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Detroit’s bankruptcy filing

By Grace Lee Boggs with Larry Sparks
Special to the Michigan Citizen

Last week’s Detroit’s bankruptcy filing by Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr acknowledged the reality that our city, which has been abandoned by millions of families and thousands of businesses, is not financially viable and must re-imagine and re-invent itself.

However, the state-appointed emergency manager did not include in his filing the shameful story of how the legislatures of Michigan and other states, which are now controlled by conservatives like the Koch brothers, have been strip mining cities by privatizing almost all services, attacking public workers and their unions, while at the same time providing billion-dollar tax cuts for large businesses and cutting revenue sharing to the cities.

These measures are setting into motion the bankruptcy or foreclosure of dozens of cities not only in our state but in other states.

Yet, local politicians have not told citizens this story or mobilized them to resist these policies or to recover the millions of dollars the state owes the cities in revenue sharing. For example, Michigan owes the city of Detroit $220 million in revenue sharing!

Fortunately, in North Carolina, the NAACP and the Greensboro Beloved Community Center, by creating the Moral Mondays movement, have set an example of how people all over the country can begin resisting.

For weeks, thousands of people have been gathering at the North Carolina State Legislative Building for the weekly Moral Monday protest called by the NAACP to oppose the agenda of the Republican-led state legislature.

Dr. William Barber

Dr. William Barber

Over the past 10 Mondays, 700 people have been arrested, including the Rev. Dr. William Barber, president of the North Carolina NAACP.

“If you want to change the nation, you have to change the South,” Dr. Barber explained on Democracy Now. “If you want to change the South, you have to change the state capitols, and we believe that this extreme ideological group understands that their narrow-minded agenda doesn’t have much longer in the public arena.”

“The Moral Mondays is not a spontaneous piece,” Barber said. “It grows out of eight years of organizing with the Historic Thousands on Jones Street People’s Assembly Coalition. Groups like Planned Parenthood and others have been involved all along because we know that in the South what changes the dynamics is fusion politics, and we understand the interconnectedness of our issues.

“And what we’ve been seeing since January in this legislature is that to cut 500,000 people from Medicaid … is immoral; it’s extreme, and it’s bad policy. To deny 170,000 people unemployment who lost their jobs with no fault of their own is extreme; it’s immoral, and it’s bad policy.

“To attack the poor by undoing the earned income tax credit, that even Ronald Reagan said was good — 900,000 people, so that you can give 23 families, wealthy families, a tax cut — is immoral, extreme and bad policy.

“To attack women’s rights, to attack voting rights, to try to engage in voter suppression, to undermine public education — all of these are part of what this extreme legislature — I don’t even call them Republican, Democrat — but extreme legislature is doing. We believe it’s immoral.

“And we’re forcing a new conversation in the public arena that’s not Republican and Democrat, that’s not liberal versus conservative, but really is talking about what’s moral and immoral, what’s extreme and what’s bad policy. We say it like this: It’s constitutionally inconsistent, it’s morally indefensible, and it’s economically insane.”

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