Dec 04 2013
A judge ruled yesterday that the city of Detroit is eligible to proceed with a bankruptcy filing, making it the largest municipal bankruptcy in US history. The decision was much anticipated by local government officials who see it as a way to revitalize a city burdened with $18 billion of debt. But unions and city workers are angered by the ruling which, they say, will be used as an excuse to cut into retiree pensions and sell off the city’s major assets.
Detroit, the birthplace of the American auto industry, is also plagued by serious urban problems. Public unemployment and home foreclosures dominate. Street lights don’t work, thousands of homes and buildings are abandoned, emergency response times are long, and gentrification has resulted in starkly segregated neighborhoods.
Former auto worker and writer for the political online magazine, Against the Current, Dianne Feeley, says the city’s deep structural problems are not being addressed by the plan that city officials have in place as part of the bankruptcy process. She suggests a multi-pronged alternative plan to lift Detroit out of bankruptcy by strategically prioritizing government spending, which includes lifting residents out of poverty and saving public institutions.
GUEST: Dianne Feeley, former auto worker based in Detroit, writes for Against the Current
Click here to read Dianne Feeley’s article about Detroit’s bankruptcy.