“…essence of dialectical thinking is the ability to be self-critical. Being able to see that an idea you had or an activity you had engaged in which was correct at one stage can turn into its opposite at another stage; that whenever a person or an organization or a country is in crisis, it is necessary that to look at your own concepts and be critical of them because they may have turned into traps.” Grace Lee Boggs
Living for Change News
September 18th, 2017
Radical Hope Is Our Best Weapon
“From the bottom will the genius come that makes our ability to live with each other possible. I believe that with all my heart.” These are the words of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Dominican-American writer Junot Díaz. His hope is fiercely reality-based, a product of centuries lodged in his body of African-Caribbean suffering, survival, and genius.
LISTEN to Junot Díaz on On Being
Thinking for Ourselves
Denying scientific data. Attacking the press. Claiming stories questioning you are a hoax. Exaggerating election results. Denying a history of racism. Embracing business interests against all else. These appear to be the hallmarks of those in political authority today. And these are not limited to Donald Trump, corporations, or right wing conspiracy nuts. Consider Democratic Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. He is more of a denier and defender of corporate power every day.
Consider the latest flap over Kid Rock. Duggan, straight from a primary election win, stepped into the controversy over the high profile venue given to Kid Rock as part of the opening festivities of the publicly funded Little Caesars Arena. Kid Rock has made a point of displaying the confederate flag, defending it as “heritage not hate.” Lately he has taken to attacking Colin Kaepernick and his effort to call attention to police brutality and the slaughter of African Americans.
Duggan’s response to community activists challenging the high profile given to Kid Rock in a city that is more than 80% African American and who put down the largest share of the dollars to fund the stadium was illuminating. Duggan said to Kimberly Craig from WXYZ, “He’s an entertainer.” He went on, “My feeling is, if you don’t like Kid Rock’s politics or music -– don’t go to the concert.”
The thinking behind this kind of comment is no different than the thinking behind a statement equating Nazis and White Supremists with those who oppose them. It is not only a refusal to look at history and our responsibilities for determining what is appropriate in public spaces, but a lack of moral vision.
Duggan also has taken aim at what he considers a media hoax, the idea that our city is now “Two Detroits,” one whiter and wealthier, the other poorer and darker. Calling this description a “fiction” Duggan said “Just come down here Saturday at 3 p.m. and take a picture of a random place, and I think you’ll see we have an area that is welcoming to everybody.” He charged the notion of two Detroits is “a fiction coming from you. It really is.”
Realizing that such a comment would not fit with the reality of most people in the city, even those who just stroll through on a Saturday afternoon, Duggan’s spokesperson Alexis Wiley tried to restate the lie. She offered an explanation saying, “The Mayor was responding to what he understood was the reporter’s suggestion that the City of Detroit was divided politically. The Mayor is the first to say that while the city has made progress, there are far too many Detroiters who struggle with poverty and joblessness.
Yet this Mayor has done little to acknowledge the real life conditions of most of those who live in the city and are struggling. More than 40% of us live in poverty.
Our daily experience says that under Duggan water shut offs continue in defiance of sense and international condemnation. Foreclosures and tax sales of homes continue unabated. Assistance programs are woefully inadequate. Health data warning of a public crisis due to lack of basic sanitation is ignored. People feel the political process is rigged.
Duggan’s great victory in the primary was nearly 70% of the primary votes cast. But less than 14% of the people eligible bothered to vote. The “undeniable results” mean about 10% of voters bothered to endorse Duggan and his direction.
Most people are realizing that the electoral arena has drifted far from the practice of democracy. While we need to press for what are sometimes called “non reformist reforms” of programs and policies coming for downtown administration, it is obvious that creating communities of care and productivity is the only way to create a city that embraces all of us.
What We’re Reading
Myth-busting the Detroit tax foreclosure crisis:Detroit is not for sale
At the time of this writing, Detroit is in the midst of yet another round of the staged cage-fight that is the tax foreclosure auction. In many ways this feels like an individual fight — one home at a time fighting to mitigate the harshest consequences such as eviction, homelessness, and permanent property damage. Yet this issue affects the city as a whole, and it’s important that we do not become desensitized to the routine social violence that it represents. The truth is that Detroit is for sale by our own local government, and it is time to challenge the convenient notions that help us fall asleep at night.
(photo by Garret MacLean)
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Am I strange or insane because I want a systematic change?
I don’t want to give in to the system that want to wash our brains
It’s bad enough they took our culture and locked us in chains but we still sit here like there is nothing wrong so who’s really to blame?
For me creating change is a must
Most of us go through the same struggle so why not trust
We’re continuously doubted but in my eyes that’s a plus
If we stand side by side and fight for what’s ours the system can be crushed!!!!
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