AFFIRMING DECAY: TOWARDS THE POSSIBILITY OF A FUTURE-ORIENTED DIAGONAL LEFT FOR DETROIT’S ABANDONED POPULATION

This paper introduces the concept of ‘selective acceleration’ in light of the economic and social history of Detroit. To begin, Detroit is treated as a case study used to diagram the relative deterritorialization of the economic system by neoliberalism. Deleuze and Guattari’s metaphor of addiction is used in order to understand unregulated neoliberal capital as an addiction of the metropole. This addiction enables the acceleration of neoliberalism in the city, which aligns with Virilio’s concept of the suicidal State. This ‘addict’ ignores and abandons those it determines it has no use for: the precariat. Drawing upon Deleuze’s ‘Dionysian yes’ or a ‘yes with a no’, this article presents a potential movement on the diagonal to allow the precariat a means of re-appropriating the technologies and developments used against them through the process of affirming the very structures they have already been developing outside of the capitalist machine. By selecting what elements of the process to accelerate, this abandoned population could be granted the keys to its own future.

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INTRODUCTION

In 1947 there were approximately 338,400 manufacturing jobs in the city of Detroit.[1] Today there are only 27,000 (Desan 123). Only a few years removed from bankruptcy in 2013, contemporary revitalization efforts in the city have led the media to designate a ‘Detroit Renaissance’—signifying a return to past glory. Yet, these revitalization efforts are occurring within just seven of the city’s 139 square miles (Panne), which suggests the term ‘renaissance’ only refers to a specific population within a particular section of the city. On a similar account, Detroit is often said to contain two cities. This is reductionistic, but it does contain a demarcation which is useful for this paper. The first city, which we will refer to as ‘downtown’, constitutes the neighbourhoods of Downtown, Midtown and Corktown. This area is diverse but is becoming increasingly whitewashed through gentrification efforts. With business increasingly buying into this area of the city (Pinho 49), there has been an influx of highly educated and wealthy individuals.

Downtown exists in contrast with the other 130 square miles of Detroit, which is predominantly populated by Black people who make up the majority of the city’s population. This area tends to be undereducated and underemployed due to a number of systemic factors such as school closings and loss of employment. The sociological term ‘precariat’ will be used to refer to this other ‘city’. The precariat are understood as a post-fordist extension of the proletariat. Whereas the proletariat of the 20th century sold their labour to live but retained, for the most part, economic security, the precariat are not even granted the guarantee of fixed employment. Shifts in employment infrastructure have led to the deployment of temporary work, which keeps the precariat in a place without economic control or security (Standing).[2] These cities—downtown and the precariat—operate in tension with one another.

The historic and economic account of the shift from proletariat to precariat can be read through the evolution of Detroit. Within the literature, there are typically two contrasting accounts of this shift. Neoliberal framing argues that racial tension, which led to white flight after the 1967 Detroit riots along with collectivism, social policy, and heightened government action under Mayor Coleman A. Young in the 1970s, led to an environment that was hostile to business.[3] An alternative history suggests neoliberal policy itself is behind the fall of Detroit’s working class (Hackworth 549). Historians of the city have heavily criticized the neoliberal reading of the city’s fall since it ignores the history of decentralization and racist housing policies that correlate with the economic decline of the city (Hackworth 543). Sugrue’s work on Detroit has examined the historical impact of racism and economic decentralization and has suggested these systemic features played a stronger role than governmental intervention (260-61). Furthermore, June Manning Thomas has used the city to argue for planning measures that focus on social justice and community, rather than economics, as this can shift the metric of what constitutes success (222).

This essay takes place within the greater sphere of what has been called ‘left accelerationism’ (Williams and Srnicek, “#Accelerate” 357) insofar as it examines how this form of acceleration could benefit leftist struggles in Detroit. Left accelerationism has been criticized by Nick Land (“Annotated#Accelerate (#1)”) for failing to adequately differentiate itself from his own project of accelerationism, as well as by Ray Brassier who suggests ‘accelerationism’ is an ambivalent term because it fails to clarify what is being accelerated (Brassier 00:00:20). A thorough history of accelerationism is given by McKay and Avanessian in their #Accelerate #Reader. Starting with Marx, they map acceleration through Deleuze and Guattari,[4] the Cybernetic Culture Research Unit (CCRU), and through more contemporary developments by authors such as Mark Fisher, Reza Negarestani, Alex Williams and Nick Srnicek, Ray Brassier, and others (Mackay and Avanessian 23-33). The typically relayed history situates the CCRU—which included multiple members of the University of Warwick’s philosophy department such as Land, Fisher, Negestrani, Brassier, and Sadie Plant—as a central component in the development of accelerationist thought. The CCRU deployed a particular reading of a passage in D/G’s Anti-Oedipus (AO) which suggests the revolutionary path is not to “withdraw from the world market” but instead to “accelerate the process” of capitalism in order to overcome it from within (Deleuze and Guattari, 239-240). Land particularly has used this reading to argue for the acceleration of capitalism as a driving force towards a post- and anti-human singularity (The Thirst 142-145). More generally, this movement has given birth to a new discourse “in favour of a renewed Prometheanism and rationalism, an affirmation that the increasing immanence of the social and technical is irreversible and indeed desirable” (Mackay and Avanessian 7).

