The Bankruptcy of Detroit

Detroit pension deal sets stage for unions to push through bankruptcy plan

By Jerry White, 16 April 2014

The retiree association representing 6,500 former policemen and firefighters has reached an agreement with the city on pension and health care cuts.

Moratorium Now protest in Detroit: A cover-up for bureaucrats, Democrats

By Workers Inquiry Chairman Lawrence Porter, 15 April 2014

The event was not intended as a genuine mobilization of the working class. It was organized to support the unions and the Democratic Party.

A discussion with Detroit retirees

By Lawrence Porter, 15 April 2014

Lawrence Porter, chairman of the Workers Inquiry, spoke to protesters, consisting overwhelmingly of retirees, demonstrating April 1 against the draconian bankruptcy proposals of Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr.

SEP and Detroit Workers Inquiry to hold meeting April 23 to oppose water shutoffs

By our reporter, 14 April 2014

Campaign teams visited several locations in the Detroit area over the past several days.

Detroit to pay millions to banks that swindled city

By Shannon Jones, 12 April 2014

UBS and Bank of America are being paid to unwind illegal swap deals that have already cost the city hundreds of millions of dollars.

Creditors, unions renew effort to loot Detroit Institute of Arts

By David Walsh, 12 April 2014

Major Detroit creditors filed a motion in federal bankruptcy court calling on the court to order the city to cooperate with investor groups interested in purchasing some or all of the DIA’s collection.

As savage cuts to pensions and benefits loom

Detroit Workers’ Inquiry speaks to city retirees at club luncheon

By representatives of the Detroit Workers’ Inquiry, 11 April 2014

Retirees spoke to the Workers’ Inquiry about the attack on pensions, skyrocketing health care costs and the economic decimation of Detroit.

Detroit Emergency Manager offers 78 cents on the dollar to major creditors

By Thomas Gaist, 10 April 2014

The offer is a huge increase from the 15 cents on the dollar previously proposed.

Video: Retired city workers denounce Detroit pension cuts

9 April 2014

This is the first of several interviews conducted by the World Socialist Web Site with retired Detroit city workers who are facing deep pension and health care cuts.

Privatization of Detroit’s water moving forward at “lightning pace”

By Thomas Gaist, 8 April 2014

Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr is lining up private firms for what could become the largest water utility privatization in US history.

Detroit bankruptcy judge considers $85 million payment to global banks

By Thomas Gaist at the Federal Court, 4 April 2014

The payment would terminate the “swaps deal,” which has already cost the city hundreds of millions

Detroit emergency manager revises restructuring plan

By Thomas Gaist, 3 April 2014

The new Plan of Adjustment includes larger cuts to firefighter and police pensions.

Detroit workers denounce water shutoffs

By WSWS reporters, 1 April 2014

Last week, the city of Detroit announced an aggressive campaign of water shutoffs targeting some 150,000 residents who are behind on their payments.

The Detroit water cutoffs and the social counterrevolution in America

By Joseph Kishore, 29 March 2014

The plan to shut off running water to tens of thousands of Detroit households is the latest step in a deliberate policy of mass impoverishment in the United States.

Detroit meeting called by SEP endorses fight against water shutoffs

By Shannon Jones, 29 March 2014

In a unanimous vote, a group of Detroit workers, students and retirees endorsed a resolution condemning plans by the city to cut off residents who are behind in their water bills

No to Detroit water shutoffs!

Utilities are a basic social right!

By Lawrence Porter, 28 March 2014

Larry Porter, SEP assistant national secretary and chairman of the Workers Inquiry into the Bankruptcy of Detroit, denounced the decision by city officials to shut off water service to tens of thousands of poor residents who are late on their water bills.

The Detroit News endorses mass water shutoffs

By Thomas Gaist, 27 March 2014

In an editorial, the News showered contempt on the more than 100,000 Detroit families who are behind on their water bills, denouncing them as “scofflaws”

Detroit emergency manager at the University of Michigan

Kevyn Orr justifies pension cuts, attack on DIA

By Shannon Jones, 26 March 2014

The appearance of Kevyn Orr Tuesday at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor was an exercise in cynicism and deceit.

