Friday, April 26, 2013

NO SURRENDER TO THE BANKS-BACKED COUP FOR CITYWIDE FORECLOSURE!

Socialist Party USA Metro Detroit Local Statement on the “Emergency Manager” Takeover of Detroit

The Socialist Party of Metro Detroit expresses its staunchest opposition to the state-imposed suspension of elected governance of the city of Detroit, and likewise reaffirms its demand for the immediate restoration of elective home rule to each of the numerous other cities and school districts within and beyond Metro Detroit now operating under the unilaterally-held control of state-installed “Emergency Manager” fiefdoms. 

The original predecessor to Michigan’s Emergency Manager law, 1988 Public Act 101, was enacted under then-serving Democratic Governor Jim Blanchard to allow for the state takeover of financial control over the independent, Detroit-circumscribed city of Hamtramck. With the continued unanimously bipartisan support of both Blanchard and the Democratic Party-dominated Legislature, Public Act 101 was then later replaced and extended through the enactment of 1990 Public Act 72, so as to be made exercisable against any unit of local government. Subsequently, Public Act 72 was applied to appoint an “Emergency Financial Manager” over the finances of three local governments by Michigan’s following Governor, Republican John Engler, and the finances of six local governments by the State’s next subsequently following Governor, Democrat Jennifer Granholm.

 In March 2011, the former Public Act 72 law was expanded and replaced by 2011 Public Act 4, which bestowed Emergency Managers with not only financial control over the local jurisdictions where appointed, but also with unfettered political control over local governance as applied to municipalities, and academic control as applied to local school districts. Along with the supreme and unilateral assumption of all powers held by locally elected officials, as well as the continued Act 72-granted powers to sell, privatize, and transfer local public assets and services, such new authority vested in unelected Emergency Managers by Public Act 4 further included the power to void union contracts, entirely suspend collective bargaining, and even to disincorporate or dissolve the local municipality or educational district where installed.   

Following a successful organized labor-led effort to place a statewide referendum on Public Act 4 on the 2012 November ballot, Michigan voters resoundingly voted to repeal the Act in its entirety. Within the same spirit of contempt for democracy at the foundation of the Emergency Manager law itself, however, Michigan’s current Governor Rick Snyder and Attorney General Bill Schuette immediately responded by declaring the legally groundless conclusion that the referendary repeal of Public Act 4 had served to automatically reenact the repealed and replaced older provisions of Public Act 72. 

Swiftly thereafter on December 26, 2012, Snyder signed into law 2012 Public Act 436 (effective as of March 28, 2013) serving to reenact all of the same substantively expanded Emergency Manager powers as had been granted under the freshly voter-repealed Public Act 4 law, while this time also including a legislative funding appropriation within the law’s provisions, so as to legally preclude its similar subjection to referendary repeal by Michigan voters.  

In attempting to provide some pretense of meaningful difference between the new Public Act 436 and voter-rejected Public Act 4, the new law provides for a local government deemed to be confronting a “financial emergency” to make a one-time-only “choice” of proceeding with either: (1) total surrender to Emergency Manager control; (2) a similarly draconian “consent” agreement with the State Treasurer (for which the latter is the sole determiner of breach); (3) Chapter 9 bankruptcy proceedings (if given approval by the Governor); or (4) a process of pre-bankruptcy financial mediation between the local government and State. At the same time, however, the new law provides that any local government placed under an Emergency Financial Manager under the former (and purportedly resurrected) 1990-enacted law will automatically be subject to Emergency Manager control under the new law as well; in accordance with all of the despotically enhanced powers that the new law confers upon that position.  

Consequently, for the city of Detroit, along with those of Allen Park, Benton Harbor, Ecorse, Flint, and Pontiac, as well as the school districts of Detroit, Highland Park, and Muskegon Heights, such an available “choice” now supposedly granted by the new law is squarely and entirely denied. Such exclusion of Detroit from any such “choice” comes even in spite of the city’s own drastic austerity measures over the past year, including having already laid off approximately 2,000 city employees, imposing a uniform 10% pay cut on all remaining city employees (on top of earlier major pay cuts already conducted during the year prior), privatizing three city departments, and closing fifteen city fire stations (notwithstanding the city’s far unrivaled status the nation’s arson capital). 

Even when excluding the school-district-affected cities of Highland Park and Muskegon Heights, the six Michigan cities currently under Emergency Manager-rule represent approximately half the State of Michigan’s African American population. Moreover, as additionally applied to the population demographics of Inkster and River Rouge, now under binding (‘E.M.-lite’) “consent” agreements with the State Treasurer, Michigan’s current Emergency Manager law has already led to the apartheid-level result of disenfranchising a majority of black state residents from electing the governing leaders of their communities from the very first day of the law taking legal effect.  

To the extent that state officials attest the restoration of local fiscal health and solvency to be the principal goal of the state’s autocratic-trustee structure of receivership now in place; any lens of analysis given to the track record of past-appointed Emergency (Financial) Managers within the state can only lead to the conclusion that such a structure has been a colossal failure. Indeed, every chartered city and local school district which has ever been subject to one of the state’s emergency financial management acts is either once again under, or rapidly nearing, State Treasury Department designation of being in a state of “financial emergency” today. 

In a number of cases, such state appointed managers have only severely worsened the scale of debt and financial losses of the local jurisdiction where appointed, particularly through their own lavish spending and high-interest borrowing on the appointed jurisdiction’s behalf, including secret self-payments and embezzlement. Even the current law’s text betrays little held concern with the substantive qualifications of one seeking an Emergency Manager post; providing that merely having five years of knowledgeable experience in either ‘financial or business matters’ amounts to a sufficient level of qualification for unilaterally displacing an entire city’s elected officials.    

Of predictably far greater concern within the law than the personal qualifications of an Emergency Manager is whose interests such an appointed ruler serves. Accordingly, along with the tearing up of collective bargaining agreements, the current law most stringently mandates that each Emergency Manager ensure “the payment in full of the scheduled debt service requirements on all bonds, notes, and municipal securities of the local government, contract obligations in anticipation of which bonds, notes, and municipal securities are issued, and all other uncontested legal obligations.” 

Consequently, in contrast to the prospect of bankruptcy proceedings, in which the big banks would have to share in financial losses, the State’s current Emergency Manager law is expressly designed to ensure that the banks and billionaire bond holders obtain every dollar and penny of interest that they can purport to be owed by the city. Currently the city of Detroit’s debt service stands at over $600 million per year with $4.9 billion of the city’s long term debt owed purely for bank interest profit. Meanwhile, 80 cents of every dollar of state aid to the Detroit Public School district now goes directly to servicing the district’s bank debt. 

On a far greater scale than any other culprit in recent years, however, the very same big banks behind the scenes in enacting the state’s Emergency Manager law bear the greatest share of responsibility for the crisis now confronting the city. Due, in substantially large part, to the overwhelmingly widespread practice of directly-racially targeted predatory lending throughout the city of Detroit during the years immediately preceding the housing market crash of 2008, Detroit has been among the nation’s hardest hit cities by the foreclosure epidemic, with resultantly drastic losses to the city’s collectable property tax revenue. Correspondingly, Detroit has lost over 25% of its entire population between the U.S. Census of 2000 and 2010; now presently resulting in an estimated 33,000 vacant residential homes within its city limits. 

