 September 2014

After reaching settlements with key players over the past week, the federal bankruptcy court is moving quickly to approve the anti-working class restructuring plan.

Detroit charged $126 million by law firms and consultants in bankruptcy case

By Thomas Gaist, 17 September 2014

Jones Day, the former law firm of Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr, has charged the city nearly $50 million.

Video: Detroit resumes water shutoffs

By Tim Rivers, 13 September 2014

In this video, Detroit residents speak on the resumption of the city’s drive to shut off water service to its most vulnerable people.

Regional authority a prelude for privatization of Detroit water system

By Jerry White, 12 September 2014

The Detroit bankruptcy and moves toward the privatization of the water department are fully backed by the Obama administration, which has encouraged cities to enter “public-private partnerships” to fill the gap from reduced federal and state funding.

Detroit Workers Action Committee meeting opposes water shutoffs, bankruptcy

By WSWS reporters, 11 September 2014

Workers, students and retirees attended an emergency meeting of the Detroit Workers Action Committee to adopt a program calling for the independent political mobilization of the working class.

City-owned assets hived off in Detroit bankruptcy deals

By Jerry White, 11 September 2014

The Detroit-Windsor tunnel and the suburban pipelines of the city’s water and sewerage system will be leased out as part of Detroit’s restructuring plan.

Support grows for SEP meeting Tuesday against Detroit water shutoffs

By a WSWS reporting team, 8 September 2014

Campaign teams visited schools, neighborhoods and work locations over the past week in preparation for the public meeting being held Tuesday at Wayne State University.

Day four of the confirmation hearings

Financial advisor details social cuts, increased policing in Detroit bankruptcy plan

By Thomas Gaist, 6 September 2014

Conway MacKenzie consultant Charles Moore detailed plans to slash city services and tear down buildings.

Detroit chief financial officer outlines program of permanent austerity

By Jerry White, 5 September 2014

Behind the dry, antiseptic testimony of the city’s chief financial officer in the federal bankruptcy courtroom Thursday was a restructuring plan that will produce untold suffering in Detroit.

Detroit bond insurers press for sale of art and other city assets

By Thomas Gaist, 4 September 2014

Behind legal proceedings before a bankruptcy judge, a vicious struggle is being waged between the city’s creditors and their insurers.

Bankruptcy judge lets Detroit water shutoffs continue

By Lawrence Porter, 4 September 2014

US federal bankruptcy judge Steven Rhodes decided to delay any ruling on water shutoffs at least until September 17.

Court hearings resume for Detroit’s “plan of adjustment”

By Thomas Gaist, 3 September 2014

Despite their differences, all parties represented in the bankruptcy court are determined to make the workers of Detroit pay for the social crisis.

A call to action

Emergency meeting to oppose water shutoffs in Detroit

2 September 2014

The Socialist Equality Party and the Detroit Workers Action Committee are holding a public meeting September 9 to mobilize the working class throughout the Detroit area against water shutoffs.

From Detroit to Ferguson: The brutal face of American capitalism

By Jerry White, 30 August 2014

If Detroit is the epicenter of social counterrevolution in America, Ferguson revealed the repressive measures the ruling class is prepared to use against all opposition to its policies.

“We have a war going on in our own country”

Detroit meeting discusses city’s bankruptcy and police violence in Ferguson

By Zac Corrigan, 29 August 2014

Workers, students and youth attended a meeting on the bankruptcy of Detroit and the police murder of an unarmed teenager in Ferguson, Missouri.

Thousands face loss of service as water shutoffs resume in Detroit

By Thomas Gaist and Shannon Jones, 28 August 2014

The WSWS spoke to many of the hundreds of workers and retirees who are seeking to keep their water from being cut off.

“Folks just can’t afford water, rent, lights, gas and food”

Detroit “water affordability fair” attendees denounce shutoffs

By Zac Corrigan and Tim Rivers, 26 August 2014

In this video, Detroit residents attending a sham “water affordability fair” denounce the city’s policy of cutting off water to those who are too poor to pay for it.

Thousands attend “affordability fair” as Detroit prepares to resume water shutoffs

By Thomas Gaist and D’Artagnan Collier, 25 August 2014

With water shutoffs set to resume Tuesday, some two thousand desperate residents flooded into Cobo Hall in an effort to maintain their service.

“They treat us like savages!”

