The 2014 Detroit Bankruptcy
The Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit’s creditors, the investment bankers, the unions, academia and identity politics
By David Walsh, 22 April 2014
A group of Detroit’s creditors has been dangling the DIA’s irreplaceable artwork in front of various hedge funds, private equity firms, billionaire collectors and auction houses.
By Shannon Jones and Thomas Gaist, 21 April 2014
Detroit workers and youth denounced water shutoffs and social conditions in the city.
By Thomas Gaist, 19 April 2014
Detroit workers expressed deep hostility and skepticism towards pension and other cuts that are part of the bankruptcy restructuring plans.
By Jerry White, 17 April 2014
All the principal political actors are being lined up in Detroit to browbeat workers over the next several weeks into accepting a bankruptcy restructuring plan, which contains sweeping attacks on the working class.
17 April 2014
The Detroit Workers Inquiry and the Socialist Equality Party are holding a public meeting April 23 to mobilize the working class against mass water shutoffs in the city of Detroit.
By Jerry White, 16 April 2014
The retiree association representing 6,500 former policemen and firefighters has reached an agreement with the city on pension and health care cuts.
By WSWS correspondents, 16 April 2014
Retired Detroit city worker Mushak Meah explained to World Socialist Web Site reporters the devastating impact the cuts were having on his life
By Workers Inquiry Chairman Lawrence Porter, 15 April 2014
The event was not intended as a genuine mobilization of the working class. It was organized to support the unions and the Democratic Party.
By Lawrence Porter, 15 April 2014
Lawrence Porter, chairman of the Workers Inquiry, spoke to protesters, consisting overwhelmingly of retirees, demonstrating April 1 against the draconian bankruptcy proposals of Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr.
By our reporter, 14 April 2014
Campaign teams visited several locations in the Detroit area over the past several days.
By Shannon Jones, 12 April 2014
UBS and Bank of America are being paid to unwind illegal swap deals that have already cost the city hundreds of millions of dollars.
By David Walsh, 12 April 2014
Major Detroit creditors filed a motion in federal bankruptcy court calling on the court to order the city to cooperate with investor groups interested in purchasing some or all of the DIA’s collection.
As savage cuts to pensions and benefits loom
By representatives of the Detroit Workers’ Inquiry, 11 April 2014
Retirees spoke to the Workers’ Inquiry about the attack on pensions, skyrocketing health care costs and the economic decimation of Detroit.
By Thomas Gaist, 10 April 2014
The offer is a huge increase from the 15 cents on the dollar previously proposed.
9 April 2014
This is the first of several interviews conducted by the World Socialist Web Site with retired Detroit city workers who are facing deep pension and health care cuts.
By Thomas Gaist, 8 April 2014
Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr is lining up private firms for what could become the largest water utility privatization in US history.
By Thomas Gaist at the Federal Court, 4 April 2014
The payment would terminate the “swaps deal,” which has already cost the city hundreds of millions
By Thomas Gaist, 3 April 2014
The new Plan of Adjustment includes larger cuts to firefighter and police pensions.
By WSWS reporters, 1 April 2014
Last week, the city of Detroit announced an aggressive campaign of water shutoffs targeting some 150,000 residents who are behind on their payments.
By Joseph Kishore, 29 March 2014
The plan to shut off running water to tens of thousands of Detroit households is the latest step in a deliberate policy of mass impoverishment in the United States.
By Shannon Jones, 29 March 2014
In a unanimous vote, a group of Detroit workers, students and retirees endorsed a resolution condemning plans by the city to cut off residents who are behind in their water bills
Utilities are a basic social right!
By Lawrence Porter, 28 March 2014
Larry Porter, SEP assistant national secretary and chairman of the Workers Inquiry into the Bankruptcy of Detroit, denounced the decision by city officials to shut off water service to tens of thousands of poor residents who are late on their water bills.
By Thomas Gaist, 27 March 2014
In an editorial, the News showered contempt on the more than 100,000 Detroit families who are behind on their water bills, denouncing them as “scofflaws”
Kevyn Orr justifies pension cuts, attack on DIA
By Shannon Jones, 26 March 2014
The appearance of Kevyn Orr Tuesday at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor was an exercise in cynicism and deceit.
By Thomas Gaist, 25 March 2014
The merger was unknown to the public until it was reported in the press, indicating that the hospitals’ management preferred to keep the deal under wraps as long as possible.
International Youth and Students for Social Equality, 25 March 2014
The following leaflet was distributed at the March 25 appearance of Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr at the University of Michigan.
As retired city workers are forced onto private exchanges
By Lawrence Porter, 24 March 2014
Several hundred workers, retirees and unemployed workers attended a publicly sponsored health care exposition at Cobo Hall in downtown Detroit last Wednesday.
