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Sovereign cities

Cities hold a special place in the development of human beings. Their emergence is linked to the shift from hunting and gathering societies to the development of agriculture. As humans succeeded in agriculture, we were able to develop more permanent settlements and begin the process of specialization and the exchange of goods, services and ideas that gave rise to city life. ...

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Hope blossoms in Detroit

Chris Hedges is one of my favorite columnists. A graduate of the Harvard Divinity School, he has been a foreign correspondent in many parts of the world sending back dispatches, which reveal both a deep concern for life and a profound despair about the future of our planet. ...

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The wheels on the bus

Despite what mainstream media says, Detroit is wealthy in a variety of ways. The city’s wealth in history, culture and self-determination is exhibited in its historic demographic shifts over time; resources, race, and relationships have been shoved into corners of this area in ways I’ve never seen before, and it is especially apparent in Detroit’s food and transportation systems. ...

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Legal and right

The decision to pursue bankruptcy for the city of Detroit by Judge Steven Rhodes was not surprising. Almost everyone expected the judge to rule in favor of bankruptcy protection. What was surprising was the amount of time the judge took in delivering his decision and the effort he took to explain himself, especially on the key questions of did the city negotiate in good faith with its creditors; the numerou ...

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What is history?

The largely negative or at best lukewarm responses to “Many Rivers to Cross,” the heavily promoted PBS series produced under the aegis of Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates, provide us with the opportunity to revisit “What is History?” by the English historian E.H. Carr. ...

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A year of fresh, healthy, local food

Detroiters know the value of working together to revitalize our city. One of the best examples of the power of collaboration is the city’s vibrant healthy and local food movement. As a result of individuals, community groups, non-profits and small and large businesses working together, Detroiters can find healthy and locally-produced food throughout our neighborhoods. ...

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State of emergency

This is an unprecedented moment. Almost everyone agrees the drive to bankruptcy in Detroit is carving new paths on the American landscape. The facts are stark. A city of 700,000 people has been stripped of local representation; elders who have worked a lifetime on the promise of modest pensions and healthcare are facing devastating losses; big banks are lobbying to protect debts and secure payments on quest ...

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‘New York, New York: It’s a wonderful town!’

A couple of weeks ago a team of activists from the Boggs Center and I spent a few days in New York City so we could attend screenings of “American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs” with filmmaker/director Grace Lee. It was an unforgettable experience. Grace Lee had been sending me reports of the warm reception the documentary has been receiving at film festivals around the country. But it was ...

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Corrosive management

The process of emergency management reinforces values that destabilize Detroit. Having had more than a decade of EMs in our schools and the high profile installation of Kevyn Orr as an overseer of the city, the contradiction between civic values necessary to foster community life and the values that guide emergency management is becoming deeper every day. ...

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A voice for Michigan’s most vulnerable

On Nov. 1, the 47 million Americans enrolled in SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), otherwise known as food stamps, experienced a $5 billion, across-the-board reduction in their monthly benefits. The reduction — a result of phasing out the economic stimulus package of 2009 — amounts to an average cut of $36 for a family of four. At a cost of about $2 per meal, this means 18 fewer meals are ava ...

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