Top: Detroit EM Kevyn Orr andf Jones Day boss Stephen Brogan (center); Gov. Rick Snyder (l) and Mayor Dave Bing (r). Second row: Sandra Pierce, chair Financial Advisory Board (l), State Treasurer Andy Dillon (r), third row (l to r) Ken Whipple, co-chair FAB, Charles Pugh, City Council Pres. Kriss Andrews, City Project Manager; bottom: council members (l to r) Ken Cockrel, Jr., Saunteel Jenkins, Gary Brown, Andre Spivey, James Tate. PHOTO MONTAGE BY VOD, DOES NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT MR. BARROW'S POSITIONS.
Top: Detroit EM Kevyn Orr andf Jones Day boss Stephen Brogan (center); Gov. Rick Snyder (l) and Mayor Dave Bing (r).
Second row: Sandra Pierce, chair Financial Advisory Board (l), State Treasurer Andy Dillon (r), third row (l to r) Ken Whipple, co-chair FAB, Charles Pugh, City Council Pres. Kriss Andrews, City Project Manager; bottom: council members (l to r) Ken Cockrel, Jr., Saunteel Jenkins, Gary Brown, Andre Spivey, James Tate. PHOTO MONTAGE BY VOD, DOES NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT MR. BARROW’S POSITIONS.

“Conservatives Play Chess, City Leaders Play Checkers and Get Played Out,” Barrow Says

May 10, 2013     

Mayoral candidate Tom Barrow testifies at City Council Jan. 28, 2013.

Mayoral candidate Tom Barrow testifies at City Council Jan. 28, 2013.

DETROIT – Mayoral candidate Tom Barrow today put on his psychic turban to predict the anxiously awaited report by Emergency Financial Manager Kevin Orr due out next week.

“First the set up,” said Barrow. “He will claim things are much worse than he ever thought,” and then will come the sting. “He will claim that because things are so bad, he will move at lightning speed to a near complete privatization of Detroit’s core services and  regionalization into suburban- controlled authorities” Barrow predicted.

“Oh yes, he will recommend that the state take over the city’s pension funds because that’s where a lot of money sits.”

Barrow explained further.

Public of the conservative Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

Public of the conservative Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

“This entire plan was mapped out years ago in the conservatives’ play book commonly known to insiders as the Michigan Privatization Report published in 2001.

“Since its release, Bing, Dillon, Gov. Snyder and conservative republicans all over the U.S. and their accomplices have all been setting it up and are now the playing pieces are being moved to the end-game, which is the end of democracy and self-governance to be replaced by a corporate republic,” declared Barrow.

The report, issued by the conservative Mackinac Policy Center, detailed every step of the process to strip the state’s largest city of its assets through outright sales, privatization of core city services, regionalization and destruction of employee unions.

“While the Conservatives play chess, our leaders play checkers and get played out,” Barrow says. “Their plans have been brain-stormed, think-tanked and game-simulated all to ensure that their success is thorough, total and defensible due to the contrived financial crisis they themselves create.”

Michigan State Treasurer Andy Dillon

Michigan State Treasurer Andy Dillon

At a meeting in December where he accompanied City Councilmember JoAnn Watson, Barrow, an expert in municipal finance and accounting, personally challenged Michigan State Treasurer Dillon on the incorrect conclusions he has made about Detroit’s finances and concluded after extensive questioning of the Treasurer that the so-called financial crisis was “contrived”. To date, neither the Treasurer nor the Governor has disputed Barrow’s conclusions.

“Step by step, here is how they play the game and now, the king will be checkmated as Kevin Orr follows the script written for him and other emergency managers throughout Michigan,” Barrow offered, “and next week we will see these predictions come true in his report.”


Privatization: The Motor City’s Renaissance Engine

Motor City Needs Budget Boost: Privatizing Detroit City Services

Detroit's Cobo Hall regionalized under former Mayor Ken Cockrel, Jr.

Detroit’s Cobo Hall regionalized under former Mayor Ken Cockrel, Jr.

MISSION: If properly implemented, an aggressive privatization campaign including sales of city assets could provide Detroit with the revenue it needs to pay creditors, improve services, and maintain its infrastructure during the next decade. Privatization of city services also could prevent Detroit from becoming the first major American city to have its democratically elected leadership replaced with an appointed financial oversight panel – a fate that befell one of its suburbs, Ecorse, in the 1980s.

Asset Sales: Accounting for Privatization

MISSION: In the end, government asset sales shift assets away from non-productive political uses and toward their most productive economic uses. At the same time, such sales reduce the costs taxpayers must pay for the maintenance and improvement of government-owned facilities. Government asset sales are just one of privatization’s many win-win scenarios.

The Conventions of Privatization: Selling Cobo Center. Regionalized asset where Detroit now has minority voting power.



City Council approved plan for Public Lighting Authority which will reduce number of city's street lights.

City Council approved plan for Public Lighting Authority which will reduce number of city’s street lights.

Detroit Lighting Department

Step 1: Turn off the lights in strategic areas to create crisis.

Step 2: Get media to select Detroit residents of color, and comments they want street lights!

Step 3: Contract with DTE to provide lights

Step 4: Repeatedly publically decry loss of lights in neighborhoods

Step 5: Get conservative legislature to create new Lighting Authority for Detroit

Step 6: Appoint EFM

Step 7: Surprise! Lights come back on.

Step 8: EFM unilaterally gives Lighting Dept. to new state created Authority, Detroit has

minority voting power.



Privatization Should Drive Detroit Transportation

City of Detroit bus mechanics honor their leader, Leamon WIlson, president of AFSCME Local 312 for 20 years, during his funeral April 15, 2013. He died at the age of 55.

City of Detroit bus mechanics honor their leader, Leamon WIlson, president of AFSCME Local 312 for 20 years, during his funeral April 15, 2013. He died at the age of 55.

Step 1: Mayor Bing cuts bus service – creates self inducing crisis

Step 2: Get media to select Detroit residents of color, and comments they want buses!

Step 3: Repeatedly publically decry loss of Bus service and late busses.

Step 4: Legislature creates Regional Transportation Authority

Step 5: Suburban Controlled SEMCOG Board, Changes Funding formula to steal $7 million from DDOT to give to FAILING low ridership suburban bus system.

Step 6: Now de-funded and deliberately choked, EFM Kevin Orr forces DDOT to Regionalize into the newly created Transportation Authority. Detroit given minority voting position despite being by far the overwhelming users of public transportation by its citizens.