By Thomas Gaist, 22 March 2014
The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department is launching an aggressive campaign to shut off between 1,500 and 3,000 customers per week.
By our reporter, 21 March 2014
The event, sponsored by the International Youth and Students for Social Equality, drew a diverse and attentive audience.
“The city wants to never have to fund pensions again”
By Thomas Gaist, 20 March 2014
The WSWS spoke with attorney Carole Neville about the historic cuts to pensions and health benefits contained in the plan of adjustment
By Thomas Gaist, 19 March 2014
The deal represents yet another huge giveaway to billionaire Mike Ilitch.
By Thomas Gaist, 18 March 2014
Retired Detroit city workers are bracing for punishing blows to their pensions under the emergency manager’s Plan of Adjustment.
As retiree letters flood the bankruptcy court…
By Thomas Gaist, 17 March 2014
Taking into account the end of cost-of-living adjustments (COLA), non-uniformed city worker pensions will be cut by 47 percent.
By James Brewer, 13 March 2014
Orr is exerting pressure to have a plan in place by the time of the bankruptcy hearing with the city’s creditors next month.
By Thomas Gaist and Usman Clemens, 12 March 2014
The $120 million loan will be used to fund city services until the bankruptcy plan is implemented.
By Thomas Gaist, 8 March 2014
Bloom has built a career around cutting favorable deals with Wall Street on behalf of the union bureaucracy.
By Thomas Gaist, 7 March 2014
Anticipating blowback as the unions collaborate in the cutting of pensions, a union-affiliated retiree organization is seeking insurance protection against future lawsuits.
By Thomas Gaist, 6 March 2014
After helping select the financial consulting firm for a $19 million contract to restructure Detroit, Michigan’s former state treasurer has been hired as a “project adviser” by Conway MacKenzie
6 March 2014
The following report was submitted to the Workers Inquiry into the Bankruptcy of Detroit and the Attack on the DIA & Pensions held at Wayne State University on February 15.
By Thomas Gaist, 5 March 2014
The March 2 meeting, sponsored by liberal and “left” supporters of the Democratic Party, called on Detroit pensioners to appeal to the Obama administration to defend them.
By Thomas Gaist, 5 March 2014
The disastrous interest rate swaps deal signed in 2005-06 with UBS and Bank of America has cost the city some $50 million annually
By Marc Wells, 4 March 2014
Italy’s new premier, Matteo Renzi, has approved a decree that prepares the framework for an unprecedented assault on public workers and services as well as the selloff of cultural assets.
By Debra Watson and Mitch Marcus, 4 March 2014
Both bus riders and bus drivers in Detroit are being singled out for further pain under Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr’s Plan of Adjustment.
Reports to the Workers Inquiry
By Barry Grey, 28 February 2014
This report was presented February 15 to the Workers Inquiry into the Bankruptcy of Detroit and the Attack on the DIA & Pensions by Barry Grey, World Socialist Web Site US national editor.
By Shannon Jones, 28 February 2014
Lawrence Porter, chairman of the Workers Inquiry, addressed the well-attended meeting, which attracted city workers and retirees, Griswold tenants facing eviction, students, young workers and professionals
By Jeff Lusanne, 27 February 2014
In this video, workers and youth reflect on the content of the Inquiry, its significance and the way forward in the fight to defend the rights of working people.
Report to the Workers Inquiry
By David Walsh, 26 February 2014
This report was presented February 15 to the Workers Inquiry into the Bankruptcy of Detroit and the Attack on the DIA & Pensions by David Walsh, World Socialist Web Site arts editor.
By Joseph Kishore, 24 February 2014
The “plan of adjustment” released by Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr is a massive assault on the city’s working class.
Report to the Workers Inquiry
By Tom Carter, 24 February 2014
This report was presented February 15 to the Workers Inquiry into the Bankruptcy of Detroit and the Attack on the DIA & Pensions, by Tom Carter, World Socialist Web Site legal correspondent.
By Thomas Gaist, 22 February 2014
The plan released by Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr includes major cuts to city worker pensions and health care.
Report to the Workers Inquiry
By Larry Porter, 21 February 2014
This report was presented to the February 15 Workers Inquiry by Larry Porter, assistant national secretary of the Socialist Equality Party and chairman of the Workers Inquiry into the Bankruptcy of Detroit and the Attack on the DIA & Pensions.
Plant closings, layoffs hit Michigan workplaces
By Shannon Jones, 20 February 2014
The nation’s third largest air carrier is contracting out ground worker jobs to low wage service providers.
