Friday, November 4, 2011


          Counterweight.mp3 by Guy Mingo
        I revisited Grand Circus Park on Halloween day to find handmade signs of all shapes and sizes delivering the message while organizers warmed up and reorganized in nearby sanctuaries.
      'Occupy Detroit' is going through a crucial phase. Veterans in the struggle for economic and social justice in Detroit have fully entered the discussions, and that gives us reason to be hopeful.    
      As it gets colder, 'Occupy Detroit' protest actions are becoming more focused and increasingly relevant. Debates over locations and names, beginning with a tumultuous Oct. 10 'Occupy Detroit' General Assembly meeting, have given way to protest actions.             
      The 'Occupy Detroit' organizers are taking issues that have devastated Detroit residents-- home foreclosures, rampant utility shutoffs, a state apparatus hell-bent on eliminating public education and social safety nets-- and creating a platform on which to build a long-term political presence.
      Witnessing an organic, grassroots political movement is rare. That's one reason, amongst many others, that political pundits on the cable news networks have such a hard time coming to terms with the 'Occupy' movement. Initially, most of the news coverage reflected exasperation, confusion, mockery and little else.
      It must be realized now that efforts like this are being duplicated hundreds of times over across the country. Now that the 'Occupy' movement is clearly nationwide, moderators in a better position to analyze it are getting more airtime.
        I've spoken with 'Occupy Detroit' organizers who are dealing with immediate logistical issues, such as turning the verbal support of labor unions into material support. Or strengthening the involvement of social welfare organizations to help with the growing numbers of homeless and substance abusers who are calling the encampment home.
        At the same time, they anticipate achieving long-term goals, like establishing political candidates to run in the 2012 local elections.
        In that spirit, 'Occupy Detroit' looks like a welcomed counterweight to heightened state and federal encroachments on the sovereignty and well-being of Detroit citizens.

        The track above includes the voice of longtime activist/organizer, Abayomi Azikiwe. His address occurred at the corner of Woodward and Adams during a scheduled MECAWI (Michigan Emergency Committee Against War and Injustice) meeting. MECAWI meetings have been convened in Grand Circus Park for the lat several weeks in conjunction and solidarity with the Occupy Detroit protest.