Detroit workers, retirees denounce water shutoffs

By WSWS reporters, 25 August 2014

Detroit workers and unemployed residents spoke to the WSWS outside the Cobo Water Fair in downtown Detroit Saturday.

Meeting Wednesday in Detroit: Police Violence in Ferguson and the Detroit Bankruptcy—the class issues

23 August 2014

The Socialist Equality Party and the International Youth and Students for Social Equality are holding this public meeting Wednesday, August 27 at Wayne State University.

Detroit mayor employs damage control as city prepares to resume water shutoffs

By Thomas Gaist, 13 August 2014

Mayor Mike Duggan's “10-point plan” is part of political maneuvers being orchestrated by Detroit’s political establishment to dampen popular outrage over mass water shutoffs

100,000 Bay County, Michigan residents threatened with water crisis

By Zac Corrigan, 12 August 2014

A massive water main break took days to locate, resulting in a ban on water use for “purposes other than the maintenance of public health and safety.”

Judge Rhodes and his royal entourage tour Detroit

By Thomas Gaist, 12 August 2014

Surveying the handiwork of the banks and corporations that have devastated Detroit, the bankruptcy judge took a tour of the Motor City last week.

Detroit water workers denounce shutoffs

By Jerry White, 6 August 2014

Workers at the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department who voted down the city’s contract demands last week spoke on the cutoff of water service to tens of thousands of households.

Low turnout at Detroit “Water Affordability” stunt

By our reporters, 4 August 2014

The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department held a public relations event on the city’s impoverished east side as it prepares to resume mass water shutoffs.

Wave of traffic fatalities in Detroit highlights disrepair of infrastructure

By Nick Barrickman, 2 August 2014

The increasing number of traffic accidents and fatalities takes place under conditions where Detroit’s public lighting system is collapsing.

Detroit kindergartens “experiment” with 100-student class sizes

By Nancy Hanover, 1 August 2014

An eastside school, located in one of Detroit’s high poverty areas, has elected to combine all kindergartners together, cramming 100 five-year-olds into a single class.

The politics of the Detroit People’s Water Board

By Thomas Gaist and Jerry White, 31 July 2014

The campaign mounted by the People’s Water Board against water shutoffs is aimed at channeling popular opposition behind the Democratic Party and trade union bureaucracy.

Detroit water workers reject concession demands

By Jerry White, 31 July 2014

As the city shuts off service to tens of thousands of residents, Detroit water workers rejected a contract offer that opens the way for the privatization of the water system.

“We’ve got to bail out the fat cats so they can remain fat cats”

Detroit water workers denounce demands for concessions

By Kevin Martinez, 30 July 2014

Members of the Socialist Equality Party spoke to workers as they voted on a new contract that would strip them of basic job protections and pave the way for the privatization of the water system.

No to privatization, job cuts and concessions!

For a political struggle by Detroit workers against Orr’s bankruptcy plan

By Jerry White, 29 July 2014

The following statement is being distributed to Detroit Water and Sewerage Department workers who are voting on the city’s contract proposal today.

Court-appointed “monitor” to enforce Detroit bankruptcy plan

By Tom Hall and Jerry White, 28 July 2014

Like the emergency manager, the unelected Plan Monitor will be solely accountable to powerful financial interests.

SEP rallies workers and youth against Detroit water shutoffs

By David Brown, 25 July 2014

The Socialist Equality Party and the Detroit Workers Committee held a rally at the water department’s central facility even as city officials continued shutoffs despite the so-called 15-day “pause.”

Dan Gilbert’s “New Detroit”

Billionaire land speculator witch-hunts teens for graffiti near his property

By Zac Corrigan, 24 July 2014

Dan Gilbert wants to exclude those who don't fit in with the upscale design of his “New Detroit.”

Officials hail anti-democratic vote in Detroit to sanction attack on pension rights

By Jerry White, 23 July 2014

More than half of the city workers and retirees eligible to take part in the bankruptcy court’s ballot on the plan of adjustment refused to vote.

Detroit officials announce 15-day “pause” of mass water shutoffs

By Jerry White, 22 July 2014

The temporary suspension of shutoffs is a public relations move as the city prepares to escalate a brutal policy that has left thousands without water.

Video: Detroit residents speak out against water shutoffs

By James Brewer, 22 July 2014

In this video, Detroit residents speak out against water shutoffs at a bill payment center and rally against water shutoffs.

