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Forum Post: From Detroit to Cyprus, Banksters in Search of Prey

Posted 5 years ago on March 21, 2013, 7:31 p.m. EST by PeterKropotkin (1050) from Oakland, CA
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By BAR executive editor Glen Ford

“Either we liquidate the banksters, or Wall Street will liquidate us.”

From Nicosia, Cyprus, to Detroit, Michigan, the global financial octopus is squeezing the life out of society, stripping away public and individual assets in a vain attempt to fend off its own, inevitable collapse. The bankers “troika” that effectively rules Europe prepares to reach into the individual accounts of ordinary depositors on the island nation of Cyprus to fund the bailout of their local banking brethren. Across the Atlantic, a corporate henchman makes arrangements to seize the assets and abolish the political rights of a Black metropolis. The local colorations may vary, but the crisis is the same: massed capital is devouring its social and natural environment. Either we liquidate the banksters, or Wall Street will liquidate us.

The proposed seizure of a big chunk of every ordinary Cypriot depositors’ accounts, in the guise of a one-time “tax,” was shocking even by the standards of the Euro Zone’s overlords: the International Monetary Fund, European Central Bank and European Commission. The original diktat to finance new lines of credit for Cyprus’s over-extended banks called for snatching 6.75 percent of the cash of customers with balances below 100,000 euros ($129,500), and 9.9 percent above that threshold. When the public went berserk, it was proposed that depositors with 20,000 euros or less be spared – but Cypriot lawmakers balked. The banks are now closed, to prevent people from withdrawing their money. But Europe’s ruling triumvirate at the bankers’ lair in Brussels continues to demand that the public-at-large pay to keep the global criminal financial enterprise humming, or be starved out. “In the absence of this measure, Cyprus would have faced scenarios that would have left deposit-holders significantly worse off,” they said – disaster banksterism.

“Orr’s firm’s clients have plenty of experience at liquidating in Detroit.”

A rapscallion Black lawyer for the notorious corporate law firm Jones Day delivered the bankers’ ultimatum to Detroit. Emergency financial manager Kevyn Orr, anointed by Michigan’s Republican governor, is a bankruptcy specialist whose mission is to liquidate the assets of the 82 percent Black city, especially the revenue-producing Water and Sewerage Department. Orr’s firm’s clients – which, according to their website, include “more than half of the Fortune 500 companies” – have plenty of experience at liquidating in Detroit. Butch Hollowell, general counsel for the local NAACP, says Wells Fargo has “done more foreclosures in Detroit and the state of Michigan than any other firm,” and is Detroit’s number one property tax scofflaw. Jones Day also represents Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase and CitiGroup. “These are firms that not only got billions in TARP bailouts, but they’re also the same ones that defrauded people into signing these predatory leases which cause the crash of the housing market,” said Hollowell. “Detroit has been hit harder than anyplace in the country on that score” – hugely aggravating the city’s money problems. Financial manager Kevyn Orr’s job is to extract more booty from Detroit for the bankers’ vaults.

To facilitate the theft of the city’s property, its citizens must first be stripped of their political and civil rights, through the neutering of their elected officials. Orr looks forward to the project. “While I understand there’s a lot of concern and emotion behind the concept that I’m depriving people of certain rights,” he said, “actually it’s very consistent with both the history of this country and specifically in this state.” What he’s about to do “is democracy in action.” “Financial manager Kevyn Orr’s job is to extract more booty from Detroit for the bankers’ vaults.”

This corporate concept of democracy has already devalued the franchise of the 49 percent of Michigan’s Black population that live in municipalities and school districts under the thumb of outside financial managers, a violation of both the Voting Rights Act and the one man-one vote rule embodied in the 14th Amendment, says the NAACP’s Hollowell. Black Baptist pastors and the AFSCME and UAW unions will join the NAACP’s planned legal action against the “hostile takeover” of Detroit – which is fine, as a civil rights response. But this is a much bigger battle. Detroit and the people of Cyprus share the same enemy, a class that is beyond the reach of simple civil rights suits. The Lords of Capital on Wall Street and the City of London and the Federal Reserve in Washington and in the “troika” at Brussels confront their own existential crisis, which compels them to liquidate the public sector so that it can eventually be transferred to their own balance sheets. There are many ways to accomplish this, through privatization of existing public institutions, or by simply blowing a hole in public services and allowing privateers to fill the void, subsidized by public funds. However, nothing can save the banksters from inevitable, and increasingly imminent, collapse. Ever-increasing profit margins must be achieved, somehow, or the system implodes. Hundreds of trillions of notional dollars in derivatives must be serviced and fed by a class that makes nothing and can only survive by chicanery and coercion by governments under their control. In Cyprus, they are prepared to brazenly snatch euros directly from working and retired people’s accounts to fund a bank bailout, without even bothering to construct a convoluted pathway from the victims’ accounts to their own. They have reached the point of outright confiscation, and will not stop until they have stripped society of the potential to save itself from the ruins.