Three Detroit metro hospitals planning mega-merger

By Thomas Gaist, 25 March 2014

The merger was unknown to the public until it was reported in the press, indicating that the hospitals’ management preferred to keep the deal under wraps as long as possible.

IYSSE statement: University of Michigan welcomes the dictator of Detroit

By International Youth and Students for Social Equality, 25 March 2014

The following leaflet was distributed at the March 25 appearance of Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr at the University of Michigan.

As retired city workers are forced onto private exchanges

Half of Detroit’s residents too poor to afford Obamacare

By Lawrence Porter, 24 March 2014

Several hundred workers, retirees and unemployed workers attended a publicly sponsored health care exposition at Cobo Hall in downtown Detroit last Wednesday.

Detroit water department preparing mass utility shutoffs

By Thomas Gaist, 22 March 2014

The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department is launching an aggressive campaign to shut off between 1,500 and 3,000 customers per week.

WSWS Arts Editor David Walsh speaks at Wayne State University in Detroit

By our reporter, 21 March 2014

The event, sponsored by the International Youth and Students for Social Equality, drew a diverse and attentive audience.

“The city wants to never have to fund pensions again”

An interview with Detroit retiree attorney

By Thomas Gaist, 20 March 2014

The WSWS spoke with attorney Carole Neville about the historic cuts to pensions and health benefits contained in the plan of adjustment

Joe Louis Arena facing closure, demolition as part of stadium deal with Ilitch

By Thomas Gaist, 19 March 2014

The deal represents yet another huge giveaway to billionaire Mike Ilitch.

Facing destitution, Detroit retirees denounce pension cuts in letters to court

By Thomas Gaist, 18 March 2014

Retired Detroit city workers are bracing for punishing blows to their pensions under the emergency manager’s Plan of Adjustment.

As retiree letters flood the bankruptcy court…

Detroit attorney says pension cuts actually close to 50 percent

By Thomas Gaist, 17 March 2014

Taking into account the end of cost-of-living adjustments (COLA), non-uniformed city worker pensions will be cut by 47 percent.

Detroit emergency manager examines privatizing the water department

By James Brewer, 13 March 2014

Orr is exerting pressure to have a plan in place by the time of the bankruptcy hearing with the city’s creditors next month.

Barclays loan deal would use Detroit income tax revenue, city assets as collateral

By Thomas Gaist and Usman Clemens, 12 March 2014

The $120 million loan will be used to fund city services until the bankruptcy plan is implemented.

Why is Ron Bloom representing Detroit’s retirees?

By Thomas Gaist, 8 March 2014

Bloom has built a career around cutting favorable deals with Wall Street on behalf of the union bureaucracy.

Detroit unions seek protection from retiree lawsuits

By Thomas Gaist, 7 March 2014

Anticipating blowback as the unions collaborate in the cutting of pensions, a union-affiliated retiree organization is seeking insurance protection against future lawsuits.

Former state treasurer gets job at firm cashing in from Detroit bankruptcy.

By Thomas Gaist, 6 March 2014

After helping select the financial consulting firm for a $19 million contract to restructure Detroit, Michigan’s former state treasurer has been hired as a “project adviser” by Conway MacKenzie

Submission to Workers Inquiry: Social conditions facing workers in California

6 March 2014

The following report was submitted to the Workers Inquiry into the Bankruptcy of Detroit and the Attack on the DIA & Pensions held at Wayne State University on February 15.

“Emergency Town Hall meeting” in Detroit promotes Obama

By Thomas Gaist, 5 March 2014

The March 2 meeting, sponsored by liberal and “left” supporters of the Democratic Party, called on Detroit pensioners to appeal to the Obama administration to defend them.

New deal would pay $85 million to banks that swindled Detroit

By Thomas Gaist, 5 March 2014

The disastrous interest rate swaps deal signed in 2005-06 with UBS and Bank of America has cost the city some $50 million annually

Rome at risk of Detroit-style bankruptcy

By Marc Wells, 4 March 2014

Italy’s new premier, Matteo Renzi, has approved a decree that prepares the framework for an unprecedented assault on public workers and services as well as the selloff of cultural assets.