Report to the Workers Inquiry
By Jerry White, 19 February 2014
This report was presented to the February 15 Workers Inquiry by Jerry White, a writer for the World Socialist Web Site and the Socialist Equality Party’s candidate in the 2012 US presidential election.
“We need to educate more people. We have to know who we are fighting here.”
By WSWS reporters, 18 February 2014
Workers, retirees and youth spoke with the World Socialist Web Site after the Workers Inquiry.
By our reporter, 18 February 2014
Workers, students and youth discussed the central political issues at stake in the Detroit bankruptcy at the Workers Inquiry on February 15.
By Kate Randall, 17 February 2014
The inquiry exposed a political conspiracy to rip up city workers’ pensions and benefits, privatize the DIA and restructure the city in the interests of the rich.
“This country could have a revolution”
By WSWS reporters, 17 February 2014
The WSWS spoke with workers, retirees and youth after the Workers Inquiry.
By <em>World Socialist Web Site</em> Editorial Board, 14 February 2014
On Saturday, the Socialist Equality Party in the US is holding an Inquiry to reveal the social and political roots of the Detroit bankruptcy and provide workers with the information they need to fight back.
By Thomas Gaist, 12 February 2014
The 30-year lease to the state paves the way for the island’s privatization
By Thomas Gaist, 11 February 2014
With less than a week before the Workers Inquiry into the Bankruptcy of Detroit and the Attack on the DIA & Pensions, the World Socialist Web Site spoke with Detroit firefighters about the Inquiry.
Tenants Council welcomes Lawrence Porter
By WSWS reporters, 10 February 2014
Socialist Equality Party Assistant National Secretary Lawrence Porter addressed a lively meeting of tenants at the invitation of the United Tenant Council of Councils on February 7.
“We have to be conscious, think, plan and unite”
By WSWS reporters, 8 February 2014
The WSWS spoke to workers who explained why they were planning to attend the Workers Inquiry into the Bankruptcy of Detroit and the Attack on the DIA & Pensions (detroitinquiry.org).
By Thomas Gaist, 7 February 2014
The new Red Wings hockey stadium, which will receive government subsidies of at least $285 million, is only the latest in a long line of corporate giveaways in Detroit.
By Thomas Gaist, 6 February 2014
The deal will transfer 39 parcels of land to Mike Ilitch’s Olympia Development for one dollar.
By our reporters, 5 February 2014
Workers at the wastewater treatment facility in southwest Detroit spoke to the WSWS about conditions at the plant.
By Alexander Fangmann, 5 February 2014
Chicago’s Democratic mayor, Rahm Emanuel, is escalating the attack on retiree benefits on the city and state level.
By Jerry White, 4 February 2014
The city’s “plan of adjustment” outlines a savage assault that will set a precedent to escalate the attacks on the working class throughout the US and internationally.
New pamphlet on Detroit bankruptcy
For a Workers Inquiry into the Bankruptcy of Detroit
4 February 2014
This new SEP pamphlet examines the financial swindles behind the bankruptcy of Detroit.
By Lawrence Porter, 4 February 2014
The following statement was issued by Lawrence Porter, the assistant national secretary of the Socialist Equality Party and chairman of the February 15 Workers Inquiry into the Bankruptcy of Detroit and the Attack on the DIA & Pensions.
By Khara Sikhan, 4 February 2014
Detroit’s infant mortality rate of 14.7 per 1,000 live births is worse than in many developing nations.
3 February 2014
Low-income seniors facing eviction from the Griswold Building in downtown Detroit appeal for support.
As media pushes governor’s “rescue” fraud
By Tim Rivers, 3 February 2014
Visitors to the Detroit Institute of Arts have reacted with suspicion over the scheme by mediators to put the museum’s priceless collection into the hands of private foundations as part of a bankruptcy settlement.
By Thomas Gaist, 1 February 2014
The emergency manager’s “plan of adjustment” will hand control of retiree health benefit funds to a union-controlled VEBA, slash pensions and privatize services.
By Mitch Marcus and Debra Watson, 31 January 2014
At public meetings held by the Detroit Department of Transportation last week, city officials made it clear that fare hikes are coming and that further massive service cuts are being demanded by Detroit’s creditors
By Thomas Gaist, 31 January 2014
The grand bargain being spearheaded by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder would transfer legal titles to all DIA assets “free and clear” to a private corporation.
By Lawrence Porter, 30 January 2014
Workers must oppose plans to eliminate 700 jobs—or 40 percent of the workforce—at the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department over the next several months.
By Bryan Dyne, 30 January 2014
As in Detroit, bankruptcy is being used as a cudgel against Flint workers to gut pensions and force through further concessions.