For Whom the Private “Belle Isle” Tolls

AFSCME Local 542 Pres. Phyllis McMillon speaks at rally to save Belle Isle Sept. 2012.

AFSCME Local 542 Pres. Phyllis McMillon speaks at rally to save Belle Isle Sept. 2012.

MISSION: Of all of Detroit’s assets, Belle Isle, the 985-acre island park situated in the Detroit River just inside the U.S. border with Canada, could very well be the city’s most attractive privatization opportunity.

Step 1: Mayor Bing deliberately neglects Belle Isle keeps concessions closed;

Step 2: Repeatedly publically falsely decry that Belle Isle filthy and dirty.

Step 3: Have media find residents of color to exclaim they want island cleaned up!

Step 4: Bing coordinates the Belle Isle crisis with Gov. Snyder to pressure citizens to give it up and make it a State Park for 99 years.

Step 5: Attempted blackmail of the Detroit City Council with threat of EFM unless they give over Belle Isle to the state. But, unforeseen public outcry scares off Council majority.

Step 6: Snyder makes good on his threat, EFM appointed.

Step 7:  Using phony steps (1) and (2) as basis, Snyder’s EFM, Kevin Orr recommends state take-over of Belle Isle and negotiates his own terms to give it away forever.



Water Privatization Can Help Detroit Avoid Drowning in Debt

DWSD worker on strike to save department and Detroit Sept. 30, 2013.

DWSD worker on strike to save department and Detroit Sept. 30, 2013.

Step 1: Have suburban controlled board hire restructuring consulting firm to tell the suburban director what they want to hear about restructuring the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department.

Step 2: Release report from self serving, but objective-appearing restructuring firm, that Water Dept. has to fire 80 percent of its union employees.

Step 3: Conservative Republican-appointed Federal Judge mysteriously and unexpectedly releases Detroit Water Department from 45-year old Consent Decree and Oversight.

Step 4: Create phony public claim that Detroit is drowning in Bond Debt and point at DWSD even though its bonds are being paid as agreed and are guaranteed by revenue from customers as anticipated. Keep those facts secret.

Step 5: Find residents of color to agree (Failed to Find Any.)

Step 6: Because of Detroit African-American community’s sensitivity to Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, have conservative Republican Governor appoint a Black Emergency Financial Manager.

Step 7: EFM recommends REGIONALIZATION/PRIVATIZATION/LEASING of DetroitWater and Sewerage Department.

Step 6: Detroit loses control Detroit of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department and begins to pay higher rates for its own former asset.



Tom Barrow for Mayor“It doesn’t take a mind-reader to know what comes next,” lamented Barrow, 64, “the August 6 primary will be a referendum on the city’s leadership and their losing streak with the conservatives now in control of the city, and we hope the voters choose better players who have studied offense rather than the defense players we have in the game right now.”


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Pastor Charles Williams II leads march as it takes off outside New Center McDonald's May 10, 2013.
Pastor Charles Williams II leads march as it takes off outside New Center McDonald’s May 10, 2013.

 D15 banner


D15 organizers estimate 400 workers walked off or did not show up

They join workers in St. Louis, New York, Chicago in national drive 

By Diane Bukowski 

May 11, 2013 

DETROIT – The bright faces of Detroit’s youth on the march March 10, to double their wages at fast food outlets, lit up the gray skies of a city battered for decades by the nation’s most vicious assault on working and poor people. The assault has included skyrocketing youth unemployment, police victimization, and incarceration.

MacDonald's workers April Jones (l), with baby, and Tequila VanHorn (r), lead march as it takes the streets.

MacDonald’s workers April Jones (l), with baby, and Tequila VanHorn (r), lead march as it takes the streets.

 The signs workers carried as they took the streets outside Detroit’s New Center MacDonald’s, after hitting five chains with one-day walk-outs, said it all: “WE ARE WORTH MORE!” 

Workers walk out at Detroit Burger King May 10, 2013.

Workers walk out at Detroit Burger King May 10, 2013.

Metro Detroit MacDonald’s, Popeye’s, Burger King, Long John Silver and Subway outlets were hit by the strikes. Fast food employees have begun a rolling national strike wave. They walked out in St. Louis May 8 and 9, and New York City and Chicago last month. 

April Jones, who works at the New Center MacDonald’s, wheeled her one-year-old baby Kristan Johnson in a stroller during the march of hundreds, chanting, “$7.40’s got to go!” and “What do we want? $15! When do we want it? NOW!” 

Detroit Popeye's workers strike.

Detroit Popeye’s workers strike.

“We have had no raises,” she said. “I’ve worked here since 2008, and they told us there would be no raises. I leave there every day with my back and body hurting. We are doing manager’s jobs, but we still get only floor worker’s pay. I can’t see raising my child on $7.4o an hour. I have my own place. I have to pay rent and DTE, and buy food and clothing for my baby. I need $15 an hour!” 

Tequila VanHorn, 21, is expecting her first child. She works with Jones at the same MacDonald’s. 

Youth from local high schools joined the march, knowing their futures are also at stake.

Youth from local high schools joined the march, knowing their futures are also at stake.

“We have to fight for our rights, do what we can to survive,” she declared, speaking along with Pastors Charles Williams II and Willie J. Rideout after the march. “$7.40 is not right!  I started at the McDonald’s three years ago, and I’m supposed to be there right now. Along with no decent pay, we get no appreciation. At least if I have to work hard, if I have a bad day, let me smile knowing I can support my baby.” 

High school students including brothers James and Andrew Williams, 16 and 17, and Jerome Winbush were among dozens of other youth who joined the workers, recognizing that their futures are also at stake. 

Tequila Van Horn rouses the crowd with Pastors Charles Williams II and Willie Rideout behind her.

Tequila Van Horn rouses the crowd with Pastors Charles Williams II and Willie Rideout behind her.

“This is the first time I’ve been to anything like this,” Winbush, who attends Detroit Central High School, said. “I feel it’s good. I feel that we won today.” 

Dozens of exhilarated older people, many who came of age during the movements of the 1960’s, also participated. 

The strikers are also demanding the right to unionize. Michigan was the birthplace of the union movement in the 1930’s, but last year, incredibly, it became a Right-to-Work state under the extreme right-wing leadership of Governor Rick Snyder and the majority of the state’s legislators. 

