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On Eve Of Netroots Nation, Detroit's Shock Doctrine Water Crisis Continues

There has been no letup in the relentless march to privatize Detroit's water, and even less response from lawmakers. Now the UN may intervene.

Detroit's water crisis has not abated, not even a little. The unelected, undemocratic government ruling the city continues to shut water off for poor people unable to pay their bills. And boy, do they have some bills.


Nicole Hill is behind on her water bill. Her toilets are empty and her taps don't run.

"I turn it on, nothing comes out. You don't hear anything but the squeaking of the faucets," Hill said.

She owes nearly $6,000. To have her taps turned back on, she will have to pay $4,449.

How in the holy hell can she owe that kind of money? How much of that is for water charges and how much is for late charges?

Also in that CBC report, news that Canadians are working to get water to Detroit residents. That's pathetic. After all, Detroit sits on the shores of Lake Erie, part of the Great Lakes, which holds over 20 percent of the world's water supply. There is really no excuse for anyone to be without water in this day and age, and certainly not because some undemocratically appointed austerity freak says so.

David Alexander Bullock, spokesman for the Change Agent Consortium, appeared on Melissa Harris-Perry's show to discuss the evil Orwellian politics in play here.

While poor people see their water cut, businesses don't suffer the same kind of draconian consequence for unpaid bills. On the contrary. Golf courses, stadiums, restaurants and other businesses continue to receive water delivery while the city's poorest do without.

John Nichols, writing for The Nation:

The Detroit officials who have ordered the shutoffs say they are simply creating pressure to get bills paid, and argue that they are trying to do so in a responsible manner. But environmental writer Martin Lukacs counters:

The official rationale for the water shut-downs—the Detroit Water Department’s need to recoup millions collapses on inspection. Detroit’s high-end golf club, the Red Wing’s hockey arena, the Ford football stadium, and more than half of the city’s commercial and industrial users are also owing—a sum totalling $30 million. But no contractors have showed up on their doorstep.

The targeting of Detroit families is about something else. It is a ruthless case of the shock doctrine—the exploitation of natural or unnatural shocks of crisis to push through pro-corporate policies that couldn’t happen in any other circumstance.

Congressman John Conyers, D-Detroit, has called on the DWSD to stop the shutoffs, making the case that “in the 21st Century, in the wealthiest nation on earth, no one should ever go without safe, clean water.”
The congressman has aligned with the Detroit Water Brigade, a grassroots movement that is organizing to stop the shutoffs and to get water to families. They’ve drawn international support. Canadians living across the river in Windsor have been organizing to deliver water to Detroiters.

Netroots Nation is set to convene in Detroit this Thursday. Will attendees bring attention to this? Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden are keynote speakers. Will they address this and raise consciousness?

This should not be happening in this country anywhere. Ever.

(Post has been updated.)

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