PEOPLE'S SUMMIT and TENT CITY June 14 - 17, 2009
Grand Circus Park, (Woodward and Adams), Detroit
* Bailout the people! * Jobs, healthcare, housing and education for all * Moratorium on foreclosures, evictions and utility shutoffs – housing is a right * Stop budget cuts and restore social services funding * Stop tuition hikes and school closings * Moratorium on layoffs, plant closings, pension thefts and union busting – A job at a living wage is a right * End racism, sexism and anti-LGBT attacks * Stop attacks on immigrants * Bailout youth and students * No more police brutality * Jobs not Jails - For prisoners and ex-prisoners' rights * Save the natural environment and stop global climate change * U.S. troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan * Money for jobs and human needs, not war *

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Demonstration to Protest the military coup d'état in Honduras and Protest Israeli piracy and kidnapping human rights workers

Wednesday, July 1, 4:30 PM

Hart Plaza, Woodward & Jefferson, Detroit

Demand the restoration of the Manuel Zelaya as president of Honduras
Demand that the U.S. cut off all economic and military aid to the military junta

Demand that Israel let the Humanitarian Aid through to Gaza
Demand that Israel free Cynthia McKinney and all kidnapped human rights workers
Demand that Israel stop the blockade of Gaza

In addition to protesting the illegal military coup d'état and removal of President Manuel Zelaya in Honduras, we must add additional demands protesting the siezure of the Free Gaza Movement boat, the SPIRIT OF HUMANITY and the abduction of 21 human rights workers, including former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, in international waters by the Israeli "Defense" Forces last night.

Join us Wednesday in solidarity with the people of Honduras and Palestine.
Last night, Israeli Occupation Forces attacked and boarded the Free Gaza Movement boat, the SPIRIT OF HUMANITY, abducting 21 human rights workers from 11 countries, including Noble laureate Mairead Maguire and former U.S. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney. The passengers and crew are being forcibly dragged toward Israel.

The seizure of humanitarian supplies and abduction of human rights workers is an act of piracy, a crime under international law. When the boat was attacked, it was not in Israeli waters and was on a human rights mission to Gaza. Israel's deliberate and premeditated attack on an unarmed boat in international waters is a clear violation of international law.

According to an International Committee of the Red Cross report released yesterday, the Palestinians living in Gaza are "trapped in despair." Thousands of Gazans whose homes were destroyed earlier during Israel's December/January massacre are still without shelter despite pledges of almost $4.5 billion in aid, because Israel refuses to allow cement and other building material into the Gaza Strip. The report also notes that hospitals are struggling to meet the needs of their patients due to Israel's disruption of medical supplies.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Demonstration to Protest the military coup d'état in Honduras

Wednesday, July 1, 4:30 PM
Hart Plaza, Woodward & Jefferson, Detroit

Demand the restoration of the Manuel Zelaya as president of Honduras

Demand that the U.S. cut off all economic and military aid to the military junta

On Sunday, June 28, the democratically elected president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, was overthrown by the U.S. trained, and equipped Honduran military. Honduran soldiers invaded the residence of President Zelaya as he slept, and forcibly exiled the president to Costa Rica, just hours before a nationwide referendum was scheduled to take place.
It has been reported that the ambassadors of Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua in Honduras have been kidnapped along with Honduran Foreign Minister Patricia Rodas, and have being beaten by Honduran military forces.
While President Obama has expressed that he is "deeply concerned" and that the coup is illegal, Secretary of State Clinton has stated the the U.S. government has not formally designated the military coup as a military coup. And why? Such a move would require, according to U.S. law, that the U.S. cut off almost all U.S. aid to Honduras. In addition to aid to the Honduran government and military, aid is provided to various rightist groups and political parties from such entities as USAID, the National Endowment for Democracy, the International Republican Institute, and the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs.
While the U.S. denies any involvement in the coup, at least two of the coup leaders have received training from the Pentagon's School of the Americas, located at Fort Benning, Georgia, and known by many as the School of the Assassins. Just about every military coup in Latin America since the 1960s (and there have been quite a few) has been led by graduates of the School of the Assassins and supported by the U.S. government.
Furthermore, the U.S. maintains about 550 military and 650 civilian personnel at Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras, which is also the home of the Honduran Air Force and Naval Academy.
And let us not forget, the U.S. has dispatched military forces to Honduras on several occasions to protect the interests of the United Fruit Company (now known as Chiquita) and the Standard Fruit Company (now Dole).
The Honduran people are in the streets protesting and resisting the military. As of Monday evening, there are reports of several Honduran military battalions refusing to support the coup.
Join us Wednesday in solidarity with the people of Honduras.
Initiated by MECAWI, the Michigan Emergency Committee Against War and Injustice, and Latinos Unidos de Michigan

Saturday, June 20, 2009


The People's Summit and Tent City was a great success in terms of organizing and bringing together the people throughout the region and various states to elevate the revolutionary conscience of the masses to stand up (against the powers who have waged an economic war against the working class by their corporations, banks, and government entities that do not have the interest of the people at heart) and to fight back to demand what is rightfully theirs as citizens and workers.

Not only did it present a means of organizing and strategy but it sought to unify people from all stratas of society. It sought to educate, and open the necessary dialogue with which to engage the masses.

The camaraderie and solidarity that was felt throughout the summit was an example of what is possible and necessary to fuel the type of resistance needed to effect a much needed systemic change by planning, organizing, strategizing, unifying, televising, communicating, regulating, and escalating militant protest by key organizations and classes that have been left out of the so called economic recovery and to forge ahead with their plan and list of demands to continue this momentum that resonated during the Summit.

KUDOS to our comrades who camped out in the tents to represent the homeless and to bring to conscience the magnitude and impact of homelessness across the country and the neglect to bail out those who have been swindled out of their livelihood which is their property, their jobs, their health care, which should be a right.

All the speakers were of excellent character and their words, no doubt will resonate to keep the fire burning within to make enough inroads to organize mass participation and to continue the struggle to rectify and to eradicate this crime of globalization against humanity both at home and abroad.

KUDOS, to the Latino participation and education of their struggle with immigrants rights and deportation issues, as they made clear who the enemy and aliens truly are and to set straight the many questions surrounding their oppression. Their struggle is truly our struggle and we must remain bonded to their cause of common liberty and justice for all.

KUDOS to the Labor Unions who bravely and militantly showed that they do have some fight in them as they escalated a spirited demonstration throughout the summit that they will continue to be soldiers of solidarity for the working class people all over the world and be the example of confrontation against the capitalist bosses who exploit their labor for profit.

KUDOS to our press agents who exposed themselves to the media and the demands of the people regardless of the consequences to bring enlightenment to the masses and to send out a message that resistance is not futile and that resistance exists, right here, in Detroit to reverberate across the region and put the matter in check as to whether the people have the power to effect change.

KUDOS to our elected officials like Councilwoman Joanne Watson, Senator Hanson Clarke and Jessie Jackson, for bucking the status quo to join us on common ground to support our initiative and help drive the point that both the masses and the elected officials must do their part to save the people from those who continue to destroy their domestic tranquility and pursuit of happiness, liberty, justice and freedom.

KUDOS to the cooks and many members of various organizations who did the labor in erecting the tent city, cleanup, and logistics that was sooo necessary. Their work was a most necessary component and very much appreciated from the beginning to the end.

KUDOS to our performers of poets, hip hop artists, rock bands and folk singers who didn't think twice but showed up to exploit their talents for a worthy cause voluntarily as the people loved what they saw and heard.

And last but not at all the least, KUDOS, to the FIST Youth Organization members and our WW party members from NY and other states who always have the back of the people because their power and influence brought the energy and fuel necessary to pick up the momentum of the Summit by their intellect and support to the cause from the beginning to the end.



Peace to You All.
Andrea Egypt,

Another Perspective: More Help for "Working People" and The Poor

Week of 6.19.09
Another Perspective: More Help for "Working People" and The Poor
By Abayomi Azikiwe
Abayomi Azikiwe, spokesperson for Moratorium NOW! Coalition to Stop Foreclosures and Evictions, talks about what he feels is irresponsible action by the government and corporations in regard to American employment and the poor. Moratorium NOW! held a protest rally—called "The People's Summit"—outside The National Summit, a conference of business CEOs and leaders which took place in Detroit June 15-17.

Over four million people have lost their jobs in the United States since December 2007 and more than two million people have lost their jobs since the beginning of this year. But neither the corporate community nor the American government have been able to respond to the deepening economic crisis by creating jobs for the unemployed and underemployed.

There are numerous factors involved in this apparent inability by multi-national corporations and the government to create jobs and provide other assistance to families suffering from home foreclosures, evictions, lack of health care and the evaporation of their savings and pension funds. Current policy imperatives of the ruling elites in this country favor the profit-making capacity of the financial sector and the most wealthy business people based in America and abroad. This is to the detriment of the interests of most working people and the poor.

The assumption is that if these banks and firms prosper, the benefits will flow downward to the workers in the form of lucrative employment and social benefits. However, this theory has been totally discredited through the lowering of real wages, the rise in joblessness, underemployment and the widening income gap between working people and the rich.

Many corporations have decided to go to areas of the country and the world where they can more freely exploit workers and consequently reap higher profits. When this system faced collapse during the fall of 2008, U.S. taxpayers were forced to bailout the very same financiers, insurance providers and automotive companies who had engineered the crisis. The collapse resulted in the worst loss of financial wealth since the Great Depression.

There must be a restructuring of national priorities in the United States. The $10 trillion in public funds and Federal Reserve-induced liquidity that was utilized to ostensibly prevent a full economic meltdown in 2008 could have easily been invested in government programs to create millions of jobs in the U.S. There could have been a national moratorium on foreclosures that could have allowed people to remain in their homes pending the outcome of the current crisis.

