Archive for February, 2014

Invitation for Immigrants: Existing Citizens, Denizens of the Third City

February 16th, 2014

Recently, Governor Snyder of Michigan put forth the idea to encourage, promote an invitation to an international audience to move to Detroit.  The governor proposal prompts immediate reaction from different quarters of the southeastern region of Michigan.  An invitation to those who are skilled, educated in technology is a solid move for rebuilding both the state and city.  An invitation to skilled workers is a savy business move with good intention no doubt.  There lies a challenge within this campaign to bring global suitors to Detroit.  The proverbial question from existing citizens is what about me, us?  Good question with the exception that Governor Snyder is not pursuing employment for people who are not skilled in technology in this calling.  Here lies the problem for Detroit and rest of the world that has countless non-skilled audience.  Unfortunately, as the auto industry and its allys can attest, there is no need for such labor pools in 2014.  The working class armies of employees are depleted, disconnected and discontinued.  Fact, in Detroit the laborer of the last century is obsolete.

The invitation for highly educated, technically trained workers is a result of the economic shift in global economy.  The demand is for trained educated workers which is the antithesis of the past traditional workforce.  The transformation from an agrarian based economy to an industrial economy has taken the new twist.  The information technical era is reliant on workers who are capable of reading, math, science and more critical are technologically sound.  With this in mind, no one should be really surprised by Governor Snyder offering to bring 50,000 workers into Detroit.  The fact remains that Snyder is smart, Detroit needs the infusion of a new work force.  Detroit has new housing emerging on the horizon with another yet declared urban renewal.  Two sides are opposing in their defenses of why not bring in new workers and the why can’t you hire 50,000 locals to have such jobs?

Detroit has many challenges that are well known.  A dismal public education system.  Untrained, uneducated workforce that in 2014 is perhaps, doomed?  Lots of folks out of work with little said or done about them.  Who really cares?  Social Darwinism is the neoliberal battle cry.  A best policy is let them dissolve, die.  LIke an old Johnny Taylor soul song, ‘It’s cheaper to keep her’.  Almost a half million people retired, disabled or unemployed means little to the tax coffers.  Put them to work, they can work, said then Governor Engler and then President Clinton.  They can’t read, they have no skills?  Train them?  Feed them?  Who needs them?  Who is them?   The cost of training, educating this possible workforce is the three hundred pound elephant sitting in the room.  Or is it?  Perhaps, some people, politicians are willing to allow social Darwinism to run its course?  Education is cornerstone to understanding, learning in this new era of employment around the globe.  Detroit has been left behind and out of the loop in producing a strong candidate to compete with the newly arrived international worker.  The larger question as celebration comes with announcements as newly sought international workers are invited the host city has nothing to feed the refugees of the Old Detroit.  Indeed, refugees who must rely on an ever shrinking social welfare source.  Those who worked not that long ago have found there is nothing that will allow those non-skilled workers the wages once given by the industrial power.  Replaced, downsized, automated, outsourced and forgotten.  The new poor are pitted against Robocop, foreigners, and thirdcity conditions that allowed a winter of discontent to devour their humanity.  The question of what to do with these former citizens, loyal denizens within the deep networks of an outlaw culture lies the underground for those not quite infected by the criminal disease of the surviving mutants.  The civil despair gives way to the great criminality of the underworld.  Here the traditional organized crime is unraveling as it learns that neoliberalism dictates drones, private prisons, private police and armies, corporate driven organized anti-crime with the death of the old mafia giving way to a technological warfare that can punish the resistors easily, precisely.  The old gangsters  who think money laundering can actually clean money, hiding it abroad.  1984?  The Third Eye?  An omnipresence that folks still have not figure out.  The new day is based in a new world.  American middle class dissolves itself into armies of consumer types within the framework of Wal Mart and Sam’s Club.  Meanwhile, the newly arrived highly educated, technically skilled international stars will settle down.  This will make the obsolete folks (refugees, folks living here already)  more than willing to take their jobs in the third city socio-economic institutions.  Surviving, hustling, criminal, buying, dying and bartering a way of life.

The global urban poor triggered a new world community that laughs at ghetto street crime.  The technical gods know in an omnipotent way what is going on.  Ancient history tells tales of the good ole days.  The  Right to Work policies ends the unions of public servants.  Sociologist Robert Merton explained the true meaning of the American Dream.  Merton told America that the poor will believe the mythology.  As Martin Luther King, Jr. was murdered the Dream became the faded memory of civil rights.  Detroit, along with another urban renewal move, the poor again are outed.  Where will they go?  The middle class are not allowed to reside in the new city.  Emerald City is for the affluent, almost rich?  Money rules.  Middle class folks can work in Emerald City. The old structure of pre riot Detroit is in ruins in many places.  The old traditional block clubs, streets with manicured lawns, families of middle class workers have been razed.  The public school system is nearly dead.  Something happened to the mores of African American southern christian tradition was the foundation of the community.  Education was highly valued, respected in earlier times.  Today?  Countless children, youth,  simply do not go to any school. School count?  They were not in school, many never attended school.  Never registered from day one.  No one missed them.  Parental units for various reasons, excuses failed to put them in school.  If they did not register they did not exist,  so they can not drop out since they nevre dropped in.  Fault?  Who knows?  Fact, lots of uneducated, unloved and ignorant kids wandering the streets these days.  These are the children that no documentary has addressed.  Superman, charter, religious schools, special education, special A, no institution, nobody wants these children.  These children, youth and their families are the refugees in the old city, tradition.  So, the void is there.  Public education is dismal for these children of color, poor are the refugees in their own nation, city.  Few take notice in field data counts.  They are ugly, not socially acceptable and they leave a bad taste in your mouth.  They have no advocates, they have no zones, no former super educator claiming victory.  They just get old, go to prison and die. 

 This is the reason the skilled armies of international folks come to work, live and play in the Emerald City.  It makes sense to explain that the workforce here in Detroit is not ready for prime time?  Forgotten are the people who once counted on good paying non-skilled jobs.  Re-tooling or re-fooling?  Third City or Emerald City?  Emergency managers have done their jobs. Humanity is somewhere, just not here.  The smoke clears away and guess what?  Poor folks are still there?  Where?  Invisible as Ralph Ellison classic novel, The Invisible Man.