FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Demolish! The Story of One Detroit Resident’s Home

I met Dan on a cold October evening at a donut shop on the outskirts of Detroit, Michigan. Dan and his lawyer Mathew Clark organized a meeting with Detroit Eviction Defense (DED), a community group fighting housing displacement in the city. I had been working with DED for a number of years and was curious to learn more about Dan’s story. Over the course of an hour, Dan and Mathew filled us in on the details of his case.

In August of 2016, Dan filed a lawsuit against the Detroit Land Bank Authority, which is the department responsible for coordinating blight removal.  Blight removal is the term used to describe homes that are beyond repair and needing demolition. In the lawsuit, Dan claimed that the city unjustly evicted him from his childhood home by falsely claiming that it was blighted, destroyed a lifetime of his belongings by throwing them into a dumpster, and finally bulldozed his home to the ground.

Home demolitions are at the heart of Detroit’s so-called revitalization. Emerging in 2012, blight removal became a primary policy concern for the city with a study finding that some 78,000 of Detroit’s 380,000 properties had blight indicators.  This report helped to trigger nearly $300 million from the Federal Hardest Hit Fund Program specifically for this process.

While this federal program was originally conceived to help keep individuals and families in their homes after the 2008 housing crisis, the Obama administration allowed Detroit to use the funds for blight removal.  The spectacle of blight removal came together in an event where Mayor Mike Duggan ceremoniously live streamed the city’s 10,000th home demolition.

Dan’s story should be understood within this massive mobilization of monies and political maneuvering by the federal, state, and city government around home demolitions. What follows is an interview in comic book form, which I conducted with Dan shortly after out first meeting. In it Dan details the kinds of Kafkaesque violence perpetrated by the Detroit Land Bank Authority that categorized his home as blighted and had it demolished while he was still living in it.

More articles by:

Jeffrey Wilson is a graphic novel author and Ph.D. Candidate in Geography at the University of Arizona. He published one of the first graphic novel interviews to appear in a peer-reviewed journal. His current comic book titled Instinct for Cooperation: A Graphic Novel Conversation with Noam Chomsky is set for release on Seven Stories Press in early 2018.  His academic and popular writing focuses on the intersection of foreclosures and health in Detroit, Michigan.

July 23, 2018
Pam Martens
Koch Industries Is Staffing Up with Voter Data Scientists to Tip the November Election to the Extreme Right
Binoy Kampmark
Ecuador’s Agenda: Squeezing and Surrendering Assange
Vijay Prashad
America’s Reporter: the Hersh Method
Colin Jenkins
Exposing the American Okie-Doke
Patrick Cockburn
What Boris Johnson Doesn’t Know About British History
Jack Random
Asylum Seekers in the 21st Century
Howard Lisnoff
How We Got Sold on Endless Wars
Ed Meek
Trump Has Taught Us Some Valuable Lessons About Executive Power
Myles Hoenig
Trump, the Mr. Magoo of American Diplomacy
Winslow Myers
The Mind Reels
Thomas Mountain
Ethiopia’s Peaceful Revolution
Weekend Edition
July 20, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Atwood
Peace or Armageddon: Take Your Pick
Paul Street
No Liberal Rallies Yet for the Children of Yemen
Nick Pemberton
The Bipartisan War on Central and South American Women
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Are You Putin Me On?
Andrew Levine
Sovereignty: What Is It Good For? 
Brian Cloughley
The Trump/NATO Debacle and the Profit Motive
David Rosen
Trump’s Supreme Pick Escalates America’s War on Sex 
Melvin Goodman
Montenegro and the “Manchurian Candidate”
Salvador Rangel
“These Are Not Our Kids”: The Racial Capitalism of Caging Children at the Border
Matthew Stevenson
Going Home Again to Trump’s America
Louis Proyect
Jeremy Corbyn, Bernie Sanders and the Dilemmas of the Left
Patrick Cockburn
Iraqi Protests: “Bad Government, Bad Roads, Bad Weather, Bad People”
Robert Fantina
Has It Really Come to This?
Russell Mokhiber
Kristin Lawless on the Corporate Takeover of the American Kitchen
John W. Whitehead
It’s All Fake: Reality TV That Masquerades as American Politics
Patrick Bobilin
In Your Period Piece, I Would be the Help
Ramzy Baroud
The Massacre of Inn Din: How Rohingya Are Lynched and Held Responsible
Robert Fisk
How Weapons Made in Bosnia Fueled Syria’s Bleak Civil War
Gary Leupp
Trump’s Helsinki Press Conference and Public Disgrace
Josh Hoxie
Our Missing $10 Trillion
Martha Rosenberg
Pharma “Screening” Is a Ploy to Seize More Patients
Basav Sen
Brett Kavanaugh Would be a Disaster for the Climate
David Lau
The Origins of Local AFT 4400: a Profile of Julie Olsen Edwards
Rohullah Naderi
The Elusive Pursuit of Peace by Afghanistan
Binoy Kampmark
Shaking Establishments: The Ocasio-Cortez Effect
John Laforge
18 Protesters Cut Into German Air Base to Protest US Nuclear Weapons Deployment
Christopher Brauchli
Trump and the Swedish Question
Chia-Chia Wang
Local Police Shouldn’t Collaborate With ICE
Paul Lyons
YouTube’s Content ID – A Case Study
Jill Richardson
Soon You Won’t be Able to Use Food Stamps at Farmers’ Markets, But That’s Not the Half of It
Kevin MacKay
Climate Change is Proving Worse Than We Imagined, So Why Aren’t We Confronting its Root Cause?
Thomas Knapp
Elections: More than Half of Americans Believe Fairy Tales are Real
Ralph Nader
Warner Slack—Doctor for the People Forever
Lee Ballinger
Soccer, Baseball and Immigration
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail