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Activists to convene at economic ‘ground zero’

All out for People’s Summit in Detroit

Published Apr 30, 2009 7:28 PM

Organizing for the June 14-17 People’s Summit and Tent City in Detroit is building fast. A planning meeting April 25 was attended by representatives from a broad base of progressive organizations. They included the Autoworkers Caravan, which has been in the forefront of challenging the massive attacks on auto workers’ wages and benefits; the Moratorium NOW! Coalition to Stop Foreclosures and Evictions; disabled activists from Warriors on Wheels; Call ’Em Out; the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization; the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality; and the National Lawyers Guild. Two UAW members from Toledo, Ohio, also attended.

The People’s Summit in Grand Circus Park will be an opportunity to link the struggles challenging the war on poor and working people, and to put forward a program for jobs, universal health care and a moratorium on foreclosures and evictions, as well as full rights for oppressed nationalities, immigrants, people with disabilities, women and the lesbian/gay/bi and trans communities.

Segments of the summit will be devoted to demonstrations targeting specific struggles such as the massive threats on auto workers. There will be a moratorium on evictions during the People’s Summit as organizers will participate in flying squadrons to aid individuals facing the hated dumpsters and bailiff evictions.

The People’s Summit is a direct challenge to the convening of big-business representatives at the National Business Summit scheduled for June 15-17. That event has been moved from Ford Field to the Detroit Marriott Renaissance Center due to lower than expected registrations. More than 40 executives have agreed to speak at this gathering, which is to be co-chaired by Ford Motor Company executive head Bill Ford and Dow Chemical chief executive Andrew Liveris. Other participants will include corporate representatives from Conoco-Phillips, General Motors, Chrysler, Humana, Inc., and the presidents of the National Council of Competitiveness, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers.

Exciting developments were announced at the April 25 meeting, including the posting of a new video promoting the People’s Summit on YouTube. Participants discussed logistics and other components of making the four-day event a success. Organizers are out leafleting progressive events leading up to the summit, including May Day activities in Detroit.

The People’s Summit is receiving a solid response nationally from activist organizers who see Detroit as “ground zero” or the “Katrina” of the economic collapse. The call for the summit is posted on numerous progressive list serves and Web sites. The national Bail Out the People Movement and the National Poor People’s Economic and Human Rights Campaign are among a growing list of endorsers.

Donations for the People’s Summit are being solicited. Checks or money orders payable to the Moratorium NOW! Coalition/People’s Summit can be sent to 5920 Second Avenue, Detroit, MI 48202. The next organizing meeting will be held on May 9 at 2 p.m. at 2727 Second Ave. in Detroit. Call 313-887-4344 or visit www.moratorium-mi.org for more information.