Detroit emergency manager targets bus riders, transit workers

By Debra Watson and Mitch Marcus, 4 March 2014

Both bus riders and bus drivers in Detroit are being singled out for further pain under Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr’s Plan of Adjustment.

Emergency manager steps up blackmail of Detroit pensioners

By Jerry White, 3 March 2014

After releasing his bankruptcy restructuring plan late last month, Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr is pressing the city’s 23,500 retired municipal workers to accept unprecedented pension and health care cuts.

After release of Detroit bankruptcy plan

Calls for pension cuts spread across US

By Thomas Gaist, 1 March 2014

Leading corporate media outlets and think tanks are pushing for the “modification” of pensions owed to workers throughout the country.

Reports to the Workers Inquiry

The rape of Detroit: Deindustrialization, financialization and parasitism

By Barry Grey, 28 February 2014

This report was presented February 15 to the Workers Inquiry into the Bankruptcy of Detroit and the Attack on the DIA & Pensions by Barry Grey, World Socialist Web Site US national editor.

“People with vast means are salivating over our homes”

Detroit developers force artists out of downtown apartment building

By Zac Corrigan, 28 February 2014

Today in downtown Detroit about 20 tenants, most of them young artists and musicians, are being evicted from their apartments at 1217 Griswold Street.

Following Workers Inquiry, SEP meeting discusses Detroit restructuring plan

By Shannon Jones, 28 February 2014

Lawrence Porter, chairman of the Workers Inquiry, addressed the well-attended meeting, which attracted city workers and retirees, Griswold tenants facing eviction, students, young workers and professionals

Video: Attendees speak on the Workers Inquiry into the Bankruptcy of Detroit

By Jeff Lusanne, 27 February 2014

In this video, workers and youth reflect on the content of the Inquiry, its significance and the way forward in the fight to defend the rights of working people.

Report to the Workers Inquiry

Art and the working class

By David Walsh, 26 February 2014

This report was presented February 15 to the Workers Inquiry into the Bankruptcy of Detroit and the Attack on the DIA & Pensions by David Walsh, World Socialist Web Site arts editor.

Detroit workers denounce bankruptcy restructuring plan

By Thomas Gaist, 25 February 2014

Anger is building in the working class against the emergency manager’s plan of adjustment, which includes slashing pensions and health benefits.

Detroit News feigns sympathy for Griswold tenants as evictions loom

By Tracy Montry and Betty Hayes, 25 February 2014

After months of remaining silent on the plight of the Griswold and other low-income residents being evicted from downtown, the Detroit News published a front page feature February 20 entitled, “Downside of upswing: Downtown Detroit squeeze forces out longtime tenants.”

A bankers’ plan for Detroit

By Joseph Kishore, 24 February 2014

The “plan of adjustment” released by Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr is a massive assault on the city’s working class.

Report to the Workers Inquiry

The Detroit Bankruptcy: A Travesty of Democracy

By Tom Carter, 24 February 2014

This report was presented February 15 to the Workers Inquiry into the Bankruptcy of Detroit and the Attack on the DIA & Pensions, by Tom Carter, World Socialist Web Site legal correspondent.

Detroit bankruptcy plan: A savage assault on the working class

By Thomas Gaist, 22 February 2014

The plan released by Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr includes major cuts to city worker pensions and health care.

Report to the Workers Inquiry

The Political Conspiracy Behind the Bankruptcy of Detroit: Anatomy of a Crime

By Larry Porter, 21 February 2014

This report was presented to the February 15 Workers Inquiry by Larry Porter, assistant national secretary of the Socialist Equality Party and chairman of the Workers Inquiry into the Bankruptcy of Detroit and the Attack on the DIA & Pensions.

Plant closings, layoffs hit Michigan workplaces

741 Delta workers face job cuts at Detroit airport

By Shannon Jones, 20 February 2014

The nation’s third largest air carrier is contracting out ground worker jobs to low wage service providers.