An alternative history can be given. Foreseeing a destructive reading of their work, D/G portray a more cautious tone in A Thousand Plateaus (ATP)—their follow up to AO. Drawing upon the work of Paul Virilio, D/G suggest this destructive acceleration produces a “suicidal State” which “would rather annihilate its own servants than stop the destruction” (231). D/G suggest acceleration must be controlled and selective; it should not be unwieldy and suicidal. Virilio introduces the concept of the ‘suicidal State’ in relation to what he sees as the unencumbered progress of technoscience. He sees many strains of technological advancement as anti-human insofar as they project towards the destruction of humanity (Armitage, 186-88). Jason Adams has suggested that, despite his apparent negativity, Virilio presents an alternative origin for accelerationism—an acceleration of divergence (Popular 100-01). In the introduction to their interview, Adams presents a Deleuzian reading of Virilio which produces this divergent accelerationism. Citing Deleuze’s book on Nietzsche, Adams argues for two forms of affirmation: 1. a simple affirmation which says yes to everything or accelerates everything; and 2. a pure affirmation or a yes which “knows how to say no” (Deleuze, Nietzsche 185). Adams suggest Virilio’s approach to technology is an affirmation of this later sort: an affirmation which is selective in what it accelerates (“The Speeds” 168).

A number of quotations from Virilio reinforce this reading. In conversation with Sylvère Lotringer, Virilio goes on record as saying, “I have always said: Penetrate the machine, explode it from the inside, dismantle and appropriate it” (Accident 74). He has argued elsewhere that this struggle leads to a transfiguration rather than a negation of the suicidal tendencies of the capitalist State (Virilio Live 157). This selective or ‘pure’ affirmation provides a clear distinction from the simple affirmation of capital presented in Land. It also answers Brassier’s question of “what is being accelerated?”. Alex Williams and Nick Srnicek, themselves influenced by Virilio’s work (“On Cunning Automata” 20), argue for a future-oriented socialist and egalitarian political vision which uses the technologies of capitalism against capitalism itself. Such an acceleration must be selective or pure insofar as it chooses which technologies to accelerate and which to negate (Inventing). Drawing upon a similar framework is the writing collective Laboria Cuboniks, whose work envisions a similar project. Their collective writings tie together the rationalism and anti-naturalism of Williams and Srnicek and with many aspects of decolonial and feminist studies (Xenofeminist Manifesto).

A prominent critic of accelerationism is Benjamin Noys. Noys’s text Malignant Velocity focuses on different movements of futurism in order to map the history of accelerationism up until Land (Noys). However, his work barely mentions the more recent developments of accelerationism, particularly the selective acceleration we are dealing with here. Furthermore, his desire to slow down rather than accelerate is not unlike the desire to ‘control speeds’, which is present in this newfound reading of accelerationism. An updated reading of Noys can, perhaps, be seen in Dark Deleuze, wherein Andrew Culp criticizes both Landian and Left Accelerationism for its failure to think outside of the system and its inability to bring about the ‘death of this world’ (44-48). Yet, Culp’s call for escape and strategic withdrawal are not unlike Virilio’s descriptions of popular defense and autonomous struggle, which rely on autonomy and invisibility against the strength of Empire or Pure War (Virilio, Popular Defense 52-58). This may suggest that, like Noys, Culp’s pessimism and this selective affirmation may not be so dissimilar from my project as they first appear. One final critique worth mentioning comes from Paul Anthony Smith. Smith argues Left Accelerationism is too affirmative of Eurocentrism and Colonialism, which are the very oppressive structures it proclaims to undermine (Universalism). This criticism is important and must be taken into account when making decisions about what is to be affirmed or accelerated.

