ON THE APRIL 5th, 2011 CITY ELECTION BALLOT
Dear Downtown Detroit Voters,
I’m running as a Socialist Party* nominated candidate in the upcoming April 5, 2011 Citizens District Council election in order to help fight for a radically democratic reorientation of our city leadership’s priorities toward an uncompromising dedication to serving and supporting the economic human needs and political struggles of the city’s working class and oppressed majority, rather than perpetual accommodation to the avaricious profit demands of Ilitch Holdings, Comerica Bank, DTE Energy, and the dozens of other multi-billion dollar firms that oligarchically comprise our city’s “Downtown Detroit Partnership.”
As noted by State University of New York Urban and Regional Planning Professor Robert Mark Silverman, in his 2003 investigative study on the efficacy of Detroit CDC’s in fostering citizen participation, “[Detroit's] citizens district councils have a specific charter to represent the interests of working-class and poor residents in communities facing development pressures from major institutions in the public and private sectors.” Amid the still ominously vague “Detroit Works” urban-downsizing campaign being developed by current Detroit Mayor (and former DTE Energy Board member) Dave Bing to drastically shrink the geographic span of Detroit’s residential communities, working class Detroiters now face a greater threat from looming “urban renewal” projects than at any time since the mass displacements of poor and minority residents imposed during the city’s first major wave of “urban renewal” projects in the 1950s.
While residents of more sparsely populated sections of the city now face the threat of potential termination of their city services, under the administration’s pending urban renewal campaign, Downtown area residents now face a correspondingly rising threat of forced displacement through gentrification. While a variety of different euphemisms are used in the city’s presently accessible planning documents to describe the projected future composition of Detroit’s downtown residential population (i.e. “young professionals,” “trendy adults” etc.), one can quite easily discern that the city’s corporate-dominated urban development framers envision a future downtown residential community whose demographic makeup is tailored to become far more reflective of Detroit’s most opulent suburbs than that of the city itself. As a candidate for Downtown Detroit Citizens’ District Council, I believe that Downtown Detroit’s present status as one of the only downtown centers, among major cities in the U.S., where working class people still compose the residential majority, is a point of pride that must be vigorously defended.
Today Detroit is at an exceptionally critical crossroads with respect to both its own future course of development and the the type of model it stands to provide to other urban centers throughout the United States. As both the cradle of industrial capitalism and the great harbinger of modern capitalism’s expanding systemic decline, Detroit’s working class now stands once again primed to charter the way toward a post-capitalist future. Rather than continuing to allow our corporate-financed city leaders to hand-out well over one-hundred-million municipal tax dollars every year to the very same private corporations that created the economic crisis we face, under the hope that some of that hard-earned revenue may eventually trickle back down; we, as the working people of Detroit, have the power to lead the way in the collective struggle of working class communities around the world to seize control of their own workplaces and central economic institutions. If elected to Detroit’s Downtown Citizens’ district council on April 5th, I will stand steadfastly committed to supporting all measures, struggles, and organizing initiatives that aim expand the share political and economic power held by Detroit’s poor and working people, over that presently held by our existing corporate rulers.
* Although Matt Erard is running with the Detroit Socialist Party’s nomination in the upcoming election for Downtown Citizens’ District Council, no candidates will have any party designation listed with their names on the April 5, 2011 election ballot .
Detroit’s Downtown CDC District is composed of the city’s central business district, bounded by the Fisher Freeway (I-75) to the north, the Chrysler Freeway (I-375) to the east, the Detroit River to the south, and the Lodge Freeway (M-10) to the west (except for a portion of the area lying south of Michigan Ave., which further extends a few blocks west of the Lodge). All registered Detroit voters residing within Detroit’s downtown CDC district are eligible to vote in the Downtown District Citizens’ District Council election on Tuesday April 5th, 2011.
Click on the image below for a map of the Downtown CDC District’s residential boundaries.