Who is behind Bing’s plans for Detroit?


People's Summit marchers protest international CEO summit May 15 09

Bing’s plan was generated long before the September meetings, by international corporate forces who want to “down-size” third world cities here and abroad. 

The Brookings Institute, a Washington D.C.-based “think tank” founded in 1918, led discussions years ago on Detroit and other cities hit hard by the global economic crisis. 

Bruce Katz, vice president of the Brookings’ Metropolitan Policy Program, told the Detroit News in February,  “There is a nothing -left-to-lose quality in Detroit, much like there was in New Orleans after Katrina.” Griffin later reiterated the comparison, portraying Katrina as a way for New Orleans to start afresh with a clean slate. (See “Detroit—the Next New Orleans?” below for more on Griffin and New Orleans.) 

On Feb. 11, according to Crain’s Detroit, over 250 city officials, corporate executives, developers, and educators met with Katz, Skillman Foundation CEO Carole Goss, Time managing editor Rick Stengel, and Steve Hemp, chairman of the the New Economy Initiative, to discuss the future of Detroit. 

No representatives of community groups like duly elected Citizens District Councils (see article below: “Detroit Works Project Violates State Law), block clubs, unions representing Detroit workers, youth advocates, or grass roots religious and education leaders were there. 

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. leading 1963 Detroit Freedom March

 “Mentioned but not addressed in the context of Detroit reconstruction is the overwhelming (82%) African-American population,” a reader of one of Katz’s articles declared. “Do the authors envision a reconstructed Detroit with a similar population, or with a major influx of whites and others? The former would be a greater achievement, with Detroit’s history as the magnet for so many African-American families who fled other parts of the country in search of better opportunities. Not something we like to discuss in polite company, but it does make reconstruction of Detroit an even more daunting challenge.” 

“The Brookings Institution is a nonprofit public policy organization based in Washington, DC,” says its website. “Our mission is to conduct high-quality, independent research and, based on that research, to provide innovative, practical recommendations that advance three broad goals: strengthen American democracy, foster the economic and social welfare, security and opportunity for all populations, and secure a more open, safe, prosperous and cooperative international system.” 

In fact, The Brookings Institution opposed FDR’s New Deal policies and played a significant role in the Republican-backed Marshall Plan in Europe after World War II, which fostered capitalist governments in countries where socialists had led the fight against fascism. 

According to Brookings’ 2008 IRS filings, its revenue for that year was $79 million, but it is likely much more. The organization has numerous subsidiaries, and conveniently left out its officers’ compensation on its forms 990.   

But Source Watch reports that its funders have included the Alcoa, All State, American Express, Bank of America, Bristol Myers, Casey, Caterpillar, Cigna, Citigroup, Eli Lilly, Fannie Mae, Ford, GE, General Dynamics, Hewlett,  J.P Morgan Chase,  Kellogg, Knight, Marathon Oil, Mott, Rockefeller and Tokyo Club Foundations.

U.S. Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, addresses the audience at the Brookings Institution, Washington, D.C., May 18, 2009. Mullen discussed the future of global engagement. Photo by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley

That’s just the foundations. Other entities have contributed funds outright, including AT&T, Bell South, Boeing, BP America, the Carnegie Corporation, Chevron, Coca Cola,  the government of Denmark, Dow Chemical,  the Embassy of Qatar, Exxon Mobil, Ford, GE, General Dynamics, GlaxoSmithKline, Goldman Sachs, Johnson & Johnson, Living Cities, Lockheed Martin, MassMutual, Merrill Lynch, Microsoft, Mitsubishi, Pfizer, Raytheon, Shell, State Farm, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office, Tel Aviv University, the United Nations, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Walmart, and the World Economic Forum.

These organizatons include the same banks, corporations, insurance, mortgage and oil companies that have caused the current global economic crisis, putting millions out of work and out of their homes, shutting off their utilities, charging exorbitant prices for medication, busting unions, and profiting from global wars. No solution  can be expected rom them that will address the dire crisis working and poor people in Detroit and abroad are facing.

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One Response to Who is behind Bing’s plans for Detroit?

  1. I would love to get a copy of the photo of MLK marching in Detroit for my downtown law office. So inspiring.
    Do you know who the photographer was? I’m asking Detroit News too.

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