Over the last four years, Michigan has been pushed over the edge into some very dangerous and crazy political territory.
The rights of women, people of color, union members and even our democratic institutions themselves have all suffered under the lash our governor, the rabid GOP-led state legislature and willing accomplices in the Democratic party. Detroit has been the scene of some of their worst crimes, with the theft of pension funds, the looting of city assets and the elimination of Citizen District Councils.
This November state residents will have an opportunity to vote out the governor, attorney general and other members of Michigan’s GOP freak squad. We wholeheartedly encourage voting them out, but it can’t stop there. Even if Schauer gets elected, we need to hold his feet to the fire, pushing for changes that advance the real interests of regular people.
The same can be said for our local fights. We should celebrate real victories like bringing international attention to the water department’s shut offs by learning from them and using our experiences to increase our momentum forward.
We need to keep pushing and avoid getting entangled in the economic framework and guilt tripping of our oppressors. To quote the old Crass song: “Do they owe us a living? Of course they do!” Emergency management and water shutoffs have never really been about fiscal responsibility. They are part of a larger design to advance the right-wing objectives of rich douchebags and corporations. (We “Connect the Dots” about how this is happening on page three of this issue).
For those of you not versed in the writing of Ayn Rand, here’s their value system in a nutshell: “The world is full of suckers, steal and exploit whenever you can get away with it!” Privatization, deregulation and a rollback of democratic rights are all very much part of the “by any means necessary” neoliberal game plan of morally-deranged politicians and Wall Street lawyers. Throughout this issue are articles on Detroit Public Schools, local hiring methods, and other topics which shed light on exactly how the greed of the wealthy comes at the expense of the majority of our population.
We’re in a period not only of crisis but of new social growth too. Issues like the water crisis bring us together and develop new ways of struggle and of community building and support; they provide an opportunity to push for a different city and society. We need to use this time to advance the human rights struggle for water and extend it to fight for affordable housing for everyone, accessible public transportation and the means to decently support ourselves and our families.
It’s not enough to merely respond to right-wing threats or to bring back the displaced regime of Detroit politicians. We need to fight for a visionary future based on OUR values!
Detroiters need to be pushing our own agenda. Everyone of us has it in us to be an organizer: to talk about what needs to be done for our families, co-workers and friends; to push for better local and regional policy, to organize on the job; to get the word out through independent media outlets; to think about and study the new reality together; to develop local networks and survival infrastructure; to make a difference in our neighborhoods. No matter what the haters say, YOU have the power to help bring about change. Nothing terrifies our adversaries more than us working together. So, let’s keep moving, Detroit. Despite all the perils we face, a better future is closer than we realize. The only real question is: Do we want it badly enough to fight for it?
– The Critical Moment Collective