Detroit itself, which has lost over 237,500 residents due to predatory lending and foreclosures and over half its public schools, while paying billions in predatory debt to the banks, expects its Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr to declare his plans for yet more assaults on its residents May 13. 

MacDonald's worker shiields herself from rain as drummer gives rhythm to chants.

MacDonald’s worker shiields herself from rain as drummer gives rhythm to chants.

D15 is coordinating the fast food workers’ campaign in the Detroit area, according to its website at It has support from local ministers, the Service Employees’ International Union (SEIU), the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 876, and the “Good Jobs Now!” movement.  D15 organizers estimated at least 400 workers participated in the walk-outs here. 

“There are now more than 50,000 fast-food jobs in the Detroit metro area, more than twice as many as in the auto-manufacturing sector,” says D15’s website. “Fast food jobs are projected to grow by 12.3% in the area by 2018 – more than twice as fast as the projected growth rate of the region’s workforce as a whole. But these jobs are the lowest-paying in Detroit, with many workers earning Michigan’s minimum wage of $7.40 or just above it.

Young marchers' faces were filled with hope.

Young marchers’ faces were filled with hope.

“These are billion-dollar companies that can afford to pay their employees better. When workers join together and are paid a living wage, not only will it strengthen the economy but it will also reduce crime in our neighborhoods.”

According to D15 organizers and other observers, the walk-outs in Detroit began at 6:00 a.m. when 20 McDonald’s workers at 10400 Gratiot on Detroit’s east side walked out. Management called in other workers to replace them, but they also joined the strike.  Seven workers at a Long John Silvers in suburban Warren walked out shutting down that outlet, while Subway workers at the city’s Renaissance Center did the same. Likewise, workers at a Burger King on W. Eight Mile and a Popeye’s on Grand River in Detroit also left their jobs.

Marchers take W. Grand Blvd.

Marchers take W. Grand Blvd.

The workers are demanding no retaliation and are calling on the public for mass support.

McDonald’s worker Keith Bullard, of Inkster, has started an online petition for support on MoveOn.

“This morning, I walked off my job at McDonald’s,” he said in an email to news outlets including VOD. “I’m a 29-year-old husband and a father of two. My wife can’t work because of health problems—and the $7.50 an hour I make at McDonald’s just isn’t enough to cover my family’s basic needs,” he said.

Workers say it's hell to work at McDonald's and other chains.

Workers say it’s hell to work at McDonald’s and other chains.

I’m not alone. All across Detroit, many more workers like me are also striking— Join us. My coworkers and I need as many folks standing up with us as possible. 

Together, we’re launching the D15 campaign—for workers, for families, and for Detroit—and standing up to the enormous corporations we work for to make sure they get a simple message: Workers like us should be paid a fair wage that lets us make ends meet.  

We’re standing up and saying it has to stop. Say you’re with us by adding your name today! Click here to sign the petition, and then pass it along to your friends. 

Related articles:

Marchers return for rally next to MacDonald's.

Marchers return for rally next to MacDonald’s.

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Rally fast food workers


From Aaron Petkov, with photos:

Big day today! Organizers are expecting the strike of fast food workers in Detroit to be the biggest in the country. Be out in New Center at 4pm tomorrow to fight for a living wage and the right to unionize!

Fast food strikeFast food strike 4


Fast food strike 3Fast food strike 2


May 10, 2013 at 6:51 am

By Associated Press

Detroit — Workers at a fast food restaurant on Detroit’s east side have walked off the job as part of an effort to push for higher wages.

Detroit pastor Charles Williams II says workers want $15 and hour, better working conditions and the right to unionize. The one-day protest starting Friday morning at a McDonald’s on the 10000 block of Gratiot is one of about 50 that organizers say they’ve planned around Detroit.

The D15 campaign says many workers make $7.40 an hour or just above it.

A message seeking comment from a representative of the restaurant was left Friday morning by The Associated Press.

Workers at more than 30 fast food restaurants in St. Louis walked off the job Thursday in a similar one-day strike. That followed strikes at fast food chains in New York and Chicago.

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NC student union Civil disobedience protest.

NC student union Civil disobedience protest.


newsoneBy Paul Shepard 

May 3, 2013

VOD: thanks to Keith Hines for posting this on Facebook, alerting VOD to what may become a highly significant movement among our youth.

The progressive pushback continues against a series of proposed laws in the North Carolina legislature that seem designed to weaken voter rights, environmental laws, and health care for the poor: On Monday, a group of 17 ministers, civil rights advocates, and students got themselves arrested in pre-planned acts of civil disobedience outside the state General Assembly. On Wednesday, another five college students were arrested, after protesting outside the General Assembly. The students, who identify themselves as members of the NC Student Power Union, were all released on bond.

In a statement released to the press and in video clips the N.C. Student Power Union has uploaded onto Youtube, the students say they see the laws proposed by the Republican-led legislature as casting a direct and threatening cloud over their futures.

“My family struggles with finances and we have a hard time making ends meet so the last thing we need is for a millionaire sitting in the North Carolina General Assembly to take my financial aid away,”said Dhruv Pathak, a student at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro.

May Day NC Student Power union

NC Student Power Union demonstrates on May Day, 2013

A proposal before the General Assembly would cut nearly $200 million to the state university system.

Other proposals would hit at voting rights by shortening early voting provisions and eliminating Sunday voting and same-day registration entirely.

Another new law would weaken environmental law by easing restrictions on the controversial practice of fracking for oil reserves – a method some scientists say fouls drinking water supplies.

One change that has already been signed in to law by Gov. Pat McCrory cuts benefits for the unemployed.

Students on the march in North Carolina.

Students on the march in North Carolina.

“In the past few months, I’ve watched as opportunities for social uplift and living a quality life have been snatched away from people in our state,” said Zaina Alsous, a University of North Caroilina-Charlotte student who was also arrested. “Health care, rights in the workplace and even the right to vote have all been attacked and our futures are being stolen away to serve the interests of the corporations and the mega wealthy.”

As the protests mount, the Republican-led sponsors of the conservative agenda have been strangely silent. It probably serves their interests best to lie low and wait for the little dustup of a few ministers and students to blow over.

But if by some chance, the student protests grow and even get the backing of some grown, established folk, Republicans might have to start answering some tough questions, such as why has the state government decided to make such a dramatic and sudden shift to the right and whose interests is it serving?

Go to to follow NC Student Power Union’s activities.

