The Model for America: Ruling Elites Dispense with Democracy in Detroit

Monday, September 29, 2014
By Paul Martin

By Jerry White
Global Research
September 29, 2014

As bankruptcy proceedings enter their final stages in Detroit, Michigan, the historic center of American auto manufacturing, the political establishment is moving to put in place mechanisms to ensure the permanent dictatorship of the banks over the city’s working class. As with the bankruptcy itself, the forms of rule pioneered in Detroit are intended as a model for the entire country.

In a deal worked out behind closed doors last week, Detroit’s Democratic Party-controlled City Council voted unanimously to allow the city’s unelected emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, to remain in power until a federal judge confirms his restructuring plan and the city exits from bankruptcy. Mayor Mike Duggan, another Democrat, immediately approved the plan.

The move makes a mockery of the talk about the “return to democracy” after Orr’s 18-month rule. Duggan and the city council members, who pledged during last year’s elections to get rid of Orr, have extended his term for months, if not longer. Moreover, when Orr finally departs, his dictatorial powers will essentially be adopted by a nine-member Financial Review Commission that will have the authority to tear up labor agreements and veto all spending decisions for the next 13 years.

As part of the deal, Duggan and Council President Brenda Jones will sit alongside Republican Governor Rick Snyder’s appointees on the financial oversight committee. Rather than exercising his power to appoint another emergency manager, Snyder is relying on his Democratic counterparts, including Duggan, a corporate “turnaround specialist,” to implement the restructuring plan.

Any semblance of democracy—state constitutional protections for pensions, city ordinances mandating a vote by Detroit citizens before the sale of public assets, etc.—are seen as unacceptable obstacles to the further enrichment to the financial powers that run society.

The Detroit News, long the mouthpiece for auto giants and other corporate interests in the city, gushed over the vote. “The unanimity of the vote indicates both a confidence in Orr’s ability, and the council’s willingness to make tough and unpopular decisions.”

Alluding to the broader strategy of which the Detroit bankruptcy is a part, the News continued, “It’s encouraging to see councilmembers value the unique talents Orr has brought to Detroit, particularly in seeing bankruptcy through in such a quick manner. He’s set a high standard for other cities that might also fall into Chapter 11.”

What are these “tough and unpopular” decisions?

The Rest…HERE

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