"Those who have guided the economic policy of the country must yield to the needs of the people who are the engine of any real program of reconstruction and renewal."
At the same time, the $700 billion annual defense budget—including the continuing occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan—is draining the resources of the country in wars that have no end and that could not possibly be won by a western industrialized nation against peoples of the developing world. These Pentagon resources could be re-allocated to build mass transit systems throughout the country, reopen closed schools, and rehire laid-off educators. There could be a genuine effort to repair the national infrastructure. All of these initiatives could result in the creation of millions of jobs.

What is most important in any plans to create jobs and stimulate economic growth is the empowerment of working people and the poor. This is something that receives a hostile response from the corporate community and the federal government. Nonetheless, if people feel they have no influence in the actual operations of the state and capital, their productivity and general outlook will be severely affected.

If there is no rapid reversal of the massive job losses in the U.S., the long-term implications will be catastrophic. With the need for 25 million jobs for the unemployed and underemployed this year, consumer spending will further decline and more businesses could slide into bankruptcy, resulting in even more unemployment.

Consequently, the epidemic of job losses and home foreclosures will contribute substantially to the erosion of living standards and social stability. Those who have guided the economic policy of the country must yield to the needs of the people who are the engine of any real program of reconstruction and renewal.

Friday, June 19, 2009

People’s Summit confronts real state of economy

Phalanx of police guard CEO’s meeting at the Renaissance Center   DIANE BUKOWSKI PHOTO
Phalanx of police guard CEO’s meeting at the Renaissance Center DIANE BUKOWSKI PHOTO

By Diane Bukowski
The Michigan Citizen

DETROIT — “The economy is crumbling because its roots are sunk in blood and unpaid labor,” declared City Councilwoman JoAnn Watson during the June 14 opening session of the National People’s Summit and Tent City in Grand Circus Park.

“We cannot fix it with band-aids,” she said. “We are demanding an urban Marshall Plan for Detroit, $10 billion, only 10 percent of the $100 billion the government has given to Wall Street. We have a critical mass in the people here to begin that fight: march twice, to Lansing and to Washington, demand a special meeting with President Barack Obama. You cannot bail out the auto industry and not the workers and their homes.”

She added that Detroit can be re-populated by offering young people government housing for $1 with no property taxes and guaranteeing jobs through projects like using the “gold mine” of the Great Lakes to provide renewable, alternate energy sources.

The four-day Tent City, which included marches and other protests, was called in response to a national business summit taking place June 15 -18 at the Marriott Hotel in downtown Detroit’s Renaissance Center.

“It’s time to define America’s future in a global economy, and YOU are invited,” the business summit website trumpeted. However, the people who attended were nearly all white males representing corporations, banks and lenders, along with politicians whose campaign coffers are filled with corporate donations.

The companies have reaped billions in tax bailouts, while laying off millions of workers, foreclosing on homes and sending so-called “middle-class” America to live in the streets with the ranks of the long-term homeless. (See photo box.)

Laid-off autoworkers, welfare rights activists, representatives of the differently-abled and dozens of others joined forces with people like Robert Miller, a Vietnam veteran who has been homeless for 40 years, and Linda James, also homeless. James lost the toes on one foot to frostbite, but she helped pass out literature about the people’s fightback.

“The government needs to help homeless people,” said James. “They’ve got so many buildings they can open. I lost my toes because all the shelters were full and I have no insurance to get my medication. I have seizures, high blood pressure, and schizophrenia.”

A major focus of the People’s Summit was the campaign for a moratorium on all foreclosures and evictions.

“Bail out the people, not the banks,” demonstrators chanted June 15 as hundreds marched on the Renaissance Center, which was heavily guarded by police, including a mobile ministation, to protect conference goers from the people’s wrath.

Among the business summit speakers were Vikram Pandit, CEO of Citigroup, which has foreclosed on tens of thousands of families, and Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, who has refused to declare a state of emergency in Detroit to open the door for a moratorium.

Speakers and U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin voted to give billions to banks who are refusing to re-negotiate loans to distressed homeowners.

“There is no help right now,” declared attorney Vanessa Fluker, who works day and night along with the Moratorium NOW! Coalition to keep people in their homes.

“A reality check shows that the federal legislation mandating that lenders modify loans has no enforcement provisions,” Fluker said. “I’ve had clients who took out mortgages at six percent, and they’ve been modified to 12 percent, people whose monthly payments went from $400 to $2,400, and $1,200 to $4,400. Government statistics have shown that African Americans, Hispanics and senior citizens are targeted for these types of loans.”

She noted that not only do the companies evicting homeowners get reimbursed through insurance from Fannie Mae, they also take out vandalism insurance and get paid when homes are stripped after evictions take place.

