The Bankruptcy of Detroit

Detroit Federation of Teachers accepts merit pay, other concessions

By Phyllis Steele, 3 July 2017

The Detroit Federation of Teachers is attempting to impose yet another round of concessions on teachers who have suffered years of givebacks, layoffs and eroding school conditions.

Latest fatal house fire kills one adult and two small children in Detroit

By Tim Rivers, 29 June 2017

An apparent electrical fire took the lives of an adult and two small children in a working-class neighborhood of Detroit Tuesday.

Detroit and Wayne County Democrats bleed working-class homeowners dry

By Debra Watson, 24 June 2017

Local Democratic administrations have been using what amounts to a scam to fleece homeowners in the Detroit metropolitan area in order to increase tax revenues.

While one in six homes have no running water

Billionaire real estate mogul Dan Gilbert cashing in on corporate welfare in Detroit

By Kathleen Martin, 6 June 2017

The Quicken Loans CEO is raking in cash from the city and the state to fund his real estate development enterprises downtown, two and a half years after Detroit's bankruptcy.

“This is a new world we’re seeing with Betsy DeVos”

Detroit-area charter school shuts doors, leaves teachers unpaid

By Debra Watson, 5 June 2017

Teachers at the Southfield, Michigan school learned only last week that Renaissance, which calls itself a school turn-around specialist, has run out of money.

Almost 10,000 Detroit households face water shutoff

By James Brewer, 1 June 2017

Some 400 households had their water service disconnected in the one-week period following the city’s resumption of water shutoffs earlier this spring.

One third of American households cannot afford water bills

Mass water shutoffs continue for Detroit households

By Kathleen Martin, 29 May 2017

Recent reports show major sustainability issues, with rising costs of water and affordability for millions of US households.

Union conceals district’s takeaway demands from Detroit teachers

By Phyllis Steele, 22 May 2017

So egregious were the school board’s demands that the Detroit Federation of Teachers executive board could not bring it back to rank-and-file educators.

Michigan partnership agreements only a temporary reprieve in statewide school closure threats

By Marissa Ross, 20 May 2017

The announcement of unprecedented mass closures sparked outrage among students, parents and educators across the state.

Waste plant polluting southwest Detroit neighborhoods

By Kathleen Martin, 15 May 2017

The new biosolids waste facility has violated one-hour EPA sulfur dioxide emission standards over 2,500 times in the last year.

The Michigan power outages and the case for the nationalization of the utility industries

By Jerry White, 15 March 2017

At its peak last week, more than a million homes, schools and businesses in the metropolitan Detroit area and outstate areas had no electricity.

Thousands still without power in metro Detroit

By Kathleen Martin, 13 March 2017

Tens of thousand of residents remain in the dark and without heat in below freezing temperatures following high winds last week that crippled the aging electrical grid in the Detroit area.

Hundreds of thousands in the dark in Michigan as windstorm cripples aging electrical grid

By Shannon Jones, 11 March 2017

Michigan residents once again had their lives disrupted by a fairly routine weather event, testifying again to the longstanding neglect of US infrastructure.

Boil advisory issued in Detroit following water system malfunction

By Kathleen Martin, 2 March 2017

The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department issued a boil water advisory Tuesday due to concerns over bacterial contamination affecting a large section of the city.

What did billionaire Mike Ilitch leave Detroit?

By Shannon Jones, 15 February 2017

Behind the official paeans to the late billionaire Mike Ilitch lies the reality of a city devastated by the ruthless workings of capitalist “free enterprise.”

“There are a lot of struggling people in the Detroit Metro area”

Hard-pressed Detroit area families face bleak holiday

By Shannon Jones, 25 November 2016

As we enter the holiday season, residents of Detroit and surrounding suburbs face continued high levels of unemployment, food insecurity and homelessness.

Detroit housing crisis deepens with county tax foreclosure auction

By Debra Watson, 23 November 2016

Following the rejection of a lawsuit on a moratorium, thousands of Wayne County, Michigan residents may soon face eviction as officials seize properties for back taxes.