In addition to sinking down the average Detroit home price to $7,500, the banks themselves have also become the city’s largest source of unpaid property taxes. Through the practice of bank foreclosure “walkaways,” banks have continuously operated throughout the city to withdraw from final completion of the foreclosure process, following the removal of a given foreclosed home’s occupants, whenever determining that such abandonment would ultimately be less costly. In doing so, the banks then legally discard all property tax liability for such homes, without ever even informing either the city or ejected preceding homeowner of such a divestment.     

Not only have such predatory lending practices targeted Detroit homeowners, moreover, but also the city itself. Throughout the decade preceding the 2008 crash, major banks convinced Detroit leaders to heavily invest in “interest rate swaps” through which the city entered into agreements to swap its own variable rate interest payments on issued bonds with the banks’ available fixed rates, such that it then made bond payments at the fixed interest rate and the banks used variable rates (most often tied to the British Libor rate) for payments made to the city. 

With the tremendous drop in bank interest rates following the 2008 financial collapse, combined with widespread bank manipulation of the Libor rate to keep interest rates low, such predatory agreements have ultimately led to the city paying its bondholders at rates upwards of 6%, while receiving payments back from the banks at rates below even 1%. Consequently, such toxic swaps have amounted to enormous profits for the banks and hundreds of millions in losses to the city. Such losses have also led to a vicious cycle whereby additional city bonds musts be issued to service those presently held, while further corresponding downgrades to the city’s credit rating result in increasingly higher bond interest rates. 

From a broader frame of assessment the current bank-induced fiscal crisis and corresponding takeover of Detroit are an example of what contemporary Marxist author David Harvey has termed “accumulation by dispossession,” in which the ruling establishment employs coercive means to release a set of assets (including labor) at low or zero cost. Particularly is such a process characteristically undertaken by means of both privatization-based schemes and the concerted management and manipulation of financial crises.

At the same time, such an unprecedented form of takeover quite starkly illustrates the lack of any principled or fundamental commitment to even the most superficial structures of democracy by the ruling political establishment. Through its enactment, application, and media praise of the Emergency Manager law, Michigan’s ruling class has now begun to openly acknowledge and affirm the central position that nominally democratic relations and processes are not only subordinate to banking and Wall Street interests, but also fully revocable when determined to be less efficiently conducive to the state’s service of such interests.   

Although given the trappings of a divided partisan issue during this present gubernatorial term, both the enactment and most widespread application of the current law's longstanding predecessor were respectfully conducted by the State's last two Democratic Party governors. Correspondingly, the very principal architect and current chief administrator of the present Emergency Manager law was, as recently as January 1, 2011, serving as the Democratic Speaker of the Michigan State House. Likewise, even Detroit’s newly appointed Emergency Manager, Kevin Orr, has repeatedly noted the fact that he is a lifelong and active Democrat.  

As with other widely publicized reactionary measures that happen to arise amid their own party’s absence from majority control, the window dressing of Democratic Party legislative opposition to the current Emergency Manger law was well in line with the Democrats’ standard role and script of posturing as the voice of public opposition, only to quickly shift into the pronouncer of its conclusion and obsolescence. Indeed, in the same manner of a rosily worded concession speech given amid an election night defeat, Democratic politicians and their public mouthpieces have already largely shifted their public sentiments into line with the current mantra that ‘it is now the time for us all to work in partnership with Orr toward fixing the city of Detroit.’

Directly prior to his selection to rule the North American continent’s now largest outright political dictatorship, Orr worked for the Cleveland-based global corporate law firm Jones Day, representing approximately half of the current Fortune 500 companies, including Bank of America, UBS AG, Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, and Detroit’s number one record-holder for most conducted home foreclosures within the city – Wells Fargo. During his time with Jones Day, Orr’s crowning achievement was his work on behalf of Chrysler and under the Obama administration during the auto-industry bailout of 2009, in which Orr was a central figure in pushing through the halving of wages for new hires, elimination of the eight hour day, and closing of approximately one quarter of the company’s dealerships, resulting in the loss of tens of thousands of jobs, while concurrently awarding massive pay bonuses to Chrysler’s top executives. 

Already within only the second week of his state-given control, Orr has officially hired none other than Jones Day to assume the role of Detroit’s “re-structuring counsel.” Accordingly, the very same financial institutions and Wall Street bondholders already ravaging and drowning the city in debt will now have their own corporate legal counsel overseeing the city’s state-sanctioned raid on the city’s assets and finances. Moreover, should the ultimate decision later be made to have the city file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy, the terms of the current law further provide that Orr will act as the city’s sole representative in such proceedings, ostensibly in further cooperation with Jones Day in its brazenly interest-conflicted role as legal counsel.  

Although recent debates over the sources of Detroit’s fiscal crisis have almost uniformly focused large attention on the State of Michigan’s breach and failure to provide $224 million owed to the city of Detroit under a 1997 agreement to provide such additional revenue in exchange for the city’s reduction of local income tax rates, such a central focus only detracts from the State’s more fundamentally egregious failure of obligation. As the principal collector of non-federal tax revenue within the state, the state government’s fundamental duty to provide essential service-sustaining revenues to its cities stems not from the negotiated terms of any past contractual agreement, but rather the basic nature of its relation.

Even more markedly does such a basic duty of state investment and adequate revenue sharing apply to the state’s largest city and historic and cultural capital, containing nearly four times more Michigan residents than any other city of the state, and six and a half times more total land than Manhattan. Yet, while continuing to expand Michigan’s skyrocketing prison and corporate-welfare budgets, the state has reduced annual levels of revenue sharing to Detroit to approximately half that annually provided a decade prior. 

The Socialist Party of Metro Detroit calls upon all Detroit residents, city workers, and students, as well as those of all other Metro Detroit cities and school districts presently under Emergency Manager rule, to give no recognition to the authority of such usurping dictators in any context of relation. Accordingly, we further call, and affirm our support, for popularly and democratically coordinated direct action and civil disobedience against the loss of elective home rule, so as to make Detroit and other similarly taken-over cities ungovernable. 

The Socialist Party additionally calls for and demands the declaration of an immediate moratorium on home foreclosures and evictions, both at the state-level and in each of the Metro Detroit tri-counties, as well as an immediate moratorium on the city of Detroit’s continued debt service to the banks. Furthermore, we call for and demand a massive expansion of state revenue sharing, as well as compulsory reparations from the major Wall Street banks to Detroit and other financially victimized cities. 

Additionally, we call for and demand a massive state and federal public works program to rebuild our cities and communities, with funding diverted from the military, prison, and corporate welfare budgets; the cessation of the city of Detroit’s own $100 million+ payout in municipal subsidies and tax breaks to corporations each year; a 100% capital flight tax on large corporations moving jobs out of the city or the state; the combined generation of both jobs and local public service revenue through the reopening of closed factories and plants under municipal ownership and worker control; and continuously unrelenting struggle toward the goal of democratic ownership and control of all existing banks and major industries. 

