The 2014 Detroit Bankruptcy

Emergency manager acknowledges bank deals pushed on Detroit were likely illegal

By Thomas Gaist, 6 January 2014

Hearings continued last week on a plan for Detroit to pay $165 million to end a swaps deal with Bank of America and UBS that has already bled hundreds of millions of dollars from the city’s coffers.

Elderly couple dies in house fire on Detroit’s west side

By Shannon Jones, 6 January 2014

The deaths are the most recent in a series of tragedies related to the use of space heaters in cold weather.

Corporate spokesman Mike Duggan inaugurated as Detroit mayor

By Lawrence Porter—chairman of the Detroit Workers Inquiry, 3 January 2014

Duggan assumes an office with virtually no powers, with all decisions in the hands of an unelected emergency manager.

Australia: National Gallery of Victoria patrons denounce selloff of Detroit masterpieces

By our reporters, 3 January 2014

“These things are owned by the people, not just by the city council; they’re the people’s property.”

After years of privatization, Detroit charter school enrollment tops public schools

By Walter Gilberti and Nancy Hanover, 31 December 2013

Long before Michigan’s emergency manager law was used to throw Detroit into bankruptcy, the anti-democratic measure was first used to restructure Detroit schools and create a profit driven school system.

”They want to go back to the days when art was only for the wealthy”

DIA visitors support Workers Inquiry

By Jerry White, 30 December 2013

A Socialist Equality Party team campaigned outside the Detroit Institute of Arts Saturday to build for the Workers Inquiry into the Attack on the DIA to be held February 15 at Wayne State University.

Fee bonanza for attorneys, accountants and consultants:

Who is getting paid for the plunder of Detroit?

By Kevin Reed, 28 December 2013

Nothing reveals more openly the criminal looting of Detroit by the wealthy elite than the $100 million being paid out to well-connected law firms, accountants and consultancy businesses.

Statement from the chairman of the Workers Inquiry

Cancel Detroit’s debt!

By Lawrence Porter, 27 December 2013

Lawrence Porter issued the following statement on the city of Detroit’s settlement with Bank of America and Swiss bank UBS.

As campaign builds for workers inquiry

More Detroit workers speak on pensions, jobs and the DIA

By Tim Rivers, 24 December 2013

Many workers and young people at Chrysler’s Warren Truck plant and Detroit’s Eastern Market spoke out about the issues being investigated by the Workers Inquiry into the Attack on the DIA and the Bankruptcy of Detroit.

Inquiry gains momentum among workers

Detroiters denounce the widening social divide

By Tim Rivers, 23 December 2013

At a Chrysler plant and Detroit’s Eastern Market, workers denounced the looting of city pensions and the art museum, the mortgage swindle and the disappearance of well-paying jobs.

“What you have now is not a true government, it is a dictatorship”

Detroit bus drivers speak out on bankruptcy, crisis in city bus system

By our reporters, 21 December 2013

For four years, Detroit residents have seen the already grossly inadequate public bus system gutted by cuts in public funding.

Christie’s appraisal paves way for sale of Detroit Institute of Arts masterpieces

By Joseph Kishore, 20 December 2013

An itemized list from the New York City auction house places the combined monetary value of a selection of the DIA’s most significant artwork at $867 million.

In the bankruptcy court

Detroit emergency manager conceals evidence of possible financial collusion

By Thomas Gaist, 19 December 2013

Nearly two-thirds of the massive loan sought by Kevyn Orr will likely be paid to Bank of America and UBS AG to end the "swap deal."

Detroit’s bankruptcy ruling paves way for new attacks on California workers

By Gabriel Black, 18 December 2013

Detroit’s bankruptcy ruling will be used to deepen the attack against workers in California.

Chairman of Workers Inquiry condemns privatization of Detroit public lighting system

By our reporter, 18 December 2013

Lawrence Porter, the chairman of the Workers Inquiry into the Attack on the DIA and the Bankruptcy of Detroit, condemned the handover of the city’s public lighting system to utility giant DTE Energy.

