Recommended read: Last Days Of Detroit

 

Ruins don't make you think of the past, they direct you to the future.

 

Mark, a Detroit native and ex-Rolling Stones reporter, returns to his home city to tell the story of a landscape that seemingly looks broken beyond repair. Once a thriving city of hope, beacon of capitalism and template of commerce, Detroit has now become a parable of what happens when the treasured system fails. A city bankrupt on so many levels. From finance, education, utilities, jobs and industry. Vacant plots become vacant districts. Mass exodus, failed government solutions.

Yet this parable has a twist. Another future being crafted within the locality.

The story is not an easy one, and Mark pays careful attention not to be the reporter looking from the outside, praising alternative economies whilst failing to appreciate the very struggle these narratives find their voice within. Detroit is struggling, and its residents carry the scars of having to toil the land of creative alternatives. A twenty-four-hour reminder that the knight in shining armour is not going to come from a corporation or government official, but instead from the minds of the city defining a different set of values.

Is Detroit our future?

I'm unsure. Instead, I like to think of it as a living parable. A parable that brings a reality check to the illusion we are holding onto concerning this present unjust system, and, a pointer to what can be redefined.

What scares me the most within this narrative of hope. I am not sure that this redefinition can come through anything other than pain.

 

It has also been my good fortune to have lived long enough to witness the death blow dealt to the illusion that unceasing technological innovations and economic growth can guarantee happiness...

Instead of putting our organisational energies into begin For and General Motors to stay in Detroit, we need to go beyond traditional capitalism...

Instead of buying all our food from the store, we need to be planting community and school gardens and creating farmers markets....

Detroit's cultural revolution is transforming how we view ourselves, our surroundings, and our institutions. We are making a life and not just a living, by feeding ourselves, educating our children, and taking more responsibility for each other and our communities....

Every crisis, actual or impending, needs to be viewed as an opportunity to bring about profound changes in our society. Going beyond protest organising, visionary organising begins by creating images and stories of the future that helps us imagine and create alternatives to the existing system.