The Bankruptcy of Detroit

Michigan governor belatedly orders change in Flint’s water supply

By James Brewer, 10 October 2015

The action by the state of Michigan is a tacit admission that the city’s population has been subjected to lead poisoning for 17 months.

Michigan governor grudgingly admits Flint water danger

By James Brewer, 2 October 2015

Independent studies have proved that Flint residents, and particularly children, are in danger from lead poisoning caused by mismanagement of the water system.

Flint, Michigan residents fight lead poisoning of water supply

By James Brewer and Lawrence Porter, 26 September 2015

The head of the Virginia Tech university team that conducted a survey of Flint’s water toxicity warned residents not to trust the government's claims that city water is safe to drink.

Following Detroit bankruptcy, billionaires snap up prime real estate

By Kathleen Martin, 24 September 2015

Led by Quicken Loans CEO Dan Gilbert, the corporate and financial elite is restructuring the city post-bankruptcy to serve its own interests.

Detroit teachers union removes local president despite majority vote by membership

By Sheila Brehm, 22 September 2015

The executive board of the Detroit Federation of Teachers pushed through the removal of Steve Conn on trumped-up charges.

Study shows Flint, Michigan has “very serious lead in water problem”

By James Brewer, 15 September 2015

A research group from Virginia Tech University calls for “immediate health warnings and intervention” based on sample results from Flint households.

Water shutoff moratorium in Flint as water crisis continues

By Shannon Jones, 1 September 2015

Residents of the Michigan city describe a continuing nightmare caused by astronomical water rates combined with foul smelling, discolored drinking water.

Detroit Federation of Teachers president ousted by union executive board

By Walter Gilberti and Nancy Hanover, 1 September 2015

The DFT removed Steve Conn, a leader of the pseudo-left By Any Means Necessary group, from the presidency, as Michigan officials move to reorganize the Detroit Public Schools.

Detroit City Council imposes new 7.5 percent water rate hike

By Khara Sikhan, 4 August 2015

Detroit increased water rates for the second time this year.

One in four Michigan children live in poverty

By Debra Watson, 3 August 2015

Child poverty in Michigan exceeds the deplorable national average of 22 percent.

Michigan governor declares financial emergency in Wayne County

By Khara Sikhan, 24 July 2015

The methods used in the Detroit bankruptcy are being repeated in Michigan’s most populous county to loot pensions, slash benefits, and privatize services.

Two Detroit firefighters injured fighting blaze with low water pressure

By Tyler Van Dyke and Lawrence Porter, 13 July 2015

Firefighters had to pump water from blocks away in order to contain a fire that engulfed a five-story apartment building.

“People deserve respect whether they can pay their bills or not”

Life without water in Detroit

By Seraphine Collins, 8 July 2015

In this video, Mamie Brown, a Detroit preschool teacher, describes the experience of having her water shut off.

Michigan governor outlines plan to dissolve Detroit public school system

By Khara Sikhan, 7 July 2015

The plan to break up the schools into an “old” and a “new” district is a prelude to the expansion of for-profit charter operations and the gutting of teacher pensions.

County official wants Detroit area put into financial emergency status

By Khara Sikhan, 19 June 2015

Wayne County Executive Warren Evans has asked Michigan officials to declare a financial state of emergency to escalate attacks on public workers and services.

Detroit’s “water affordability” plan guarantees profits to wealthy bondholders

By Zac Corrigan, 18 June 2015

At least 1,000 households have been shut off as of May 26, with at least 25,000 residences—or one in three households in the city—targeted for possible shutoff this summer.

“School is like a second home”

Students and parents oppose closure of last high school in Highland Park, Michigan

By Zac Corrigan, 13 June 2015

The impoverished Detroit enclave’s emergency manager declared that keeping the school was no longer “financially feasible.”

“It’s monstrous! We’ve got to organize!”

Detroit workers oppose water shutoffs

By a WSWS reporting team, 9 June 2015

Socialist Equality Party campaign teams building for a June 9 meeting against water shutoffs received an enthusiastic response to their call for free access to water.

New York City nurses threaten strike over staffing levels

By Robert Fowler and Philip Guelpa, 8 June 2015

Nurses in New York City’s private hospitals overwhelmingly authorized strike action to demand adequate staffing.

Street artist Shepard Fairey paints a giant mural in Detroit

By Zac Corrigan, 3 June 2015

The garish work adorns the north face of the One Campus Martius office building, headquarters of Quicken Loans, the financial company chaired by billionaire Dan Gilbert.

