Detroit “Bankruptcy” Distracts From Attack on Constitution
By William Boardman
“Through its provisions, Public Act 436 establishes a new form of local government, previously unknown within the United States or the State of Michigan, where the people within local municipalities may be governed by an unelected official who establishes local law by decree.”
- Complaint for Injunctive Relief, Phillips et al. v. Snyder, U.S. District Court for Eastern Michigan
“We are a country of law…. The government cannot just abrogate contracts.”
- Obama economic adviser Larry Summers, quoted by Matt Taibbi discussing the sanctity of contracts in “Looting the Pension Funds”
“Pension benefits are a contractual right and are not entitled to any heightened protection in a municipal bankruptcy.”
- U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Steven Rhodes speaking from the Bench on December 3, and contravening the Michigan Constitution while granting Detroit federal bankruptcy protection
etroit’s recent bankruptcy eligibility was achieved in part by the Michigan governor defying a court order, the Detroit czar defying a court order, and a federal bankruptcy court telling other federal and state courts that their orders and the cases before them challenging the constitutionality of state law and state actions simply don’t matter.
Since December 3, the dominant media narrative following Judge Steven Rhodes’s bankruptcy court ruling suggests, in over-simplified form, that Detroit’s one-man government can dispose of most of the city’s estimated $18 billion debt and long term liabilities by defaulting on pension contracts and selling off its art collection. This is essentially false as an overview, and false in most of its details.
It would be more accurate to say that Detroit is the victim of dishonest politicians colluding with banks and other corporate predators, and we are now witnessing the late stages of an extended municipal lynching that is the natural expression of contemporary American capitalism. That this is essentially true as an overview, and in most of its details, is supported in the question and answer format that follows.
But first, here’s the sanitized frame for the consensus narrative reliably delivered by American pack journalism – in this instance, The New York Times of December 4, under the headline “Detroit Ruling Lifts a Shield on Pensions” (duplicated verbatim in the Boston Globe and Houston Chronicle):
“In a ruling that could reverberate far beyond Detroit, a federal judge held on Tuesday that this battered city could formally enter bankruptcy and asserted that Detroit’s obligation to pay pensions in full was not inviolable.”
Connect With IBW
The War On Drugs Is A War On Us
Boycott Florida Campaign
Martin Luther King/Malcolm X Community Revitalization Initiative
Pan African Unity Dialogue
Immigration Policy Reform
Call to Action
Click to Read Report
Black Family Summit
A collaborative of national Black professional organizations dedicated to promoting holistic principles, policies and practices to strengthen Black families and communities.
Collaborative of progressive, African-centered scholars, think tanks and research centers dedicated to utilizing theoretical and applied research to address issues of vital concern to people of African descent and enhance the development of Black communities.
Haiti Support Project
An Initiative committed to “Building a Constituency for Haiti in the United States,” focusing on mobilizing/organizing African Americans and other people of African descent to strengthen the process of democracy and development in the world’s first Black Republic.