We take a look at the disturbing trends in Michigan. Emergency Financial Managers are being appointed by the governor to run cities and school boards, particularly in black majority communities, in a dictatorial fashion. As our guest Tom Stephens writes,”The Emergency Financial Manager regime imposed on Detroit is ‘an entirely new and unprecedented form of antidemocratic local government directly controlled by the corporate agents of ‘the 1%’ that is designed to steal everything: land, water, air, lives, and every right not associated with capital.” The first Emergency Financial Managers were appointed to run cities in 2000, but a significant change occurred in 2011 with the passage of Public Act 4, the Local Government and School District Fiscal Accountability Act. This state law gave EFM’s unprecedented power to “exercise any power or authority of any officer, employee, department, board, commission or other similar entity of the local government whether elected or appointed.” Our guests will discuss how the EFM’s are dismantling cities to pave the way for privatization and gentrification and what people in those cities are doing to fight back.
Relevant articles and websites:
The Scandal of Michigan’s Emergency Managers by Chris Savage
Flint Protest Exposes Emergency Manager Order to Silence Public by Claire McClinton
Fighting the Corporate Dictatorship in Michigan by The People’s Tribune
EMFing Democracy: Destroying Detroit In Order To “Save” It by Tom Stephens
Reverend Edward Pinkney lives in Benton Harbor, Michigan where he leads the Black Autonomy Network Community Organization. Reverend Pinkney is an outspoken activist who protests the policies of the Emergency Financial Manager, the privatization of public property in Benton Harbor, poverty and racism.
Maureen D. Taylor is a lifelong soldier in the war against the poor. She has served as Chair of the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization since 1993, and was elected Treasurer of the National Welfare Rights Union in 1994.
She is a dedicated community activist who represents public assistance recipients at the Michigan Family Independence Agency (FIA) offices over case disputes. Along with other welfare rights members, she conducts local and state FIA policy trainings, and works with political leaders and corporations to draft policies and procedures that protect poor and low-income families. Over the past few months, Maureen and many other concerned citizens have been working to stop water, gas, and electricity shut-offs for thousands of low-income households in Detroit, and restore winter utilities for those already shut-off.
Maureen earned her Bachelor of Social Work at Marygrove College in 1983, where she was also the distinguished Valedictorian of her graduating class. In 1994, she earned her Master of Social Work degree from Wayne State University. Sh has received many distinguished awards for her community organizing and leadership, including the National Community Leader Award from the National Black Caucus in Washington DC.
Currently, Ms. Taylor is the Program Director for the Detroit NFI Community Self-Sufficiency Center. The CSSC is a program that works to assist chronically unemployed persons in the Detroit Central Empowerment Zone. She also serves as a Trustee to New Detroit, Inc, and is a member of several boards and community organizations.
Thomas Stephens is a lifelong resident of metro Detroit. A lawyer, he is one of the coordinators of the communications working group for Detroiters Resisting Emergency Management (D-REM). His primary experience for many years was complex civil litigation in both state and federal courts. He also has experience in the environmental justice movement. He worked as a policy analyst for the City of Detroit for 5 years. He blogs regularly on Black Agenda Report.