“We are not living in a democratic society”

Opposition grows to Detroit water shutoffs

By our reporters, 21 July 2014

The shut off of water to tens of thousands of Detroit residents has provoked widespread anger and opposition throughout the city and beyond.

Democratic Party organizations hold rally on water shutoffs

By our reporters, 19 July 2014

The Democratic Party and associated organizations called the rally in an attempt to derail widespread popular opposition to the shutoff of water in Detroit.

Workers and young people rally against water shutoffs in Detroit

By our reporters, 18 July 2014

City workers, retirees and students participated in a rally Thursday against water shutoffs called by the Socialist Equality Party.

Detroit elites declare: “Water is not a social right”

By Jerry White, 18 July 2014

The city’s unelected emergency manager Kevyn Orr has declared his full support for mass water shutoffs.

Who ordered the water shutoffs in Detroit?

By Jake Dean, 17 July 2014

A profile of the corporate executives who sit on the seven-member Board of Water Commissioners in Detroit.

Detroit Institute of Arts on track to become wholly owned corporate subsidiary

By David Walsh, 17 July 2014

The DIA has received pledges of another $26.8 million in donations from various major corporations and banks toward its goal of raising $100 million as part of the so-called “Grand Bargain.”

Judge says water shutoffs are bad publicity for Detroit bankruptcy plan

By Jerry White, 16 July 2014

In a degrading farce, US Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes granted a mere five minutes each for Detroit residents to beg him not to slash city workers’ retirement benefits or shut off water to tens of thousands.

Detroit retirees denounce bankruptcy plan

By our reporters, 16 July 2014

Retired city workers spoke with the WSWS outside the federal courthouse in Detroit Tuesday.

SEP campaigns against water shutoffs in Detroit

By Jake Dean, 15 July 2014

A Detroit-area teacher said, “To shut off water and give no alternative to these people, the whole world should be appalled.”

The Detroit water shutoffs: A social crime

By Lawrence Porter—Chairman of the Detroit Workers Committee, 15 July 2014

Up to 150,000 households—behind on their bills by as little as two months, or $150—have been targeted for water shutoffs.

SEP campaign against Detroit water shutoffs evokes warm response from Chrysler workers

By our reporters, 14 July 2014

“They treat people like animals in Detroit,” a worker said. “In here it’s the same; you’re like a robot.”

New analysis of the Detroit Institute of Arts responds to creditors and unions

By David Walsh, 12 July 2014

A leading New York art advisory firm issued a report July 8 on the value of the collection at the DIA and the feasibility of a sale of that artwork, as well as its effect on the art market.

“Not one child should go without water”

Detroit residents denounce water shutoffs

By our reporters, 12 July 2014

Detroit's Water and Sewerage Department announced it would press ahead with plans to shut off water for commercial properties and residents.

Detroit mothers die in childbirth at three times national rate

By Thomas Gaist, 11 July 2014

The overall US maternal death rate has risen sharply during the past two decades even as the global average has fallen.

Detroit Workers Committee meeting discusses strategy to fight water shutoffs

By David Brown, 11 July 2014

A group of workers, retirees and students attended a meeting of the Detroit Workers Committee (DWC) Thursday at Wayne State University to organize a fight against the ongoing plans by the city to shut off water to thousands of households.

“It is inhumane”

Detroit water shutoffs hit families, ill and elderly residents

By a WSWS reporting team, 10 July 2014

Thousands more Detroit families had their water shut off this week as part of the city administration’s plan to cut service to 150,000 households who are overdue on their water bills.

Video: Detroit residents speak out on water shutoffs

By Tim Rivers, 9 July 2014

World Socialist Web Site reporters spoke to Detroit residents as they waited in line at water payment centers, doing their best to get running water turned back on to their homes.

”I take my elderly aunt four buckets of water a day”

Detroit residents and water workers speak out against water shutoffs

By Muhammad Khan and Shannon Jones, 7 July 2014

The city of Detroit is racing ahead with its plans to shut off water to some 150,000 families who cannot afford to pay their water bills.

“We are talking about kids who are going to be affected, and the elderly”

Detroit residents call water shutoffs a “crime”

By Khara Sikhan and Zac Corrigan, 2 July 2014

The city’s drive to shut off water service to three thousand households every week is in full swing, spelling catastrophe for the approximately 150,000 Detroit households with overdue water bills.