By Lawrence Porter, 29 January 2014
The real purpose of the proposal is to politically disarm the working class and facilitate the looting of the city by the corporate and financial elite.
By Thomas Gaist, 28 January 2014
DTE Energy and Consumers Energy carried out hundreds of thousands of utility shutoffs in Michigan during 2013.
The reality behind the “comeback” of Detroit
By Tim Rivers, 27 January 2014
Workers attending the North American International Auto Show spoke with reporters from the WSWS about the Workers Inquiry into the Detroit bankruptcy.
By Thomas Gaist, 25 January 2014
The “rescue” package for Detroit being promoted by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder will not save retirees from reductions in their pension and health benefits.
By a WSWS reporting team, 25 January 2014
The meeting was attended by students, workers and retirees, including a delegation of tenants facing eviction from the Griswold Apartments in downtown Detroit.
By our reporting team, 24 January 2014
Over 23,000 retired City of Detroit workers face a devastating cut in pensions and health care benefits under the bankruptcy restructuring plan being prepared by the city’s emergency manager.
By Thomas Gaist, 23 January 2014
Governor Rick Snyder stressed that such a settlement would be based on a deal involving full cooperation from the unions.
By Thomas Gaist and Jerry White, 23 January 2014
A Martin Luther King Day rally was used to whitewash the role of the unions and the Democratic Party in the bankruptcy of Detroit.
“Who can argue about a tree?”
By Zac Corrigan, 22 January 2014
Hantz Farms, a company owned by wealthy investors, has bought 1,500 abandoned lots on Detroit’s lower-east side for half a million dollars.
By James Brewer, 21 January 2014
The plan to put the Detroit Water and Sewage Department under regional control is the first step towards privatization of one of America’s largest publicly owned water systems.
SEP and IYSSE teams campaign for February 15 meeting
By Tim Rivers, 20 January 2014
Workers and young people responded strongly last week to the campaign for the February 15 Workers Inquiry into the Bankruptcy of Detroit and the Attack on the DIA and Pensions.
Public meeting at the University of Michigan
20 January 2014
The Socialist Equality Party and International Youth and Students for Social Equality will hold a public meeting at the University of Michigan on Wednesday, February 5 to discuss the campaign to build the Workers Inquiry into the Bankruptcy of Detroit.
Behind the fraudulent “rescue” plan
By Thomas Gaist, 18 January 2014
The $100 million demand amounts to an act of extortion and would have a ruinous impact on the museum’s balance sheet.
By Thomas Gaist, 17 January 2014
Rhodes acknowledged that a challenge to the legality of the “swaps deal” was “likely to succeed” but told the Detroit emergency manager to re-negotiate a payoff for the banks anyway
International Youth and Students for Social Equality holds rally to build support for Workers Inquiry
By our reporters, 17 January 2014
The IYSSE at Detroit’s Wayne State University is leading the fight to develop working class opposition to the bankruptcy.
By WSWS reporters, 16 January 2014
Facing the loss of their pensions and health benefits, thousands of retired Detroit city workers attended an event January 14 called by the union-affiliated Detroit Retired City Employees Association.
A Report on the Workers Inquiry into the Bankruptcy of Detroit
16 January 2014
The Socialist Equality Party and International Youth and Students for Social Equality will hold a public meeting on January 23 at Wayne State University to discuss the campaign to build the Workers Inquiry into the Bankruptcy of Detroit.
"This deal should have the swap counterparties paying the city"
By Thomas Gaist, 14 January 2014
Witnesses testified Monday that the 2005 interest rate swaps deal, which has drained hundreds of millions from Detroit's budget, was made in violation of Michigan state law.
By Larry Porter, 14 January 2014
The following statement was released by Larry Porter, the assistant national secretary of the Socialist Equality Party and chairman of the Workers Inquiry into the Bankruptcy of Detroit and the Attack on the DIA and Pensions.
“Educated workers are dangerous workers”
By our reporting team, 13 January 2014
An SEP campaign team discussed the upcoming Detroit Workers Inquiry at Eastern Market on Saturday.
By Kevin Reed, 11 January 2014
An examination of the Blight Removal Task Force co-chaired by billionaire Dan Gilbert shows it has nothing to do with improving the conditions of life of the people of Detroit.
Behind the attack on the Detroit Institute of Arts
By Nancy Hanover, 9 January 2014
In December, a US District Court judge proposed a “grand bargain” in which the world-class Detroit Institute of Art would be handed over to private foundations in exchange for $500 million, ending the century-long public ownership of the famous museum.
By Thomas Gaist, 8 January 2014
Detroit is only one in a long line of cities, which have paid gigantic sums to the big banks as a result of predatory interest rate swaps.