“I don’t know of any other city in the nation where there’s such a preoccupation in the suburbs for control. The same people who left the city for racial reasons still want to control what they’ve left.” - Mayor Coleman Young
Flat out, this is the fundamental thing you need to know about the driving forces that have coalesced to systematically destroy the infrastructures, societies, and governments of predominantly African American, or Black, cities in Michigan. It is not just about race, but it is a prime factor. And as a Witch who has lived in those cities, been educated in those cities, lived, laughed, loved, and experienced wonders in those cities, I am going to tip over the cauldron and spill the hemlock tea.
Let's talk about the Detroit Public Schools for a moment. A fine system, when allowed to work as designed, where many of us learned the joy of music, benefited from a school age level exposure to Liberal Arts, and other wonderful vocational and athletic programs and scholarly pursuits that could rival any city. This writer's first exposure to Shakespeare, Faust, Milton, meditation, magick, and astral projection all occurred here facilitated by staff and parent boosters.
Many a young thinker, though ostracized by their religious peers, were enabled and encouraged to find their own truths with the richness of library fare, and dedicated thinking teaching staff. This was before the destruction of the system. The front line educators then were at least given the weapons of truth, knowledge, and resources -though meager - to wage the good fight against ignorance.
Just to give you a current glimpse into the mess that has been made, here is the result of the latest from the front lines.
In the first batch of 11 school inspections, officials found rodent and insect issues, mold, a gym that's completely closed because of water damage, broken glass, bathroom doors that don't close, and boilers that don't work. - Kate Wells, Michigan RadioNow, the liars in charge would state that it is an indication of the pandemic of corruption, neglect, and graft of the residents in the city of Detroit. Those who live here would laugh at this. Why? Because these schools have been under State of Michigan control for longer than my 12 year old daughter has been alive. In actuality, it is the dogged gutting of the internal control systems, budgetary slide and glide political withholding of critical funding, and the culture of privatization being the goal that has led to this.
Don't believe, do the research. You will find that the schools were not in deficit when Lansing went crazy with the power grab and decided that self determination and the right to representation for the populous in the city were way too much for them to handle. You will find that a major part of the problems in the city were not only corruption on small levels, but the malicious withholding of rightful monies to the city by Lansing. What could have been the motive behind this?
Let us look next at the Detroit Water Department. For decades, the suburbs have done their level best to wrest control of the city controlled domination of the monies involved in this enterprise. Rather than building other treatment plant options, many of these communities - who are some of the richest in the Midwest and nation - have been zealously obsessed with gaining regional control. It is almost perverse how many decades were dedicated to attaining this goal. The question is, why? What was so very odious about the population of the city owning its own water supply without external controls?
Before the Kilpatrick administration helped the agenda of every racist pundit in the universe insofar as their criticism of the city's populace, Detroit was on a fast track to reclaiming itself. However, this was dashed to pieces when the relationships between Lansing and the city faltered as the bully pulpits of corporate lobbyists were beginning to be regulated. This writer is no big Kilpatrick fan, but he did do some good along with the bad. And that dropped the city back into the outs with the Dominant Dome in Lansing. He stepped out of the role they envisioned for him and thus, the money went away that was actually due Detroit due to political pressuring to toe the line.
Now let us direct our gaze toward the city of Highland Park. Years upon years of strategic under funding, and withholding of rightful funds, by Lansing contributed to its current desperate state of affairs. A gleeful Governor Engler took great pleasure in closing its college, and institution that was a cornerstone of the educational culture of this state. One of the most successful nursing programs in the state, home to a student body as diverse as Wayne State University, and with an extremely high rate of 4 year college transition, Highland Park Community College was placed upon the chopping block and murdered with a Lansing based flick of the wrist.
A thriving community of "conscious" and magical workers and esoteric scholars filled the borders of this small municipality with ritual works, research, and reciprocal helps that buzzed around, and inside, the college proper. This environment gave birth to many activists who made carpool trips to Lansing on a regular basis in order to speak in the legislature. Wonder why it was on the target?
The Emergency Manager law was but a gleam in the elite's eye at that time, so the governors had to do the dirty work directly back then. But of course, as soon as the office was created, the logical extension to this was that they would receive theirs. and what happened when they did so?
