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Protect Detroit and protect the nation.

by General Joe and friends Saturday, Apr. 03, 2010 at 12:00 PM

"Protect Detroit and protect the nation. The following articles show what we’re up against. Also see reports on DemocracyNow.org (04/02/10)." "While the Mayor’s urban renewal plan has high-level backing, many have condemned it as a form of land-grabbing. I’m joined now by a vocal critic of the proposed downsizing of Detroit. Sharon “Shea” Howell is an activist and a professor of communication and journalism at Oakland University. She writes a weekly column for the Michigan Citizen."

Protect Detroit and protect the nation. The following articles show what we’re up against. Also see reports on DemocracyNow.org (04/02/10). General Joe

As Demolitions Begin, Community Activists See Detroit Urban Renewal Plan as Land-Grab

Democracy Now! broadcasts from Detroit, where demolition crews have begun tearing town 3,000 buildings that the city has deemed dangerous as part of an estimated 10,000 buildings set to be demolished over the next four years. City officials claim the demolitions are taking place in abandoned neighborhoods and that they will be replaced with farmland. While the Mayor’s urban renewal plan has high-level backing, many have condemned it as a form of land-grabbing.

We begin today with a look at the city of Detroit’s plans for the Motor City at a time when its population is reeling from the recession and the collapse of two-thirds of the auto industry. On Thursday demolition crews began tearing town 3,000 buildings that the city has deemed dangerous. The city plans to use federal grants to demolish all 3,000 structures by the end of the year and tear down an estimated 10,000 buildings over the next four years.

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing announced his plan to downsize Detroit at his first state of the city address last week.

The city of Detroit claims that the demolitions are taking place in abandoned neighborhoods and that they will be replaced with farmland. Mayor Bing says his plan to “right-size” Detroit will “attack blight, improve public safety, and make Detroit a more attractive city to live in.”

While the Mayor’s urban renewal plan has high-level backing, many have condemned it as a form of land-grabbing. I’m joined now by a vocal critic of the proposed downsizing of Detroit. Sharon “Shea” Howell is an activist and a professor of communication and journalism at Oakland University. She writes a weekly column for the Michigan Citizen.

Sharon "Shea" Howell, activist and a professor of communication and journalism at Oakland University. She writes a weekly column for the Michigan Citizen.

Mass Closures of Public Schools, Promotion of Charters Raise Fears of Privatized Detroit Education System

Detroit plans to close more than a quarter of its public schools at a time when private foundations are pledging hundreds of millions of dollars to reshape the Detroit public school system. The foundations are pushing for mayoral control of the school and the opening of dozens of new schools including charter schools. The plan is seen by critics as a move to privatize the city’s school system.

A central part of the plan to downsize Detroit centers on the city’s school system. Earlier this month, the Detroit Public Schools Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb announced plans to close more than a quarter of the city’s public schools.

The school closings come at a time when private foundations are pledging hundreds of millions of dollars to reshape the Detroit public school system. The foundations are pushing for mayoral control of the school and the opening of dozens of new schools including charter schools. Doug Ross of New Urban Learning spoke at a recent press conference outlining the Excellent Schools Detroit program.

But the plan to transform Detroit’s schools is seen by some as a move to privatize the city’s school system. The elected school board has already been stripped of much of its power. A state-appointed emergency financial manager now has full financial authority for the school district. And private foundations are ponying up hundreds of millions of dollars to fund school reform but the public has no say in how the money is spent.

To talk more about this we are joined by Nate Walker. He is a former Detroit school teacher and is now a member of the school development team at the Boggs Educational Center. The Boggs Center is developing a plan to open its own neighborhood-based school next year.

Nate Walker, former Detroit school teacher and member of the school development team at the Boggs Educational Center. The Boggs Center is developing a plan to open its own neighborhood-based school next year.

Detroit Activist, Philosopher Grace Lee Boggs: “The Only Way to Survive is By Taking Care of One Another”

The legendary Detroit activist and community organizer Grace Lee Boggs has been involved with the civil rights, Black Power, labor, environmental justice, and feminist movements over the past seven decades. She was born to Chinese immigrant parents in 1915. In 1992, she co-founded the Detroit Summer youth program to rebuild and renew her city. Her 95th birthday is June 27th, the day after the close of the U.S. Social Forum in Detroit.

The legendary Detroit activist and community organizer Grace Lee Boggs has been involved with the civil rights, Black Power, labor, environmental justice, and feminist movements over the past seven decades. She was born to Chinese immigrant parents in 1915. In 1992, she co-founded the Detroit Summer youth program to rebuild and renew her city. Her 95th birthday is June 27th, the day after the close of the U.S. Social Forum in Detroit.

Grace Lee Boggs, 94-year-old philosopher and activist based in Detroit. She has been involved with the civil rights, Black Power, labor, environmental justice, and feminist movements over the past seven decades. Her autobiography Living for Change was published in 1998.

U.S. Social Forum to Be Held in Detroit Under Banner of “Another World is Possible, Another US is Necessary”

Over 10,000 grassroots activists are expected in Detroit this June for the second ever U.S. Social Forum. The theme of the gathering is “Another World is Possible. Another US is Necessary!” Detroit will also host the Allied Media Conference from June 18 to 20. We speak to Adrienne Maree Brown, a National Coordinator of the U.S. Social Forum and a board member of Allied Media.

Over 10,000 grassroots activists are expected to be headed to Detroit this June for the second ever U.S. Social Forum. The theme of the gathering is “Another World is Possible. Another US is Necessary!” Three years ago the first U.S. Social Forum was held in Atlanta. Attendees included the late South African poet and activist Dennis Brutus.

This year’s U.S. Social Forum will take place in Detroit from June 22 to 26. Detroit will also host the Allied Media Conference from June 18 to 20. I am joined here in Detroit by Adrienne Maree Brown. She is the executive director of the Ruckus Society, a National Coordinator of the U.S. Social Forum and a board member of Allied Media.

Adrienne Maree Brown, executive director of the Ruckus Society, a National Coordinator of the U.S. Social Forum and a board member of Allied Media.

Calls Grow for Expanded Justice Dept. Probe of FBI Killing of Detroit Imam

The Justice Department is probing the killing of Detroit-area Islamic cleric Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah, who was shot dead during an FBI raid shortly after being indicted on charges of conspiracy to commit federal crimes. The FBI said Abdullah was shot after he opened fire, but critics say he may have been targeted for assassination. We speak to Dawud Walid, Executive Director of the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

It’s been five months since the FBI killed a Detroit-area Islamic cleric last year. Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah headed a Sunni Muslim group called the Ummah and was shot dead during an FBI raid in Dearborn last October shortly after being indicted on charges of conspiracy to commit federal crimes.

A police autopsy report finally released in February shows Abdullah died from twenty-one gunshot wounds and was found with his wrists handcuffed. At least one of the gunshot wounds entered through Abdullah’s back. FBI Agents said they shot the Islamic cleric because he fired first at an Agency dog. The Justice Department launched a probe into his killing two months ago. ??

-----

Please share this news very widely and organize now! General Joe

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