Bankruptcy judge moves to privatize Detroit public lighting system

By Thomas Gaist, 17 December 2013

The bankruptcy judge has approved a key aspect of Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr’s plan to privatize Detroit’s public lighting system.

Detroit firefighters, city workers speak out on bankruptcy decision

By our reporters, 16 December 2013

A WSWS team spoke with Detroit fire firefighters and workers at the city’s giant sewerage treatment plant.

Detroit Institute of Arts privatization plan would undermine both art and pensions

By Jerry White, 13 December 2013

Although the details of the secret discussions involving the fate of the Detroit Institute of Arts remain sketchy, a federal mediator in the Detroit bankruptcy case is reportedly close to a deal that would privatize the DIA.

Deadly house fires as winter freeze hits Detroit

By our reporting team, 13 December 2013

Two Detroit house fires in the past week have left two children dead and other residents injured.

Supporters of Detroit Workers Inquiry hold meeting with tenants facing eviction

By Our reporting team, 10 December 2013

Supporters of the Socialist Equality Party (SEP) held a meeting Saturday with tenants facing eviction at the Griswold Apartments in downtown Detroit to discuss the February 15 Workers Inquiry Into the Attack on the DIA and the Bankruptcy of Detroit.

Chrysler workers denounce Detroit bankruptcy ruling, support Workers Inquiry

By WSWS reporting team, 7 December 2013

Workers at Chrysler’s Warren Truck Assembly plant expressed anger at the bankruptcy court ruling that Detroit city workers’ pensions were not protected by the state constitution and could be cut.

Video: SEP holds press conference to announce Workers Inquiry

6 December 2013

The answer of the working class to the ruling of the bankruptcy court in Detroit is being prepared by the campaign for the Workers Inquiry into the Attack on the DIA and the Bankruptcy of Detroit.

The unions and the Detroit bankruptcy

By Joseph Kishore, 2 December 2013

In precise legal language, a motion filed in bankruptcy court to demand the sale of DIA art exposes the unions as full participants in the bankers’ conspiracy against the working class.

As unions push sale of art treasures

Detroit workers defend DIA

By Tim Rivers, 2 December 2013

In preparation for the February 15 Workers Inquiry into the Attack on the DIA and the Bankruptcy of Detroit, members of the Socialist Equality Party spoke to workers and students who were visiting the Detroit Institute of Art (DIA) last Friday night.

Detroit union joins legal action to force sell-off of DIA art

By Jerry White, 28 November 2013

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees has joined a legal action to demand that Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr sell the cultural treasures of the Detroit Institute of Arts to pay off the city’s creditors.

Students, retirees campaign for workers’ inquiry into Detroit bankruptcy

By a WSWS reporting team, 25 November 2013

A campaign team in downtown Detroit won an enthusiastic response to the call for a workers’ inquiry into the attack on the Detroit Institute of Arts and the bankruptcy of the city.

“It’s capitalism, not democracy”

Detroit sanitation workers denounce privatization

By Thomas Gaist, 20 November 2013

Sanitation workers face layoffs and benefit cuts as Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr moves ahead with privatization plans.

Two firms selected to privatize Detroit trash collection

By J. Cooper, 18 November 2013

Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr’s spokesman announced that two private companies will be awarded contracts for Detroit’s garbage pickup.

Water and Sewerage Department employees support Detroit Workers Inquiry

By James Brewer, 16 November 2013

The Detroit Water and Sewerage Departmen is a major target in the plunder of public assets under the auspices of Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr.

The Detroit bankruptcy trial

By Jerry White, 14 November 2013

Behind the façade of impartial justice, what has been discussed in the Detroit bankruptcy court is plain and simple: theft on a monumental scale.

Detroit’s Belle Isle to be leased to state, ending free access

By Thomas Gaist, 14 November 2013

A Michigan state financial assistance board voted Tuesday to approve the transfer of control over Belle Isle to the state government in Lansing.

