Detroit, MI - This weekend I had the chance to visit the massive city of Detroit as part of a workshop, as a member of the Overpass Light Brigade, for the Allied Media Conference (AMC). As a first-time visitor to the city of Detroit, the first thing I was awakened to was the incredible breadth of ruined, blighted, abandoned and foreclosed buildings and homes. City residents and elected leaders are saddled with the infrastructure of a city built for 1.7 million people but the racist and neoliberal policies of the last several decades have decimated Detroit and other midwestern cities like it across the country, reducing its population by one-million residents. This reality has left remaining residents with an absurdly oversized city, built entirely around the automobile with less than half of the tax revenue the once-thriving metropolis enjoyed.
“Nothing symbolizes Detroit’s grandiose rise and spectacular fall like Michigan Central Station. No other building exemplifies just how much the automobile gave to the city of Detroit — and how much it took away.” This monumental building stands ruined and rusted, a lasting symbol of what Detroit once was. For this very reason, we held an “ENDGAME” message with the towering remnant behind us.
Endgame meaning: ”the final part of a game, battle, or political process when the result is decided.”
The city’s recent fortunes have worsened, as Governor Snyder has decided to deal with the city’s struggles to right itself from the failed policies of the past by disenfranchising the predominantly African-American people of Motor City. Snyder has appointed an “emergency manager” who has been given the authority “…to over-ride the votes of local citizens and the decisions and contracts made by their locally elected mayor and city council. The manager has the power to abrogate previously signed union contracts with city workers and sell city assets to pay off the city’s creditors.” In response to this draconian action from Gov. Snyder we thought it was necessary to prop up one more message that shined the truth on what has happened in Detroit and other cities in Michigan.
Flickr photo album of other Overpass Light Brigade actions.