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Some of the hundreds who attended rally against the banks, including Flagstar, May 4, 2013.
Some of the hundreds who attended rally against the banks, including Flagstar, May 4, 2013.

 Hundreds rally May 4,  form coalition of activists from many sectors

EM Kevyn Orr has other plans, to be outlined Mon. May 13 

By Diane Bukowski 

May 9, 2012 

DETROIT – Organizers said May 4 that Detroit must mobilize immediately against the criminal global banks which have evicted 270,000 families, shut down half the city’s public schools, and devastated city services and jobs, charging $600 million last year alone in debt payments.

Attorney Vanessa Fluker and city retiree Andrea English both spoke at the rally.

Attorney Vanessa Fluker and city retiree Andrea English both spoke at the rally.

Time is short. The people must rise, said speakers with the Moratorium NOW! Coalition against Foreclosures, Evictions and Utility Shut-offs. They demanded an immediate moratorium on payment of city and schools debt to the banks, and billions in reparations.

Underscoring their concern, Detroit’s Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr said today that he will present a plan Monday, May 13 giving “a detailed look at the depth and breadth of the financial crisis we’re in.”

Detroit EM Kevyn Orr and his white shadow Gov. Rick Snyder.

Detroit EM Kevyn Orr and his white shadow Gov. Rick Snyder.

Orr’s spokesman Bill Nowling said, “It’s really going to be a very accurate snapshot of the situation from a financial standpoint and a need-for-restructuring standpoint for the city. The depth of the financial crisis is steeper than we thought…Anyone who reads it will have a pretty good picture of the situation the city faces.”

Nowling added that, “We’ve had a chance to pop the hood and look around now” since Michigan Governor Rick Snyder appointed Orr March 25.

MORATORIUM NOW! presents analysis based on city’s debt documents

Moratorium NOW!, however, didn’t just “pop the hood.” Their analysis given at the May 4 meeting was based on 3,000 pages of the city’s debt instruments obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request. It is diametrically opposed to that likely to be given by Orr. Orr’s law firm Jones Day, acting as Detroit’s “debt re-structuring” consultant, represents the very banks speakers said are responsible for the condition of the world’s largest Black majority city outside of Africa.

We have your city

“Those banks are guilty of criminal actions,” said Andrea Egypt, a Detroit city retiree who co-chaired the meeting. “With their predatory lending, their instruments of fraud and usury, their seizure of homes, land and assets, they conspired to destabilize our finances and destroy the lives of our residents, creating urban blight and crime. They set up the conditions for the financial collapse of the cities across the country and the world.”

Andrea Egypt

Andrea Egypt

Egypt said that Orr, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, and the City Council are ignoring “the elephant in the room.”

“They are blaming everything on the unions, city workers, and legacy costs for retirees.” Egypt explained. “But they will make sure that Detroit won’t miss one payment on its debt service. Even President Barack Obama has done nothing to stop this situation. WE have to do this.”

Nationally-known anti-foreclosure attorney Vanessa Fluker agreed.

“Why aren’t these banks paying US back for the 270,000 homes our people lost?” she asked.  “None of this will change until the people change. We must get out in the streets first, then the laws change. The Bible itself tells us to stand up against the wicked and evildoers.”


City Councilwoman JoAnn Watson said the wealth of the banks and corporations was built on the slave trade.

City Councilwoman JoAnn Watson

City Councilwoman JoAnn Watson

“This is much bigger than Detroit,” Watson said. “This goes all the way back to the way this country was built, off the unpaid labor of our ancestors. The profits from the slave trade paid for the War of 1812 and the Louisiana Purchase. They built Wall Street, the insurance companies and the banks. We must demand reparations.”

Abiyomi Azikiwe of Moratorium NOW! said, “Kevyn Orr is an agent of the banks in total disregard of the will of the people. The corporate media has never bothered to mention that the vast majority of the people in Michigan voted against Public Act 4. The type of re-structuring that Orr is talking about is to aid the banks only. Across the country, Jefferson County Alabama, the home of the civil rights movement, Providence, Rhode Island, Harrisburg Pennsylvania, Stockton, California—all of our cities are being held hostage by the banks. The municipal bond market is a $3.7 billion industry.”

Azikiwe said the crisis is global, leading to huge uprisings and general strikes by the people in Greece, Spain, Italy, France, Ireland and elsewhere in Europe. The LIBOR scandal, involving criminal interest-rate rigging by numerous global banks, began in Britain but soon spread across the ocean to the U.S., where the City of Baltimore and dozens of municipalities, pension funds and other debtors are suing the same banks Detroit owes money to.

Mike Shane

Mike Shane

In Britain and Japan, banking executives have been arrested and tried for their roles in the scandal. (See links below this story for previous VOD articles relating to LIBOR and the banks.)

The highlight of the meeting was Mike Shane’s slide show presentation analyzing the role of the banks in Detroit’s downfall step by step. A black and white version of the presentation is available in PDF by clicking on Banks slide show B W. To see the slide show in full color, click on


The slide show cited Detroit’s foreclosure crisis as the beginning of the current disaster, saying the banks targeted African-American and Latino communities for sub-prime loans, which were eight times more profitable than conventional loans. They used “massive fraud and deception in underwriting these loans,” Shane said.

Detroit, which had the nation’s lowest foreclosure rate in 1996, had 67,000 foreclosures between 2005 and 2009 alone, eventually losing 237,500 people, nearly twice as many as New Orleans lost after Katrina. In 2012, Shane said, almost half of unpaid Wayne County taxes, $57 million, was owed by the banks on homes they had essentially stolen.

Banks criminal conspiracy

Shane said the Senate Permanent Committee on Investigations, which Attorney Fluker testified in front of, found that Wall Street banks which Detroit owes money to engaged in a criminal conspiracy, in a massive report which he held up.

“Our investigation found a financial snake pit rife with greed, conflicts of interest, and wrongdoing,” the report said. Banks cited in the report included Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Deutsche Bank, Wells Fargo, NY Mellon, Citibank, and UBS.


UBS in particular played a catastrophic role in Detroit’s economic decline. In 2005, representatives of Wall Street ratings agencies Standard and Poor’s and Fitch came to the City Council table in collusion with UBS to push a $1.5 BILLION pension obligation certificate debt on the city, meant to cover the city’s entire outstanding pension payments for 30 years.  Despite loud protests from the pension boards, the unions, and the community, the Council eventually caved and voted unanimously for the deal.

