The working class of Detroit is under attack. Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr is working with the bankruptcy court to destroy workers’ social rights. If Orr has his way, pensions and health care for city workers will be gutted; wages and jobs will be cut; city assets, including the masterpieces at the Detroit Institute of Arts, will be sold off.

To expose the social and political interests behind the bankruptcy, and to mobilize opposition, the Socialist Equality Party is organizing a Workers Inquiry into the Attack on the DIA and the Bankruptcy of Detroit at Wayne State University on February 15.

The bankruptcy proceedings are an antidemocratic fraud, with the conclusion decided in advance.

The bankruptcy proceedings are an antidemocratic fraud, with the conclusion decided in advance. All participants—Orr, bankruptcy judge Steven Rhodes, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, Detroit Mayor David Bing, the Obama administration and the trade unions—accept the premise that the working class must pay for a crisis that they did not create.

In his decision approving the bankruptcy of Detroit, Rhodes was compelled to acknowledge the clear evidence that the bankruptcy had been planned well in advance and involved deliberate deception. The attack on pensions is in direct violation of the Michigan state constitution. But this did not matter. When the interests of the ruling class are involved, legality and constitutionality mean nothing.

The bankruptcy ruling is a turning point in class relations, akin to the breaking of the PATCO strike of air traffic controllers in 1981. Rhodes has essentially ruled that public employees do not have a right to pensions regardless of state constitutional protections. The ruling sets a precedent for the whole country. The attack on pensions will be followed by the attack on every social right.

The Workers Inquiry will reveal the political conspiracy behind these attacks. It will be a genuinely democratic forum, organized by the workers, of the workers and for the workers to counter the lies of the media and the political establishment.

We urge city workers, auto workers, service employees, retirees, unemployed workers, professionals and students throughout the metropolitan area to testify about the real state of the city and the consequences of the cuts that are being implemented. We ask workers and young people all around the world to endorse the Inquiry and send messages of support. In this way the Workers Inquiry will lay the basis for a counteroffensive by the working class, not just in Detroit, but across the country and internationally.

The Inquiry will examine:

* The role of the Snyder administration, including State Treasurer Andy Dillon, in hiring the Jones Day law firm and using its roadmap to throw the city into bankruptcy in order to gut pensions.

* The anti-democratic character of the emergency manager law and how it was rammed through against the will of Michigan voters.

* The corporate and financial interests that stand to gain from Orr’s “adjustment plan” and the selloff of public assets like the artwork of the DIA, including the Wall Street banks, billionaires like Dan Gilbert and Mike Ilitch, and DTE Energy and other corporations.

* The role of the unions, which agreed to massive concessions and joined the demand for the selloff of DIA artwork.

* The Obama administration’s role in supporting the bankruptcy and using it as a model to attack public employees nationally.

We call on all workers and Detroit area residents to learn more about this inquiry, to become involved and to organize delegations from your workplace and neighborhood.

The Inquiry will be conducted in opposition to the entire framework accepted by the two parties of big business and the unions. The powers that be claim that there is no money for the basic rights of the working class. Yet corporate profits—including in the auto industry—are at record highs, the stock market is soaring, and social inequality is at historically unprecedented levels.

We call on all workers and Detroit area residents to learn more about this inquiry, to become involved and to organize delegations from your workplace and neighborhood.

Find out the truth! Attend the Workers Inquiry into the Detroit Bankruptcy!