The current stage of overall systemic decline giving symptomatic rise to Michigan’s Emergency Manager scheme is one in which the commanding supremacy of financial capital has become so simultaneously solidified and avaricious as to spurn even the basic nominal relations of domestic bourgeois political democracy in its pursuit of targeted profits. All the more so does it consequently follow that the fight for political democracy cannot be separated from the struggle for economic democracy as well.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Kilpatrick Conviction: A Reminder Of Neoliberal Corruption

On March 11, 2013, Detroit offered a not so subtle peek into a future that should be avoided at all costs. Former Mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick was convicted on multiple charges of fraud and racketeering for doling out no-bid contracts in exchange for kickbacks. This is not just a moral failing of Kilpatrick nor just business as usual in Detroit, a city that has been circling the drain for decades nor is it a powerful message that will curtail future corruption. Shakedowns, racketeering and extortion are standard practice in a neoliberal state.

Neoliberalism claims to have a solution to the corruption typical of previous capitalist governmental formations - transparency. Making the budgets and processes of governance accessible to public view, neoliberal advocates claim, allows for greater scrutiny by the public. Simultaneously, the shifting of decision making power over aspects of traditionally public social services allows the more democratic, in the neoliberal view, gaze of shareholders operating on self-interest to discipline corrupt tendencies.

There are at least two features of the Kilpatrick case that counteract these arguments.

First, neoliberalism serves to bring the business community directly into governmental decision making processes. The wall created between traditional liberal governance and capital is shattered in the name of greater efficiency and greater profits for the private sector. The result is a revolving door between politics and industry and unequal access to decision makers by private interests. We saw the "legal" side of this on a national level when pharmaceutical representative Elizabeth Fowler was allowed to write significant portions of Obama's Healthcare reform bill. Kilpatrick's closeness is categorized as "illegal."

Kilpatrick's close relationship with city contractor Bobby Ferguson offers a window into the degree to which the private sector has penetrated into the state. Ferguson, along with a series of unnamed construction companies, used the city government as a means to not only ensure a constant flow of profitable jobs, but as a means to discipline competitors through regulatory commissions. For example "Company J" demanded that Ferguson tell Kilpatrick that "we need somebody to go in there [at the construction site of Company C] and say 'You know we're gonna start (expletive) writing you up for every little (expletive) violation." Here we see private capital literally harnessing the disciplinary power of the state and wielding in the service of eliminating competition. How far is the distance between this and Fowler's role?

The second feature of neoliberalism operative in the Kilpatrick case involves the manner in which the neoliberal state serves to under and de-value public properties in the service of private profit. Sometimes this happens in obvious ways through the privatization of publicly held properties - like energy, water or electric companies. Other times it is more subtle such as through the myriad of public-private ventures in which the private side is allowed to use the public investment as an insurance policy of profitability.

The Book Cadillac Hotel project was one such example. The renovated hotel, now owned and operated by Westin Hotels and Resorts, was lavished with millions of dollars in public funds. $46 million in city and state loans were provided as well as another $33 million in state and federal tax credits. Kilpatrick guided Ferguson through the bumpy process of renovation in which the initial private partner pulled out. Kilpatrick's motive became personal beyond the banal platitudes of "revival" and "renaissance" that accompany such vanity projects in defeated cities. The Mayor became the public insurer of the profitability of Ferguson's private investment and, ultimately, the defender of the Westin group's desire to profit at the expense of the public. Kilpatrick and Ferguson are going to jail. Westin Hotels and Resorts is headed to the bank.

While Kilpatrick's case may be distorted by the extent and arrogance of the corruption, his activities bear a close resemblance to those underway in cities throughout the country. Neoliberalism serves to introduce profit motive into the heart of the state in order to loot public assets. While Kilpatrick will spend a significant number of years behind bars, it will be business as usual for other public officials who operate the helm of the neoliberal state.

The solution is a simple one -democracy. Not the kind of democracy that is purchased with a campaign donation, cultivated by a lobbyist visit, manipulated by slick public relations efforts or mobilized by fear. It is democracy that is operated directly. Democracy that flows from the grassroots up in order to challenge the increasing power of the Kilpatricks, the Fergusons and the Westins of the world.

Statement authored by Socialist Party USA Co-Chair Billy Wharton and adopted by the SPMI State Executive Committee.

See also The Michigan Socialist – June, 2003 Special Report: “Coming to a head: Behind the hype and headlines in the investigation of Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

DETROIT MAY 1st 2012 GENERAL STRIKE!

The Detroit Socialist Party has endorsed the call for a mass general strike on International Workers Day - Tuesday May 1st, 2012, and calls upon all Detroit workers and students to join us in taking to the streets.  




Detroit May 1, 2012 - March and Rally Schedule
 -12:00 p.m. Assemble at Clark Park (Clark St. near I-75/Fisher Fwy)
 -1:00 p.m. Rally at Maybury Elementary School (4410 Porter Street
 -1:30 p.m. Leave Maybury Elementary, marching northeast on W. Vernor
 -2:00 p.m. Rally at Roosevelt Park (W. Vernor and Michigan Ave. - directly in front of the abandoned train station bldg.)
-2:30 p.m. Leave Roosevelt Park, marching east down Michigan Avenue.
-3:15 p.m. Rally at the Detroit Federal Building (corner of Michigan Ave. and Cass Ave. 
 -3:45 p.m. Leave the Federal Building, marching one block north on Cass Ave.
 -4:00 p.m. Rally at the Rosa Parks Transit Center
 -4:30 p.m. Leave the Rosa Parks Transit Center
 -4:30 p.m. Start assembling at Grand Circus Park (Woodward Ave. and Adams St.)
 -6:30 p.m. General Assembly at Grand Circus Park (near the Hazen S. Pingree monument)

Monday, November 7, 2011

CITY OF DETROIT - VOTE TUES. NOV. 8TH
Reject the Proposed City Charter Revisions –
Vote NO on Proposal C!

Detroit Socialist Party (Local SP-USA) Position Statement on City of Detroit 2011 Ballot Proposal C
The Detroit Socialist Party calls upon all city voters to cast a NO vote in the citywide municipal referendum being held on November 8, 2011 on approval or rejection of the Detroit City Charter amendments proposed by the City Charter Revision Commission.

While incorporating a partial and significantly modified version of the city voter-approved 2009 ballot proposal establishing for election of City Council by district, the currently proposed Charter revisions would further extend such legislative district divisions to the composition of virtually all of the city’s (predominately mayoral-appointed) boards and commissions. The true aim of such extensive regional partitioning of the city’s executive branch is to facilitate the (Democratic Party-based) Bing mayoral regime’s overarching “Detroit Works Project” objectives, geared toward sub-dividing different sections of the city between those targeted for city-service-concentrated gentrification efforts and those targeted for further city-service diminution and neglect.

Another equally insidious element of the proposed charter revisions is the addition of an entirely new section to the Charter titled “Elimination of Redundancy in Government.” In addition to requiring the City’s Legislative and Executive branches and City Clerk to publish comprehensive reports each election cycle on all efforts being undertaken to reduce and eliminate redundancy in services, programs, activities, and processes; the proposed new section would additionally stipulate that: “As much as practicable attempts shall be made to realign ser­vice delivery systems and eliminate operational duplication and inefficiency, which may include cooperative agreements with other government entities as allowed by law [italics added].”