Michigan legislation would cut off welfare for families with truant children

By Kathleen Martin, 20 May 2015

The threat to remove cash assistance from families with truant children corresponds cruelly to the withdrawal of funding and shutdown of “underperforming” public schools.

Detroit residents speak on the resumption of water shutoffs

By Seraphine Collins and Zac Corrigan, 16 May 2015

WSWS reporters spoke to Detroit residents about the drive by the city to shut off water service to as many as 25,000 households.

Many questions remain in death of Detroit Fiat-Chrysler worker

By Shannon Jones, 15 May 2015

After the death of Donald Megge, workers at the Jefferson North Assembly plant have described numerous accidents due to pressure to meet production targets.

SEP’s Lawrence Porter discusses socialism, Detroit bankruptcy on public radio program

13 May 2015

On Michigan Radio’s popular “Stateside” program, Porter spoke about the activity of the SEP in the Detroit area and the growing interest in socialism throughout the country.

Detroit begins new round of water shutoffs

By Andre Damon, 12 May 2015

Residents, many of them elderly and disabled or living with children, are scrambling to raise money by any means to avoid having their water shut off.

Detroit to resume water shutoffs this month

By Tyler Van Dyke, 9 May 2015

Some 25,000 households are scheduled to receive shutoff notices beginning May 11.

Fiat-Chrysler worker crushed to death at Detroit assembly plant

By Shannon Jones, 6 May 2015

Donald Megge, a 53-year-old skilled trades worker, died while repairing machinery at the Jefferson North plant’s wastewater treatment facility.

“Part 2” of the Detroit bankruptcy

Michigan governor releases plan for assault on public education

By Nancy Hanover, 2 May 2015

The governor’s plan to reorganize Detroit Public Schools is the most ambitious structural overhaul of public education since the all-charter school district was established in New Orleans.

Hundreds protest shooting of Detroit man by federal officer

By Shannon Jones, 30 April 2015

About 200 workers and young people assembled on the west side of Detroit Tuesday to protest the killing of 20-year-old Terrance Kellom

Detroit workers denounce water shutoffs

By Jerry White, 22 April 2015

City officials will issue 800 shutoff notices a day to households late on their bills, as part of a strategy to privatize the water system and channel more money to financial speculators.

Workers must mobilize to stop water shutoffs in Detroit!

By Jerry White, 21 April 2015

Detroit officials are getting ready to cut off water to as many as 73,000 households.

Drastic cuts to suburban Detroit school district

By Nancy Hanover and Jerry White, 18 April 2015

The suburban Detroit city of Hazel Park is laying off nearly a quarter of its school district staff and slashing the pay of the remaining teachers and support personnel.

Detroit arts projects highlight brutal US prison system

By Seraphine Collins, 8 April 2015

Recent exhibitions and ongoing projects examine human rights abuses throughout the US prison system, focusing on the sentencing of juveniles to life in prison without parole.

Detroit water department lays off all building maintenance workers

By James Brewer, 7 April 2015

In the move toward the transition to a new regional water authority, the Detroit water department is launching an assault on the jobs and living standard of workers

“They don’t care about the people … all they care about are the rich”

Flint, Michigan residents speak on tainted water supply

By a WSWS reporting team, 1 April 2015

Flint residents expressed anger and frustration over unsafe water, high bills and the emergency manager overseeing the destruction of living conditions in the city.

How Moratorium NOW! facilitated the Detroit bankruptcy

By Lawrence Porter, 1 April 2015

Moratorium NOW! worked to conceal the role of the courts and promote the trade unions and Democratic Party as part of the political conspiracy against the workers of Detroit.

Judge boasts of his “political” role in Detroit bankruptcy conspiracy

By Shannon Jones, 31 March 2015

Recent remarks by Judge Steven Rhodes further underscore the anti-democratic character of the Detroit bankruptcy proceedings.

Detroit’s water shutoffs and the aristocratic principle

By Andre Damon, 23 March 2015

In few places anywhere on the globe is the systematized, ruthless cruelty of the ruling class—facilitated by all factions of the political establishment—so flagrantly on display as in Detroit.

Detroit to resume mass water shutoffs

By Andre Damon, 21 March 2015

As many as 28,000 households in America’s poorest large city face having their water service shut off.

Cuts to pensions of Detroit retirees go into effect

By Thomas Gaist, 3 March 2015

The pension checks of Detroit city workers saw their first reductions Sunday, in line with the bankruptcy plan imposed by federal judge Steven Rhodes.

