The Bankruptcy of Detroit

Politicians, unions use the “carrot and stick” to try to derail Detroit Public Schools struggle

By Nancy Hanover, 6 February 2016

As Emergency Manager Darnell Earley resigns, union officials and Michigan politicians are working overtime to try to derail the struggle of Detroit teachers.

Emergency meeting on the crisis in Detroit and Flint draws over one hundred workers and youth

By E.P. Bannon, 29 January 2016

The meeting, which was attended by teachers, city workers, autoworkers, students and other sections of the working class, discussed a political strategy for the entire working class.

Detroit student protest organizers explain issues behind Cass Tech walkout

By E.P. Bannon, 28 January 2016

Leaders of the group, We the Students, at Cass Technical High School in Detroit explained the reasons behind their student walkout on Monday.

Large turnout at emergency meeting on the crisis in Detroit and Flint called by SEP

28 January 2016

Over a hundred workers, retirees and young people, including representatives of teachers and students participating in a sickout protest in Detroit Public Schools, as well as autoworkers and Flint residents, attended an emergency meeting called by the Socialist Equality Party and the International Youth and Students for Social Equality in Detroit Wednesday. A full report on the meeting will follow tomorrow.

Detroit high school students stage walkouts to support teachers

By E.P. Bannon, 27 January 2016

As teachers were forced to appear in court, high school students staged walkouts in protest of repression against teachers and the deplorable conditions in city schools.

Detroit judge rules against restraining order over teacher “sickouts”

By Jerry White, 26 January 2016

In a highly political decision, a Detroit judge denied the request by the emergency manager over the Detroit schools for legal action to halt the wave of teacher “sickout” protests.

“This isn’t just our fight, it’s for public education across the country.”

Detroit teachers denounce legal witch-hunt

By Lawrence Porter, 26 January 2016

Detroit teachers in court Monday spoke with the World Socialist Web Site after a judge rejected a request for legal action against sickout protests.

”Democracy is being taken away in Michigan”

As Detroit teachers head to court, politicians plot further attacks

By Nancy Hanover, 25 January 2016

Teachers face a hearing Monday as the Detroit Public Schools seeks an injunction against sickouts and legislators ramp up efforts to ban opposition to the destruction of public education.

Evidence mounts that poisoned Flint water caused deaths

By Andre Damon, 23 January 2016

At least 10 people have died from an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease, which has been linked to the poisoning of Flint residents covered up for more than a year by the government.

Detroit schools’ injunction against teachers: An anti-democratic attempt to crush protests

By Eric London, 23 January 2016

DPS is threatening to fire all protesting teachers, encouraging teachers to snoop on each other and employing reactionary legal arguments to attack public education.

The roots of the crisis in Flint and Detroit

By Eric London, 22 January 2016

The catastrophe in Michigan, including the lead poisoning of thousands of residents in Flint, has provoked outrage across the country.

Hearing scheduled to consider injunction against protesting Detroit teachers

By Jerry White, 22 January 2016

While a judge denied an initial request for a temporary injunction, 23 teachers have been ordered to appear on Monday morning to answer accusations that they organized “illegal strikes.”

Emergency meeting January 27 on the crisis in Flint and Detroit

22 January 2016

The Socialist Equality Party and International Youth and Students for Social Equality are calling a public meeting in Detroit, Michigan on January 27 to discuss a political strategy to unite the working class.

School authorities seek injunction to halt Detroit teacher protests

By Jerry White, 21 January 2016

Twenty-eight defendants are named in a legal action, which could result in large fines if teachers continue “sick out” protests.

“We are all in this together. This is class warfare”

Video: Detroit teachers speak out in protests during Obama visit

By Jerry White and Buster Haycook, 21 January 2016

Hundreds of teachers shut down the school system in a “sick out” protest Wednesday against decaying buildings, overcrowded classrooms and years of pay and benefit cuts.

The Flint water crisis and the criminality of American capitalism

By Jerry White, 20 January 2016

In a State of the State address, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder sought to cover up and evade responsibility for the poisoning of an American city.

Michigan workers speak on the poisoning of Flint water

By James Brewer, 18 January 2016

Workers in Flint and surrounding areas are incensed at the continued crisis around the poisoning of Flint’s water.

Democrats and unions scramble to contain Detroit teacher protests

By Nancy Hanover, 18 January 2016

Fearing that the sickouts could trigger a broader rebellion by the working class, the enemies of teachers spent last week trying to quash the movement.