Joe O'Keefe of Fitch Ratings and Stephen Murphy of Standard and Poor's (center) at City Council table Jan. 2005, Also present, KIlpatrick's CFO Sean Werdlow (l) and Deputy Mayor Anthony Adams (r). Photo by Diane Bukowski

Joe O’Keefe of Fitch Ratings and Stephen Murphy of Standard and Poor’s (center) at City Council table Jan. 2005, Also present, KIlpatrick’s CFO Sean Werdlow (l) and Deputy Mayor Anthony Adams (r). Photo by Diane Bukowski

Shane noted that Detroit was only the second city to agree to such a proposal, but that many cities followed course afterwards.

This reporter covered the session where the Council deliberated on the deal.

Then Councilwoman Sharon McPhail, who later supported Kilpatrick.

Then Councilwoman Sharon McPhail, who later supported Kilpatrick.

 Councilwoman Sharon McPhail, who sat on the Police and Fire Pension Board, told then Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, “This is a very risky transaction. Your own people at your own economic forum called this one of the seven deadly sins of finance. If the deal doesn’t do what is expected, we could face receivership under the Local Government Fiscal Responsibility Act. If the stock market does well, that $1.2 billion in unfunded pension liability could go away, but we’d still owe it in bonds.”

Kilpatrick responded, “So what?”

The market did go south in the great 2008 economic collapse, and Detroit defaulted on that debt several times, resulting in the banks getting ALL of the city’s casino income taxes and state revenue-sharing funds to vet, cut out their tons of flesh, and then return the scraps to the city.

Shane said that additional losses resulting from interest rate swaps on the pension obligation certificate debt totaled over $439 million, as detailed in an article in Bloomberg Businessweek, titled “Only Wall Street gains from Detroit crisis.”

Banks role in Detroit


He said the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, an enterprise agency whose bonds are backed by revenue, lost over $546 million terminating interest-rate swap agreements not related to the POC’s,  profiting banks like JP Morgan Chase greatly.

LIBOR satirical signHis slides showed that the International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA), a trade organization of market participants, sets the standards for default and termination events, which result in raising the interest rates on outstanding debts to an additional nine percent over the “London Inter-bank Offered Rate” (LIBOR).

He concluded that the banks therefore dictated the appointment of Detroit EM Kevyn Orr, in order for them to get paid first, before the needs of the city’s people are met.

The current EM act, Public Act 436, decrees that the chief duty of the EM is to ensure “The payment in full of the scheduled debt service requirements on all bonds, note and municipal securities of the local government, contract obligations in anticipation of which bonds, notes and municipal securities are issued, and all other uncontested legal obligations.

DPS and banks

He noted that Detroit Public Schools Emergency Manager Roy Roberts just left his job, because his mission was accomplished. DPS debt records show that it paid down its obligations to the banks by 2012-13 after closing half the district’s schools and laying off tens of thousands of workers. The previous year, it paid $523.8 million on its debt, or 89 percent of total per-pupil state aid. In the current year, that amount has declined to $63. 8 million, or 16 percent of state school aid, which has also declined with the student population.


Hurricane Wall Street

Wall Street bullShane concluded by calling for prosecution of the banks, a moratorium on debt payments, and “tens of billions of dollars” in reparations or restitution from the banks.

While Kevyn Orr’s chief duty is to “re-structure the debt,” said attorney Jerome Goldberg at the end of the meeting, it is highly unlikely he will take a tough stance with the same banks his law firm, which is the city’s re-structuring consultant, represents.

Instead, Hurricane Wall Street will be further visited on the people of Detroit and cities across the U.S.

Banks Repo

Other speakers included, Rev. Bill Wylie-Kellerman of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Helen Moore of Keep the Vote No Takeover; Elena Herrada, elected DPS board member; Aliya Moore, Oakman School parent group chair, the Rev. Charles Williams, chair of the Michigan chapter of the National Action Network, and poets and performance artists B. Thomas and At Peace from the Conscious Coalition Collection. 

Abolitionist hero Frederick Douglass

Abolitionist hero Frederick Douglass

On Aug. 4, 1857, Frederick Douglass said, “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what a people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress. Men may not get all they pay for in this world; but they must pay for all they get. If we ever get free from all the oppressions and wrongs heaped upon us, we must pay for their removal. We must do this by labor, by suffering, by sacrifice, and, if needs be, by our lives, and the lives of others.”

For more information, go to and

Download PDF of VOD stories on banks and Detroit at VOD Banks articles.

May 20 rally_0001

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May 4, 2013 by Jamahiriya News Agency

 By Eugene Puryear

FBI post attacking Assata Shakur

FBI post attacking Assata Shakur

On May 2, the Federal Bureau of Investigation suddenly announced that they had placed Assata Shakur on its “Most Wanted Terrorists” list, making her the first woman to be so designated. The state of New Jersey also raised the bounty on her head to $2 million. These government actions came on the 40th anniversary of the shoot-out in which police allege that Shakur killed an officer.

It is clear that these are the vindictive attempts of the Empire still outraged that a rebel could escape, survive outside its reach, and continue to expose its long history of exploitation and oppression. The recent provocations are part of a long-term smear campaign by the U.S. government to erase her revolutionary legacy.

The FBI’s accusations target Shakur as an individual, but the labeling of her as a terrorist is an attack on all revolutionaries.

Collage from Assata

Collage from Assata

Shakur has been living in exile in Cuba for the last 29 years. So what changed in the recent days and weeks to now put her on the “Most Wanted Terrorists” list? The FBI presented no evidence against her and revealed no terrorist plots. Assata’s real crime, FBI spokesman Aaron Ford said, was that from Cuba she continues to “maintain and promote her … ideology” and “provides anti-U.S. government speeches espousing the Black Liberation Army message”—an ideology and message that the U.S. government has declared “terrorism.”

Attack on Assata Shakur is an attack on Cuba.

Attack on Assata Shakur is an attack on Cuba.

In other words, President Obama’s and Eric Holder’s FBI is charging Shakur with a political crime, the advocacy of revolutionary politics and Black liberation as “terroristic” and “criminal.” According to the outrageous “War on Terror” legal doctrines currently employed in Washington, she could be targeted for assassination. In addition, the designation of Shakur as a terrorist helps them justify the targeting of socialist Cuba as a “state sponsor of terrorism.”

The defense of Assata Shakur is therefore part and parcel of a general defense of the right to espouse revolutionary politics, of Black liberation and of free speech more generally.