Detroit sanitation workers denounce privatization

By Thomas Gaist, 20 February 2014

The plan to privatize trash collection was pre-authorized by the Detroit’s emergency manager and rubber stamped by the City Council on Tuesday.

Report to the Workers Inquiry

The Social and Historical Context of the Detroit Bankruptcy

By Jerry White, 19 February 2014

This report was presented to the February 15 Workers Inquiry by Jerry White, a writer for the World Socialist Web Site and the Socialist Equality Party’s candidate in the 2012 US presidential election.

Decades of budget cuts behind Detroit water main breaks

By James Brewer, 19 February 2014

Water main breaks in Detroit are causing flooding, stranded motorists, damaged basements and a backlog of repairs for the water department.

“We need to educate more people. We have to know who we are fighting here.”

Workers, youth speak on the significance of the Detroit Inquiry

By WSWS reporters, 18 February 2014

Workers, retirees and youth spoke with the World Socialist Web Site after the Workers Inquiry.

Workers Inquiry discussion focuses on political strategy to oppose Detroit bankruptcy

By our reporter, 18 February 2014

Workers, students and youth discussed the central political issues at stake in the Detroit bankruptcy at the Workers Inquiry on February 15.

Workers Inquiry examines political conspiracy behind Detroit bankruptcy

By Kate Randall, 17 February 2014

The inquiry exposed a political conspiracy to rip up city workers’ pensions and benefits, privatize the DIA and restructure the city in the interests of the rich.

“This country could have a revolution”

Detroit Inquiry attendees denounce attack on workers’ rights

By WSWS reporters, 17 February 2014

The WSWS spoke with workers, retirees and youth after the Workers Inquiry.

The Workers Inquiry into the bankruptcy of Detroit

By World Socialist Web Site Editorial Board, 14 February 2014

On Saturday, the Socialist Equality Party in the US is holding an Inquiry to reveal the social and political roots of the Detroit bankruptcy and provide workers with the information they need to fight back.

As Detroit water department faces threats

Water privatization in England: 25 years on

By Jean Shaoul, 14 February 2014

The history of the privatization of the water system in Britain 25 years ago exposes the claims that “free enterprise” can improve the functioning of a publicly owned and operated water system.

Obama’s corporate education model

What is Michigan’s Education Achievement Authority?

By Nancy Hanover, 13 February 2014

Michigan’s EAA is being used as a national blueprint for the corporate control of education.

Detroit’s Belle Isle taken over by state government

By Thomas Gaist, 12 February 2014

The 30-year lease to the state paves the way for the island’s privatization

Detroit firefighters speak on Workers Inquiry

By Thomas Gaist, 11 February 2014

With less than a week before the Workers Inquiry into the Bankruptcy of Detroit and the Attack on the DIA & Pensions, the World Socialist Web Site spoke with Detroit firefighters about the Inquiry.

Tenants Council welcomes Lawrence Porter

Detroit meeting builds delegation for February 15 Workers Inquiry

By WSWS reporters, 10 February 2014

Socialist Equality Party Assistant National Secretary Lawrence Porter addressed a lively meeting of tenants at the invitation of the United Tenant Council of Councils on February 7.

“We have to be conscious, think, plan and unite”

Detroiters endorse Workers Inquiry, denounce bankruptcy

By WSWS reporters, 8 February 2014

The WSWS spoke to workers who explained why they were planning to attend the Workers Inquiry into the Bankruptcy of Detroit and the Attack on the DIA & Pensions (detroitinquiry.org).

New hockey arena in Detroit: A gift to the super-rich amid social misery

By Thomas Gaist, 7 February 2014

The new Red Wings hockey stadium, which will receive government subsidies of at least $285 million, is only the latest in a long line of corporate giveaways in Detroit.

Detroit City Council approves land transfer for billionaire’s sports stadium

By Thomas Gaist, 6 February 2014

The deal will transfer 39 parcels of land to Mike Ilitch’s Olympia Development for one dollar.

Detroit water department workers angry at layoff plans

By our reporters, 5 February 2014

Workers at the wastewater treatment facility in southwest Detroit spoke to the WSWS about conditions at the plant.