A who’s who of the conspirators behind the Detroit bankruptcy

By Thomas Gaist, 13 November 2013

Two weeks of testimony in the Detroit bankruptcy case have exposed the pre-meditated character of the July 18 decision by Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr to initiate the largest municipal bankruptcy proceeding in US history.

Chrysler workers speak on inquiry into Detroit bankruptcy

By a WSWS reporting team, 11 November 2013

Workers at the Chrysler Warren Truck Assembly Plant voiced support for the proposal for a workers inquiry in the bankruptcy of Detroit.

Closing arguments heard in Detroit bankruptcy case

By Thomas Gaist, 9 November 2013

Judge Stephen Rhodes is now set to make a decision as to whether the bankruptcy can proceed.

Governor’s chief operative takes stand in final day of testimony in Detroit bankruptcy trial

By Thomas Gaist, 8 November 2013

Richard Baird, a key player in the plot to throw Detroit into Chapter 9 bankruptcy, testified Thursday

Corporate cost-cutter Mike Duggan elected Detroit mayor

By Jerry White, 8 November 2013

The election attracted barely 25 percent of registered voters, meaning Duggan will take office with the support of only a tiny fraction of the city’s eligible voters.

Former Michigan state treasurer testifies in Detroit bankruptcy trial

By Thomas Gaist and Jerry White, 6 November 2013

From the time Republican Governor Rick Snyder appointed him treasurer in January 2011, Dillon, a Democrat and former investment banker, was the chief architect of the drive to throw Detroit into bankruptcy.

Detroit Bankruptcy at center of National Bankruptcy Judges conference

By Lawrence Porter, 5 November 2013

The national and constitutional implications of Detroit’s bankruptcy filing was the central topic of discussion at the conference of bankruptcy judges in Atlanta, Georgia last week.

Emergency Manager Orr to Detroit pensioners: Your “rights are in bankruptcy now”

By Thomas Gaist, 5 November 2013

Cross examination of Orr further exposed the Jones Day law firm’s role in planning the bankruptcy of Detroit

For a Workers Inquiry into the Attack on the DIA and the Bankruptcy of Detroit!

Statement of the Socialist Equality Party

4 November 2013

The Socialist Equality Party and the International Youth and Students for Social Equality are organizing a Workers Inquiry as the next stage in the Battle of Detroit in opposition to the entire political establishment.

Emergency manager and Michigan governor follow Jones Day blueprint to gut pensions

By Shannon Jones, 31 October 2013

An article by Jones Day attorneys published in 2011 lays out a strategy to use the bankruptcy court to gut public employee pensions.

More testimony from Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr in Detroit bankruptcy case

By Thomas Gaist, 30 October 2013

Orr’s testimony underscored the fact that the main purpose of the bankruptcy filing is to carry out a massive confiscation of wealth from working people in Detroit.

Emergency manager, Michigan governor testify in Detroit bankruptcy case

By Thomas Gaist and Jerry White, 29 October 2013

Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr and Governor Richard Snyder testified about their roles in preparing the Chapter 9 filing during Monday’s trial.

Bankruptcy proceedings in Detroit: The looting of an American city

By Jerry White, 28 October 2013

A foul spectacle is being played out in bankruptcy court in Detroit that has ominous implications for workers throughout the United States and internationally.

Top banker, emergency manager testify in third day of Detroit bankruptcy trial

By Thomas Gaist, 26 October 2013

Day three of the bankruptcy hearings saw initial testimony from Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr, who described his appointment as “a call to action.”

Day two of Detroit bankruptcy hearings: Unions urge liquidation of city assets, including DIA

By Thomas Gaist, 25 October 2013

The city’s legal team concentrated on arguing that bankruptcy is legitimate and necessary, while the unions’ representatives continued to argue that bankruptcy should have been avoided by liquidating city assets.

Trial on Detroit bankruptcy begins

By Thomas Gaist and Jerry White, 24 October 2013

Attorneys representing the city and the unions made arguments during an unprecedented Chapter 9 case.

