Poisoning Black Cities
They emptied New Orleans. Now they have poisoned Flint, Michigan. The corporate campaign to ethnically cleanse U.S. cities knows no bounds. Michigan’s emergency financial manager law is “part of Wall Street’s tool kit to starve, bulldoze, redline, over-price, oppressively police, and even poison Black people out of the urban centers.”
by Glen Ford
It has taken the poisoning of an entire city of 100,000 people – 52 percent of them Black – to draw national attention to the human effects of systematic corporatization of the public sphere under neoliberal U.S. capitalism. Republican Governor Rick Synder promises to “fix” the ruined water infrastructure of Flint, Michigan, now hopelessly corroded and saturated with lead – a repair that could cost as much as $1.5 billion. But, even if Snyder is forced to resign, as demonstrators demand, or is jailed, as filmmaker Michael Moore would prefer, it won’t fix the irreparably damaged brains of the city’s children or prevent a cascade of Flint-like catastrophes from unfolding across the country.
We are experiencing another Katrina moment, a dreadful epiphany in which the nature of the beast that is preying upon us becomes horrifically clear. Michigan’s emergency financial manager system – a weapon of corporate dictatorship imposed selectively on heavily Black and brown cities and school systems – is the lead-tipped point of the spear that is gutting urban Black America. It is not a unique instrument – and certainly not a Republican invention – but part of Wall Street’s tool kit to starve, bulldoze, redline, over-price, oppressively police, and even poison Black people out of the urban centers.