After Detroit bankruptcy ruling, Chicago mayor leads charge on pension cuts

By Alexander Fangmann, 5 February 2014

Chicago’s Democratic mayor, Rahm Emanuel, is escalating the attack on retiree benefits on the city and state level.

The Detroit bankruptcy and the global social counterrevolution

By Jerry White, 4 February 2014

The city’s “plan of adjustment” outlines a savage assault that will set a precedent to escalate the attacks on the working class throughout the US and internationally.

New pamphlet on Detroit bankruptcy

Exposing the Bankers Conspiracy

For a Workers Inquiry into the Bankruptcy of Detroit

4 February 2014

This new SEP pamphlet examines the financial swindles behind the bankruptcy of Detroit.

Bankruptcy court seeks union backing for assault on Detroit workers

By Lawrence Porter, 4 February 2014

The following statement was issued by Lawrence Porter, the assistant national secretary of the Socialist Equality Party and chairman of the February 15 Workers Inquiry into the Bankruptcy of Detroit and the Attack on the DIA & Pensions.

Detroit infant mortality rate worst among large US cities

By Khara Sikhan, 4 February 2014

Detroit’s infant mortality rate of 14.7 per 1,000 live births is worse than in many developing nations.

Video: Detroit tenants determined to fight eviction

3 February 2014

Low-income seniors facing eviction from the Griswold Building in downtown Detroit appeal for support.

As media pushes governor’s “rescue” fraud

Visitors to Detroit Institute of Arts discuss Workers Inquiry

By Tim Rivers, 3 February 2014

Visitors to the Detroit Institute of Arts have reacted with suspicion over the scheme by mediators to put the museum’s priceless collection into the hands of private foundations as part of a bankruptcy settlement.

Detroit bankruptcy blueprint would gut pensions

By Thomas Gaist, 1 February 2014

The emergency manager’s “plan of adjustment” will hand control of retiree health benefit funds to a union-controlled VEBA, slash pensions and privatize services.

Detroit transit officials say fare hike coming, abysmal service continues

By Mitch Marcus and Debra Watson, 31 January 2014

At public meetings held by the Detroit Department of Transportation last week, city officials made it clear that fare hikes are coming and that further massive service cuts are being demanded by Detroit’s creditors

Detroit Institute of Arts agrees to pay $100 million as part of “grand bargain”

By Thomas Gaist, 31 January 2014

The grand bargain being spearheaded by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder would transfer legal titles to all DIA assets “free and clear” to a private corporation.

Defend Detroit water workers’ jobs!

By Lawrence Porter, 30 January 2014

Workers must oppose plans to eliminate 700 jobs—or 40 percent of the workforce—at the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department over the next several months.

Flint, Michigan emergency manager threatens to file for bankruptcy

By Bryan Dyne, 30 January 2014

As in Detroit, bankruptcy is being used as a cudgel against Flint workers to gut pensions and force through further concessions.

The fraud of Governor Snyder’s “rescue package” for Detroit

By Lawrence Porter, 29 January 2014

The real purpose of the proposal is to politically disarm the working class and facilitate the looting of the city by the corporate and financial elite.

Energy companies continue utility shutoffs as bitter cold hits Detroit

By Thomas Gaist, 28 January 2014

DTE Energy and Consumers Energy carried out hundreds of thousands of utility shutoffs in Michigan during 2013.

The reality behind the “comeback” of Detroit

At Detroit Auto Show, workers denounce bankruptcy, attacks on wages and pensions

By Tim Rivers, 27 January 2014

Workers attending the North American International Auto Show spoke with reporters from the WSWS about the Workers Inquiry into the Detroit bankruptcy.

Union-affiliated officials acknowledge Detroit “rescue” plan will involve large pension cuts

By Thomas Gaist, 25 January 2014

The “rescue” package for Detroit being promoted by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder will not save retirees from reductions in their pension and health benefits.