Driver sickout halts bus service in Detroit

By Shannon Jones, 22 October 2013

Detroit transit workers took off work Monday to protest a wide range of grievances, including assaults on drivers, cuts to pay and benefits and deteriorating service.

Detroit residents forced to wait hours for buses

By Debra Watson, 21 October 2013

The WSWS spoke to residents of Detroit about the disastrous state of the city’s public transportation system.

Union-backed mayoral candidate proposes selloff of DIA artwork

By Bryan Dyne, 19 October 2013

Former police chief and current mayoral candidate Benny Napoleon said he would sell the art at the DIA to prevent the layoff of police officers.

Emergency manager continues threat to “monetize” DIA art treasures

By Jerry White, 17 October 2013

Orr is expected to make a decision on selling the artwork at the Detroit Institute of Arts by next month.

Detroit emergency manager eliminates retiree health care benefits

By Jerry White, 16 October 2013

Nearly 20,000 retired municipal workers in Detroit will see their city-paid health benefits disappear as of January 1, 2014.

CBS “60 Minutes” report on Detroit: An apologia for Wall Street looting

By Shannon Jones, 16 October 2013

In so far as the report presents any explanation for the crisis in the city, it is to suggest that overly generous wages and benefits are to blame.

Obama backs Detroit bankruptcy

By Jerry White, 15 October 2013

The Obama administration has intervened to uphold the power of the federal bankruptcy court to gut the benefits of public employees and sell off public assets, including masterpieces at the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Video: Auto workers defend Detroit Institute of Arts

15 October 2013

Chrysler and Ford workers voice their opposition to the threatened sale of art from the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Video: Rally participants speak on the demonstration in defense of the DIA

10 October 2013

Workers and students spoke on their reasons for attending the “Defend the DIA” demonstration on October 4.

Endorsements for Defend the DIA campaign

10 October 2013

Messages of support for the campaign to defend the DIA.

Detroit firefighters call for defense of the DIA

By Thomas Gaist, 10 October 2013

Detroit firefighters voiced their approval for the Defend the DIA! demonstration organized by the SEP and discussed how the struggle against the emergency manager could be taken forward.

“Without the DIA we would not know anything about culture”

Workers and students speak out in defense of the DIA

By WSWS reporters, 8 October 2013

The WSWS is publishing more interviews from the hundreds of workers and youth who attended last Friday’s demonstration.

The significance of the rally to defend the Detroit Institute of Arts

By Joseph Kishore and David North, 7 October 2013

Hundreds of workers and youth attended the demonstration called by the Socialist Equality Party, in the first expression of mass opposition to the demands of Detroit’s emergency manager.

Video: Hundreds rally to defend the Detroit Institute of Arts

By Andre Damon, 7 October 2013

The demonstration, called by the Socialist Equality Party and International Youth and Students for Social Equality, gave expression to popular opposition to the dictates of Detroit’s emergency manager.

Downtown Detroit tenants rally to demand decent and affordable housing

By Betty Hayes, 7 October 2013

Tenant councils from downtown Detroit held a march and rally on Saturday to oppose the attacks on decent and affordable housing for veterans, seniors and the disabled.

Hundreds rally to oppose sale of art at the Detroit Institute of Arts

By Shannon Jones, 5 October 2013

Five hundred youth, workers, students, professionals and retirees from across the Detroit area expressed the mass opposition to the dictates of the city's emergency manager and the threat to loot the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Workers and young people at demonstration speak out in defense of the DIA

By Tim Rivers, 5 October 2013

Workers and young people spoke to the WSWS about why they had come to the demonstration.

Detroit emergency manager escalates threats against DIA art

By Shannon Jones, 4 October 2013

At a Detroit Economic Club luncheon, Emergency Manger Kevyn Orr reiterated his determination to sell DIA artworks to pay off the city’s creditors.

Downtown Detroit tenants facing eviction support demonstration to save the DIA

By Betty Hayes, 4 October 2013

Detroit residents facing eviction due to gentrification are sending a delegation to the October 4 demonstration.

”To sell off any of its assets is to rob us all!”