Particularly when examined in light of the recently stripped away removal of municipal control over Detroit’s water department last September, as well as the recently renewed efforts of the Bing regime to establish full-scale privatization of the city lighting department by state region-wide electric power provider DTE Energy (on whose corporate board Bing long personally served), one can clearly discern that the overarching purpose of this new section is to provide greater backing and citable cover for the further expanded dispossession of Detroit city residents’ control over Detroit’s most valuable public assets and resources still remaining under municipal control.

In equally parallel relation to both the recently accelerated efforts to strip municipal control of the city’s most important public resources, and the newly proposed City Charter language oriented to directly accommodating such city resource abnegation, the state of Michigan’s newly expanded “Emergency Manger” law, enacted last March, directly provides for a state-appointed Financial Manager’s power to “enter into agreements with other local governments, public bodies, or entities for the provision of services, the joint exercise of powers, or the transfer of functions and responsibilities; enter into agreements with other units of government to transfer property of the municipal government.... [and] enter into agreements with other local governments, or with private entities to the extent provided by law, for the provision of services [italics added].”

Given Bing’s repeated proclamations, during only the past week, on both the probable inevitability of Detroit’s impending placement under Emergency Manager rule by the state, and his own personally willing desire to accept the position of Detroit’s Emergency Manger if appointed (as earlier leaked reports suggest has already been pre-arranged between Bing and the Republican Snyder regime in Lansing), one can also quite reasonably infer that such proposed Charter revisions are intended to provide for some token pretext of continuity between the dictatorial actions imposed by Detroit’s likely forthcoming Emergency Manager and the directly preceding City Charter revisions approved by the people before the termination of elected municipal governance.

In addition to the above new provisions proposed to be added to the City Charter, Proposal C also asks voters to approve the establishment of a new system of city-district elected “Community Advisory Councils” (CAC’s) to directly supplant the long-established duties and role of city-district elected Citizens’ District Councils (CDC’s) (to which the Socialist Party fielded an elected candidate in the most recently held election) and resultantly marginalize and inhibit their operational effectiveness.

In spite of assigning all of the same functions held by CDC’s to the new CAC bodies, the proposed new Charter provisions contrastingly bar CAC’s from ever receiving any municipal funding, prescribe for CAC elections to take place at the same time that City Council elections are held, and further leave out the limited watchdog and community defense powers of the CDC’s, as established under state law (1945 P.A.344), including the right to delay implementation of proposed development projects, require information from any city department, and require City Council hearings to be held on proposed development projects of concern.

The Proposal C charter revisions also remove the 2009 voter-approved change to allow for office-specific city wide election of the City Council President and Council President Pro-Tempore, and instead prescribe for the nine elected City Council members (composed of seven members elected by district and two elected at large) to select the holders of those two specified Council offices from among themselves. Since the City Council President temporarily assumes the office of city Mayor in the event of vacancy, this change would remove the 2009 ballot-approved right of city voters to determine which candidate shall stand eligible for mayoral succession.

Other amending changes within Proposal C include eliminating the Charter’s formerly contained residency requirement for appointed city officers, as well as new amendments to the Planning and Development Department section of the Charter, geared toward redirecting the Department’s main objectives so as to: “provide the sup­port, assistance and conditions necessary to retain businesses,” “develop and implement a strategic plan and program focused on recruiting and supporting emerging in­dustries” (read further widening expansion of the city’s massive corporate welfare subsidies to big business) and further to: “create con­ditions supportive of global trade” (read race to the bottom for cheap labor and corporate deregulation) [emphasis added].

Taken together, Proposal C is simply the latest maneuver by the Bing-Snyder alliance to further sweep away all remaining obstacles standing in the way of the ongoing raid on Detroit’s public resources by both corporate party politicians’ true political constituency. Detroit’s working class population has nothing substantively beneficial to gain from this proposal and should resoundingly reject it at the polls on Tuesday November 8th.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Occupy Detroit Set to Begin Fri. October 14th


Join members of the Detroit Socialist Party at the Occupy Detroit Encampment and Actions.



Beginning Friday Oct. 14th (4PM)

Assemble at Spirit of Detroit Statue
(corner of Woodward & Jefferson) (map)
for the Occupy Detroit Opening March

March to
Grand Circus Park
(corner of Woodward and Adams St.) (map)

for the Second General Assembly & Encampment

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Join the Socialist Party at the Occupy Detroit - First General Assembly

The Detroit Socialist Party has endorsed the Occupy Detroit General Assembly and encourages all local members and supporters to attend
Monday October 10th
-7:00PM
Spirit of Hope
1519 MLK Jr. Blvd.
Detroit, MI 48208 (map)
.
The General Assembly will be a direct-democracy based mass meeting to plan the course of upcoming Occupy Detroit events and actions in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street actions in NYC and other rapidly expanding people's occupation actions now pushing forward the class struggle.

Occupy Wall Street
Occupy Together
Socialist Party USA: Occupy Wall St.!
Socialist Party of New York City

Friday, September 16, 2011

Help Put the Socialist Party on the Michigan Election Ballot!



The Detroit Socialist Party and Socialist Party of Michigan are actively conducting a statewide petition drive to obtain Michigan ballot access for the Socialist Party and its candidates in the 2012 General Election and beyond. But we greatly need your help to make this enormous effort a success!

Due to the fact that Michigan's current party access law effectively guarantees the continued ballot access retention of any qualified party that continues to run candidates in each general election, the Socialist Party's successful achievement of Michigan ballot access in the next election, will effectively ensure the Socialist Party's continued ballot access in all subsequent Michigan elections to follow.

Click Here to Fill Out our Ballot Access Petition Circulator Volunteer Form


Click Here to Download the Socialist Party's Michigan Ballot Access Petition Sheet for Circulating
- Please Note: Petition sheets MUST be printed on 8.5in x 14in (standard legal size) paper.

Click Here to Make a Financial Contribution to Support the Socialist Party's Michigan Ballot Access Drive

Click Here for More Information on the Socialist Party's Michigan Ballot Access Petition Drive

Friday, April 15, 2011

DSP Candidate Elected to City of Detroit Downtown Citizens' District Council


For Immediate Release
April 16th, 2011


DETROIT – Socialist Party candidate Matt Erard was among five candidates elected to a three year term on the city of Detroit’s Downtown District Citizens’ District Council in the municipal election held for that office on Tuesday April 5th. Erard and other successful candidates in last week’s citizens’ district council elections gained their first opportunity to learn of their elected status this week, due to the unavailability of any unofficial results from the city’s election department prior to the release of its official post-election canvass. In particularly notable congruity with Erard’s election this year, all candidates elected in Detroit’s April 5th citizens’ district council elections will formally begin their terms of office on this year’s international labor holiday of Sunday May 1st.