SEP and IYSSE hold meeting at Wayne State in Detroit to discuss campaign for Workers Inquiry

By a WSWS reporting team, 25 January 2014

The meeting was attended by students, workers and retirees, including a delegation of tenants facing eviction from the Griswold Apartments in downtown Detroit.

Detroit retirees denounce attack on pensions, health care

By our reporting team, 24 January 2014

Over 23,000 retired City of Detroit workers face a devastating cut in pensions and health care benefits under the bankruptcy restructuring plan being prepared by the city’s emergency manager.

Michigan governor announces state money for Detroit bankruptcy settlement

By Thomas Gaist, 23 January 2014

Governor Rick Snyder stressed that such a settlement would be based on a deal involving full cooperation from the unions.

Workers World Party uses demagogy to conceal unions’ collusion in Detroit bankruptcy

By Thomas Gaist and Jerry White, 23 January 2014

A Martin Luther King Day rally was used to whitewash the role of the unions and the Democratic Party in the bankruptcy of Detroit.

“Who can argue about a tree?”

Detroit’s “urban farming” scheme: A cover for a corporate land grab

By Zac Corrigan, 22 January 2014

Hantz Farms, a company owned by wealthy investors, has bought 1,500 abandoned lots on Detroit’s lower-east side for half a million dollars.

Emergency manager accelerates plans to “monetize” Detroit water department

By James Brewer, 21 January 2014

The plan to put the Detroit Water and Sewage Department under regional control is the first step towards privatization of one of America’s largest publicly owned water systems.

SEP and IYSSE teams campaign for February 15 meeting

Workers speak on Detroit bankruptcy inquiry

By Tim Rivers, 20 January 2014

Workers and young people responded strongly last week to the campaign for the February 15 Workers Inquiry into the Bankruptcy of Detroit and the Attack on the DIA and Pensions.

Public meeting at the University of Michigan

Exposing the Bankers’ Conspiracy: A Report on the Workers Inquiry into the Bankruptcy of Detroit

20 January 2014

The Socialist Equality Party and International Youth and Students for Social Equality will hold a public meeting at the University of Michigan on Wednesday, February 5 to discuss the campaign to build the Workers Inquiry into the Bankruptcy of Detroit.

Behind the fraudulent “rescue” plan

Emergency Manager seeks to extort $100 million from Detroit Institute of Arts

By Thomas Gaist, 18 January 2014

The $100 million demand amounts to an act of extortion and would have a ruinous impact on the museum’s balance sheet.

Bankruptcy judge tells Detroit officials to renegotiate bank swap deal

By Thomas Gaist, 17 January 2014

Rhodes acknowledged that a challenge to the legality of the “swaps deal” was “likely to succeed” but told the Detroit emergency manager to re-negotiate a payoff for the banks anyway

International Youth and Students for Social Equality holds rally to build support for Workers Inquiry

By our reporters, 17 January 2014

The IYSSE at Detroit’s Wayne State University is leading the fight to develop working class opposition to the bankruptcy.

Detroit retirees denounce pension, health care cuts

By WSWS reporters, 16 January 2014

Facing the loss of their pensions and health benefits, thousands of retired Detroit city workers attended an event January 14 called by the union-affiliated Detroit Retired City Employees Association.

Meeting January 23 at Wayne State University: Exposing the bankers’ conspiracy

A Report on the Workers Inquiry into the Bankruptcy of Detroit

16 January 2014

The Socialist Equality Party and International Youth and Students for Social Equality will hold a public meeting on January 23 at Wayne State University to discuss the campaign to build the Workers Inquiry into the Bankruptcy of Detroit.

"This deal should have the swap counterparties paying the city"

Further evidence shows illegality of Detroit interest rate swaps

By Thomas Gaist, 14 January 2014

Witnesses testified Monday that the 2005 interest rate swaps deal, which has drained hundreds of millions from Detroit's budget, was made in violation of Michigan state law.

Hands off the Detroit Institute of Arts and pensions!

By Larry Porter, 14 January 2014

The following statement was released by Larry Porter, the assistant national secretary of the Socialist Equality Party and chairman of the Workers Inquiry into the Bankruptcy of Detroit and the Attack on the DIA and Pensions.