‘I wanted a name that had something to do with struggle’

Assata Shakur was born JoAnne Chesimard, and her change in name was reflective of her desire to fully identify with the revolutionary struggles of her African heritage. Assata means “she who struggles,” her middle name Olugbala means “love for the people,“ and her last name Shakur was taken in honor of her comrade Zayd Shakur.

Comrades of the Black Liberation Army.

Comrades of the Black Liberation Army.

It is no surprise that the U.S. government now seeks to further criminalize Shakur. In fact, it is just the latest extension of the government’s counter-revolutionary COINTELPRO initiative waged against the Black liberation movement in the 1960s and 1970s. At that time, the U.S. government was so fearful of the growth of revolutionary movements that J. Edgar Hoover even declared the Black Panther Party, of which Shakur was a member, the “greatest internal threat” facing the ruling class. It used a wide range of tactics, all the way up to assassinations of leaders, to disrupt this radical movement.

It must be recalled that the government described much of the political activity of the era—in the anti-war movement, the Black freedom movement, the fight for independence of Puerto Rico, and solidarity with revolutionary Cuba, among other struggles—as explicitly criminal.

Troops on the streets of Detroit during the 1967 rebellion. DFP

Troops on the streets of Detroit during the 1967 rebellion. DFP

Of course, while they were locking up and killing activists and revolutionaries within the country, the U.S. government was engaged in a wide-ranging brutal and murderous campaign in Southeast Asia. They were dealing cosmetically with the terrible conditions of poverty and class oppression inside the United States, while deploying troops to suppress growing rebellions among oppressed Black, Latino and Native peoples. They were launching coups in multiple nations. They were attempting—and sometimes succeeding—in assassinating revolutionary leaders. They were backing apartheid and Portuguese colonialism in Africa.

When Martin Luther King Jr. famously said that the U.S. government was the “greatest purveyor of violence in the world today,” he laid bare the essence of the “American Century.”

Child of the 1960's.

Child of the 1960’s.

It was in this world context, which in its core features is unchanged today, that Assata Shakur grew up. Millions took part in the growing movements against the injustices of the U.S. government and Shakur was one of those millions. As a college student, Shakur did not use her degree as an “escape valve” to distance herself from the mass of poor, oppressed and exploited people. Instead, she joined—body and soul—in the fight for their collective liberation.

Out of the mass movement in the United States, a wing emerged that advocated for various forms of armed struggle as a way to expedite the revolutionary movement and give solidarity to peoples of the Third World. Assata was part of this trend—and she and her comrades were targeted for severe repression, often framed and incarcerated under false pretenses.

Assata Shakur is not guilty

Shakur was falsely convicted of having killed an officer on May 2, 1973. While driving on the New Jersey Turnpike, Assata, Zayd Shakur, and Sundiata Acoli were stopped by state troopers, allegedly for having a “faulty taillight.” A shootout ensued where one state trooper killed Zayd Shakur, and another trooper, Werner Foerster, ended up dead. Shakur was charged with both murders, despite the fact that the other trooper, James Harper, admitted he killed Zayd Shakur.

Zayd Shakur, killed by NJ state troopers who also shot Assata Shakur.Assata had been, following police instructions, standing with her hands in the air, when she was shot by Trooper Harper more than once, including a bullet to the back. Trooper Harper lied and said he had seen Shakur reach for a gun, a claim he later recanted. He also claimed she had been in a firing position, something a surgeon who examined her said was “anatomically impossible.” The same surgeon said it was “anatomically necessary” for her arms to have been raised for her to receive the bullet wounds she did. Tests done by the police found that Shakur had not fired a gun, and no physical or medical evidence was presented by the prosecution to back up their claim that she had fired a gun at Trooper Harper.

While she was in trial proceedings, the state attempted to pin six other serious crimes on her, alleging she had carried out bank robberies, kidnappings and attempted killings. She was acquitted three times, two were dismissed and one resulted in a hung jury.

Shukur was put on trial in a county where because of pre-trial publicity 70 percent of people thought she was guilty, and she was judged by an all-white jury. Without any physical evidence to present, the prosecution had to rely totally on false statements and innuendo aimed at playing on the prejudices of the jury pool against Black people, political radicals, and Black revolutionaries in particular. Finally, after years behind bars, the state secured her conviction for the Turnpike shooting.

Terrorism double-standard and potential of assassination

President Barack Obama and CIA director John Brennan at his swearing in.

President Barack Obama and CIA director John Brennan at his swearing in.

Being placed on this Most Wanted Terrorist list means that hypothetically Shakur could be targeted for assassination. The legal white paper released by the Obama administration around the confirmation of CIA Director John Brennan stated that the United States would pay no attention to another nation’s sovereignty in choosing targets who they deem to be “terrorists.” The massive expansion of the security powers and the methods used in the “War on Terror” are being fashioned to target revolutionary militants.

Placing Shakur on the Most Wanted Terrorists list is also a significant attack on Cuba. On May 1, 2013, the United States refused to remove Cuba from the “State Sponsors of Terrorism” list. The next day, Assata became a “Most Wanted Terrorist.” By claiming that Cuba supports “terrorism” and is harboring a “terrorist,” the government provides itself with a pretext to continue the illegal blockade of Cuba and starve the revolution of trade.

Luis Posada Carriles

Luis Posada Carriles

Further, the United States does absolutely nothing to apprehend, convict or punish in any way the violent anti-Cuba groups who routinely and openly boast from U.S. soil of planning terrorist attacks on Cuba. Despite having killed thousands of Cubans, none of these organizations or individuals have ever been placed on America’s list of “Most Wanted Terrorists.”

For instance, Luis Posada Carriles, a former CIA operative who currently walks free in Miami, publicly admitted to The New York Times that he had engaged in a campaign of fatal hotel bombings in Cuba. In 1976, Posada was a key figure in the bombing of a Cuban airliner where 73 people perished. In 2000, Posada was caught attempting to set up a plot to assassinate Fidel Castro as he spoke to university students in Panama. If successful, the attack would have killed hundreds.

Threat to political prisoner solidarity work

Ominously, by criminalizing Assata Shakur, the government has also taken a step towards criminalizing the broader movement in support of political prisoners. Many political prisoners in this country have also been alleged to be members of the Black Liberation Army. If Shakur is a terrorist simply for giving speeches in support of the BLA, what about those convicted of crimes alleged to have taken place while they were members? Will political prisoner support groups now be targeted as “supporters of terrorism” or “terrorists” themselves?