National union leader tries to corral protesting Detroit teachers

By Jerry White, 15 January 2016

After three straight days of “sick-out” protests, hundreds of determined teachers attended a union meeting Thursday, where officials tried to smother resistance.

Detroit teachers and the political struggle for public education

By Jerry White, 15 January 2016

Rank-and-file teachers have taken their own initiative and acted independently of every faction of the Detroit Federation of Teachers and political establishment in Detroit and Lansing.

The Detroit teachers’ fight to defend public education

By Jerry White, 13 January 2016

It is no accident that social opposition is taking the form of a rebellion against the trade unions, which have long served as industrial police for the corporations and government.

Detroit public schools teachers continue sickouts

By Nancy Hanover, 13 January 2016

Despite the attempts by Michigan politicians and the Detroit Federation of Teachers to end teachers’ growing protests, the sickouts are continuing.

“For too long we looked to the union… now we have to do it ourselves”

Teacher sickouts shut two-thirds of Detroit schools

By Jerry White, 12 January 2016

The struggle has erupted outside of the control of the Detroit Federation of Teachers, which has a long and sordid history of collaborating with state and local officials.

Lead poisoning in Flint, Michigan

By James Brewer and Jerry White, 8 January 2016

The poisoning of the population in the former manufacturing center for General Motors—and the cover-up by state officials—highlights the socially destructive character of American capitalism.

Behind the Detroit Public School’s debt numbers

How banks, privatizers and politicians bankrupted the schools

By Nancy Hanover, 8 January 2016

The Detroit Public Schools have been the target of both sordid profit-taking and deliberate destabilization by privatization forces.

State officials, Wall Street target Detroit schools for bankruptcy restructuring

By Nancy Hanover, 8 January 2016

Pro-privatization politicians and financial interests are seeking to use the crisis at the Detroit Public Schools to ram through a reorganization of the district.

Top Michigan environmental safety officials resign amidst ongoing Flint water crisis

By Matthew Brennan, 31 December 2015

The resignations are an attempt by Republican governor Rick Snyder to obscure the criminal role he and his "Emergency Managers" in Flint and Detroit have played in creating a public health crisis.

Low-wage America: Detroit auto parts worker endures homelessness, surrenders custody of children

By By our reporter, 17 December 2015

Dwayne Cole and Siretha Lattimore made the wrenching decision to hand their children over to state custody after being homeless for a year, despite Dwayne’s full-time job at an auto parts factory

Thousands forced to live without water in Detroit

By James Brewer, 17 December 2015

Detroit's policy of mass water shutoffs has been called a human rights violation by the United Nations.

Metro Detroit residents sell plasma to support families

By Kathleen Martin, 17 December 2015

With 40 percent of residents living in poverty, many Detroit workers are forced to find alternative ways to make money, including selling their plasma.

State of emergency declared in Flint, Michigan over poisoned water supply

By Matthew Brennan and Lawrence Porter, 16 December 2015

Behind the declaration by the newly-elected mayor is a deep-going political crisis over the poisoning of nearly 100,000 residents.

Event commemorating one year anniversary of Detroit bankruptcy breaks up in debacle

By Niles Williamson, 11 December 2015

The event at Wayne State University, which featured key players in the conspiracy to loot city workers’ pensions, was cut short in the face of repeated outbursts from the audience.

Michigan political crisis over lead poisoning in Flint

By James Brewer, 11 November 2015

State and local officials ignored health warnings in regard to the water supply.

Detroit Water and Sewerage workers express anger over layoffs

By James Brewer, 27 October 2015

The claim by Brenda Jones of the Detroit City Council that they were in the dark about the DWSD plan to lay off key employees is a lie.

Detroit water system layoffs signal pro-corporate transformation

By James Brewer, 20 October 2015

The latest round of layoffs at the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department are the outcome of measures imposed last year as a result of the city’s bankruptcy.

Flint workers speak out against lead poisoning of water supply

By Phyllis Scherrer, 19 October 2015

WSWS reporters visited Flint to discuss the city’s water crisis, produced by the cost-cutting decision of city officials to switch their water source to the Flint River.

Detroit transit workers face poverty wages under new contract

By Debra Watson, 17 October 2015

For current drivers, the starting wage will be $12.06 per hour, an annual income barely more than the official federal poverty level of $24,250 for a family of four.

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.