Endorsements flood in on eve of DIA demonstration

4 October 2013

Messages of support for the campaign to defend the DIA and the October 4 demonstration continue to come in from throughout the US and internationally.

The Detroit Institute of Arts and the defense of culture in the US

By Joseph Kishore, 3 October 2013

On Friday, the Socialist Equality Party is holding a demonstration outside the Detroit Institute of Arts, the first stage in the party’s campaign to oppose the threatened sale of the museum’s treasures.

Video: Press conference held for “Defend the DIA” demonstration

By James Brewer, 3 October 2013

The Socialist Equality Party and the International Youth and Students for Social Equality held a press conference Tuesday to prepare for Friday’s rally to defend the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Detroit area residents speak against sale of DIA art and budget cuts

By a WSWS reporting team, 3 October 2013

An SEP and IYSSE campaign team spoke to workers and young people at Detroit’s Eastern Market about the threatened sale of DIA artworks and the ongoing cuts in social services.

“The art at the DIA belongs to the people, not to the rich!”

SEP and IYSSE hold press conference to announce October 4 rally to defend the DIA

2 October 2013

Lawrence Porter, the SEP’s assistant national secretary, delivered the main remarks at the press conference, which was covered by local media.

More endorsements of the “Defend the DIA” campaign

2 October 2013

Messages of support for the October 4 demonstration to defend the DIA continue to stream in from the US and internationally.

“All the beautiful things are being taken away from us”

Workers speak out against threat to sell off the DIA

By Tim Rivers, 1 October 2013

Workers and young people visiting the museum voiced their opposition to the threat from Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr to sell off the collection of the DIA.

Millions in consultancy fees paid out by Detroit emergency manager

By James Brewer, 1 October 2013

Documents acquired by the Detroit Free Press have exposed a boondoggle for well-connected bankruptcy consultants.

Support grows for campaign to defend the DIA

1 October 2013

In recent days, dozens of workers, artists and youth in the Detroit area and around the world have sent in messages of support for the October 4 demonstration to oppose the sell-off of art from the DIA.

The Obama administration and the Detroit bankruptcy

By Joseph Kishore, 30 September 2013

Obama administration officials visited Detroit to provide a fig leaf of “reform” to the emergency manager’s plans to slash pensions and health care and sell off art from the Detroit Institute of Arts.

“The DIA has really helped educate me”

High school students defend Detroit Institute of Arts

By Zac Corrigan and Usman Clemens, 30 September 2013

The DIA, which regularly hosts school visits and runs outreach programs to area schools and communities, has long had a powerful impact on young people.

On the 80th anniversary of the DIA’s Rivera Court

Museum show misrepresents Detroit’s crisis and history

By Tim Rivers, 30 September 2013

An exhibition of 14 mural panels commemorating the completion eighty years ago, in March 1933, of Diego Rivera’s Detroit Industry frescoes opened September 4 at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit.

Detroit emergency manager to freeze city pensions

By Andre Damon, 28 September 2013

Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr announced a plan Thursday to freeze the city’s pension plans, wiping out benefits for thousands of workers.

“Detroit is being used as a milestone for every city”

Detroit workers, retirees oppose pension cuts

By our reporters, 28 September 2013

The World Socialist Web Site spoke to firefighters and retirees about the impact of planned pension cuts announced by Detroit’s Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr.

White House officials visit Detroit to support “restructuring” plans

By Shannon Jones, 28 September 2013

Top figures in the Obama administration travelled to Detroit Friday for a meeting with state and local officials, presenting proposals for token federal aid to the city.

Detroit blues singer Thornetta Davis: “DIA is important to the youth of Detroit”

28 September 2013

The campaign to defend the DIA is winning widespread support from workers and youth throughout the country and internationally.

Detroit’s Belle Isle, Frederick Law Olmsted and popular access to culture

By Tom Mackaman, 28 September 2013

Along with the Detroit Institute of Arts, Belle Isle Park in Detroit, initially designed by celebrated landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, is being sized up for sale or liquidation.