Though Detroit’s city charter rules prohibit any candidate for city office from being listed with a party label on the ballot, Erard entered the 2011 race for Downtown District Citizens District Council (“CDC”) upon receiving the Socialist Party’s official nomination for that office at the February monthly membership meeting of the Party’s Detroit Socialist Party local and correspondingly centered his campaign materials around both the platform and banner of the Party. Erard’s election on April 5th marks the first time since 1976 that a Socialist Party candidate has been elected to office in the state of Michigan....

While each of the candidates who submitted the requisite number of valid district-voter signatures to qualify for 2011 Downtown District CDC election ballot were ultimately successful in winning election to office in this year’s race, the city elections department’s rules and procedures also provide voters in each CDC election with the option of casting valid write-in votes for any other registered voters who reside within their districts, rather than limiting voters’ choices to only those candidates whose names are printed on the ballot.

Notwithstanding such exceptionally wide-ranging voting options afforded to city voters who do cast ballots in CDC elections, however, Erard also expressed significant concern over the greatly limited voter turnout in each of the nineteen CDC elections held last week, following the apparent absence of any city advertised or website-published information concerning the election date, candidates, or irregularly designated polling places. Accordingly, Erard strongly suggested that an effort to initiate the development of new department of elections polices, aimed at making CDC elections far more reasonably transparent and accessible to city voters, should be among the top priorities of the all-CDC representative Coordinating Council on Community Redevelopment (“CCCR”) during the coming year, pursuant to the specific authorization given to the CCCR in this context by the Detroit city code.

Each of Detroit’s nineteen citizens’ district councils is composed of 12 to 24 members, with six members annually elected to three year terms and the remaining members appointed by Detroit’s mayor. As mandated under both state law and Detroit city ordinance, the Detroit City Council and Detroit Planning & Development Department are required to continuously consult with, and seek approval from, each applicable CDC prior to the implementation of any proposed development project, ranging from sidewalk construction to residential re-locations, intended to take place within a given CDC’s jurisdiction; and to incorporate CDC recommendations to the full extent feasible. Each CDC is correspondingly empowered to delay implementation of such projects through a vote of disapproval, and to request and obtain information from any city department on matters of concern to district residents.

While pointing to the present city administration’s principal development goals of residential “urban downsizing” and accelerated downtown gentrification, Erard argues that low income residents of the city now face a greater threat to their well being from “urban renewal” policies than at any time since the mass displacements of poor and minority residents imposed during the city’s first major wave of “urban renewal” projects during the 1950s. While committed to staunchly opposing any proposed measure serving to inhibit poor and working class residents’ access to affordable living spaces or city services, Erard has also centered his campaign around a myriad of proposed new measures aimed at fundamentally shifting the city’s present priorities away from the interests of the city’ downtown “partnership” of local aristocrats and Wall Street firms, and toward those of the city’s oppressed and working class majority.

Included among such urgently needed measures, Erard contends, are universal downtown and city-wide rent control, city termination and reversal of all residential utility shutoffs, mandatory hiring of under/unemployed city residents for all Detroit Land Bank Commission housing rehabilitation and neighborhood revitalization projects, and elimination of the city’s nearly $137 million annual handout to corporations in city grants and tax breaks.

At the same time, Erard hopes to use his elected seat on the city’s downtown citizens district council to help actively support all measures, grass roots organizing campaigns, mobilizations, and mass actions, that can help lead the way to Detroit’s working class majority, and that of other struggling cities, taking control of its own political system and economic institutions.

“Rather than continuing to subordinate the political will of the people of Detroit to the economic will of our city’s Wall Street- and Grosse Pointe Shores-dwelling overlords, the working class population of Detroit now stands exceptionally primed to lead the way in demonstrating what it means to bring the economy under the political will and democratic control of the people,” Erard said.

Erard for CDC campaign site: http://erard2011.spmichigan.org/

###

Friday, March 25, 2011

DSP Free Film Screening of "Matewan" Fri. 3/25, 8PM at the Painted Lady Lounge in Hamtramck



Fri. March 25th
8:00PM (starting promptly)
DSP Free screening of John Sayles' 1987 historical drama, "Matewan."
(view trailer)
@ the Painted Lady Lounge
2930 Jacob St.
Hamtramck, MI 48212 (map)
No cover, 18+, 21+ with ID to drink.

Synopsis: "Mingo County, West Virginia, 1920. Coal miners, struggling to form a union, are up against company operators and gun thugs; Black and Italian miners, brought in by the company to break the strike, are caught between the two forces. Union activist and ex-Wobbly Joe Kenehan, sent to help organize the union, determines to bring the local, Black, and Italian groups together. Drawn from an actual incident; the characters of Sid Hatfield, Cabell Testerman, C. E. Lively, and Few Clothes Johnson were based on real people." -Susan C. Mitchell (IMDB).

The screening will be followed by musical performances from local punk bands The Kalashnikovs (featuring DSP Chair Joe Stonchus on guitar/vocals) and Telecollision.

Detroit Socialist Party Nominates Matt Erard for Downtown Detroit Citizens' District Council



Detroit Socialist Party member and current SPMI State Secretary-Elect Matt Erard has officially qualified for the ballot in the upcoming April 5th, 2011 election for the city of Detroit's Downtown Citizens' District Council, following his receipt of the Detroit Socialist Party's nomination for that office at its February 2011 local membership meeting, and subsequent submission of the requisite number of valid signatures by the petition deadline earlier this month.

Since their initial establishment in the late 1960s, Detroit's citizens district councils have been charged with the task of representing the interests of poor and working class city residents within each district of the city where "urban renewal" development and rehabilitation projects are intended to be slated. As mandated under both state law and the Detroit City Charter, the Detroit City Council and Detroit Planning & Development Department are required to maintain continuous consultation with the applicable citizens' district council on all aspects of the planning process for each proposed development project prior to its approval, and to incorporate all citizens' district council recommendations to the maximum extent feasible. Likewise, Michigan state law further empowers each citizens district council with the ability to delay the implementation of any proposed project that it votes to disapprove, and to additionally call upon any city department for information it seeks to obtain on behalf of its district residents....

Each of Detroit's citizens' district councils is composed of twenty-four members, with six members annually elected to three year terms and the remaining six members appointed by Detroit's mayor. The Downtown Citizens District Council represents all residents living within Detroit's central business district, bounded by the Fischer Freeway to the north, the John C. Lodge Freeway (M-10) to the West, I-75 to the East, and the Detroit River to the south.

Although Matt Erard is running as the Socialist Party's nominated candidate in the April 5th Citizens' District Council election, neither he, nor any other candidates in the race, will have a party affiliation listed with their names on the election ballot itself.

The official website for Matt Erard's 2011 Downtown Detroit Citizens' District Council campaign can be found at: http://erard2011.spmichigan.org

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Rally Against Education & Public Service Cuts on March 2nd and 3rd in Detroit!


Join members of the Detroit Socialist Party on March 2nd and 3rd in rallying to defend public education, collective bargaining rights, jobs, and public services against the drastic proposed funding cuts and austerity measures currently looming in Metro Detroit and around the nation.


