The following is a flier distributed in Detroit in coordination with the Nov. 17th national Day of Action.
Members of First of May Anarchist Alliance are participating in the Committee for a General Strike. The flier is in response to the Detroit crisis which has been highlighted by the both the Mayor and City Council’s ongoing proposals for mass layoffs, wage and city service cuts, liquidating of union contracts, and a general assault on the city’s workers and our communities.
Detroit has been ground zero for such attacks. The city government, backed by politicians both county and regional, has stated there is no other way forward. This is nothing short of class warfare on the part of the government and their backers. Taking inspiration from the Occupy movement and its increasingly radical dimensions we are arguing for a popular resistance to the crisis and the government austerity proposals. We are under no illusions and fully realize that, much like in Oakland, a general strike will be difficult to carry out. But as a concept and a real tactic to build towards, a general strike resonates within the working classes and poor as both a weapon in our defense as well as a conscious, militant, and creative expression of our attempt to determine our own course outside and against the system.
BUILD A GENERAL STRIKE OF ALL
WORKERS AND THE COMMUNITY
CANCEL THE DEBT; STOP ALL DEBT SERVICE PAYMENTS
TAX THE RICH: MAKE THE BANKS AND CORPORATIONS PAY
NO SERVICE CUTS; NO LAYOFFS; NO WAGE AND BENEFIT CUTS
Bing and the banks have decided on a new round of cuts in jobs, benefits and services to the people of Detroit. They claim the city is bankrupt so union contracts must be thrown aside and the people must endure still greater cuts in basic services. Why should the working class and poor continue to pay for a crisis made by the banks, the giant corporations and the politicians who serve them.
We have to stop transferring tax dollars and public resources to the banks which caused this economic crisis. The city budget provides for more than $433 million in payments to the banks for debt service this year. That’s where the money is going. We must demand cancellation of the debts and stop all payments of public funds for service on the debt. The banks made billions by selling impossible and predatory loans to working people in our community and throughout the country. When the bubble burst and millions faced foreclosure, the government took our tax dollars and bailed out the banks to protect their profits. Now, when housing prices have fallen off the cliff and thousands of vacant, foreclosed homes fill the city, the banks demand that still more tax dollars be paid to them. We say no more.
Bing, Ficano and company tell us that the public funds must be paid to the banks, and that the rest of us must pay for the crisis. This is a government of the banks and for the banks. What resources we have from property taxes, income taxes and other sources must be directed to meeting the needs of our people. Tax dollars from casinos and revenue sharing are to go only to education; that’s what we were promised. But 87% of those tax dollars are going instead to the banks for payment on the debt. Of the $590 million in state per pupil aid for Detroit, more than $512 million is paid directly to the banks for service on the debt. Not one more penny to the banks.
The fight against “austerity” is nationwide and international. From Egypt to Greece to Wall Street to Oakland, people are rising up against the banks and governments. We cannot succeed in this struggle if we are isolated or separated. All workers and all unions must join together and act together against these cuts. Bus drivers, bus mechanics and bus riders must stand together. The people of the community who rely on city services must join the fight. Our allies are the Wayne County workers and residents who face similar cuts. The workers and people of Hamtramck, Highland Park, Flint, Pontiac and Benton Harbor who already are suffering under the boot of emergency managers must join together. The workers and people of Taylor, Plymouth, Hazel Park and Warren face the same attacks.
Occupy Oakland organized a general strike in that city in response to police attacks on demonstrators and the life threatening attack on Iraq war veteran active in the protests. The workers of Greece have carried out several general strikes against austerity cuts in that country and caused a government to fall. We stand with them all.
Our response must be unified and direct. We must organize and mobilize for a general strike. And we must build a movement that includes workplace and neighborhood organizations for defense and to meet the basic needs of our people. No one is coming to save us. We must rely on ourselves and our allies to end the domination of the banks and corporations. Our goal must be direct control of public resources and the economy by the workers and the people. We can build the new society, together.
Contact us for information, meetings, and updates:
Committee for a General Strike – P.O. Box 15024, Detroit, MI 48215 – firstname.lastname@example.org