State Sen. Hansen Clarke called on the gathering to support Senate Bill 29, which would establish a moratorium on foreclosures for two years, on a case by case basis. He said the 90-day moratorium signed by Granholm “will not help one person in foreclosure now or in the future.”

Plant workers from American Axle in Detroit, Toledo Jeep and Chrysler Twinsburg in Ohio, and UE workers from North Carolina marched a second time on the RenCen June 16. They demanded that their employers along with Ford, General Motors, American Axle and other companies, whose CEOs spoke at the forum, restore the workers they have laid off to jobs in re-tooled, green energy plants.

At 3 p.m., they gathered again at the Tent City site to hear from Rev. Jesse Jackson, who also spoke at the business summit, and other speakers.

Dianne Feeley, one of the American Axle workers who struck at the plant for weeks last year to stop its shutdown, noted, “American Axle’s CEO Richard Dauch bought up dozens of GM plants so he could whipsaw one against the other, reducing wages to as little as $10 an hour and sending jobs to Mexico, Singapore and other parts of the world to exploit workers there.”

Paul Wohlfarth, a Toledo Jeep retiree after 31 years with the company, said retirees’ eyeglass and dental benefits will be eliminated July 1. He and a co-worker stood next to a cardboard box with a chimney pipe which represented the future homes of many new hires. He said they are making $14 an hour, getting 40lK retirement plans dependent on stock market swings, and have been forced into an underfunded UAW-run health plan.

Marguerite Maddox, a representative of the differently abled, was greeted with cheers as she spoke at the June 14 rally accompanied by her seeing-eye dog. She later led a march on a Detroit People Mover station that is not accessible.

“I’m fed up with the health care system, they’ve eliminated our coverage for hearing aids and glasses,” she said of Medicaid. She called for jobs for anyone who lives in Detroit, including the differently abled like herself.

Activities June 16 also included a rally to close the Detroit Incinerator and promote recycling held at Spirit of Detroit statue on the corner of Woodward and Jefferson.

Other speakers at the event included Maureen Taylor of the Welfare Rights Organization, Baldemar Velasquez, head of the Ohio-based Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC), Sandra Hines of the Moratorium NOW! coalition.

The people fight back in Detroit

from The Arab American News

By Nick Meyer
Friday, 06.19.2009, 06:04am

DETROIT — As voices of anger and frustration echoed through the air at Grand Circus Park in Detroit on Tuesday, many onlookers couldn't help but stop by to see what all the noise was about.

Civil rights activist Jesse Jackson, center, and Reverend Edwin Rowe, L, of Central United Methodist Church in Detroit. PHOTO: NIck Meyer/TAAN

What they found upon visiting the National People's Summit was that the event didn't discriminate in terms of the problems it tackled.

From calling for a moratorium on housing foreclosures and "bailing out the people" to freeing Palestine and ending the wars against Iraq and Afghanistan, there was no shortage of critical human rights issues to discuss.

The event ran from June 14-17 in response to the National Business Summit held at the Renaissance Center as representatives from large companies like Conoco-Phillips, Dow Chemical and General Motors met to discuss new policy ideas.

Earlier in the day, protestors rallied outside of the Renaissance Center as the leaders met before heading back to the tent city and stage set up in Grand Circus Park.

Reverend Edwin Rowe from nearby Central United Methodist Church, who hosted a large pro-Palestinian rally back in February, was among the featured speakers. He lashed out at those responsible for the financial crisis and used a familiar rallying cry from the Palestinian situation: "No justice, no peace!" he said, referring to bank bailouts.

"Why do we trust Wall Street to help when they are the same people who destroyed the workers?"

Rowe added that the 36th District Court near his church has essentially become a foreclosure court and said banks get paid for foreclosures and even for acts of vandalism against abandoned houses, which are common.

He also bemoaned the lack of support for victims of the crisis from interfaith leaders of all religions.

"Whenever the media sticks a microphone in your face, we need to tell them that our leaders are betraying their own scriptures by not standing with the laid off workers."

Famous civil rights activist Jesse Jackson stopped by later in the day and brought extra media coverage and more curious passers-by to the event. He also focused on the foreclosure problem.

"The banks have more money than they can spend, yet the people languish in poverty," he said.

Jackson pointed out that about 600,000 people in the United States lose their jobs each month and that the banks still aren't lending despite being awash in new funds.

There was also a strong pro-union contingent at the summit, including activist Bryan Pfeifer, who discussed the importance of the working class staying united in the face of corporate power instead of pointing fingers.

"Solidarity is important even with international workers; the union is the only way to go," he said, saying that an honest job on a living wage is a human right.

Pfeifer recalled stories from his grandfather about how an alliance with a Mexican union helped end an auto strike.

"When unions fight each other, the enemy loves that," he said.

After Jesse Jackson's speech, Rowe took time to clarify his words on stage and touch on other issues.

He recalled his trip to Palestine and drew a parallel between the bulldozing of houses by Israeli forces to the situation in America.

"I was there and I saw the bulldozers that said 'Made in America' on the side; what's going on now in America is just another kind of bulldozer."