In the following three sections, the present article investigates the history of Detroit’s deterritorialization by the neoliberal machine and attempts to produce a way out of it. The first section diagrams the history of the movement from New Deal, or Keynesian, economics towards Post-Fordist, or Neoliberal, economics. The second section examines how Detroit suffered from this shift by looking at how the city is increasingly reterritorialized by the neoliberal machine. At the same time, the fall of the city left the precariat on their own, which allowed them to regulate themselves. The final section looks at the strong, vibrant communities which have allowed the precariat to survive and flourish; it examines how, despite this localized flourishing, the precariat continue to struggle in their attempts to scale upwards. From this discussion, the essay attempts to utilize the aforementioned concept of selective acceleration to help pave a potential pathway for these scaling efforts.

FORDIST ERA DETROIT

It could be argued that Detroit is the poster child for the movement from Keynesian economics to Hayekian neoliberalism. This movement is foretold by D/G in the concept of “the minimum State of anarcho-capitalism” (A Thousand Plateaus 462). We can attempt to diagram the movement between these economic systems. Detroit, like many cities in the United States, flourished throughout the 1940s. New Deal policy and WWII military manufacturing saw industry increase by 40% from 1940 to 1947 (Sugrue 19). Keynesian economics were implemented in the midst of a global depression—a period which saw the rise of global socialist uprisings in Russia and China. The communist threat “forced capitalism to multiply its axioms—to invent new ones dealing with the working class, employment, union organizations, social institutions, the role of the State…” (Deleuze and Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus 462). In this reading, Keynesian economics were put in place to control the speeds of capital and to produce a scaffolding that could discipline the population and curtail revolutionary appeal.

These phenomena can be read as a relative deterritorialization of the city and State. In D/G’s oeuvre, deterritorialization is a movement that disrupts and breaks down structures of power (or territories). Deterritorialization is always followed by a reterritorialization that builds up a new territory on the space left behind. This process can be relative or absolute. For D/G, deterritorialization is relative “when it… operates either by principal reterritorializations that obstruct the lines of flight, or by secondary reterritorializations that segment and work to curtail them” (A Thousand Plateaus 510). An absolute deterritorialization, on the other hand, simply deterritorializes without producing its own reterritorialization. Capitalism’s deterritorialization is always relative because “what capitalist speed deterritorializes with one hand, it reterritorializes with the other” (Williams and Srnicek, “#Accelerate” 352). In this relative deterritorialization, capital blocks off alternatives from being produced within the deterritorializing process. In this instance, the Keynesian economic system blocked socialist alternatives from intensifying by allowing labour unions to thrive within Detroit and throughout the United States.

Detroit’s manufacturing appealed to Black migrants from the Southern United States who saw an opportunity for well-paid work and an escape from the Jim Crow laws of the South (Sugrue 33). Yet, within this ‘golden era’ of industry remained “a national hierarchy of racism and sexism” (Williams and Srnicek, “#Accelerate” 355). Black workers struggled to find work in Detroit; potential Black homeowners were restricted to overpopulated Black communities, which drove up the price of real estate (Sugrue 33-36). Racial tensions were high during this period. In 1943, racial conflict broke out during a weekend picnic on Belle Isle. This conflict erupted into a 5-day battle between the city’s White and Black residents that led to the death of 35 people. Yet, despite rampant racism in the region there were positives for Black residents as well. Two developments led to more employment opportunities for Black people in the region: the lack of available White labour due to World War II and the institution of the Fair Employment Practices Commission. Even with these changes, Black workers tended to receive the most dangerous jobs on the assembly line and had little hope of upward mobility (Hackworth 547). The economic height of Detroit should be viewed as a complete failure in terms of racial equality. Various institutional procedures sought to pit White and Black workers against one another, which stopped them from working together for social change. Paraphrasing D/G, Keynesian economics were able to master multiple axioms to retain control of the population (A Thousand Plateaus 462).