Detroit Federation of Teachers pushes through sellout contract

By Nancy Hanover, 19 September 2016

Educators greeted the agreement with anger and skepticism in the face of the concerted attempts by the union to derail their struggles over the course of the last year.

US federal court rejects challenge to Michigan emergency manager law

By James Brewer, 14 September 2016

The ruling upholding a law used to force Detroit into bankruptcy and switch Flint to a toxic water source was based on the assertion that the population does not have a right to vote.

Vote “No” on Detroit Federation of Teachers’ contract!

By Nancy Hanover, 12 September 2016

The American Federation of Teachers is demanding that educators acquiesce to low pay, overcrowded classrooms, unsafe buildings and more school closures.

Detroit teachers angered by contract deal

By Marissa Ross, 8 September 2016

Detroit teachers received contract “highlights” at a mass meeting called by the Detroit Federation of Teachers and will begin voting next week.

After the destruction of the Detroit Public Schools

Michigan officials press to close “failing schools”

By Nancy Hanover, 6 September 2016

The reorganization of DPS has established the precedent that debt-ridden schools can be dissolved, reorganized and/or replaced with private entities.

Judge tosses out Detroit Public Schools lawsuit against teacher “sickouts”

By Marissa Ross and Nancy Hanover, 25 August 2016

In the wake of the dissolution of the DPS and the launching of the Detroit Public Schools Community District, the court case against teacher protests has been wrapped up.

Affordable housing shortage in Detroit creates dire conditions for seniors

By a WSWS reporting team, 18 August 2016

WSWS reporters uncovered landlord neglect at a government-subsidized retirement building in Southwest Detroit.

Low-income retirees in the Detroit-area face abysmal housing conditions

By Debra Watson and Catherine Long, 8 August 2016

An acute lack of affordable housing along with deplorable conditions in existing housing stock has left tens of thousands without a safe and healthy place to live out their retirement.

Michigan attorney general charges six more state officials in Flint water crisis

By James Brewer, 30 July 2016

These six indictments bring the number of criminal indictments to nine.

Michigan governor signs Detroit Public Schools dissolution measures

Judge Rhodes, Democrats try to pacify Detroit teachers

By Nancy Hanover, 27 June 2016

Hundreds of teachers and parents turned out for a town hall informational meeting called by local Democrats to explain the legislative deal which will terminate the Detroit Public Schools.

“Public education is not a business, it is a right”

Detroit teachers and parents speak out against public school reorganization

By a WSWS reporting team, 27 June 2016

Teachers and parents spoke to the WSWS at a public town hall meeting held in the wake of the legislative deal to dissolve the 174-year-old Detroit Public Schools.

Michigan public school teacher messages of solidarity with Mexican teachers

27 June 2016

Michigan public school teachers express their support for teachers in Oaxaca and throughout Mexico in the face of last week’s government massacre.

Teachers’ union sanctions destruction of Detroit Public Schools district

By Nancy Hanover, 18 June 2016

The Michigan legislature uses debt crisis as the pretext to dissolve the district and rewrite the rules governing education in the nation’s largest poor city.

Michigan legislature approves attack on public education in Detroit

By Shannon Jones, 11 June 2016

The bill safeguards the interests of hedge funds and other large investors at the expense of students and teachers.

SEP election meeting: Detroit is a battlefield in a war on the working class

26 May 2016

At this meeting on May 31, Socialist Equality Party presidential candidate Jerry White and vice presidential candidate Niles Niemuth will speak about the critical issues facing workers and youth.

Outrage erupts at Flint meeting of pipeline board

By James Brewer, 20 May 2016

Residents of Flint spoke out in anger during a board meeting of the KWA pipeline authority.

Wall Street presses for Detroit school restructuring deal

By Nancy Hanover, 13 May 2016

Detroit Public Schools emergency manager Judge Steven Rhodes is ramping up pressure for a legislative deal in the state capitol.

After sickouts, what is the way forward for Detroit teachers?

