June 16, 2009

Awkward Manifesto, Point 2

2. Detroit (and by extension Michigan), is the arsenal of democracy. It's a national tragedy that it's been gutted and destroyed by the forces of Advanced Industrial Democracy.

During World War Two, the converted factories produced the bombers, warships, tanks, and weaponry that beat fascism. The American superiority is entirely attributable to its productive capacity, and Detroit was the centerpiece of that. Nazi-fighting equipment went from Michigan to Normandy, Sicily, Iowa Jima, Midway, Dachau, and Leningrad (the American supplies that ended the siege of Leningrad, made up largely of Detroit manufactured products, gave the Soviets what they needed to push and destroy Nazism on the Eastern Front).

John Lee Hooker got started working in a Ford plant in Detroit. In the 60s, Detroit gave the world Motown. Later, it redefined music with techno (Juan Atkinson, Derrick May, Kevin Saunderson being the obvious suspects, but also Carl Craig, ADULT., Ghostly International Records, and countless more). Both Madonna and Michael Jackson got their start in Detroit, and what greater face of 1980s Americanism/democracy is there? Punk has its roots in Detroit of the 60s, with Iggy Pop, MC5, and Death. Musically, Detroit has proven to be one of the biggest purveyors of new and powerful music in the world.

The Port Huron statement was signed in, obviously, Port Huron, MI. The Underground Railroad ran through Detroit. Michigan State University had the biggest SDS chapter in the nation. John Conyers represents Detroit. The Revolutionary Union Movements all centered around Detroit. The 1936 Flint Wildcat strike led to the best of the great big industrial unions, with benefits for workers that lasted until this day. Malcolm X based his independent activities around Michigan, Rosa Parks settled in Detroit.

The greatest hockey and basketball teams come from Detroit (despite the occasional setback, the Red Wings own the Stanley Cup, and the Pistons embody basketball). Lindbergh came from Detroit. The mainstays of business come from Michigan (not even getting into the obvious Ford, Olds, Boeing, etc., let's talk Steve Ballmer, William Hewlitt, Larry Page, John Delorean, Scott McNealy, Lee Iacoca, etc. etc.). Francis Ford Coppola, John Hughes, Jerry Bruckheimer, McG, Sam Raimi, Paul Schrader. You get the idea.

Detroit is what built this nation. It may no longer be the country's fourth largest city, but Awkward Haiku defiantly says that it is not over. Detroit will rise like a phoenix, and the arsenal will reopen for business. "We are all from Detroit now," so let's put our hands up for Detroit.

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