From the 1940s through the 1970s, the United States began to transition away from centralized factories. Multiple processes allowed business to move away from older factory models (Sugrue 128). Deleuze and Guattari anticipate this movement in their discussion on “the minimum State of anarcho-capitalism” (A Thousand Plateaus 462). This movement functioned as a relative deterritorialization of the United States economy by neoliberalism: the minimum State requires a withdrawal of axioms to the point where “the only axioms that are retained concern the equilibrium of the foreign sector, reserve levels and the inflation rate” (462). While Keynesianism multiplied axioms to control the economy and the population, neoliberalism, in theory, abandons government intervention in the economy, allowing freedom and acceleration of the market. Decentralization took place as a result of two phenomena: Companies moved their factories to areas with cheap, exploitable, non-union labour, while at the same time drawing upon new automation technologies to reduce labour requirements in their existing factories. In the factories that remained in Detroit, automation particularly hurt African-American workers. These workers tended to work the dangerous and dirty jobs that were most likely to be automated (Sugrue 130-132). As a result of these two phenomena, unemployment levels in Detroit returned to pre-1940s levels by the 1970s (Sugrue 13, 138). Additionally, one might argue that when the 1970s saw a decline in the Soviet Union’s power, neoliberalism was able to dismantle control over the economy and thus produce a relative deterritorialization from the Keynesian model into the neoliberal minimum State without worry of socialist uprising.

THE MINIMUM STATE

Contemporary politics in the greater Detroit Metropolitan area reflect this transformation into the minimum State. Capital is able to move freely throughout the region, while the population remains subject to decentralized elements of control. The Marathon Oil Refinery, for instance, has taken advantage of Detroit’s cheap real estate and tax breaks (as well as Michigan’s lax environmental regulations) in order to build and expand its oil refinery within the city. In 2014, the company was granted a $175 million tax break for an expansion project which they promised would bring new jobs into the city. Despite promises of grandeur, this expansion resulted in a grand total of 15 new jobs (Guillen “$175M”). The refinery pollutes the air, creating dangerous living conditions in the surrounding neighbourhoods, which residents and activists have suggested as a cause for high rates of asthma and lung cancer in the area (Ferretti). In 2006, a request to increase emissions of the plant was granted by the Michigan Environmental Agency before the request was pulled back by the company due to outrage and protest within the city (Ferretti; Matheny). The tax exemption provides evidence of the realization of a relative deterritorialization towards neoliberalism, which allows the economy to expand freely without consequence.

It is useful to think about this neoliberal capitalism as a form of addiction. In Deleuze and Guattari’s work, addiction is seen as a deterritorializing force, but it is a deterritorializing force one can’t control. In ATP, they suggest when “you” are on drugs “You will be full of yourself, you will lose control” (285). Drugs deterritorialize, but they do not allow you to be the “master of speeds” (285). In the minimum State, capitalism is able to abandon control over economics, allowing economic speed to accelerate in a way that becomes unwieldy and destructive. Deregulation and tax benefits are pursued by the elite class who benefit economically. This allows the addicted neoliberal metropole to barrel towards destruction. Here is where we find Virilio’s concept of the suicidal State: “A war machine that no longer had anything but war as its object and would rather annihilate its own servants than stop the destruction” (Deleuze and Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus 231). In this economic reality, oil refineries are able to poison the population so long as it results in a profit. The ruling class, addicted to profit, abandons the local population in pursuit of its next high.

Neoliberalism, like Keynesianism before it, is a relative deterritorialization that can be examined through recent gentrification efforts in the city. Multiple neighbourhoods have been erased through rebranding efforts which also erase the history of those spaces. Cass Corridor, the area surrounding Wayne State University, has been rebranded ‘Midtown’ over the past few years (Aguilar). Similar attempts have been made in other neighbourhoods as well. Recently, developers sought to rebrand the Core City neighbourhood into ‘West Corktown’. This effort was ultimately stopped through community and activist uprising which attempted to retain the neighbourhood for those living there (Lane).

Rebranding efforts attempt to recode the neighbourhoods as ‘safe’ and ‘white’ in order to drive up rental costs and push out the poor, predominantly black populace. These poorer populations are pushed into the outskirts of the city which contain deteriorating housing options, poor school choices, more crime, and less police coverage. This population—the precariat—is no longer integral to the accumulation of capital and is abandoned. These residents, like the houses they reside in, must be erased in order to produce a smooth or blank space that can be perpetually built upon (Hoffman 187–90).

The reterritorialization of the city is exacerbated by the gentrification of downtown. Spurred on by Dan Gilbert (Muller), downtown has been increasingly bought up by corporate interest since 2013 (Pinho 49). The recent emergence of the tech sector in this area has accelerated a reterritorialization through gentrification. Technology tends to attract and rely on young, bright, and highly educated labour. Helped in no small part by the neoliberalization of education in Michigan, Detroit has some of the lowest education rates in the country (Duggan 00:29:13-00:47:04), and a large section of its population struggles with literacy (Filipiak and Miller 59). Due to these low levels of education, new jobs in the tech industry have relied heavily on the import of labour, which fails to help the precariat. A lot has been said of the revitalization of downtown, but less has been written about what has been left in the wake of neoliberal addiction. Capitalism’s rampage of acceleration has thrown the precariat population into a space of decay neglected and ignored by those in power.