Judge in Detroit bankruptcy calls for dismantling public employee pensions nationwide

By Thomas Gaist, 28 February 2015

Judge Steven Rhodes said he regretted that the Detroit bankruptcy did not eliminate defined benefit pensions altogether for the city’s retirees.

House fire in Hamtramck, Michigan kills four, including two children

By Khara Sikhan, 19 February 2015

The source of the fire is not yet known, though house fires are often caused by space heaters or other unsafe heating devices.

Detroit bankruptcy judge approves $178 million in legal and consulting fees

By James Brewer, 18 February 2015

The ruling comes three months after Judge Steven Rhodes rubber-stamped the city’s plan to exit bankruptcy by slashing retirees’ pensions and health care benefits.

Two brothers die in Detroit house fire

By Lawrence Porter, 13 February 2015

The fire station nearest to the house was shuttered due to budget cuts.

No further prosecution for policeman who killed Detroit seven-year-old

By James Brewer, 30 January 2015

The Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office announced they would not pursue a third trial against Officer Joseph Weekley for the death of Aiyana Stanley-Jones.

The political struggle facing Detroit teachers

By Jerry White, 27 January 2015

The following leaflet was distributed to teachers attending Sunday’s union meeting in Detroit.

Detroit regional water authority prepares double-digit rate increases

By Shannon Jones, 24 January 2015

The news comes as Detroit continues its draconian policy of shutting off water to residents who are too poor to pay for it.

What is the Coalition for the Future of Detroit Schoolchildren?

Unions, Democrats and Republicans form school privatization group

By Debra Watson and Nancy Hanover, 21 January 2015

As Detroit emerges from bankruptcy, Democratic and Republican politicians are now turning their attention to further privatizing public education in the impoverished city.

Michigan governor names 4th emergency manager for Detroit Public Schools

By Nancy Hanover, 19 January 2015

New Emergency Manager Darnell Earley has pledged further cuts to impoverished Detroit schools.

Drinking water crisis in Flint, Michigan

By James Brewer, 12 January 2015

Only months after severing its contract with the Detroit water system, the city of Flint faces a crisis.

At Michigan auto factory, Obama says more “sacrifice” needed for economic turnaround

By Jerry White, 8 January 2015

President Obama pointed to the auto industry—where labor costs have been slashed by nearly a third over the last decade—as the model for building America’s “middle class.”

One in seven Detroiters threatened with eviction in wave of home foreclosures

By Zac Corrigan, 7 January 2015

More than 60,000 Detroit homes have been served foreclosure notices as part of a plan to squeeze more from the city’s low-income residents to pay off wealthy bondholders.

Video: Detroit workers speak on a Christmas of inequality in America

By Zac Corrigan and Jerry White, 24 December 2014

With the stock market setting new records and Wall Street investors getting bumper year-end bonuses, Detroit workers describe the reality facing tens of millions of working people this holiday season.

Bankruptcy firms to collect huge fees from Detroit

By James Brewer, 13 December 2014

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan has acknowledged that Detroit owes $28 million to investment banking firm Miller Buckfire.

Detroit Emergency Manager Orr departs as bankruptcy cuts take effect

By Shannon Jones, 12 December 2014

The formal implementation of the Detroit bankruptcy settlement, a massive social crime, was the occasion for further self-congratulations on the part of the political establishment.

The Detroit blackout

By Thomas Gaist, 4 December 2014

The blackout, attributed to the failure of a single cable on the city’s municipal power grid, speaks to the decline of Detroit and the decay of infrastructure throughout the country.

Infrastructure collapse blacks out large portions of Detroit

By Thomas Gaist, 3 December 2014

The blackout underscores the dangers arising from the sweeping privatizations that are part of the bankruptcy restructuring of Detroit.

Public Meeting December 4: The attack on democratic rights in Ferguson and Detroit

By Shannon Jones, 27 November 2014

The meeting will examine the political background of the mounting attacks on democratic rights, including recent events in Ferguson, Missouri and the bankruptcy settlement in Detroit.

The “rescue” of the Detroit Institute of Arts has resolved nothing

By David Walsh, 20 November 2014

The so-called “rescue” of the DIA raises a number of complex questions that belie the current celebratory mood.

Detroit Workers Action Committee meeting: Lessons of the Detroit bankruptcy

19 November 2014

This special meeting of the DWAC will discuss the Detroit bankruptcy and the way forward for the working class.

Financial Review Commission continues bankers’ control of Detroit

By Jerry White, 18 November 2014

The unelected panel of financial and real estate executives will have unilateral power to overturn labor agreements and borrowing and spending decisions for 13 years.