How the charter school racket operates in Michigan

By Walter Gilberti, 2 July 2014

Over the past two decades, Michigan has become “ground zero” for the spread of for-profit charter schools.

AFSCME union pushes through deal against Detroit city workers

By Thomas Gaist, 1 July 2014

The move confirmed the full support of the union for the Plan of Adjustment, which includes large cuts to pensions and retiree health care benefits.

Workers on Detroit water shutoffs: “They are making it so you can’t live”

By Shannon Jones, 30 June 2014

Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr is backing a brutal shutoff policy aimed at residents who are behind in their water bills.

Detroit water shutoffs violate human rights

By Patrick Martin, 27 June 2014

A UN agency has issued a statement condemning the city’s decision to cut off water service to tens of thousands of poor and unemployed.

Retired Detroit bus mechanics denounce cuts to pensions and transportation services

By Shannon Jones and Debra Watson, 19 June 2014

The World Socialist Web Site recently spoke with two retired Detroit bus mechanics about the upcoming vote on the Plan of Adjustment proposed by Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr.

Detroit city worker union pushes bankruptcy restructuring plan

By Jerry White, 18 June 2014

After agreeing to concessions contracts for active city workers, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees called on retirees to approve the Plan of Adjustment submitted by Detroit’s emergency manager.

Detroit retirees denounce plan to raid city workers’ savings accounts

By Jerry White, 17 June 2014

Nearly 5,000 retired Detroit city workers will be forced to pay back tens of thousands of dollars in earnings from their annuity savings accounts.

Detroit officials agree at DIA press conference: Workers must pay for bankruptcy

By Larry Porter and Jerry White, 12 June 2014

An announcement that the Big Three automakers are contributing a paltry sum to the so-called Grand Bargain was used to demand that retirees support the plan to gut their benefits.

More Detroit schools threatened with closure

By Muhammad Khan, 12 June 2014

Despite reassurances from school officials, the deficit elimination plan submitted to the state threatens the closure of 26 more schools.

Detroit’s Catherine Ferguson Academy to close by end of June

By Thomas Gaist, 7 June 2014

Two years before the announcement of its closure, CFA was privatized and turned over to a company that runs schools in youth detention facilities on a for-profit basis.

Workers at Detroit retiree meetings voice anger over pension cuts

By Shannon Jones, 6 June 2014

Following the pattern of previous retiree meetings, organizers presented an ultimatum—accept the drastic cuts contained in the plan of adjustment or face far worse.

Michigan Senate passes Detroit “Grand Bargain” package

By James Brewer, 5 June 2014

The legislation includes a financial oversight panel that will extend the bankers’ dictatorship over Detroit for at least another 13 years.

Bankruptcy court approves new appraisal of Detroit Institute of Arts collection

By Thomas Gaist, 4 June 2014

Efforts to sell the art collection outright continue despite the much-touted “Grand Bargain”

Emergency manager threatens Detroit retirees at policy conference

By Thomas Gaist, 2 June 2014

Kevyn Orr used his remarks at an elite policy conference to warn retirees of severe consequences if the Plan of Adjustment is voted down.

Regional disputes deepen over control of Detroit water system

By James Brewer, 31 May 2014

The battle over control of Detroit’s water system between state and local governmental agencies is far from resolved.

Detroit abortion rate underscores rising poverty, declining access to contraception

By Debra Watson, 30 May 2014

Nearly one in three pregnancies in the city of Detroit end in abortion, a rate that has been increasing steadily since 2001.

Detroit “blight” task force calls for demolition of 20 percent of city’s housing stock

By Thomas Gaist, 29 May 2014

Such a vast destruction of housing is historically unprecedented outside of conditions produced by war or natural disaster.

City workers denounce fraudulent “vote” on benefit cuts

By Tim Rivers, 24 May 2014

In this video, Detroit city retirees speak out against Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr’s drive to slash their pensions and medical benefits.

Anger erupts at Detroit meetings as unions press for pension cuts

By Jerry White, 23 May 2014

Widespread anger over cuts to pensions and health care benefits erupted at two meetings attended by hundreds of retired Detroit city workers Wednesday.

