By David Sole
The World Economic Forum (WEF) has announced plans to open a “Global Center for Urban Transformation” in Detroit in October 2021. The WEF is an international non-governmental organization (NGO) that describes itself as aiming to improve “the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic, and other leaders of society to shape global, regional, and industry agendas.” It has been in existence since 1971 and is based in Switzerland.
This won’t be the first time the capitalist corporate, banking and political power-brokers have focused on the Motor City to promote their plans to strengthen their exploitative system on the backs of poor and working people.
The Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice (MECAWI) and the Moratorium Now Coalition played a pivotal role in all of these earlier actions and are part of a growing coalition to once again confront them. .
Back in 2005, Detroit hosted a Conference on the Cities that brought together business and banking interests. Activists from a broad range of community and union organizations responded and held a “National Conference to Reclaim Our Cities” from November 11 to 13 at Wayne State University. The focus of this counter-conference was to demand “Feed the Cities – Starve the Pentagon.”
Opposing the 2009 National Business Summit that gathered at Detroit’s Renaissance Center was a People’s Summit that occupied Grand Circus Park in downtown Detroit (two years before the famed “Occupy Wall Street” came to that same location). The park was occupied from June 14 to 17. Hundreds of progressive people gathered daily to hear speakers, discuss strategies and launch marches to oppose the plots being hatched by the rich and powerful. A tent city sprang up for the four days….
A mass mobilization of all progressive forces certainly should come together to expose and condemn the WEF’s plans for Detroit. A real program of urban transformation can only come from the grassroots organizers across Detroit’s neighborhoods. Such a program must include the demand for reparations to be paid to Detroit families by the banks and corporations.