Political prisoner Imam Jamil Al-Amin (formerly known as H. Rap Brown of the Black Panthers) is in prison for life, framed up in the killing of a Georgia police officer.

Political prisoner Imam Jamil Al-Amin (formerly known as H. Rap Brown of the Black Panthers) is in prison for life, framed up in the killing of a Georgia police officer.

The new attacks on Shakur aim to have a chilling effect on those who seek to express their support for political prisoners. This is especially true when one considers that drone strikes and indefinite detention at Guantanamo Bay are the typical U.S. responses to those accused of terrorism.

The placement of Assata Shakur on the Most Wanted Terrorist list is another example that the U.S. government, and the capitalist class it represents, will go to any length to intimidate, repress and defeat potential threats.

Because Shakur remains a symbol of resistance, and is unrepentant in her politics, the government will never stop their attempts to smear, kidnap or kill her. But millions of people know the truth. Her legacy cannot be whitewashed or dismissed; it cannot be distorted. So even though she is in Cuba, the government remains afraid of her example. They know that while decades have passed, the conditions still exist to give birth to a million Assata Shakurs.

NY Black is Back Coalition Calls for Demonstration to Support Assata Shakur!
Assata Shakur, Black Freedom Fighter, Is Now On FBI Most Wanted Terrorist List

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Abayomi Azikiwe
Abayomi Azikiwe


By Abayomi Azikiwe, Editor Pan-African News Wire, Global Research, 

April 30, 2013 

A new push is being made by corporations and banks in Detroit to drive even more working class, poor and nationally oppressed people out of the city. This fact is being illustrated by recent developments in the downtown area and its environs where low-income people are being forced to move from several apartment buildings.

Local multi-millionaire Mike Illitch owns the Detroit Red Wings, the Tigers, Little Caesar's, and a multitude of properties in downtown Detroit and the Cass Corridor area. He can afford to build FREE housing for the displaced residents.

Local multi-millionaire Mike Illitch owns the Detroit Red Wings, the Tigers, Little Caesar’s, and a multitude of properties in downtown Detroit and the Cass Corridor area. He can afford to build FREE housing for the displaced residents.

The Cass Corridor, a heavily depressed area that has been neglected by the City government and the business magnates for years, is now the apparent focus for the construction of a new sports stadium. The owners of the Detroit Red Wings may be attempting to take control of sections of the Corridor in order to either gentrify the district or engage in “developments” that will not benefit the interests of the current residents.

Residents in three apartment buildings on Henry Street between Cass and Second Avenues received a hand written notice on April 20 saying that they had to move out within thirty days. Another document which appeared to be a “Notice to Quit” was also handed over to the residents.

However, neither of these documents appeared to be validated by 36th District Court where Landlord-Tenant matters are handled. Since the tenants are mostly senior citizens, single parents, people living with disabilities and marginalized workers, the supposedly new owners, who have not come forward to publically claim responsibility for the illegal attempts to evict, feel that they can get away with these blatant acts of disregard for hundreds of people.

Residents of Cass Corridor Berwin apartment building.

Residents of Cass Corridor Berwin apartment building.

All together there are over 200 apartment units spread out between the three buildings. Some of the residents have lived in the buildings for over thirty years while others are newcomers.

One resident told this writer that he had just moved in one month ago. He said that he paid the first month’s rent and a security deposit in addition to purchasing furniture for the apartment.

This resident is now irate that he has been told to move by May 20. He wants to take some legal action to recover his money and obtain resources from the new owners to relocate.

Cass Corridor residents at meeting.

Cass Corridor residents at meeting.

This is the sentiment among other residents as well. A meeting was held on Sunday afternoon April 28 in a vacant lot across the street from the apartments.

The residents are angry and frustrated and are looking for assistance. Members from various organizations including the Moratorium NOW! Coalition to Stop Foreclosures, Evictions and Utility Shut-offs, attended the meeting.

However, since it is not clear who really owns the building now it will take some serious inquiry and political action to uncover those that are responsible. Residents of the apartments have also been told that their electricity, gas and water will be shut-off after May 20 creating even more uncertainty.

Griswold residents IPhoto Deadline Detroit--see link to article below.)

Griswold residents IPhoto Deadline Detroit–see link to article below.)

The situation in the Cass Corridor is being replicated throughout the central city area. Two other large apartments downtown are also being taken over by new ownership where the residents, who are Section 8 renters, are being ordered to move. (VOD: now add a third–the Griswold Senior Apartments.)

These developments are taking place at a time when the federal government and private industry are not building low-income housing. Detroit, which is now under emergency management under the aegis of the banks, is being exploited at an even deeper level than what has prevailed over the last decade.

The foreclosure and eviction crisis hit the city of Detroit with vengeance beginning in the mid-2000s. The U.S. Census report indicated that approximately 237,000 people left the city during 2000-2010, which is 25 percent of the population.

At present, the City government, although heavily dominated now by pro-corporate surrogates, virtually has no authority in light of the state-imposed Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr. As one resident said during the tenants meeting on April 28, “we are basically on our own now.”

Foreclosures Continue Throughout the State

Murray_meme-199x300Members of the Moratorium NOW! Coalition traveled to Coldwater, Michigan in the southwest region of the state on April 24 to support the Murray family who are facing foreclosure. The Murrays have been fighting to maintain their home for the last four years and are represented by anti-foreclosure Atty. Vanessa Fluker of Detroit.

The judge in the case ruled against them and ordered the family out of the home within ten days. The Murrays had placed over $40,000 in an escrow account while they exhausted all of their legal options in the case taking it all the way to the Michigan Supreme Court.

In Portage, Michigan, also in the southwest region, the Benthin/Mac family was facing imminent eviction during the week of April 22. As a result of an e-mail and phone campaign, they were able to win a temporary stay of eviction.

Moratorium NOW! demonstrates on behalf of Baxter Jones family.

Moratorium NOW! demonstrates on behalf of Baxter Jones family. WW Photo: Abiyomi Azikiwe

Noting the continued problems of home foreclosures, the Moratorium NOW! Coalition called for a demonstration outside the Detroit headquarters of Bank of America on Friday, April 26. Members of Detroit Eviction Defense, the UAW and other groups joined in the protest as well.

