The article by Micah White of Occupy Wall Street provides great advice on movement building and evolution. I’ve had people here in Detroit interested in movement building on new ventures and they’ve seen recent efforts not going so well. The reasons are continued attempts using the same methods. Once you become predictable you are conquerable and become consequentially passed over by the press and people watching it. The efforts to be heard fall short of desired goals.
[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Normal has never changed anything ever — Stephen Boyle[/pullquote]
Evolving movements must realize that establishing a normal process is what corporate training leads them toward. Corporatizing movements is compromizing why activism happens. We aren’t interested in normal! “Normal has never changed anything ever.” I’ve been saying this for a few years now and each time someone hears it a “lightbulb appears”. Radical change requires radical means and efforts. Guerilla warfare is an example and how the Americas won the Revolutionary War leading to independence from English regime. Much of America has lost its luster, there is little gleam in the eye of those here wishing for change. The only way it’ll happen is moving beyond those influences we hold sacred (and reliable). Relying on something is where we are losing it. We’re forgetting how to produce on our own. Community building has to learn that doing different shouldn’t be shunned but needs to be embraced as the evolutionary path needed. Getting involved in the evolution means listening and doing. Being outspoken and responsible at the same time.
As one of the original co-creators of the Occupy Wall Street movement, I’ve watched student protests sweep across campuses in Cape Town,Missouri, London and Los Angeles with a growing sense of optimism. The history of protest suggests that students are often the first to sense the opportunity for revolutionary change.
I suspect that the new wave of campus protests could be the foreshock to the global social movement that activists have been hoping for since the end of Occupy. To increase the odds, here is some advice to student protesters, based on the lessons from my time with Occupy.
First, never protest the same way twice. The birth of a new movement is exciting. But the effectiveness of a protest diminishes if the same tactic is used repeatedly. Once the occupation tactic stopped working in the face of police crackdowns and the onset of winter weather, Occupy Wall Street stopped existing.
Detroit was a major target of fraudulent mortgages failing due diligence as reported by the Frontline special The Untouchables. The day after its release the Criminal Chief at the US Department of Justice, Lenny Breuer resigned. A portion of the show provided interviews with mortgage industry insiders who pushed through mortgages without complying with due diligence requirements. These whistle-blowers had all left their position once they saw the problem growing larger.
“When a case could be brought, we did. But when we cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that there was criminal intent, then we have a constitutional duty not to bring those cases,” Breuer said. He added that when considering whether to bring a case, the department took into consideration the effect that such action may have on the broader economy. The statement drew a sharp rebuke from lawmakers, who said the interview raised “important questions about the Justice Department’s prosecutorial philosophy.” — WGBH, March 13, 2014
Targeted On: Detroit
Long-term homeowners in Detroit were targeted by the mortgage industry. Generational homes were put up as collateral for fresh funding which the industry inappropriately approved. Financially, these families couldn’t afford the payments on these loans and they were climbing a wall of debt sacrificing credit. The intent of most was maintaining and fixing up the house for many this wasn’t met due to the scam of inappropriate mortgages. Low interest ARMs (Adjustable Rate Mortgages) would be affordable the first few years then a balloon payment would hit and much higher interest rate. Were the consumers properly educated, but more importantly lending in good faith requires diligence by the lender! Financial vehicles such as this is how the mortgage industry delivered Detroit as “not investing in itself”.
This two part show from Breaking The Set, hosted by Abby Martin, is very insightful and leaves you wondering what the future will hold for Detroit.
Part 1 – Extinguishing the Homeless & Shutting Off Human Rights
Includes a visit to Detroit Tent City, and the Detroit Water Brigade.
Part 2 – Bankruptcy, Dictatorship & Foreclosed Futures
Includes an interview with Pastor David Bullock and a driving tour with discussion.