WED., MARCH 2ND
RALLY TO SAVE OUR CITY, SCHOOLS,
JOBS, & SERVICES


12PM - RALLY at Gullen Mall on Wayne State's main campus, near the Student Center (map)
1PM - MARCH
towards downtown
4:30PM - RALLY at the City/County building in front of the Spirit of Detroit statue (map)

Endorsed by: the Detroit Socialist Party; AFSCME Locals 25, 101, 207, 214, 312, 409, 1642, & 1659; the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration, and Immigrant Rights and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary (BAMN); and Defend Public Education / Save Our Students (Detroit Federation of Teachers caucus).
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
THURS, MARCH 3RD
RALLY AGAINST EDUCATION CUTS


4PM - RALLY
at Gullen Mall on WSU's main campus (map)
near the Undergraduate Library

Education is not a budget item to be cut or removed. Education is not a business. Education is a right. You cannot repossess education. We will not spend a life in debt for four years in college. We will not pay more for jobs that pay less. We will not sit down while our tuition goes up. EDUCATION IS A RIGHT NOT A PRIVILEGE!

Endorsed by: the Detroit Socialist Party; Michigan Emergency Committee Against War and Injustice (MECAWI); Progressive Librarians Guild-WSU; and Union of Part-Time Faculty-WSU.

Friday, February 25, 2011

SOLIDARITY WITH WISCONSIN WORKERS, STUDENTS, TEACHERS, AND UNIONS

SOLIDARITY WITH WISCONSIN WORKERS, STUDENTS, TEACHERS, AND UNIONS.

The Detroit Socialist Party, with the Socialist Party of Michigan, stands in solidarity with the great people of Wisconsin, while they fight for their rights as workers against the tyrannical Governor Scott Walker. The outcry of support is not only deafening, but increasing exponentially as well (both domestically and across the globe). The struggle in which they find themselves is as disgusting as it is unnecessary: no one should be commanded to slit their own throats for the profit of a few.

As Socialists:

• We stand for the right of all workers to organize.
• We support worker control of industry through the democratic organization of the workplace.
• We stand for the social ownership of the means of production and distribution, and call for international solidarity among working people based on common opposition to global capitalism and imperialism.
• We believe that the international organization of labor is the only way of combating the exploitation of workers in a global capitalist economy.
• We believe that working people have no country, but rather an international bond based on class.

As such, workers throughout the world have far more in common with their international brothers and sisters than with their native bosses. Ultimately, a socialist revolution must be an international one: a revolution which will surely not survive if confined to individual countries amidst the pestilence of capitalist imperialism. We stand with you, the worker, in this your time of need and solidarity. Furthermore, we offer you the utmost support as you not only face a wretched, petty bureaucrat who would take away your rights, both labor and human, but as you simultaneously stand against a symptom of this entire corrupt slave-system. We will not sit back and let this venomous bill infect your great state, as we know that capitalist leaders in other capitals anticipate their own chance like so many horrible dominoes. We refuse to accept it here in Michigan and urge you to continue the struggle: educating, organizing, and agitating counter to the Wisconsin capitalist machine.

We send our most gracious thanks for igniting this most impressive movement that states quite plainly that workers are humans, not expendable cogs to be used and discarded. The voice of millions that speaks, "We have rights and we will fight like hell to keep them," is yours as well as it is ours. Be assured, yet again, that we are with you in solidarity. An injury to one is an injury to all; therefore, it's time for all workers, domestically and abroad, to UNITE and overturn this capitalist nightmare!!!

Comradely,

The Socialist Party of Detroit www.detroitsocialistparty.org
The Socialist Party of Michigan www.spmichigan.org

Thursday, February 3, 2011

RALLY & MARCH IN SOLIDARITY WITH THE PEOPLE OF EGYPT Saturday, Feb. 5th, 2011 at 2:00PM

SOLIDARITY WITH THE REVOLUTIONS IN EGYPT AND ACROSS THE MIDDLE EAST!

The Detroit Socialist Party and the Organization for a Free Society support the struggle in Egypt which has inspired people across the world as they fight passionately to smash the 30-year rule of the US backed dictatorship of President Hosni Mubarak. The Egyptian people have realized the limits of their government and, no longer satisfied with hollow assurances of democracy and freedom, have taken the first steps towards real democracy and actual freedom. The courage and solidarity with which they have successfully contested the Mubarak dictatorship gives us all hope that democracy and freedom can be attained by and for the power of united poor and working people.

Mubarak’s authoritarian rule over Egypt (aided at every turn in his pact with US imperialism), has created and maintained a system of economic injustice in which the majority live and work in poverty (if they are permitted to work at all). In the face of widespread social and economic injustice, Mubarak has employed a vast apparatus of secret police goons whose sole task is to maintain the security of the wealthy elite through harassment and intimidation. In addition to the creation of oppressive domestic policies, Mubarak has also assisted in crushing the right to self-determination for neighboring Middle East nations. This is especially true for the people of Palestine, who’s access through Egypt has been blocked largely as a consequence of Mubarak’s active support for the illegal and cruel Israeli military occupation. The current struggle in Egypt raises our hope that the people of Egypt will not only shake the foundations of their own oppression, but will strike a blow to the oppression of the Palestinians, the Middle East, and all oppressed and exploited people throughout the world.

US lawmakers are carefully examining the situation in the Middle East and what it holds for their empire. President Obama and Secretary Clinton have paid lip service to the “universal rights” of the Egyptians to rebel, while continuing their policy of support for the Mubarak regime and allowing him to use US teargas, tanks and weapons to try and crush the Egyptian people’s struggle. Therefore, to stand in solidarity with the Egyptian people’s fight for a democratic government we are taking to the streets ourselves to end US support of the Mubarak regime and will continue to build the struggle for real democracy in the US.

As capitalism continues to spiral into crisis, a wave of free-market dogmatism is rushing into the halls of US lawmakers, who are calling for a slash-and-burn spending policy aimed at every public service which intends to help the poor, working class, youth, students, women, people of color and the environment. It seems that war, empire and corporate profits are the only things that aren’t too expensive to our US lawmakers. The present US military occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, the secretive bombing of Pakistan and military aid to Israel, is all based upon the lie that what is presently happening in Egypt and across the Middle East never happens! It is high time that socialists and all those who seek peace and freedom everywhere reinvigorate and rebuild the struggle against Western imperial adventures in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, the Middle East and throughout the world.

Presently, activists who have been taking responsibility to lead the anti-imperialist struggle are facing government repression tactics in the form of Grand Jury subpoenas, infiltration and spurious criminal charges. These tactics are aimed at intimidating activists and undermining the ability for Americans to take responsibility for changing their governments policies toward finally reflecting the democratic, peaceful reputation that US political leaders speak of. We demand that people’s right to resist and protest be respected, and that all repressive tactics to intimidate and undermine global justice activism be brought to an end!

As revolutionary socialists in the US, we are reminded of the limitations of our own system and are inspired by the passion and determination for real justice in the struggles in Egypt and across the Middle East. We once again bear witness to the eternal truth that working people of all countries have more in common with each other than the regimes ruling over them. We all share the same aspirations to rights that would truly be universal: The right to meaningful work; to a life without poverty; to universal education; and to collectively determining the use of the resources and technology that sustain our lives and our world. In this very real sense, the Egyptians’ struggle is our struggle. Let us extend the most meaningful show of solidarity to them yet, by not simply cheering them on but in taking up their call. With the Egyptians, we too demand no less than the radical emancipation of our own oppressed, our own unemployed, our own impoverished. Working people of all counties, unite! In solidarity with this struggle, and the struggles of the people across the Middle East, we demand an immediate end to all US support to the governments of Egypt and Israel, an end to the wars against the people of Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and an end to federal government repression of peace and justice activists.