He said that most of the foreclosure victims had little chance to save their homes as mortgage rates rose from 5% to around 18% in the cases Rowe was informed about.

Rowe previously discussed with Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm at an NAACP event the possibility of declaring a moratorium on foreclosures as the state did during the Great Depression in 1934 for five years as opposed to the 90-day policy they currently have.

Rowe said that lawyers sent her information proving it is legal as she requested, but Granholm hasn't addressed the issue as promised.

With word out that Michigan's unemployment rate had risen to 14.1% on Wednesday, its highest since 1983, and foreclosures piling up across the state, the odds seem stacked against the working class.

Rowe offered advice on how citizens can do their best keep their heads above water.

"We get on TV and talk about supporting small businesses but we don't do it. Supporting small businesses is very important.

"We've also got to ask our religious leaders from our churches, mosques, and synagogues to do more," he said, adding that the black civil rights struggle in America was successful because of their support.

"This is a civil rights issue and if we're ever going to stand behind our workers it has to be here and now."

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Workers, youth open fightback at Tent City

Facing evictions, repression, no jobs

Published Jun 17, 2009 4:34 PM

By Kris Hamel
Tent City, Detroit

June 16—Hundreds of poor and working people have gathered at the National People’s Summit and Tent City in downtown Detroit to put forward the people’s vision of a future with guaranteed jobs and income, universal health care, housing and utilities, and all rights that working class people are currently denied under the capitalist system.

More than 330 people registered for the four-day event. They have come from throughout metro Detroit and Michigan—even workers from the Upper Peninsula are at Tent City. Workers and activists from Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio and more are represented.

The People’s Summit and Tent City, based in Grand Circus Park from June 14-17, was called in response to the National Summit of big-business CEOs and executives being held at the General Motors Renaissance Center—GM’s world headquarters.

General Motors Renaissance Center—GM’s world headquarters.

“They’re going to regret the closing of 14 plants and the laying off of General Motors workers, because the workers are fighting back!” said Frank Hammer, a retired United Auto Workers International representative and leader of the Autoworker Caravan, as he opened the rally after a militant demonstration outside the big-business summit today.
American Axle workers.

More than 500 workers, including many from around Michigan and Ohio, marched in front of the GM Renaissance Center demanding jobs and human needs, not corporate greed. “The workers have spoken—keep the plants open!” was one of many chants that thundered from East Jefferson Avenue as dozens of cops and private thugs stood in formation guarding the privately owned Ren Cen.

As the workers marched and rallied for jobs, Richard Dauch, CEO of American Axle and Manufacturing, Inc., addressed the capitalists inside, along with former Michigan Gov. John Engler.

Dauch wrested tremendous concessions from striking UAW workers in 2008, cutting wages and benefits in half. Workers were promised their jobs would be saved, but now Dauch has broken that vow and the American Axle plant in Hamtramck, Mich., located within the city of Detroit, has closed.
Disabled contingent.

Engler was rewarded for his gutting of welfare and education in Michigan with his appointment as president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers.

more with photos

National People's Summit holds demonstration at RenCen; speakers at Tent City

DETROIT -- A demonstration was held Tuesday afternoon outside the GM Renaissance Center, where the National Business Summit was being held. It was picketed by the National People's Summit, whose theme that day was "Stop the war on the workers and poor - feed the people, not the Pentagon!". They were marching and chanting with "No jobs, no peace!", "No justice, no peace!".

One of the speakers at the business summit that day was Former Governor John Engler, who is named one of the enemies by the summit and Tent City stationed at Grand Circus Park on Woodward and Adams. Engler is both the president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers. He is "hated by the workers and the poor throughout the state for his legacy of racism, welfare gutting, cutbacks and attacks on unions."

"The People's Summit was organized and initiated by the Moratorium NOW Coalition to stop foreclosures and eviction," said Jerry Goldberg, an organizer of the National People's Summit. "When we heard there was going to be a National Business Summit with the major CEOs of all the corporations convened in Detroit. We said we have to answer that. We thought they have a lot of gull these CEOs whose shutting plants, laying off people, tossing people out of their homes. What we were going to organize a people's response of the workers and the poor, those suffering from plant closures and layoffs."

To them, the National Business Summit is all about getting to the bottom line: banks, businesses, and corporations learning to satisfy their greed as well as getting the economy back on the track their way -- while getting rich off the suffering of the working class, the middle class, the needy, and the oppressed.

"I'm here to support the People's Summit, the other side of the business summit," said Bill Meyer of Hamtramck, Mich., who participated in the demonstration. "I'm not one of the organizers but I'm a strong supporter of it. Our country's in desperate shape right now. We're going down the tubes this country. We've got to do something about it. Everyone's affected by what goes on in the economy in the U.S. The whole world is feeling effects of our economic meltdown here."

