Democracy Going Down For The Count In Detroit

White Mayor of Detroit Mike Duggan
Mike Duggan will become Detroit’s first White Mayor in four decades

AFRICANGLOBE – The post-Civil Rights era vision to consolidate Black Power through purely electoral means in the major cities of the United States has all but evaporated.

Wherever possible, capital has reclaimed the urban centers for upscale White habitation, most often with the active collaboration of a venal Black political class concerned primarily with its own upward mobility. Always eager allies of high finance, the aspiring Black elite shares the general White assumption that concentrations of lower class Blacks are pathological, by definition.

This Black Misleadership Class never conceived of building great Black cities – only of great individual careers that could be launched on the voting strength of de facto African American majorities in the wake of Sixties White flight.

Too Black

Some cities, including New Orleans and Detroit, were, in the words of Public Enemy, “too Black, too strong,” with African-American majorities of 67 and 80-plus percent, respectively. Hurricane Katrina brought those numbers down to manageable size, creating the conditions for near-instantaneous Disaster Capitalist renaissance, in 2005.

That same year, in Detroit, the so-called “Hip Hop Mayor,” Kwame Kilpatrick – actually the spoiled, morally degenerate spawn of the historical Black Misleadership Class – strapped the Black metropolis into a suicide vest wired with interest rate swap derivatives. Similar devices are embedded in the fiscal structures of cities around the country, ready to bring down what’s left of home rule so that capital can feast on the public space, unconstrained.

Financial Nightmare

Detroit Bankruptcy
Detroit has suffered from years of mismanagement

This summer Orr, acting as the one-man embodiment of Detroit’s now-powerless executive and legislative branches, requested that the city be declared bankrupt. Federal Bankruptcy Court Judge Steven Rhodes finished hearing testimony last Friday on whether Orr, possibly the most hated man in Detroit, has met all the criteria for Chapter 9 law, including having negotiated in good faith with its creditors.

These include the city’s retirees, whose pensions are protected by Michigan’s constitution and, therefore, do not consider themselves “creditors” who can be forced to take a “hair cut,” in Wall Street parlance, in a municipal bankruptcy proceeding. Until just days before he announced his proposal to cut pensions on June 14, Orr pretended that he both respected those protections and thought there was only a “50-50” chance that he would try to pull the bankruptcy trigger.

A Vermin’s Day In Court

Even Judge Rhodes thought he smelled a rat, although that doesn’t mean he won’t rule for the rodents. He asked Jones Day lawyer Bruce Bennett – who is, in this Alice in Wonderland legal world, acting as Detroit’s lawyer and, therefore, the lawyer for former Jones Day employee Kevin Orr – if Orr hadn’t acted in bad faith by misleading the retirees.

Sounds like what a Virginia plantation owner would say about selling his excess slaves “down the river” to Louisiana’s cane fields. He might claim to feel their pain, but is entitled to market his property. Detroit’s new owners’ “good faith” goes no further than that. It is an antebellum relationship, dressed up for the new millennium.


By: Glen Ford

Mr. ford is managing director of Black Agenda Report, he can be contacted at [email protected].