On May 20, UAW Local 600, the largest of its kind in the country, will be hosting a public hearing with officials of the banking arm of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the Federal Finance Housing Administration. Homeowners are being encouraged to participate to expose the damage being done by the federal government which is the major player in the foreclosure process at present.

Although hundreds of billions of dollars have been allocated for federal housing programs through TARP and HAMP, most of the funds have not been spent because the banks are refusing to participate in efforts to keep people in their homes. Several agreements between the banks and the Justice Department related to fraud and discrimination have not resulted in a shift in federal housing policy.

Only a mass movement led by working class and nationally oppressed people can lead to the adoption of policies that recognize housing as a fundamental human right. The current phase of capitalist development is resulting in the further impoverishment and marginalization of tens of millions of people throughout the U.S. 

Related articles and websites:

Are Detroiters being evicted to make room for a new Red Wings arena?

Low-income tenants kicked out of Cass Corridor buildings by new owner

The Feds are coming!

Help us tell them to Stop Foreclosures

At People’s Hearing Monday, May 20, 4-6 PM

UAW LOCAL 600 HALL 10550 Dix Ave. at Wyoming  See map.

Over 100 people rallied on Feb. 13 against Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac evictions. Now we can give them the message directly!

Over 100 people rallied on Feb. 13 against Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac evictions. Now we can give them the message directly!

During the bank crisis, the U.S. government took over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two failing companies that insure and buy mortgages from banks. Since then Fannie and Freddie have been relentlessly evicting families who have trouble paying inflated mortgages. The Feds don’t even grant a hearing to homeowners trying to resist unjust foreclosures and save their homes!

Yet the Constitution says the government can’t seize people’s property without ‘due process.’ You’re invited to sign our petition and tell the president to stop caving in to the banks and stop federal agencies from evicting hard-pressed Michigan families.

We support a federal court challenge brought on behalf of a disabled Vietnam vet— and all other Michigan families facing Fannie Mae foreclosure — calling for a due-process hearing where people can expose potential bank fraud and predatory lending before foreclosure. 

The banks that write mortgages engaged in such fraudulent practices that regulators are making them cut the mortgage principal for many families facing foreclosure. But once Fannie and Freddie take over, they refuse to do the same to help people save their homes.

We are fighting for three things the federal government can do:

1) Due Process for All: As government agencies, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are now governed by the 5th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which says that no person shall be “deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.” The case opened Feb. 20 in Detroit.

2) Principal Reduction: Fannie and Freddie should help families in need by by reducing
mortgage principal to reflect current market values. Families facing foreclosure
can hear from homeowners at the rally who have successfully resisted.

3) Halt Foreclosures & Evictions: Fannie Mae has declared moratoriums for hurricane victims. The 75,000 Michigan families foreclosed on in the last year are also victims— of mass unemployment and mortgage banking fraud. 

Ask friends, neighbors & co-workers to sign this petition

Download petition (legal size)
Petition on letter-size paper . Flyer explains why petition matters

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Banks rally


For compilation of some of VOD’s many articles relating to the devastation the global banks have wrought on Detroit and the world, click on VOD Banks articles.

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A Seattle Police officer with a baton tries to fend off protesters during a May Day anti-capitalism protest that ended with demonstrators clashing with police on Wednesday. Ted S. Warren / AP

A Seattle Police officer with a baton tries to fend off protesters during a May Day anti-capitalism protest that ended with demonstrators clashing with police on Wednesday. Ted S. Warren / AP

ReutersBy Eric M. Johnson, Reuters May 1, 3013SEATTLE — Protesters clashed with police in Seattle on Wednesday as a May Day rally that began peacefully turned violent after dark, with demonstrators hurling objects at officers who responded with flash-bang grenades and pepper spray.

One protester was seen using a skateboard to smash windows at a Walgreens drug store in the city’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, and others overturned trash cans and lined up newspaper display racks to block police.

LA May Day protest banner

LA May Day protest banner

Officers in riot gear, some riding in armored SWAT vehicles, repeatedly used the flash-bang grenades and tried to disperse the crowd.

Seattle police said that as of 9 p.m. local time (12 p.m. ET), 11 adults and two juveniles had been arrested for assaults and property damage. Several people were shown on local TV stations being taken into custody.

 Seattle police said in a tweet that one officer was injured by a thrown object. His condition was not immediately clear.

The violence broke out as darkness fell in Seattle following a day of May Day rallies in cities across the U.S. West that were planned by a coalition of organized labor activists, students, civil rights advocates and members of the clergy to call for an overhaul of immigration laws.

Los Angeles May Day march.

Los Angeles May Day march.

In Los Angeles, thousands of protesters marched through downtown waving American flags and carrying signs with the slogan, “Stop deportations.”

The demonstrators chanted in Spanish, “Obama! Escucha! Estamos en la lucha!” (“Obama! Listen! We are in the fight!”), as they marched down one of downtown’s main thoroughfares.

The march spanned across more than two large city blocks, and one police officer told Reuters that unofficial estimates put the size of the crowd at roughly 3,500 people. No arrests were reported.

Protesters march on Wednesday, May 1, 2013, in downtown Phoenix during a May Day rally to show support for national immigration reform. Photo: Matt York

Protesters march on Wednesday, May 1, 2013, in downtown Phoenix during a May Day rally to show support for national immigration reform. Photo: Matt York

In Arizona, where a state crackdown against illegal immigration was signed into law three years ago, several hundred people joined a late-afternoon rally outside the state Capitol in Phoenix, ahead of a march through downtown.

The protests come about two weeks after a bipartisan group of U.S. senators introduced an 844-page bill, backed by President Barack Obama, that would rewrite many U.S. immigration laws.

A centerpiece of the measure would create a path to legal status and ultimately citizenship for many of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States.

It also aims to secure the U.S. border with Mexico against illegal entry and to make it easier for industry, particularly high-tech businesses and agriculture, to hire workers from abroad when needed.


Occupy LA sues city over mass detentions

NBC News in depth: Immigration Nation

People hold a banner that reads in Spanish "Proud of our work" at the front of the May Day march to Revolution Square in Havana, Cuba, Wednesday, May 1, 2013. AP / Ismael Francisco

People hold a banner that reads in Spanish “Proud of our work” at the front of the May Day march to Revolution Square in Havana, Cuba, Wednesday, May 1, 2013. AP / Ismael Francisco for photos of huge May Day rallies world-wide.

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Krystal Crittendon rally

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