The National People's Summit, which concluded on Wednesday, is based on the legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: his advocacy of civil rights, racial equality, and social justice for all. Though independent of his Poor People's Campaign, the principle and the results are the same: the focus of education, housing, health care, job loss and rise of unemployment, and having an Economic Bill of Rights. So, it is up to the people, to join the good fight of freedom, liberty, and peace against what it seems to be an corrupt system.

"I support the workers and the unions and the poor people, the homeless and the unemployed," said Michael Whitty, a University of Detroit Mercy professor who participated in the demonstration. "We're trying to change the way people are treated. We believe that people come before profits. We should give up the creed of greed. The real danger is Wall Street piracy not Somali piracy. We've been taken to the cleaners by the power elite. We want to take our power back."

Still, in the end, like Dr. King, we must all learn to overcome, break down barriers, find common ground, and work together to bring a world divided into one.

"We've been camped out in downtown Detroit since Sunday," said David Sole, an organizer of the event and UAW member. "We've had a People's Summit to oppose the rich and famous summit going on. The people who have already ruined America, the big CEOs, the bankers, plant closers. We're the victims of that. We're meeting to plan our own future. We're not going to let them plan our future. We're fighting back and organizing. We're working on a people's agenda, people's economic program that includes reopening the plants, taking billions of dollars that the government gave these crooks. We believe a job is the right of every person."

more with lots of photos

25,000 Social Activists At U.S. Social Forum in 2010

Detroit - Organizers of the U.S. Social Forum (USSF), a grassroots gathering of thousands of activists, will announce plans for a five-day event in Detroit 2010 at a kickoff on Monday, June 22. The kick-off event will be held from 6pm-9pm at the Detroit USSF Office, 23 E. Adams St, 4th Floor (near Woodward Avenue, downtown Detroit), in the Central United Methodist Church building.

A "media availability" explaining the Social Forum will be held at 6:30pm. The evening will include music, art displays, cultural performances and food. A detailed presentation to event attendees will take place at about 6:45pm. Musical performances will take place at about 8pm.

The USSF will take place June 22-26, 2010 at Cobo Hall and Hart Plaza in downtown Detroit. Other workshops and community art and culture programs will take place across the city. The USSF will convene social movements from across the United States and globally. Organizers are reaching out to young people, people of color, unionists, laid-off and unorganized workers, welfare recipients, veterans, persons with disabilities, indigenous people, freedom fighters, collectives, and many others. Key aims are to create an open space and a process for creating movement convergence and coordination, raise awareness of social justice issues, provide opportunities to share experiences, and discuss strategies that create social change and solutions to the problems facing people across our many struggles, sectors, regions, and diversity.

"Detroit is ground zero for the economic crisis facing millions of people, not only here in Michigan, but across the nation," says Maureen Taylor, a USSF staff organizer and Chair of the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization (MWRO). "We are really pleased to host this historic event and we're sure that what happens in Detroit will have a huge impact not only here but elsewhere."

Next year's Social Forum in Detroit is expected to draw upwards of 25,000-30,000 activists. It will build upon the first USSF gathering in Atlanta 2007 that drew an estimated 12,000-15,000 people. Already, committees and working groups are meeting in Detroit and around the country to prepare for next year's forum.

"The USSF Detroit 2010 is going to be exciting since it's much more than just a simple conference or a big networking event," states William Copeland, a USSF staff organizer and member of the East Michigan Environmental Action Council (EMEAC). "This is a large scale and unique opportunity to learn from each other's experiences, shed light on social injustices, and build on community efforts to create real change."

USSF Detroit 2010 will also mark the 10 year anniversary of the World Social Forum process and highlight the international connections of the USSF to a broader global process.

Information about the June 22 kick-off event and Detroit Local Committee USSF activities can be obtained by calling: 877-515-USSF or emailing For more information about the US Social Forum, visit the USSF 2010 website at:

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

People's Summit Demonstration against National Summit at GM HGQ on June 15

People's Summit in the News - June 16

To fight global capitalist crisis
People’s Summit discusses issues, action plan

People's Summit in the Motor City -- for the People only

WXYZ - Jackson Leads Protests at Detroit Business Summit

Rev. Jesse Jackson rallies workers

Saturday, June 13, 2009

National Summit invited to Corporate/Banker Devastation Tour of Detroit

Subject: Detroit tour invitation
Date: Saturday, June 13, 2009, 3:18 PM

To Detroit Economic Club, National Summit participants, and media:

The National People’s Summit and Tent City being held in Detroit on June 14-17, 2009, hereby cordially invites you to attend the Corporate/Banker Devastation Tour of the city on Monday, June 15, 2009, departing from the Marriott Hotel at 1:30 p.m.

Participants will view closed factories, neighborhoods filled with foreclosed, abandoned and vandalized homes, decaying schools, and other signs of what Corporate America has done to Detroit .

For more information contact Kris Hamel at 313-378-2369.