AFFIRMING DECAY

One only needs to drive a few miles outside of downtown to see the destruction of neoliberalism. In the larger media landscape, it often seems as though developers and politicians view this area of Detroit as a blank canvas for future development. Such an attitude ignores the multitude that has remained in place despite the destruction. This precariat city, which was abandoned by capital in the period of decentralization, refuses to be erased today. In the examples of the Marathon Oil Refinery and neighbourhood gentrification efforts discussed above, grassroots efforts and community uprisings were effective at blocking future appropriation of their neighbourhoods by capital. In addition to these protest efforts, there are strong community based initiatives that have developed at a local level. Following are a few select examples: Art communities, the best known being the Heidelberg project, transform the decay of neoliberal destruction into works of art and local development that tell a deeper story of this precariat city than any project downtown is capable of (Heidelberg; “Art”). Local urban farms, such as the Michigan Urban Farming Initiative and Oakland Avenue Urban Farm, provide fresh produce to the local community on a pay-what-you-can system—a system where one can pay with money or volunteer work (Michigan; Oakland). Attempts have also been made, through the Unity in Our Community Time Bank, to break out of the capitalist financial structures that hold so many back in this city. Members use time as an alternative currency—an hour of babysitting can be used to buy an hour of car repair (Panne). These political movements are the type Williams and Srnicek call ‘folk politics.’ They often work on a hyper local level and with a horizontal, rather than a vertical, organizational structure. These movements tend to prioritize democratic organization and lack of hierarchy in order to retain the humanness of the movement (Inventing).

While these folk political efforts have proved effective at blocking more destruction from occurring in the short term, they have been incapable of producing large-scale structural change within Detroit. For all the good that has been done by these local movement and organizations, they have struggled to scale upwards from community efforts into a political future for the city. Protest movements fail to scale upwards without a strong structure in place. Despite being able to block increases in pollution, community protests have been incapable of closing the Marathon Refinery. Furthermore, companies moving into the city continue to receive massive tax breaks from the city in ways that continue to push the precariat to the wayside. The most recent example of this is the Little Caesars Arena building. Public Spending on the arena was $324 million (Guillen, “Little Caesars Arena”) with $284.5 million coming from Downtown Development Authority bonds (Livengood; Shea). These bonds are required by law to be used for downtown development, but using them to fund a sport stadium cuts away from other projects which may have better served the precariat, such as public transit or parks. Instead, the stadium increases the cost of living in the area surrounding it, which in turn leads to further gentrification. Protests have done little to stop the building of the arena.

Williams and Srnicek, in a discussion of the Occupy movement, ask why “these movements fail to achieve any significant change in the political status quo?” They suggest that horizontal politics tend to simply band aid situations while leaving the “underlying problems and structures intact” (Inventing). While I am ultimately more sympathetic to folk political movements than Williams and Srnicek, it is accurate to suggest that while protests were capable of blocking some developments of capital in Detroit, they failed to change the underlying structures that allowed those developments in the first place. Protests tend to run out of energy, which allow corporations to continue to do as they wish. Community groups, such as the Heidelberg project and Unity in Our Community, are less likely to run out of steam in the way protests do, but these structures seem equally incapable of scaling upwards. This is largely because their focus remains on dealing with hyper-localized issues. Urban farms, for instance, are a fantastic development for any city but are incapable of feeding a city of 600,000 people. They also fail to account for the underlying structures of oppression. As Jodi Dean has famously quipped, “Goldman Sachs doesn’t care if you raise chickens” (qtd in Williams and Srnicek, Inventing). Altogether, these horizontal movements seem incapable of challenging structural problems that underlie the problematic of capitalism on their own.