Video: Detroit creative art students denounce DIA selloff plans

27 September 2013

Students and visitors at the College for Creative Studies, across the street from the Detroit Institute of Arts, spoke to the WSWS.

The working class and the Detroit Institute of Arts

By Joseph Kishore, 25 September 2013

The fight against the sale of artwork at the Detroit Institute of Arts is of the highest importance to the working class in Detroit, throughout the United States and internationally.

Governor’s slush fund pays for Detroit emergency manager’s luxury condo

By Lawrence Porter, 25 September 2013

A secret fund established by Michigan’s multi-millionaire governor, Rick Snyder, is paying for Detroit’s Emergency Manager’s luxury condominium and other expenses.

Detroit’s emergency manager plans early payoff of top banks

By James Brewer, 24 September 2013

Kevyn Orr is demanding the payoff of the banks involved in a toxic loan deal with the city before any other creditors, including pensioners

Support builds for demonstration to defend Detroit Institute of Arts

By Jerry White, 24 September 2013

Momentum is building for the October 4 demonstration called by the SEP and International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE) to oppose the selloff of the masterpieces of the Detroit Institute of Arts.

While slashing city workers pensions

Detroit officials find $286 million to subsidize new sports arena

By Julien Kiemle, 21 June 2013

Billionaire developer Mike Ilitch will construct a new arena, largely with public funds, for his Red Wings hockey franchise

As developers gentrify Detroit, evictions increase

By Zac Corrigan, 20 June 2013

Billionaire home loan tycoon and real estate investor Dan Gilbert is anticipating a windfall from the potential bankruptcy of Detroit and is rapidly increasing his holdings in downtown Detroit.

Throw out the emergency manager!

Video: D’Artagnan Collier responds to Kevyn Orr’s plan to slash workers’ retirement benefits

19 June 2013

In this video, D’Artagnan Collier, the Socialist Equality Party’s candidate for Detroit mayor, replies to the proposal by Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr to slash the pensions and health care benefits of city workers.

SEP candidate in Detroit speaks with workers about attack on pensions

By Bryan Dyne, 19 June 2013

Workers in Detroit spoke with D’Artagnan Collier about emergency manager Kevyn Orr’s plans to gut pensions and sell off city assets.

Collier speaks with Detroiters opposing high school privatization plan

By our team of reporters, 18 June 2013

SEP Detroit mayoral candidate D’Artagnan Collier spoke with protestors at Northwestern High School to discuss the nature of so-called “self-governing” schools

Social counterrevolution in Detroit

By Andre Damon, 17 June 2013

Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr announced a plan Friday to wipe out the pensions and health benefits of current and retired city workers, condemning nearly 20,000 retirees and their families to poverty and poor health.

The dismantling of Pontiac, Michigan

A dress rehearsal for Detroit

By Esther Galen, 17 June 2013

Of 21 Michigan cities under emergency managers, none has yet faced as drastic cuts in public services as Pontiac.

Pontiac residents describe social disaster left by emergency manager

By our reporters, 17 June 2013

Workers in Pontiac spoke about their experiences under emergency management.

Detroit workers speak out against NSA spying

By David Brown, 15 June 2013

Workers in Detroit spoke to the WSWS about Edward Snowden and the leaks that have revealed massive government surveillance.

D'Artagnan Collier, David Walsh speak in defense of the DIA and culture as a social right

By Bryan Dyne, 15 June 2013

Collier and Walsh discussed the defense of culture as part of a program and perspective for the working class.

What the WSWS said about the Detroit Institute of Arts millage

15 June 2013

We are reposting below a statement originally published by the WSWS last August opposing a property tax promoted by the political and corporate establishment of Detroit and Michigan for the ostensible purpose of “saving” the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Detroit emergency manager meets with city’s creditors, presents slash-and-burn plan

By Bryan Dyne, 15 June 2013

Kevyn Orr met with Detroit’s creditors in a closed-door meeting to outline how he intends to restructure the city on behalf of the wealthy.