Arthur Blackwell II, Highland Park’s former emergency financial manager, was ordered to repay more than $250,000 he paid himself. - "The Scandal of Michigan’s Emergency Managers - Chris Savage
Take a quick ride in another direction to Benton Harbor. Another predominantly African American city. Another situation where the Powers That Be decided to take over an entire city. And in this case, the blatancy of the self interest was mind boggling. After fighting for years against developers who would destroy a city resource, within the historical blink of an eye, the Emergency Manager made sure to feather his nest with a sweetheart deal with developers. And as expected, how do you think it went?
Joseph Harris made several false statements and made several federal and state violations. He also increased the budget deficits and defaulted in his duties. - "Good Riddance To Emergency Manager Joseph Harris" - Rev. Edward Pinkney, People's Tribune
But we are not going to cover this issue city by city. Let's get to what you may have read something about in your local news. The city of Flint and the water scandal. The crux of the issue is that the administration of this fine state of Michigan, the Land of the Fresh Water Seas, decided to allow and support an Emergency Manager's decision to willfully disconnect from the City of Detroit's water system in order to save money by using the Flint River, a river known to contain substances that are unsafe. And even now, there are rumblings that a nod to the fracking industry may be involved in that decision. For some background, here is a nutshell:
During Earley's 16 months as Flint's emergency manager, the city went ahead with a plan to save money by switching its water supply from the Detroit system to a new pipeline consortium, and to use Flint River water until the new pipeline was ready. However, anti-corrosion agents were not added to the salty river water, causing metal leaching in city pipes and dangerously elevated lead levels among some residents - Problems in Detroit, Flint Show Rift Over Emergency Managers - Corey Williams, associated press
Nothing in this state from Lansing is passed through rapidly without benefit to the lobbyists and the businesses that serve as kingdoms of power. Nothing combats these groups like advocacy and direct focused magical and spiritual combat. Power does not yield without force, and it is now that the rededicated force of those of us here who have been working on this issue with not only Flint, but Michigan itself, this culture of imperial control, must grit teeth and cast more candles.
Cui Bono: a principle that probable responsibility for an act or event lies with one having something to gain. - Merriam Webster
And yet, it is vital to understand that it is not a conscious thought of racially motivated action that people will see. Because it also about moneyed vs the poor. The higher vs the lower. The empowered vs the disenfranchised. Race is always in the background, but at the bedrock, it is about exercising power over groups of people who are not in a class to be able to exert lobbying power and finance in order to get their way in the halls of power.
In every case where an Emergency Manager has been installed, one can see where the people suffer under misapplied austerity. And if you scratch enough from the patina of denial, you will find the surface of the monuments of greed, corporate interest, and reckless disregard for the populations who do not pay for those dinners off the hill.
Put bluntly, since the voters in Flint, Michigan, are a lost cause and of no use to the Republican lead state government, those in power have little incentive to respond to the complaints. Compound this political disincentive with what has been explicated above (racism and classism (sic)), and you have a recipe for disaster. As the citizens of the city lost hair and developed rashes, as poor brown children drank water that was tainted with E. Coli and smelled of metal and gas, those with the power to help did nothing.
And for that cause, children have been poisoned and people have died. And no amount of root work will change that. For that cause, a city's residents have been made a hostage population, because they cannot sell their homes as they are contaminated. And no amount of blessed oil will grease those wheels enough to change that. But maybe, just maybe, change can be accomplished now before another tragedy happens. Raise the flame, and let your candle burn bright, and pray for the strength of the warriors in Lansing who fight.
The fact of the matter is, this city, all the cities in Michigan, are magic. They are all alive with spirits and entities that are beyond imagining for many. And that we have destroyed so much of it in the interest of greed is astonishingly horrid. The fact that we are destroying each other in the name of greed is tragic. And the fact that for generations there will be those who whisper the names of Flint and Detroit with scorn and pity is a form of baneful magic of its own is disgraceful.
So to you who would lift Flint up, who would lift Detroit up, who would lift the lives of Michigan up, place a phoenix on your altar today. Because like always, the people of Michigan will rise up from this, no matter what our overlords try to bring, because you cannot keep the people here down. And for my home city, my birth place, my phoenix rides in my heart.
And to the folks in Lansing. Stop Lying.