Sunday, March 31, 2013

Mass Intervention

        Is the actual function of the emergency manager to protect profits for multinational banks?
        After years of grassroots activism to stop the state-led political takeover, emergency financial manager Kevyn Orr has arrived. Right now one hundred Detroit-based activists are marching and sitting-in, calling attention to the anti-democratic maneuver. The legal activist community has prepared a federal lawsuit against the EM which siting numerous conflicts of interest.
        Recognizing the encroachment on civil rights that the emergency manager law undoubtedly represents --and the potential for further abuse-- veterans of the civil rights movement are also taking a firm stand.
        Reverend Jesse Jackson took center stage during a March 22 press conference supported by Detroit political figures. He cut straight to the heart of the matter, saying that in the face of such unlawfulness, the only avenue to redress and the reinstatement of democratic principals is a "major, mass, non-violent demonstration in Michigan."
        True enough.
        But other activists are placing the emphasis on what they say is the real reason why the state needs an 'emergency manager' in the first place: to provide legislative protection for large financial institutions, or multinational banks, and the racketeering schemes they continue to perform on poor neighborhoods across America.
        Documents show that the same banks that decimated Detroit's revenue base with years of predatory lending schemes arbitrarily  raised rates on municipal bond payments-- $14 billion in debt that the city of Detroit has accumulated through questionable and often times coerced agreements.
        Governor Rick Snyder and Michigan lawmakers provide the political cover so the banks will receive a maximum return, and profit.
        Consider this-- the connections between Orr and those financial institutions holding the bonds are numerous.
        Attorney Kevin Orr worked for the Washington D.C. office of the law firm, Jones-Day. His client list included many, if not all, of the financial institutions that Detroit now calls its "bondholders".
        These financiers can't risk a rogue bankruptcy filing by the city-- and a possible forfeiture of billions in artificially, possibly illegal, manufactured profits-- without a guiding force.
        And they can't risk the possibility that the city take any direct action against the banks in the form of a lawsuit for financial restitution, stemming from years of illegal foreclosures and the sub-prime loan scandals.
        Is this why conservative forces are working so hard to keep EM law, and Kevyn Orr, in place? Would they suddenly pursue such broad, anti-democratic measures as an emergency manager law without an underlying profit-based motive?
       side note: Detroit is not the only large city in America running low on cash.
       side note 2 (and widely under-reported): In February 2012, city worker's unions collectively offered massive concessions to keep the city's short term budget deficit manageable. After Council and Mayor Dave Bing considered the deal, Bing later reversed his position on a union tentative agreement and opted for the state's 'Consent Agreement' plan instead. The 'Consent Agreement', after one year of the five-year plan, is now null and void.
        Reverend Jesse Jackson's comments are especially relevant considering the recent history. In fact, Kevyn Orr assumes the EM position at the tail end of years of successful legal and political action against the emergency manager law by grassroots initiative. Last year organizers collected 220,000 signatures statewide to repeal the emergency manager law. In November 2012, Michigan citizens, with massive support in Detroit, struck down the emergency manager law at the polls.
        The Michigan legislature reacted immediately by brazenly drafting and passing another emergency manager law, PA 436. It went into affect, March 28, 2013 just as Orr took up residence down the hall from the Mayor's office. Michigan lawmakers attached budget appropriations to the new bill, so it can't legally be challenged by referendum.
        All legal and political pathways to popular reform, presumably entrenched in our democratic system, are exhausted. The people of Detroit, and throughout Michigan, ignored.
        If we agree that the emergency manager is indeed undemocratic and an assault on the civil rights of Michigan citizens, then further action must be considered.
        Reverend Jackson, in his call to action, was careful to include the entire state and not just the city of Detroit. Majority-Black cities have taken the brunt of the emergency law making it impossible to conclude that race isn't a factor. But all Michigan citizens should be outraged and vigilant.
       We are being asked to disregard even the most basic criteria demanded by a so-called Democracy. We have to do our job to protect those few remaining democratic principals. The EM is certainly here to do his job-- making sure the banks get paid.

        The track above includes the voice of civil rights leader, Reverend Jesse Jackson, speaking during a press conference held in conjunction with City Councilmember Joann Watson and other political activists in the Erma Henderson Auditorium on the 13th floor of the Coleman A. Young Municipal Building.

        Gypsy Cab Dispatch would like to thank Nadir Omowale for providing valuable assistance during the mixdown of 'Mass Intervention'. Take a moment and visit his site here.

                                                                                                                           Peace, Guy