Kris Hamel

Program Coordinator, National People’s Summit and Tent City

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Press Conference to Announce People's Summit

Press Conference

Event: Press Conference to Announce People's Summit
Date: Friday, June 12, 4:00 p.m. at Grand Circus Park
Sponsor: Moratorium NOW! Coalition
Contact: 313.671.3715 or 887.4344

Press Conference Will Announce People's Summit in Detroit

Working people (both employed and unemployed), along with youth and students from the metropolitan Detroit area and around the country, will gather at Grand Circus Park
to organize four days of active resistance to the worse economic crisis since the Great Depression.

Between June 14-17, activists will pitch tents, hold rallies, demonstrations, workshops, strategy sessions and cultural presentations in order to pose an alternative program to what the National Business Summit will be promoting at the Renaissance Center.

The National People's Summit is designed to build a movement to win a moratorium on foreclosures and evictions, full employment, universal health care, the end to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and every other progressive right advanced by people throughout the country.

Organizations and coalitions from numerous cities such as Baltimore, Atlanta, New York, Boston, Toledo, Cleveland and Durham, are in Detroit to talk about their respective struggles and to build solidarity with the people in this city.

To announce the People's Summit and its schedule, we are holding a press conference this Friday, June 12 at 4:00 p.m. at Grand Circus Park. Members of the press who need additional information on the People's Summit can contact us at the web site or by calling our office.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Speak up if you want change to happen

June 10, 2009

Attending high school graduation parties last weekend, I was struck by the contrast between enthusiastic young people and palpably subdued adults. While the kids chattered about their futures, the adult conversation was all about the stress of long-term unemployment, pending foreclosures, destroyed credit ratings and mounting bills.

I have a new perspective on post-9/11 New York and even New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. I'm realizing it's possible for an entire city -- even a nation -- to be clinically depressed.

This year, it seems like even summer has forsaken Detroit.

"We'll survive," people say just to avoid thinking about what happens if we don't. "What else can we do?"

Maybe we can try the one thing we haven't tried yet -- letting out a collective shout.

Something for all the people

That's just what the organizers of the National People's Summit and Tent City hope that Detroiters are finally ready to do.

"A lot of people are in a state of shock," said Abayomi Azikiwe, a spokesman for next week's event. "They never anticipated that this kind of economic decline would happen in the United States. But it has, and we have to wake up and be proactive."

For three days beginning Sunday, the People's Summit will include rallies, speeches and demonstrations on the issues of unemployment, foreclosures, national health insurance and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. All of them are directly tied to misguided economic policies of outsourcing, overproduction, predatory mortgage lending and an unsustainable military budget, said Azikiwe.

The People's Summit has been timed to coincide with the National Summit, a conference of more than 1,000 business, economic, academic and government leaders organized by the Detroit Economic Club.

The National Summit, to be held Monday through June 17 at the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center, is billed as a "gathering to define America's future."

Let the leaders know

But Azikiwe said the National Summit will be missing the ordinary people who have been adversely affected by the decisions of those attending.

"The corporate and government leaders who created this problem haven't changed their perspectives about what's going on," he said. "We have to make our voices heard."

On Monday afternoon, there will be a march to the Renaissance Center. On Tuesday, there will be a noon rally in front of the complex while former Michigan Gov. John Engler, now president of the National Association of Manufacturers, and American Axle & Manufacturing Chief Executive Officer Richard Dauch address the convocation inside.

When I asked Azikiwe whether he thought that mere demonstrations would change our dire economic situation, he reminded me that's the only way that systemic change has happened in the past -- when the people speak up.

If the current economic conditions make you want to holler, here's your chance to be heard.


Additional Facts
National summit to start Sunday

The National People's Summit and Tent City will be held from Sunday through June 17. Most activities will take place at Grand Circus Park in Detroit. A march from the park to the Renaissance Center will begin at 4 p.m. Monday.

For the schedule of events, go to or call 313-887-4344 for more info.

original Detroit Free Press article

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Union Auto Workers Planning Rally

Frank Hammer, retired president of UAW Local 909, spoke at a press conference on June 9. (Credit: FOX 2 News)

Updated: Tuesday, 09 Jun 2009, 6:17 PM EDT
Published : Tuesday, 09 Jun 2009, 6:17 PM EDT
by Simon Shaykhet

HAMTRAMCK, Mich. - In one of the most trying times in the UAW's history, auto workers are in a fight to keep their jobs. A press conference Tuesday at UAW Local 235 sent a very strong message. Auto workers in metro Detroit will be rallying soon to challenge plant closings and layoffs.

Some of the auto workers who showed up to the press conference work for American Axle, but the rally that is planned for June 16 will also include GM and Chrysler employees, as well as retired workers facing health care costs.

They are urging the state to declare an emergency in Michigan with a moratorium on foreclosures, evictions and utility shutoffs. They are also asking for enforcement of a federal Full Employment Act basically making the government responsible for using all programs and policies to put people back to work.