We have no choice but to confiscate them – to destroy them utterly as a class.




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[-] 1 points by PeterKropotkin (1050) from Oakland, CA 5 years ago

Vampire Capitalism Comes to Detroit, Michigan and Dekalb County, Georgia

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

What do Detroit MI and Dekalb County GA in suburban Atlanta have in common? Each has about 700,000 people, and both are majority black, Dekalb at 55%, and Detroit over 80%. Both elect local officials to manage local affairs, like city government in Detroit, and the school system in Dekalb County GA. In both cases, phony fiscal and educational crises have been manufactured in accordance with state law to allow state governors to sideline or fire outright local elected officials --- City Hall in Detroit, and the elected school board in Dekalb GA, to impose programs of vicious fiscal austerity and privatization.

The crises exist because corporate media, and our bipartisan political elites, including the black political class, tell us they do. And although the laws in Michigan and Georgia which enable governors to sweep aside elected officials in these “crises” were passed by Republican legislators and and the triggers are being pulled by Republican governors, the virtually all-Democrat black political class has rallied no resistance, its pundits and intellectuals have proposed no alternatives. At most, some like MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry have offered the standard neoliberal justifications for austerity and privatization as if they were explaining some impersonal, automatic phenomenon like gravity --- “there's no money.... budgets have to be balanced” and invite us to fruitlessly wonder whether the whole thing was “racist” or not. Really, who cares?

In the first place, the “crises” are fabrications of corporate media, and the wealthy banksters, bondholders and privatizers whose “solutions” are inevitably pushed upon us. In Detroit, bondholders and banksters declared they feared the city would miss or default on the interest payments for previous loans, and that was just about all the governor needed to sweep aside Detroit City Hall and appoint what amounted to a dictator over every aspect of local government. In Georgia, the private organization which accredits public school systems is a captive of the US Chamber of Commerce and right wing pro-charter and privatization foundations, so it threatened to revoke the accreditation of a county school system serving 100,000 children based upon spurious, insubstantial, and in some cases anonymous charges against elected school board members, so the governor could fire and replace them with his own appointees. In both locations, the gubernatorial appointees will impose massive job, wage and service cuts, and are expected to privatize everything that's not nailed down.

This is the hollow soul of vampire capitalism --- the conversion of local government from an engine which collects local tax revenue, user fees and dollars from state and federal levels to pay living wages, health care and pensions to its service-providing employees, into an engine that diverts tax revenue straight into the pockets of banksters for debt repayment, and sells off public assets like city and school district real estate for a song to well-connected looters and privatizers. On the economic level bloodsucking fiscal austerity is just about as rational a the brain deciding to strip mine the liver and kidneys for minerals.

The black political class of politicians, preachers and business people from whom the ranks of establishment black leaders are drawn doesn't just lack a vision of how to do things better. They lack the soul that believes a better world, a more just society, with high quality education for everybody's children, jobs at living wages, decent housing, a clean environment, justice and an end to war are even possible. Our black political class has been entirely captured. They are held hostage by their own perks and job prospects. While local governments in the heavily black constituencies that made their rise to prominence possible are being nullified by “crisis” and “emergency management” laws, they toast and roast and coast on the victories of the sixties, instead of leading campaigns of mass action and defiance that might enable African Americans and all Americans to dream a new world and begin to build it. All that our black misleadership class knows how to do any more is get paid.


[-] 0 points by Builder (4202) 5 years ago

The corruption in Detroit has been a major problem for so long now, it's unlikely that appointing a bankster henchman will make any difference. The problem is, every other employee in the region is reliant on the failing auto industry. It's time to think about what to actually do with Detroit.

Lobbing Cyprus and the EU problems in alongside Michigan's completely different scenario seems like obfuscation to me.

[-] 0 points by vaprosvyeh (-400) 5 years ago

"A rapscallion Black lawyer"

Why did you find the color of his skin relevant to your post?

[-] 0 points by PeterKropotkin (1050) from Oakland, CA 5 years ago

I didn't write it.

[-] -1 points by vaprosvyeh (-400) 5 years ago

Sorry about that.