“They are setting up a culture for a revolution”

Retired city workers denounce Detroit pension cuts

By our reporters, 23 May 2014

Detroit retirees spoke out against the Plan of Adjustment outside of meetings Wednesday.

A clarification on Detroit’s plan of adjustment vote

the Socialist Equality Party, 21 May 2014

In this statement, the SEP clarifies its position on a vote currently being carried out on a plan of adjustment submitted by Detroit’s emergency manager.

“More Detroits are on their way”

Top Democratic advisor calls for nationwide pension cuts and financial restructuring

By Thomas Gaist, 21 May 2014

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Richard Ravitch called for federal measures forcing states to slash pension and health care spending.

Vote ‘No’ on Detroit Plan of Adjustment

Mobilize the working class to end the bankers’ rule in Detroit

the Socialist Equality Party, 15 May 2014

The following statement calls on Detroit city workers to reject the court-approved restructuring plan that will decimate jobs, pensions and health care and pave the way for the privatization of city services.

Corruption revelations shake Michigan education authority

By Muhammad Khan, 14 May 2014

The head of the state education authority for “failing” schools used official credit cards for personal expenses.

Detroit firefighters speak out against Plan of Adjustment

By Thomas Gaist, 13 May 2014

Firefighters described the cuts as “nothing short of devastating.”

New legislation to extend oversight of Detroit finances for next 20 years

By Thomas Gaist, 10 May 2014

The legislation would effectively extend the state of financial dictatorship which began with the arrival of Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr into the indefinite future.

Detroit City plumber denounces bankruptcy

By Lawrence Porter and Thomas Gaist, 9 May 2014

This interview with disabled master plumber Steve Paraski, is the third in a series of interviews the WSWS has conducted with Detroit city retirees.

Detroit’s “plan of adjustment”: A declaration of war against the working class

By Jerry White, 8 May 2014

All the major political actors—the courts, the two big business parties, the corporate-controlled news media and the trade unions—have taken sides against the working class.

Bankruptcy judge approves final revision of Detroit restructuring plan

By Thomas Gaist, 7 May 2014

The Plan of Adjustment approved by Judge Rhodes Monday contains major cuts to pensions, eviscerates retiree health care and paves the way for a fire sale of the city’s water system and electrical grid.

Private contractors take over waste management in Detroit

By Thomas Gaist, 6 May 2014

The privatization of garbage collection is only the latest step in the ongoing restructuring of every aspect of the city’s economy in accordance with the interests of the corporate-financial elite.

Unions pose as critics as they collaborate with Detroit emergency manager

By Thomas Gaist, 2 May 2014

This week saw sustained efforts by the unions, aided by the middle class “left,” to cover up their collusion in the looting of pensions and public assets in Detroit.

Report documents growth of poverty in Detroit suburbs

By Lawrence Porter and Thomas Gaist, 30 April 2014

The number of residents living in poverty in Oakland County, Michigan grew by 77 percent between 2005 and 2012.

Interview with John Ziraldo, CEO of Lighthouse of Oakland County, on Detroit suburban poverty

By Lawrence Porter and Thomas Gaist, 30 April 2014

Ziraldo authored a report finding that fifty-eight percent of those living below the poverty line in the Metro Detroit Area now live in the suburbs.

AFSCME and other city unions sign onto Detroit bankruptcy plan

By Jerry White, 29 April 2014

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) signed a deal to support a restructuring plan that will impose savage cuts in city worker jobs, pensions and health benefits.

Treasury Secretary visits Detroit to reaffirm Obama’s “commitment” to city’s bankruptcy

By Thomas Gaist, 26 April 2014

US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew made a two-day visit to Detroit this week, reaffirming the Obama Administration’s support for the drive by Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr to use the city’s bankruptcy to slash workers’ pensions and sell off city assets.

Detroit bankruptcy spearheads nationwide attack on pensions

By Andre Damon, 25 April 2014

The Detroit bankruptcy is setting the precedent for the destruction of workers’ pension benefits throughout the US in both the public and private sectors.

Detroit media call for permanent financial dictatorship

By Thomas Gaist, 25 April 2014

This week saw leading Detroit publications call for the further dismantling of democratic norms in order to impose the dictates of the corporations and banks.

SEP holds meeting of Detroit workers to oppose water shutoffs

By WSWS reporting team, 25 April 2014

The event held near Wayne State University drew students, Detroit city workers, retirees and other workers