WHERE WE STAND:

* Solidarity with the people’s movement in Egypt. End Mubarack’s 30-year dictatorship!
* US out of the Middle East. We want an immediate end to all US support to the governments of Egypt and Israel, and an end to the wars against the people of Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
* People’s right to resist and protest be respected, and that all repressive tactics to intimidate and undermine global justice activism be brought to an end!
* World wide revolution to end all imperialist regimes. We want global solidarity and cooperation! International socialism for the 21st century!



WHO WE ARE

THE SOCIALIST PARTY strives to establish a radical democracy that places peoples’ lives under their own control - - a non racist, classless, feminist, non-heterosexist socialist society where working people own and control the means of production and distribution, through democratically-controlled committees and assemblies; where full employment is realized for everyone who wants to work; where workers have the right to form unions freely, and to strike and engage in other forms of job actions; and where the production of society is used for the benefit of all humanity, not for the private profit of a few. We believe socialism and democracy are one and indivisible. The working class is in a key and central position to fight back against the ruling capitalist class and its power. The working class is the major force worldwide that can lead the way to a socialist future – to a real radical democracy from below. The Socialist Party fights for progressive changes compatible with a socialist future. We support militant working class struggles and electoral action, independent of the capitalist-controlled two-party system, to present socialist alternatives. We strive for democratic social revolutions — radical and fundamental changes in the structure and nature of economic, political and social relations — to abolish the power now exercised by the few who control the economy and the government. The Socialist Party is a democratic, multi-tendency organization, with structure and practices visible and accessible to all members. Join Today!
-http://socialistparty-usa.org

Organization for a Free Society
THE ORGANIZATION FOR A FREE SOCIETY envisions a world characterized by solidarity, equity, self-management, diversity and ecological balance. We are committed to building a movement for social liberation. We aim to transform the governing values and institutions in all spheres of social life. Through study and struggle, we have come to understand that systems of oppression condition our lives by mutually defining and reproducing our social relationships. We work to break down all systems of inequality and injustice and to create a participatory, democratic, and egalitarian society. We are dedicated organizers from diverse backgrounds who work within grassroots movements to build, take, and decentralize power in society. We believe in raising consciousness and awareness through education. We seek to build alternative institutions that challenge and undermine exploitation and domination, and instead embody in the present the values of the future. It is essential for us to live and organize as close to our vision as possible and to transform ourselves as part of the struggle for a free society.
- http://www.afreesociety.org/

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Detroit Socialist Party Free Movie Night - Fri. Jan. 28th

Friday, January 28th, 2011 - Detroit Socialist Party screening of Edward Salem's 2009 film "Impunity"
@ The Painted Lady lounge
2930 Jacob St., Hamtramck, MI 48212 (map)
Free admission, ages 18+ (21+ with ID to drink).

"Impunity"
Directed by Edward Salem (2009)
Synopsis: "After Israel's 27-day bombardment of Gaza in January 2009 that killed 1,400, Edward Salem joined a relief delegation and stayed for two months capturing survivors' stories. Their voices put forth a visceral impression of the desperation and resilience that define the Gaza Strip. His use of verite style mirrors Gaza's intensity and its threatened existence. He situates all this within the context of the UN's Goldstone report, which aims to prevent Israel from repeating its bombardment." -Providence Palestinian Film Festival.

Detroit Demonstration Against FBI/Grand Jury Repression - Tues. Jan. 25th, 2011


On Tuesday, January 25th, 2011, join members of the Detroit Socialist Party in protesting the U.S. government's recent and ongoing crackdown on left-wing and anti-war activists around the country!

McNamara Federal Building
4:30PM
477 Michigan Ave.
Detroit, MI 48226 (map)
(Michigan Ave. and Cass Ave.)


No to FBI Raids! Yes to Political Freedom!
Socialist Party USA Statement - Sept. 28th, 2010

The long tradition of US government suppression of left-wing activists was re-activated during the recent FBI raids on the homes of activists in Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois and North Carolina. Government agents targeted activists in groups such as the Minneapolis-based Anti-War Committee, the Freedom Road Socialist Organization and Students for a Democratic Society. The raids are designed to criminalize anti-war activism at a time when speaking against US military aggression is more politically necessary than ever. As socialists, we condemn these governmental actions and stand in solidarity with our fellow activists by calling for the return of the materials taken from them, an end to all raids and, eventually, the dismantling of the US security state...

A disgraceful tradition of governmental suppression of political activists is woven into US history. This history of repression begins in the early 20th century with the Palmer Raids that led to arrest and deportation of left-wing activists. This was followed, in the 1950s, by the infamous McCarthy period in which Communists and Socialists were red baited out of government and private employment. The violence was escalated in the 1960s and 70s during the COINTELPRO program that targeted left-wing groups such as the Black Panthers and led to several high-profile political assassinations.

Although the governmental repression following the attacks of September 11, 2001 did not target the left, it did serve to massively expand the security state. Today, more than 800,000 people are employed by the government to spy on, track and investigate. It is widely believed that the recent raids are the result of a "fishing expedition” by one or multiple parts of this expanded repressive apparatus. Taken together with the continued undercover governmental disruptions of large-scale protests such as the G20 demonstration in Pittsburgh, these raids
represent the increasing disruption of civil liberties.

We say in a clear voice that peace and other political activism are not crimes. Being politically active is, instead, the duty of all people interested in living in a democratic society. It is not enough to have rights on paper. We must have the ability to exercise them without repression.

The solution to the raids and the security state is the creation of a broad movement that demands not only the defense of civil rights, but also their expansion in order to guarantee political freedom for all. Socialists should be at the front of this movement because we have learned that democracy is vital to the creation and
operation of a socialist society.

We stand by the words of the founders of our organization who argued, “Nothing is more revolutionary than freedom.”

NO to the FBI Raids!
Yes to Political Freedom!
End the Wars and Occupations! Dismantle the Security State!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Join the Socialist Contingent at the 2011 MLK Day March for Jobs, Peace, and Justice in Detroit!



Monday, January 17, 2011 ● 12 Noon

Central United Methodist Church
23 East Adams St. (at Woodward), Detroit
(By Comerica Park)



The SP endorsed call for a socialist contingent at this year's march can be read by clicking here

The Socialist Party's MLK Day leaflet can be downloaded by clicking here

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

RALLY FOR PALESTINE! Friday Sept. 3rd


Join Jewish Voice for Peace-Detroit, The Jerusalem Committee,
Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice,
National Lawyers Guild, Students Allied for Freedom and Equality
(SAFE, U of M and MSU) and many others

RALLY FOR PALESTINE
Voice Against Oppression
End the Siege on Gaza, End the Killing of Children
Friday, Sept. 3, 2:30 pm
Dearborn City Hall
Presentations by Sr. Fatima Mohammadi (Gaza Flotilla survivor)
Br. Dawud Walid (Executive Director CAIR-Michigan)

Monday, August 30, 2010

Detroit Socialist Party Statement on UAW / Rainbow Coalition March August 28, 2010


The United Auto Workers and Rainbow Coalition invited everyone today to relive the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. We are invited to relive Dr. King’s passion for social equality, economic justice, and anti-war sentiments. However, the Detroit Socialist Party calls for us to not remember the glorified and uncontroversial moderate invented by the media, but rather the dedicated radical who was a dire threat to the establishment; shunned by Democrats and Republicans alike.

