The Bankruptcy of Detroit

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

By 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

By 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

“They want us to look somewhere else for the source of our problems, when they are robbing us right here”

International support grows for May Day Online Rally

By our reporters, 25 April 2014

Workers and WSWS readers from more than 50 countries have signed up at internationalmayday.org to attend the May 4 International May Day Online Rally.

New from Mehring Books: The Truth Behind the Bankruptcy of Detroit

23 April 2014

A detailed exposure of a social crime: the decision to use the courts to impose unprecedented attacks on the Detroit working class.

Detroit workers denounce water shutoffs on eve of SEP meeting

By Thomas Gaist, 23 April 2014

Detroit workers condemn the city’s policy of shutting off water to those behind in payments.

The Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit’s creditors, the investment bankers, the unions, academia and identity politics

By David Walsh, 22 April 2014

A group of Detroit’s creditors has been dangling the DIA’s irreplaceable artwork in front of various hedge funds, private equity firms, billionaire collectors and auction houses.

Detroit workers speak out against water shutoffs

By Shannon Jones and Thomas Gaist, 21 April 2014

Detroit workers and youth denounced water shutoffs and social conditions in the city.

Detroit workers speak out against revised bankruptcy plan

By Thomas Gaist, 19 April 2014

Detroit workers expressed deep hostility and skepticism towards pension and other cuts that are part of the bankruptcy restructuring plans.

The social counterrevolution accelerates in Detroit

By Jerry White, 17 April 2014

All the principal political actors are being lined up in Detroit to browbeat workers over the next several weeks into accepting a bankruptcy restructuring plan, which contains sweeping attacks on the working class.

Public meeting April 23 in Detroit: No to water shutoffs!

17 April 2014

The Detroit Workers Inquiry and the Socialist Equality Party are holding a public meeting April 23 to mobilize the working class against mass water shutoffs in the city 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.

Detroit water retiree speaks on health care, pension cuts

By WSWS correspondents, 16 April 2014

Retired Detroit city worker Mushak Meah explained to World Socialist Web Site reporters the devastating impact the cuts were having on his life

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.