In order to deal with structural problems, horizontal movements must be capable of scaling upwards. Horizontalism must be an integral part of any political success, but I want to suggest it can be more effective when coupled with other tactical and structural elements. This requires that one ‘starts from the middle.’ ‘Starting from the middle’ is a concept borrowed from D/G’s ATP, wherein they suggest it is a mistake to “start over” when instead “what [one] should do is make a stopover, to start from the middle” (286). The middle is contrasted to the either/or of full acceptance or full negation of a given milieu. Deleuze’s book on Nietzsche can be helpful here. Deleuze presents Nietzsche as proposing two forms of affirmation. The first is a simple affirmation, an affirmation that simply says yes to everything. This simple affirmation is typically placed in relation to negation: where negation says no to a structure, affirmation says yes to it. Deleuze and Nietzsche both suggest such a reading of affirmation is a caricature. In contrast to this simple affirmation, Deleuze proposes a ‘pure affirmation,’ a Dionysian yes which “knows how to say no” (Nietzsche 185-86). This pure affirmation is selective in what it affirms. Returning to the passage from AO, to “accelerate the process” of capitalism (Deleuze and Guattari, Anti-Oedipus 239-240) would mean a selective affirmation of what is to be accelerated and not a simple acceleration of everything. It means a selective acceleration.[5]

In starting from the middle, one is selective in what one chooses to accelerate. To work from the middle means to work in the tension between capital and anti-capital, selecting elements of each to affirm and accelerate. To be clear, this is not Clinton-esque third-way politics but should instead be understood as a tactical strategy for a thoroughly leftist position.[6] Starting from the middle could mean a movement in between the precariat and the downtown. Such a tension could mean developing a model for the precariat to reappropriate the technologies and developments of downtown to use for their own advantage. This might mean looking at the technologies of gentrification, figuring out how to use these technologies to improve aspects of all areas of Detroit, while simultaneously pushing for egalitarian housing policies that don’t result in large scale evictions in the renovated areas. In other words, the precariat could use the power of the city’s government and spending to the advantage of all citizens rather than the few who live downtown. In this way, a start from the middle could be used to imagine ways of using the capitalist technologies of destruction in order to stop destruction from occurring and improve the city for everyone.

Furthermore, starting from the middle understands that horizontal folk politics are not enough on their own, as they tend to lack the structure needed for continual movement. Yet, at the same time, this requires a recognition that negating locality for universality fails to account for the energy and motivation that occurs in locally based politics. Between the dichotomy of these horizontal and vertical political structures, a left acceleration could select elements of both movements to use to its advantage. Keeping the horizontal and vertical in tension would require a movement in a diagonal direction. Those in the precariat city are already invisible to the downtown, and are thus amply situated to produce disruption. They are already in a space of invisibility and anonymity, allowing their attempts to overcome capitalism to go unrecognized. Using this invisibility, these folk political groups have the advantage of working to scale their already present movement upwards while remaining invisible to Downtown. The horizontal political organization could energize and empower the invisible movements of the precariat, at the same time relying on structural integration to make sure they wouldn’t fizzle out. Through the twin powers of horizontality and verticality in tension, the programs and efforts to erase and displace the precariat could be blocked indefinitely. By moving on the diagonal—building upon the energy of horizontal folk political organizations in conjunction with the structure of vertical institutions—the precariat could potentially appropriate the tools that have been used against them to their own advantage.

Jacob Vangeest
New Centre for Research and Practice
NOTES

1. This paper would be impossible without the help of others. In particular, I’d like to thank Jason Adams, whose guidance was integral to helping me thinking through the concepts in this paper. I’d also like to thank the members of Detroit Food Not Bombs, who helped acclimate me to the community of activism in Detroit.
2. Beyond these ‘two cities’ there is a third population worth mentioning which consists of suburbanites whose lineage can be traced back to the ‘white flight’ of the 1950-70s. Like the recent influx to downtown, the majority of this population is white, and tends to be more wealthy than the average resident within the city. Beyond these larger populations, there are smaller, but still powerful, groups of stakeholders who struggle for power within the city. These groups are comprised of both public and private interests. On the public side, governmental bureaucrats within different levels of government vie for influence within the city. This includes municipal, state, and federal governments as well as office holders from neighbouring municipalities such as Oakland and Macomb counties (Williams). In the private sphere, there are those whose interest in Detroit comes from philanthropic and money-making interests (which are often blurred). Many of these investors live within the city, but most (such as Dan Gilbert) live in the surrounding suburbs. These private and public groups can be thought of as ‘the elite class’ of the city. Detroit can be thought of as a milieu through which all of these various populations and interest groups intersect.
3. For a more detailed history, see Ackers as well as Peck and Whiteside.
4. Who will henceforth by referred to as D/G.
5. From here onward, I do not intend to offer a program for how such an affirmative acceleration should take place and I am not attempting to issue an imperative. I understand the colonial implications of a White individual, such as myself, offering an imperative on a majority Black community. Instead, I am simply thinking through the possibilities of how a future-oriented selective acceleration could occur.
6. Though, like any tactics, it can no doubt be appropriated by other political visions.

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