The question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be… The nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists.” - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr

When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr

The Democratic Party, which is well represented in this march, was not considered to be a force for progress by King, but rather a part of system he was trying to overthrow. He didn’t decide to work within the system, which he saw as corrupt, but rather to reveal the hypocrisy and injustice of the system by bringing it to the forefront in the thought of the public. He did not settle for what the establishment was willing to give up, but rather made a constant effort until that which he desired – that which was moral obligation – was realized. He did not begin and end with the civil rights movement; that was but one part of his vision. He recognized that racism was one of the tools used by the ruling class to divide those who they wished to exploit.

Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can’t ride you unless your back is bent.” - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr

We cannot accept what merely looks like reform and let the Democratic Party ride us for the betterment of their corporate masters. Rather, we must stand erect with dignity and demand revolutionary and idealistic change as King would have. We do not need a health plan which subsidizes insurance companies; we need socialized medicine! We do not need tax policies that incentivize jobs through stimulus; we need the direct creation of jobs in workplaces under democratic control! We do not need for the current laws to simply be enforced; we need new and strong legislation that reaffirms the people’s rights over corporate rights! We do not need to settle what the Democrats are willing to give us; we need real and meaningful change with working class interests in mind! We will not be contented with anything less than we deserve!

Now this means that we are treading in difficult water, because it really means that we are saying that something is wrong… with capitalism… There must be a better distribution of wealth and maybe America must move toward a Democratic Socialism.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr

The Detroit Socialist Party has monthly working group meetings at 3 pm on the first Sunday of the month and monthly membership meetings at 3 pm on the third Sunday of the month. Both are held in the lobby of our office at 2937 East Grand Boulevard, Detroit, MI 48202. Look for the tall, rainbow colored building.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Demonstrate for Human Rights and Dignity Thursday, July 29, 2010 4:30 PM

Fellow members, supporters, and friends,

Please make an effort to attend the event listed below that will demonstrate the people's resistance to racist policies and trends currently eroding immigrant's rights. Thursday is a National Day of Action, therefore this demo will coincide with others across the country, as well as with those taking place in Arizona. This law needs to be repealed and it must be known that other "copycat" laws too will not be tolerated in any other states, least of all in Michigan. Join the Detroit Socialist Party and other activists in protesting this injustice. Call Raphael (989.992.6278) or Joe (313.873.2098) for more information. Digan NO al racismo!

In unity,
Joe Stonchus
Secretary, DSP

p.s. if 4:30 is too early for people's schedules, I believe there are other actions later that day (both in Southwest Detroit): a candlelight vigil in Clark Park around 7:30 or 8:00 & a protest of a recent raid at a Chili's in Canton that resulted in at least 2 deportations. For more info about these please email mecawi@mecawi.org

Demonstrate for Human Rights and Dignity

Thursday, July 29, 2010
4:30 PM
McNamara Federal Building
477 Michigan Ave (at Cass), Detroit


  • Repeal the Anti-Immigrant Arizona Law SB 1070!
  • Move the 2011 MLB All-Star Game from Arizona!
  • Oppose the Copycat Michigan Version of SB 1070!
  • No Human Being is Illegal!

The Socialist Party USA calls for the immediate repeal of the “Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act” (SB 1070) in Arizona. This law sanctions racial profiling and gives cover to the repressive actions of officials such as the racist Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Further, we call for an immediate moratorium on all police raids of immigrant communities; we demand the closure of the immigrant detention camps and an end to the militarization of the US-Mexico border.

Arizona has become the epicenter of struggle for the rights of immigrants. The state offers the clearest example of the abject failure of the current immigration policies in the United States. These policies rely on the use of force – ICE raids and the border police – backed up by an equally brutal labor discipline that traps the undocumented in low-wage dead-end jobs. The results are well known – the splitting up of families, the death and criminalization of migrants and a race-to-the-bottom for work conditions and wages. A 2009 mass march in Phoenix, Arizona led by young people who had been separated from their undocumented parents and families highlighted the terrible human costs of these systematic attacks on immigrants. SB 1070 seeks to take this process a step further by transforming Arizona into the equivalent of a police state where anyone with brown skin becomes a suspect. In response, immigrant communities and their allies, all across the country, are mobilizing to demand an end to the repression.

Such fervor has not, however, made it to Washington, where Democrats are preparing reform legislation that amounts to more of the same. Much like the recent healthcare reform, immigration reform has been watered down to suit the needs of Republicans and employers. This is no surprise since, as a candidate, now President Barack Obama never fully distanced himself from the Republican's positions on immigration: the border wall, more military presence on the border, and building more detention camps. Despite this, he still gained the support of mainstream immigration reform groups who slowed down a vibrant May 1st Immigrant Rights movement. The now disarmed movement was left without any commitments from Democratic candidates and with no plans to mobilize after the elections.

The current legislation under consideration will do little to address the problem. Bills such as “the Dream Act” of 2009, which would provide conditional permanent residency to a few immigrants who entered the country as minors or have “good moral character,” will not break the crisis in Arizona. Instead, such reforms attempt to paper-over the demands from immigrant communities in order to continue the cycle of militarization, repression and wage slavery.
Socialists have something significant to offer to the immigration reform discussion. We call for an unconditional amnesty program for all undocumented people. This demand is based on our desire to create a world in which everyone will be able to move freely across borders, to visit, to work and to live wherever they choose. Amnesty will also allow workers, documented and undocumented, to begin to advance serious demands for wages and benefits. Amnesty will move us out of the current immigration crisis and towards a society based on freedom.
Defeating SB 1070 is an urgent first step in this direction and the Socialist Party USA encourages our members and allies to join in this struggle.

¡No somos criminales, somos trabajadores internacionales!
¡Que viva la justicia y la dignidad de los migrantes unidos sin fronteras!"

Join us in demanding the repeal of the racist, anti-immigrant Arizona SB 1070 bill, and in opposing the introduction of similar repressive legislation in Michigan.

Initiated by the Detroit Local Organizing Committee of the US Social Forum

For more info call : 313-671-3715, 313-580-5474, 734-272-7651, or email: mecawi@mecawi.org

Initial endorsers: Centro Obrero, Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality, Detroit Green Party, Latinos Unidos de Michigan, Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice (MECAWI), Michigan Welfare Rights Organization, Moratorium NOW! Coalition




Tuesday, July 20, 2010

FREE Movie Night



THE DETROIT SOCIALIST PARTY PRESENTS
CHE (2008)
Sunday July 25th 7pm @ The Painted Lady Lounge
2930 Jacob St.
Hamtramck, MI 48212