Sunday, July 20, 2008

Motor City Is Burning - Remembering the 1967 Riots

July 23rd, 1967. After a raid by Detroit PD on an after hours drinking club located at 12th and Clairmount Ave, the U.S. became witness to the largest urban revolt in its history. 5 days of rioting with 43 dead, 1189 injured and 7000 arrested.

Detroit, a symbol of capitalist industry and urban planning became with the riots a symbol of the growing frustration and anger of the Black working class. A long history of racist abuse and exclusion, police brutality, lack of affordable housing, economic and social inequality, radical Black politics growing from the Civil Rights and Black Liberation movements, and a consciousness informed by both the U.S. imperialist war of Occupation in southeast Asia and the resistance to it by the Vietnamese people. All contributed to the mood of the times.

Detroit has never recovered from the '67 riots: White flight to the suburbs; decline in good paying manufacturing and auto jobs; a deep and lasting recession in the 70's - early '80's; and the continuing incompetence, mismanagement, and corruption of Detroit's City Hall, has led to poverty and neglect now felt by two generations of its citizens.

Below is the tale of the riots from Detroit's revolutionary rock band of that era, the MC5

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