Up to One-Fifth (20%) of Detroit residents will be facing foreclosure notices in 2014-2015. [ source ]
Census data shows we have the highest concentration of black and African Americans in the US. 82.7% of residents are black or of African origin, 83.6% have lived in their home over one year, and income reported per capita is $14,861 (2012) – 38.1% are below poverty level. This compares with state-wide statistics of 14.2% black residents, 85.4% in home over one year, and $25,547 per capita income. The cause is described in the Hardest Hit Funds rationale produced through Detroit’s Emergency Manager. The paper from states:
What remains is to clean up around the targeted investment so that new growth in market-rate housing or new uses such as public green spaces, have an opportunity to flourish. The starting point for continuing to reinvigorate the market is the clearance of the decades-old signs of disinvestment in the area. This is the strongest way to solidify the investments made over the last two to five years and encourage newcomers and pent up demand to take the risk and become involved in the market.
Every worker in the demolition crew from Northville was white.
The paper embraces demolition and lists neighborhoods to pursue, timelines, and specific companies to work with (many of which employ persons that don’t reside in Detroit).
Northville demolition company clearing houses on West Grand Blvd
Master of Treating Disinvestment
One has to note that banks led the way through predatory lending extracting money from Detroit. If Kevyn Orr, the Emergency Manager, is claiming DISINVESTMENT occurred – he is part of the problem as a financial lawyer from Jones Day that has plenty of history working as legal counsel with banking and investment clients responsible for the financial collapse which has swelled in the past decade.
Lets be perfectly clear Blight Removal has another name Black Removal
The majority of Hardest Hit Funds are allocated to demolition – blight removal. Stated reason is to improve the market. A market that very few of those being displaced fit within. What we have is homeOWNers turning into RENTers in their generational family homes with plenty of speculating investors (many are not in the USA) and property management companies now in control.
Homelessness and Genocide
The quest to invigorate the housing market of Detroit is placing profit over people, displacing thousands with no “Trail Of Tears” in sight. Detroit’s Black Removal is likely to be 2-3 times greater number of people affected than the Trail Of Tears in the mid-1800s (which was roughly 46,000).Some community members state this is genocide since the symptoms are present. 1)What is genocide? (GenocideWatch) Stages of Genocide from GenocideWatch
A Future of Homelessness
Capitalistic lust for profit is driving people to homelessness. Capitalism is eating itself alive, the producers have changed from mankind to machines. Mankind is relegated to being a marketplace for consumers to generate corporate profit, yet the Market preys upon its consumers with credit/debt deals that push it farther into poverty.
Financial Assistance For Detroit
The following is excerpted from a recent article in the Detroit News, December 16, 2014. You’ll see the bulk of funds received are going toward demolition.
Detroit’s current allotment of $50 million is comprised of $47.4 million in second-round funding combined with $2.6 million in reserves from the more than $50 millionin first-round funding. The second-round aid will cover 3,300 demolitions, Detroit Land Bank Authority spokesman Craig Fahle said last month.
The city has spent $57 million this year on nearly 3,700 demolitions in targeted neighborhoods, Fahle said, adding the new money will allow the city to expand into more neighborhoods.
“Residents of Detroit have seen a major difference already with the first round of anti-blight funding,” Duggan said in a Tuesday statement. The additional money will help “improve the quality of life of thousands more Detroiters, right in the neighborhoods where they live.”
Another $420 million — saved by the city through its historic bankruptcy — also will be used to raze vacant houses and clear lots.
The city’s land bank is averaging 200 demolitions a week.
Detroit Grand Bargain signors
If urban leaders wanted a thriving economy they would invest in it by bringing up services needed for life: ensuring affordable adequate housing; clean water and energy; mobility for jobs through mass transit 24 hours a day; street lighting for safety (especially for bicyclists and those waiting for mass transit); health care and good food; education that is engaging and rewarding; and a mass transit system for mobility without stress.
The needs Detroit has are facing fierce opposition around the State of Michigan with political talk of “takers” and “entitlement” from legislators and influence from outside Detroit and the greater Detroit area. Detroit is treated like an underfoot problem requiring fixing from outside, no metamorphosis permitted.