The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Detroit Land Grab

Apr 14, 2014

Detroit mayor Mike Duggan’s newly-formed Land Bank has just started moving to seize abandoned houses in the city. The Land Bank placed notices on 76 houses in the Marygrove neighborhood announcing that owners had three days to contact the city – or it would start legal action to seize the houses and either tear them down or sell them. More than 80,000 city houses might eventually be seized in this way.

That might seem fine – many of these empty houses were abandoned by slumlords long ago. Many were bought up by speculators – like Matty Moroun, who bought huge tracts of houses around Detroit City Airport and left them vacant and rotting, driving even MORE people away.

But many of these homes were only recently abandoned, as their owners found themselves underwater in the last mortgage crisis, owing much more than the homes were now worth. These homeowners walked away or were evicted by banks that then sat on the properties and did nothing with them.

Those homeowners lost their homes because the banks were playing financial games. They did not want to leave.

Duggan wants to get people into those houses? How about seizing them from the banks and giving them BACK to the residents who didn’t want to leave them in the first place!

But that’s not what’s happening. This just frees up even more land for speculators.