The Corner

Occupy Detroit: Why Detroit?

Detroit, Grand Circus Park — “Corporations are running roughshod over America,” a typical Occupy Detroiter told me. Really? Detroit’s Democratic leadership would disagree. They have desperately courted Big Business to fill the city’s depleted tax coffers.

Which raises the question: Why are the Occupiers in Detroit? If Occupy Wall Street is protesting banks, then what is Occupy Detroit protesting?

Government Motors? The Occupy march began on the riverfront in the shadow of GM’s headquarters — which the Occupiers’ patron saint, Barack Obama, forced GM to keep in Detroit in 2009 at the request of Detroit’s mayor.

Morgan Stanley? The Wall Street powerhouse underwrote GM’s IPO as it emerged from bankruptcy.

Quicken Loans? The online mortgage giant just relocated 1,500 employees to its new downtown headquarters, filling the empty Comerica Bank building on Occupy Detroit’s Woodward parade route.

Comerica? Yes, the giant bank pulled up stakes for business-friendly Texas, but its logo still dominates the east side of Grand Circus — occupied by the 99 Percenters — where it buys naming rights for Tiger Stadium.

Ilitch Holdings? One Percenter Mike Ilitch owns most of the real estate around Grand Circus, where he built Tiger Stadium with the billions he’s made on his corporate pizza franchise, Little Caesar’s. The corporate-sponsored Tigers bring millions in revenue into the city.

Ford? Its logo also looms over east Grand Circus, affixed to Lions Stadium and paid for with millions from corporate skyboxes.

Penske Corporation, ArvinMeritor, Compuware Corporation, GM, Ford? These Metro Detroit firms all are major sponsors of the Detroit Opera House, which anchors the south side of Grand Circus.

“Tax the rich! Tax the rich! Tax the rich!” chanted the ’60s-throwbacks in Grand Circus. But why? Detroit’s rich are pouring millions into downtown Detroit to try to resuscitate it. Why does Occupy Detroit want to confiscate that money and send it 500 miles away to Washington, D.C.?


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