“The Democrats conspired with the Republicans on this”

Auto workers, bus riders denounce Detroit bankruptcy ruling

By Zac Corrigan, 17 November 2014

Workers in Detroit discussed the implications of the city’s bankruptcy trial and savage restructuring plan.

City workers denounce Detroit bankruptcy ruling

By Shannon Jones, 15 November 2014

In contrast to the official celebration by the political and corporate establishment, workers are reacting to the ruling with bitterness and anger

The Detroit bankruptcy ruling: Suspending democracy to impose the dictates of Wall Street

By Tom Carter, 14 November 2014

The decision by federal bankruptcy judge Steven Rhodes is a landmark ruling, establishing a pseudo-legal framework for suspending democracy and the rule of law.

Video: Defend the social rights of Detroit workers!

By Lawrence Porter, 13 November 2014

In this video, SEP Assistant National Secretary Lawrence Porter explains the significance of the Detroit bankruptcy ruling and calls on workers to take up the fight in defense of their social rights.

The Detroit bankruptcy ruling: A new chapter in the class war against workers

By Jerry White, 12 November 2014

The federal bankruptcy judge’s ruling sets a precedent to use the pretext of a “financial emergency” to suspend democratic rights and impose unpopular measures on the working class.

Judge approves Detroit bankruptcy plan

By Jerry White, 8 November 2014

In a thoroughly undemocratic ruling, Judge Steven Rhodes sanctioned the city’s restructuring plan, setting a precedent for attacking the rights of public sector workers throughout the country.

A city for sale

Detroit auctions city assets for pennies on the dollar

By Seraphine Collins and Andre Damon, 6 November 2014

As part of the largest municipal bankruptcy in history, Detroit auctioned off garbage trucks, public lighting vehicles and busses at fire sale prices Wednesday.

Mass water shutoffs continue in Detroit

By Shannon Jones, 4 November 2014

Nearly 30,000 households in the city have had their water service disconnected so far this year.

Detroit Medical Center to outsource housekeeping in cost-cutting drive

By Shannon Jones, 1 November 2014

The DMC has a long history of aggressive downsizing and cost-cutting going back to the tenure of now-Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan as CEO

The trade unions and the Detroit bankruptcy

By Jerry White, 30 October 2014

The Detroit bankruptcy has provided yet another demonstration of the anti-working class character of the unions, which function as instruments of the ruling class and the state.

Lawyers deliver closing statements in Detroit bankruptcy case

By Jerry White, 28 October 2014

Fifteen months after Detroit was thrown into bankruptcy, a federal judge is set to rubber-stamp a financial restructuring plan that marks a new stage in the attack on workers.

The carve-up of Detroit

By Jerry White, 23 October 2014

As the bankruptcy of Detroit enters its final chapter, the plunder of city assets by Wall Street speculators grows ever more shameless.

Detroit hearing on water shutoffs promotes UN, Democrats

By Jerry White, 21 October 2014

The event on Sunday was sponsored by the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization and the Detroit Peoples Water Board.

Deal with bond insurer paves way for approval of Detroit bankruptcy plan

By Jerry White, 17 October 2014

A settlement with FGIC announced Thursday will give the bond insurer control of choice riverfront property and other city owned assets.

Detroit mayor and city council president voice full support for continued financial dictatorship

By Thomas Gaist, 8 October 2014

After dropping their rhetorical opposition to the emergency manager, Mayor Mike Duggan and City Council President Brenda Jones were given seats on the financial control board.

Felony charges dropped against Detroit cop who killed seven-year-old girl

By James Brewer, 8 October 2014

Aiyana Stanley-Jones was shot and killed during a violent SWAT team raid in 2010.

Corporate elite divvies up Detroit as bankruptcy plan confirmation looms

By Thomas Gaist, 4 October 2014

As the Detroit bankruptcy moves into its final stage, it becomes ever more clear that the corporate-financial oligarchy is implementing the wholesale privatization of an entire US city.

A US judge declares Detroit residents have no right to water

By Jerry White, 1 October 2014

Judge Steven Rhodes openly stated the operating principle that guides the ruling class the world over.

Federal judge rules Detroit residents have no “fundamental right” to water

By Jerry White, 30 September 2014

US bankruptcy judge Steven Rhodes on Monday threw out a motion for a temporary injunction to stop the city’s mass water shutoff policy, which has already affected nearly 50,000 households.

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.

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.

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.

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.