A Call for Slowdowns and Creative Resistance

Below we publish a Call for Slowdowns from one of the affinity groups in Detroit. Critical Moment supports and is part of the effort by Detroiters to end Emergency Managers in our city. We print this as part of our solidarity. – The editors of Critical Moment

A Call for Slowdowns and Creative Resistance

Detroit, Spring 2013

We remember that we already repealed Public Act 4. As a state we opposed these extreme emergency management laws, and as a city we overwhelmingly voiced our opposition with our ballots. We remember that Michigan Lawmakers passed Public Act 436 with the express intention of circumventing the will of these voters.

We say “No” to the False Solution of appointing an Emergency Manager to run the municipal business of Detroit and other cities.  Even when Emergency Management has balanced the budget, our cities have been further destabilized, and urban flight increases. We oppose this corporate takeover of our beleaguered cities.  Denying a person or community the right to vote is illegal, no matter what they pay in taxes or property value. We stand on Detroit’s long and unwavering history of fighting for its social justice, quality of life, and community self-determination.  We propose that business as usual cannot continue and offer slowdowns on our public roads and in our public spaces.

Among the thousands of Detroiters who oppose the imposition of an Emergency Manager, and the hundreds of Detroiters who are organizing to raise awareness and reconstruct our city on more humane terms, we are just one affinity group out of many.  We invite everyone to participate with us in creative expression.  We must create a climate of nonviolent resistance.  We encourage all people of conscious in Michigan and around the globe to keep your eyes on this situation and join us in solidarity.

Why slowdowns?

These slowdowns represent a simple, initial form of civil disobedience. They are signs of more to come. They are a call to other forms of “slow down” in city workplaces and elsewhere.  The slowdowns announce that under the injustice of emergency management, business cannot continue as usual. Getting to prized events and destination venues may be delayed. Arriving at work on time is not to be presumed. Tell your boss or the ticket-taker: “I was delayed by the Emergency Manager coming to Detroit!”

The slowdowns are an attempt to seek support for resisting emergency management. And we do see people supporting us: taking pictures of banners, calling friends to say they are witnessing a slowdown, giving the thumbs up, joining us by turning on their flashers, as if to say, we are part of this as well. We believe that people of goodwill and good heart, if they understand the assault on democracy and people of color, will support the resistance.

These freeways have been so structurally violent.  In this Motor City, they make a perfect site for a public action and expression:

in the destruction and division of neighborhoods when they are made; in the facilitation of white flight or the separation of city and suburban sprawl; in allowing extraction of resources, cultural and financial, without commitment; in movement through neighborhoods without having to see homes or faces; in requiring vast amounts of fossil fuel and the concentration of noise and air pollution.

Just as previous generations have taken risk for collective struggle, there are risks in the slowdown tactic. The only damage we have seen has come from slowdown cars being assaulted and damaged by angry bypassers.  Still the risk from Emergency Management is much greater.

We ask you to put on your flashers and join us. We ask people to slowdown and consider the injustice of a city under political and economic occupation.  When besieged by illegitimate government, we ask people to create their own methods of expression and self-governance.

~The Creative Resistance Affinity Group

Detroit, MI 2013