Direct Rule by Wall Street Begins with Detroit

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

The United States has never been much of a democracy. Money has always wielded decisive power, despite the formal trappings of the electoral franchise. However, finance capital can no longer tolerate even the U.S.’s weak version of democracy – certainly, not when exercised by Black people. Detroit is the model for direct rule by the Lords of Capital.

Direct Rule by Wall Street Begins with Detroit

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

The bankers would be empowered to exercise outright ownership of the city.”

Two items in the news this week put in graphic relief the overarching reality of our times: Wall Street is every day tightening its dictatorial grip on the political and economic life of the United States. The American state and economy are being relentlessly restructured in order to further consolidate the rule of finance capital. In the largely Black urban centers of the nation, the oligarchy intends to rule directly, without the inconvenience of meaningful elections and the other trappings of democracy.

Detroit proves the point. This week, a judge begins a bankruptcy court trial that will decide if local corporate dictator Kevyn Orr, the emergency financial manager imposed by the state to protect the interests of Wall Street, will essentially be allowed to sell Detroit’s assets to a British bank in order to pay off the city’s debts to American banks. The pensions of city workers may also be gutted in the process.

The city council of Detroit this week voted unanimously against the deal, but that is probably irrelevant, since the emergency manager law has stripped all power from Detroit’s elected officials. Democracy is dead in Detroit, as it is in all of Michigan’s largely Black cities, every single one of which is now run by a corporate dictator. The majority of Michigan’s African American citizens have no more electoral rights than did Blacks in South Africa under apartheid.

In the largely Black urban centers of the nation, the oligarchy intends to rule directly.”

This new political regime has been carefully crafted to the specifications of Wall Street. City revenues from Detroit’s casino and income taxes will go directly through accounts of Barclays Bank. And if, for some reason, the emergency manager loses legal control of the city, then Barclays would be allowed to declare Detroit in default and begin seizing its assets, for liquidation – that is, the bankers would be empowered to exercise outright ownership of the city. Detroit will then serve as a model for the rest of urban America.

Also this week, the U.S. Justice Department reached an agreement with JP Morgan Chase, the country’s biggest bank in terms of assets, whose chairman and chief executive, Jamie Dimon, is a good friend of President Obama. The settlement calls for $9 billion in fines and sets aside $4 billion in relief to homeowners that were victimized by the banks’ mortgage securities practices. Nobody, of course, will go jail or even face criminal charges for the multitude of felonies committed by high JP Morgan executives – crimes that would be categorized as racketeering offenses were the perpetrators not part of a ruling class that is immune from prosecution. Jamie Dimon, the Godfather of JP Morgan’s criminal enterprise, has the privilege of bargaining with the U.S. Attorney General over the size of the fine his bank will pay. Dimon himself, of course, won’t pay a cent, despite his role in throwing millions out of work and costing the world economy many trillions of dollars. His class has emerged from the crisis they created stronger than ever: too big to fail, too big to jail, more than big enough to gobble up Detroit, bigger than the voting rights of U.S. citizens – especially Black citizens – which can be cancelled when democracy gets in the way of Wall Street. All Power to the Bankers!

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at [email protected].



Michigan Emergency Manager Law: UNCONSTITUTIONAL!

How is Michigan's Emergency Manager Law not a direct violation of the U.S. Constitution's 14th Amendment, Section 1? Has the Emergency Manager Law yet been challenged on these grounds?

Yet even if such a challenge were to fail (which result seems inconceivable, actually), there is another way to fight back. Organize to Tax Wall Street.

Right now, there is a new political party forming called the "Tax Wall Street Party." Among policies it advocates is a 1% Wall Street Sales Tax whose revenues are to be split between the federal government and states. Here is where citizens of the embattled cities of Michigan can begin to reverse the fascist attack on their constitutional rights.

And as NYC mayoral candidate Randy Credico is demonstrating, such a tax on Wall Street can be levied even at the level of city government. He's proposing a 0.5% Wall Street Sales Tax to pay for free health care, free city college tuition and free subways and buses in NYC.

Imagine the Detroit city counsel imposing a 5% Wall Street Sales Tax on any resident trading in stocks, bonds or derivatives, which proceeds might even go toward buying back the assets Barclays is about to steal! Just wanted to throw this thought into the aether. All hope is not lost!

Un-truth in advertising

Why is it that every time an article is published on the trevails of Detroit the accomanying picture has more white people in it "protesting" than there are Africans. The city is 85% African! Yet do you mean to communicate in your photos that the majority of the people concered about the corporate takeover of Detroit are white? And your reports contrast this illusion of inter-racial solidarity with attacks on Kevin Orr-eo who is the hired sherrif working for the white supremacists. I really take umbrage with how your are presenting the stories on Detroit. It seems your political ideology is more important than exposing the true nature of the system of white supremacy, and instead you seek to sow confusion due to your own personal issues.

Answer to Wall Street Rule

First we do not live in a democracy.  There is no democracy in the world.  We pledge allegiance to a republic which, means we elect our dictators.  There is no election in a true democracy.  Democracy's synonym is anarchy.  We have been brainwashed by the oligarchy that we cannot function without some form of authority.  True lawlessness is committed by the oligarchy.  Lack of their punishment for their crimes is lawlessness against the rule of true leaders in a democracy, the people. 

Until mankind learns to reject the concept of currency, paper and round pieces of metal, the possibility of rule by a financial entity will remain.  Just think how hard the top 1% would fall if all of mankind said no to their currency.  Who decided that these pieces of paper and round pieces of metal should have value?  The top 1% took all their money.  Tell them thank you and to keep it.  Mankind has lived for millions of years.  The dollar has lived for only a few hundred years.  Therefore for milions of years mankind exisited without the concept of currency.  

Detroiters have already found their answers.  Independent of any rule, they have created gardens and grown their own food.  Wall Street not included.