On June 16, the rally will be at noon outside the Renaissance Center in Detroit and coincides with American Axle's president and former Governor John Engler addressing the National Business Summit.

"The CEO of American Axle, who is taking all the work out of this plant, taking it to places where he can get cheaper labor and leaving our community devastated and leaving the workers without employment," said Frank Hammer, retired president of UAW Local 909.

Other events are also planned to give people a chance to speak out.

Final Push - People's Summit and Tent CityMobilization and Outreach

People's Summit & Tent City Office Hours and Work Session Hours
Office: 5920 Second Ave, Detroit

Wednesday, June 10
10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Office Hours
5 p.m. - 9 p.m. Work Session (To make banners, placards etc.)

Thursday, June 11
10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Office Hours
5 p.m. - 9 p.m. Work Session (To make banners, placards etc.)
9 p.m - silkscreening of t-shirts

Friday, June 12
10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Office Hours



The People's Summit & Tent City will be open during the following times this coming week. During office hours a minimum of two staffers will be there. Leaflets and posters will also be available at the office during the times below. Just stop by to pick some up. The office address is: 5920 Second Avenue, Detroit.

We'll be using Saturday for any last minute details that need to be completed. If you can't volunteer during the times below but can help on Saturday, call in to the office and let us know you're available Saturday and if needed you'll be plugged in.

Of course one of the most critical tasks this week will be massive outreach. Thus virtually everyone coming in from out of town will be helping on this to get the word out about the People's Summit & Tent City. If you can help on outreach please call in to the office to let us know where you've leafletted or are leafletting so we don't duplicate work or if you want to join an outreach team call into the
office and volunteer for this.

Also, even though the work sessions are scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday evenings, if you can't make these times call in to the office and there should be work to do during the day.

Again, the office staffers will be on top of everything in real time so the best way to plug in is to call the office and see what there is to do etc.

Thanks and great work everyone. Onward to the People's Summit!

In unity and solidarity,

Saturday, June 6, 2009

People's Summit & Tent City at Grand Circus Park

For Immediate Release

Media Advisory

Event: People's Summit & Tent City at Grand Circus Park
Dates: June 14-17, 2009, Four Straight Days of Resistance
Sponsors: Moratorium NOW! Coalition to Stop Foreclosures & Evictions
Contact: 313.671.3715 or 887.4344

People's Summit To Present Alternative Fightback Program For Economic Recovery: Four Days of Active Resistance to Foreclosures & Evictions, Mass Layoffs, War and Repression

Organizers for the upcoming People's Summit will put forward four days of alternative ideas and strategies for working people and the poor to fightback against the deepening economic crisis engulfing the Detroit area and the United States as a whole. People from this region and throughout the country will gather in Grand Circus Park beginning at Noon on Sunday June 14 where non-stop speeches, workshops, mass demonstrations and cultural presentations will take place.

On Monday evening a mass demonstration will leave Grand Circus Park at 4:00 p.m. and march to the Renaissance Center to confront the National Summit of CEOs and bankers taking place for three days. Our objective is to point out that the corporations and banks responsible for the worst crisis since the Great Depression cannot provide a solution to the problems facing Detroit such as home foreclosures, plant closings, school closings and environmental degredation.

The following day, Tuesday June 16, unemployed autoworkers will lead a demonstration to the Renaissance Center where the CEO of American Axle Richard Dauch is scheduled to address the business summit on the future of manufacturing. Later that day at Grand Circus Park a workshop will be held where workers will discuss strategies for keeping plants open and stopping permanent lay-offs.

The People's Summit has been endorsed by over 40 organizations from Detroit and around the country. People who wish to participate are encouraged to come and pitch a tent and set up a literature table.

Representatives of the People's Summit are available to speak with members of the press. Just contact us at the numbers above and we will be glad to provide interviews and other information on the Summit.

Abayomi Azikiwe
Media Liason, People's Summit

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

This week, the rich and poor will rub elbows downtown

Metro Times

By News Hits staff

When the Detroit Economic Club hosts a gathering of corporate executives and others in mid-June, the focus will be finding ways to improve America's ability to compete in the global economy. Those leaders will be met by a counter-gathering of people who, we think it's safe to say, won't be wearing $1,000 custom-tailored suits.

In fact, some of them will be staying in tents pitched in Grand Circus Park, from June 14 to 17, as groups whose priorities include stopping foreclosures, advocating prisoner rights and fighting racism — along with keeping good-paying jobs here at home instead of watching the CEOs export work overseas — also convene here.

The bigwigs will be sure to get most of the press, but the fire and the fun will be at Grand Circus Park. Along with a host of speakers and rallies, the campers and their brethren will have lots of entertainment, including a hip-hop concert Monday, June 15, at 7:30 p.m.

For information phone 313-887-4344 or go to Send donations to Moratorium NOW!/People's Summit, 5920 Second Ave., Detroit, MI 48202.

News Hits is edited by Curt Guyette. Contact him at 313-202-8004 or