By Jerry White—SEP candidate for US president, 13 May 2016

The struggle of Detroit teachers poses the need to unite all sections of the working class in a movement against big business and its political servants in both parties.

Angry reaction to Obama’s speech in Flint

An interview with LeeAnne Walters

By our reporters, 6 May 2016

Walters, her husband, and another Flint resident, Keri Webber, angrily walked out of Obama's event Wednesday after he arrogantly declared, “The kids will be just fine.”

Detroit Public School teachers end sickouts, face new legislative attacks

By Nancy Hanover, 5 May 2016

The Detroit teachers union shut down a two-day sickout as Michigan legislators debated new attacks under the guise of “rescuing” the public schools.

Video: Detroit teachers speak on the struggle to defend education

By our reporters, 4 May 2016

Detroit public school teachers spoke to the WSWS at a demonstration on Tuesday, the second day of their walkout.

In midst of water shutoffs, Flint water crisis

Detroit teachers shut schools for second day to protest non-payment of wages

By Thomas Gaist, 4 May 2016

The new attack on Detroit teachers is part of a wider assault on the working class being carried out by both big business parties and the Obama administration.

Support the struggle of Detroit teachers! Unite the working class in a fight back!

By Niles Niemuth, 4 May 2016

The attack on Detroit teachers is just one part of an assault on every section of the working class throughout the region and beyond.
Click here to watch video

“Our money is literally being stolen”

Teacher sickout shuts Detroit Public Schools

By Shannon Jones, 3 May 2016

Nearly all of the Detroit schools were shut down Monday as teachers protested the announcement by DPS Emergency Manager Steven Rhodes that they will not be paid over the summer months.

Detroit, Michigan resumes mass water shutoffs

By Nick Rodriguez, 3 May 2016

Detroit, which lies next to one of the largest bodies of fresh water on the planet, is resuming a policy that denies thousands access to one of the most basic requirements of life.

“Everyone feels very betrayed by the union right now”

Detroit teachers union holds rally to back governor’s school restructuring plan

By Walter Gilberti, 29 April 2016

The Detroit Federation of Teachers’ mobilization to support new Detroit Schools legislation fizzled as teachers largely boycotted the demonstration at the state capitol in Lansing.

Two years of the Flint water crisis

A crime of capitalism

By Shannon Jones, 25 April 2016

April 25 marks the second anniversary of the criminal decision to shift the city of Flint’s water supply to the polluted Flint River, setting in motion a social catastrophe.

Low-level officials face indictment in Flint lead poisoning crisis

By Shannon Jones, 21 April 2016

Two low-level state officials and a city of Flint employee face multiple felony and misdemeanor charges in relation to the lead poisoning of city residents.

Thousands of Detroit children exposed to lead or copper contaminated water

By Nancy Hanover, 19 April 2016

One third of DPS schools are reporting lead or copper contamination of drinking water, with one sample at 100 times the EPA toxic level.

Class action lawsuit details destruction of Detroit Public Schools

By Nancy Hanover, 14 April 2016

Amid a continuing drive to dismantle Detroit Public Schools, a lawsuit charges that state officials have deprived students of a “minimally adequate” education.

“What’s happening here is emblematic of what’s going on across the country”

Detroit newspaper workers protest contract takeaways

By Shannon Jones, 31 March 2016

Detroit Free Press and Detroit News journalists held a protest Wednesday over company concessions demands, including increases in health care costs and conversion of full-time to part-time work.

Legislative attack on Detroit Public Schools taking shape

By Nancy Hanover, 24 March 2016

With funding for Detroit schools in question, Judge Rhodes and Republican Governor Rick Snyder are backing legislation for an unprecedented reorganization of the impoverished city’s schools.

As April 8 fiscal deadline approaches

Judge Rhodes threatens shutdown of Detroit Public Schools

By Nancy Hanover, 14 March 2016

As Wall Street demands action on the reorganization of Detroit Public Schools, Judge Steven Rhodes threatened that schools could “go dark.”

