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Detroit’s “Shock Doctrine” Water Shut-Off Tactics

The Detroit Water and Sewage Department is going door to door in Detroit, cutting off approximately 3000 customers per week who are delinquent on their water bills.

As Channel 4 news notes, it’s hard to understand why poor residents who owe a few hundred dollars should have their water turned while Detroit golf courses and stadiums that owe “big money” (per Channel 4) have no such threat.

DWSD officials say they began contemplating this action in April implementing it in May, when service was cut for 4,531 customers.

Clearly this isn’t a new problem. The DWSD estimates that fifty percent of their accounts are past due. That didn’t happen in just a few months.

So why oh why did they pick the hottest month of the year to escalate a program to turn people’s water off? Especially with the city in bankruptcy and unable to finance a program that allowed residents to pay their bills over time, as they did in the past.

It’s hard to imagine any other motive that doesn’t have its roots in Shock Doctrine, intent on driving out the city’s remaining poor residents. It’s already unconscionable the way that Detroit has just been allowed to wither and die. Turning the water off is just the latest chapter.

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Detroit’s “Shock Doctrine” Water Shut-Off Tactics

The Detroit Water and Sewage Department is going door to door in Detroit, cutting off approximately 3000 customers per week who are delinquent on their water bills.

As Channel 4 news notes, it’s hard to understand why poor residents who owe a few hundred dollars should have their water turned while Detroit golf courses and stadiums that owe “big money” (per Channel 4) have no such threat.

DWTS officials say they began contemplating this action in April implementing it in May, when service was cut for 4,531 customers.

Clearly this isn’t a new problem. The DWTS estimates that fifty percent of their accounts are past due. That didn’t happen in just a few months.

So why oh why did they pick the hottest months of the year to escalate a program to turn people’s water off?  Especially with the city in bankruptcy and unable to finance a program that allowed residents to pay their bills over time, as they did in the past.

It’s hard to imagine any motive that doesn’t have its roots in Shock Doctrine. If they didn’t intend to drive out the city’s remaining poor residents, they’re doing a damned good impression. 

It’s already unconscionable the way that Detroit has just been allowed to wither and die.  Turning the water off is just the latest chapter.

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Firedoglake.com. Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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