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Resist the Attacks!
Flint & Detroit Fight Back
by First of May Anarchist Alliance – Detroit Collective
Feb 2, 2016
From Flint to Detroit residents, students and teachers are on the frontlines in defending themselves against attacks by the ruling classes, the politicians and their police. It is the people of Flint who have forced the politicians and media to listen and learn of the Flint water crisis. It has been Students, teachers and their allies who are resisting the breakup of public education and connecting the struggle of DPS to the ongoing crisis facing Detroit beyond the classroom.
Politicians make excuses while regular people offer solutions. As the struggle moves forward we say:
1) Free, clean and safe water for Flint. There is only one solution in Flint: a new water system. The state made this mess, now they need to clean it up. We want safe water to each home and school! Dig up the contaminated pipes and replace those pipes. Whatever it takes until water infrastructure is replaced. We support the creation of mass, collective resistance and the refusal to pay water and utility bills. This also means refunding peoples water payments. No payments for poison.
2) Money and resources for physical and mental health services must be made available to those poisoned by the state, especially children. Instead of paying PR firms, the state should be putting money towards clinics and health initiatives focused on minimizing the effects of poisoning your own people.
3) Down with the Emergency Manager (EM). We must work to undermine the authority and control of the racist and anti-working class EM and the system it serves. We argue for self-organization of the people at the local level, mass organizations for defense of our communities. These new and independent organizations of the people are the alternative to the government at all levels.
4) We oppose privatization and militarization of the distribution of water and resources. All distribution of water and resources must be under popular control at the local level by democratic institutions. The people of Flint must decide on the immediate response! We oppose corporations making profit off of this crisis and we oppose the National Guard, army or police being placed in charge of distribution of water and resources.
5) Hands off students and teachers of the Detroit Public Schools. Support the students who have organized walkouts in solidarity with their teachers. This means no suspensions or punitive actions! Defend all teachers facing harassment, intimidation and threat of firing or legal action! An injury to one is an injury to all!
In 2013 Governor Snyder declared a financial emergency in Flint and appointed Emergency Manager (EM) Darnell Earley to run the city. Snyder and the Emergency Manager decided their plans were more important than safe water. They switched water treatment from the Detroit system to the old Flint treatment plant, which had been closed for more than 50 years. Those hired to monitor and process the water from the Flint River cut corners and then tried to cover their mistakes up.
The people of Flint began to complain about the smell, look and taste of the polluted water coming from their taps; corrosive toxins were wrecking the old water system. Now the water system in Flint has been destroyed. Even with the switch back to the old water system the untreated polluted water has caused the pipes to leach deadly lead into the water system, and the people of Flint have been drinking poisoned water for the past two years. Especially hard hit are pregnant mothers, newborns and young children. Lead attacks and damages nerve cells in children’s brains. The documented effects are varying forms of decreased mental development and cognitive skills. In adults it has been linked to immune deficiencies and decreased fertility.
There’s also been a spike in deaths from the respiratory illness, Legionnaires Disease, caused by the contaminated water. The micro-bacteria have now been found in the water supply for Flint’s Hurley Medical Center. As of now ten people have died with near one hundred other confirmed cases.
Although aid is starting to arrive to Flint, residents are expressing their anger and contempt at the half assed response by the Government. Flint residents say what they see are just “band aids”. As of now the government’s response has been to bring in bottled water. Bottled water and water filters that don’t filter out lead are not real solutions to the problem; it does not keep lead and bacteria from flowing out of the water taps.
Other communities in Flint are experiencing near exclusion from the aid programs. Faced with the Obama Administration’s stepped up attacks and deportations of immigrants, many in the Latino community are experiencing near exclusion from the aid programs. The increased presence of police and uniformed National Guard creates suspicion, tension and fear. The situation facing immigrant communities in Flint highlights the vicious intersections of racist neglect of Flint and anti-immigrant policies.
The toll this crisis is having on the people of Flint is staggering. Determining real solutions means a complete view of the social and environmental repercussions. Bottled water will not provide real solutions and the vast amounts of bottled water being distributed are destructive to the environment both in its plastic packaging and massive water extraction done by companies for profit. It is environmentally irresponsible and contributes to the cycle of human, social and environmental destruction.
Snyder, Republican and Democratic politicians are carrying out policies to break up the Detroit Public School system to liquidate massive debt. Since 2009 DPS has been under State administration. Currently the Snyder appointed EM runs the DPS. The EM is Darnell Earley, the former Flint EM who oversaw the switching of Flint’s water from Detroit to the toxic Flint River.
The Snyder administration wants to cut wages and pensions and create more private charter schools that are allocated public money but are not under public control. This plan results in an already desperate school system falling further into crisis. Children go to public schools filled with rats, bugs and toxic molds. Teachers are faced with class sizes of over fifty students with little to no new instructional materials.
Students, teachers and parents are fighting back to protest these conditions! Teachers have organized rank and file networks, demonstrations and “sick outs”. Students have led mass walkouts in support of their teachers and to call attention to the conditions of their schools. To make a stand and build movements to defend public education teachers and students are taking real risks. DPS officials, Snyder, EM Earley and State Legislatures are now using intimidation tactics, threats of firings and attempting to create a snitch culture among teachers. As the struggle intensifies there has been physical harassment and attack by security and police.
Working people, the poor and the youth are under attack! Politicians and bureaucrats have deliberately pushed policies that have led to the mass poisoning of the city of Flint and a deepening crisis in the Detroit Public Schools.
Stand with Flint and Detroit. Organize and Resist.
The Whole Damn System Has to Go.
The solutions require a massive social restructuring for peoples needs. Funds and resources must be taken back from the wealthy few, the banks and corporations, and the government. There must be a cancellation of debts for Flint and Detroit. We support an end to the EM but that does not mean a return to the old system of city councils and mayors that were part of the crisis in the past. There must be a focus on people organized and building towards control of their own radical and directly democratic organizations as an alternative to the government and this failed system. Without illusions, let’s be clear that there must be massive transfer of wealth and resources from the few to the many. Finding ways to make this real is not easy but it is necessary. Working people, the poor and all those under attack must organize for revolution, to take control of the wealth and redistribute it according to social needs.
First of May Anarchist Alliance – Detroit Collective
P.O. Box 15455, Detroit, MI 48215