The Truth About The Detroit Water Shutoffs

| Educate!

(Photo: Brandy Baker / The Detroit News, file)

Note: To add insult to injury, Detroit which has cut-off water to 30,000 people but it is building a 1,000 foot water slide which people can ride for $15 for a single ride, $30 for three rides, and $50 for an unlimited pass. Depending on the package, inner tubes may also need to be rented.  The water slide will take over city streets this summer. – PopRes

Ever since the City of Detroit started shutting off water to low-income residents last summer in what United Nations investigators denounced as a human rights violation, city officials have maintained that they are simply responding to Detroiters’ failure to pay their bills.

Now it’s looking like that’s not the case.

The independent investigative outlet Motor City Muckraker recently revealed that the city had shut off water to residents with up-to-date bills, including a Detroit Free Press editor. When called on it, the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) told Muckraker that a clerical error resulted in 11 such shutoffs.

But that story didn’t hold up, either. In a follow-up Facebook post, Motor City Muckraker charged that DWSD and Mayor Duggan “lied to us” about the mistaken shutoffs and apologized for passing on misinformation, saying that “the numbers are much higher than the administration wanted the public to believe,” and promising another story.

The truth is that Detroit’s officials don’t know exactly whose water they’re shutting off – and the economic elites pulling the strings don’t care. It’s worth remembering that at the height of the recession, the major banks engaged in millions of wrongful foreclosures, committing fraud and breaching their own contracts in their frenzy to seize people’s homes. This period witnessed the most “wealth destruction of people of color … in American history,” according to the AFL-CIO’s special counsel. Not coincidentally, it has also seen record corporate profits.

Unpaid bills aren’t the problem – they’re the pretext. For Gov. Snyder and his corporate allies in the business community, Detroit’s neighborhoods are more profitable with the current residents gone. Policies like the water shutoffs and mass tax foreclosures will effectively make life unlivable in certain areas of the city, driving out long-time residents and clearing the way for more “development” and its attendant influx of young white professionals. It’s urban colonization, pure and simple.

And it’s not just a Detroit problem. Twenty-five thousand households in Baltimore will have their water cut off this week in a similar attack on low-income people, according to Think Progress. But until progressive activists grapple with the financial considerations underlining these battles over water rights, they will remain on the defensive.

  • easywriter

    Detroit was the experiment and now it’s full bore…

  • D Kessler

    This exact same thing happened after the Riots in the 60’s . Think Newark, and Detroit,Chicago , Watts in LA. It’s history repeating itself. Except than the people only left smoke and rubble, this time the people are laying down like sheep. What happened ? Seems as if our nation has been wiped and beaten into submission. Sort of make you sick doesn’t it, but that’s what I m seeing. Every body’s gone belly up because they feel like the money guys got the game rigged again and this time it’s not even WORTH BUNRING IT DOWN. It is already a pit let it go and try to find another place to live, if you can find work that is, or it’s the ” same old “.

  • DHFabian

    Even our “bold progressives” in media don’t support the notion of human rights for our poor. (According to the UDHR, food and shelter are basic human rights, even for the jobless poor and unemployable, and this generation disagrees.) D. Kessler, burn what down? The few places that these low income and poor people can afford to live? Then what? There is a BIG difference between the 1960s and today: We have no legitimately progressive media reporting on the conditions of the poor, which have significantly worsened since the 1990s — not only for the black community, but for the majority of our poor (who are white).

  • DHFabian

    The war on the poor has been quite successful. Today, our liberal media wave the banner for the better off alone, the middle class, while Democrats continue to target the poor and the disabled/seriously ill. The masses were successfully divided and conquered.

    Think of it this way: If we had a revolution, who would fight whom? Right now, we can only watch as the rich do to the middle class what the middle class already did to the poor.