Detroit teacher: “Children are made into dollar signs”

By our reporters, 14 March 2016

Detroit teachers spoke to the World Socialist Web Site at the DFT emergency meeting on Thursday, March 10.

Fires at Detroit wastewater plant underscore danger of job cuts

By Dan Coles, 10 March 2016

A series of fires has broken out at the facility in southwest Detroit.

Democrats cover up role of Obama administration in Flint water crisis

By James Brewer, 9 March 2016

Clinton and Sanders said nothing about the US Environmental Protection Agency, which concealed its findings of high lead levels in Flint’s water.

Flint resident files lawsuit against corporations, officials

By James Brewer, 5 March 2016

LeeAnne Walters, whose four children still experience symptoms from exposure to lead, named three companies and three officials in her suit.

New information emerges about Flint’s decision to switch to untreated water

By James Brewer, 1 March 2016

The examination of uncovered documents, combined with the thousands of newly-public emails released by Governor Rick Snyder, begin to uncover the economic interests behind the poisoning of Flint.

Top advisors to Michigan governor urged switching water supply from polluted Flint River

By Shannon Jones, 27 February 2016

Newly released emails show that top aides to Michigan Governor Rick Snyder advocated switching the Flint water supply back to the Detroit water system by October 2014, a year before the public disclosure of contamination.

Former US bankruptcy judge to be new emergency manager of Detroit schools

By our reporters, 26 February 2016

The Detroit Federation of Teachers brought the judge who oversaw the city's bankruptcy to a meeting of school employees to sugarcoat the bipartisan attack on public education.

Who is Judge Steven Rhodes?

The political struggle facing Detroit teachers

By Jerry White, 24 February 2016

Detroit teachers were brought to a meeting Wednesday to listen to retired judge Steven Rhodes, who, during the Detroit bankruptcy, did the dirty work for Wall Street while posturing as a neutral and even-handed arbiter.

Despite lead poisoning, Flint water rates highest in US

By James Brewer, 18 February 2016

A report by a national water advocacy group surveys comparative rates in the country’s largest water systems.

Water quality official warned Flint, Michigan was not prepared for switch to Flint River

By James Brewer, 16 February 2016

Eight days before switching to the heavily polluted river as a water source, a city official warned that the water system was not ready for the change.

Detroit bankruptcy judge appointed to restructure public schools

By Nancy Hanover, 15 February 2016

Michigan’s governor, facing the twin crises of Flint and Detroit public schools, has called in Judge Steven Rhodes to reorganize the Detroit schools.

Parents express support for protesting Detroit teachers and students

By Lawrence Porter, 13 February 2016

During a meeting of the district-sponsored Detroit Parent Network, audience members denounced the appalling conditions in the schools.

“It’s not just a fight for teachers or students, it’s a fight for education”

Detroit Public Schools students launch protests to demand quality education

By Nancy Hanover, 11 February 2016

DPS students use Michigan “Count Day” to emphasize their fight to defend their teachers and the right of all young people to a decent education.

National teachers’ union leader seeks to smother Detroit protests

By Lawrence Porter and Nancy Hanover, 11 February 2016

The American Federation of Teachers is seeking to divert opposition into fruitless appeals to state Democrats and Republicans—the very forces seeking to dismantle public education.

White House pushes ahead with plan to slash pensions for up to one million retirees

By Andre Damon, 9 February 2016

Retired truck drivers and delivery workers said in a hearing in Detroit Monday that they had been notified their pension benefits would be reduced by between 50 and 70 percent.

“This is a dog and pony show”

Retirees speak on Teamster pension cuts

By a WSWS reporting team, 9 February 2016

Retirees denounced both political parties along with the Teamsters union for the devastating pension cuts being demanded by the Central States Pension Fund.

Cities and towns across the US suffer lead poisoning rates worse than Flint

By Carlos Delgado, 9 February 2016

One of the first doctors to describe the effects of lead on children called the disease “a toxicity of habitation.” Today it might be more accurately termed a toxicity of poverty.

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.