Detroit Idea Factory

Detroit Idea Factory Michael Stepniak, recovering credentialist. This is a space that I am making into whatever it is going to become.

Reposting this piece I wrote for the Detroit Socialist to my blog - if you missed it the first time give it a read. It's...
03/01/2021
Refusing Accountability: Rick Snyder’s Crime’s of Capitalism in Flint

Reposting this piece I wrote for the Detroit Socialist to my blog - if you missed it the first time give it a read. It's a comprehensive summary of what we know about the Flint Water Crisis as the Michigan AG begins prosecuting former government officials including former governor Rick Snyder.

And if you've already read it, I have more stuff coming out this week on left media stategy and, hopefully a couple other topics. Happy Sunday night!

https://detroitideafactory.wordpress.com/2021/03/01/refusing-accountability-rick-snyders-crimes-of-capitalism-in-flint/

On January 13 and 14, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel charged disgraced former Governor Rick Snyder and a ghoul’s gallery of public leaders-turned-conspirators with crimes related to th…

Happy Friday! I wrote a new piece for the Detroit Socialist, covering the lies that were told by Rick Snyder and other s...
01/29/2021
Refusing Accountability: Rick Snyder’s Crimes of Capitalism in Flint

Happy Friday! I wrote a new piece for the Detroit Socialist, covering the lies that were told by Rick Snyder and other so-called "public servants," and the utter disregard that the Republican elites in Michigan have for working class people, particularly in majority-Black and majority-minority cities such as Flint.

What happened in Flint wasn't a tragedy. It was a violent crime. People died. Snyder and his crew did what they did because they thought that their victims were so unimportant that there would be no consequences. And now, six years later, they're being brought up on charges.

I cited them with hyperlinks in the article, but I think that a special shout-out to the the journalism of Ron Fonger at MLive and the academic work of Brett Frischmann is in order.

Fonger wrote many articles that I didn't directly cite, but provided a far deeper context of what was going on in Flint. I cannot recommend Frischmann's book "Infrastructure: the Social Value of Shared Resources" highly enough for anyone wanting to dive into ideas of infrastructure - his work certainly informed my understanding of this issue.

And, as always, join the Democratic Socialists of America and help us fight for a better world.

https://medium.com/dsa-detroit-newspaper/refusing-accountability-rick-snyders-crimes-of-capitalism-in-flint-209b9519695c

by Michael Stepniak

No selfies this week, because I'm talking about #ForceTheVote and #MedicareForAll My position? It's complicated. While I...
01/03/2021
#ForceTheVote is an Idea in Conflict With Itself. We Should Still be Talking About it.

No selfies this week, because I'm talking about #ForceTheVote and #MedicareForAll My position? It's complicated. While I am skeptical that Force The Vote will work in Congress, and I'm not sure that AOC, Rashida and the Squad should even try it, I do support the left pushing for it!

This post is a bit more academic than I would have liked, but that's kind it goes sometimes. Happy New Years!

https://detroitideafactory.wordpress.com/2021/01/03/forcethevote-is-an-idea-in-conflict-with-itself-we-should-still-be-talking-about-it/

Putting aside those who acted like abusive #Khive stans for Dore, or AOC and the Squad, we should be talking about the ideas that were argued, the morality of the issue and the strategies, and the …

Taking down Saint Obama is a necessary project - and this article does it well. We were just ripping Jacobin for being t...
12/23/2020
Barack Obama Has Nothing to Say About Central America

Taking down Saint Obama is a necessary project - and this article does it well. We were just ripping Jacobin for being too academic, but this piece does the job right. I keep thinking about voices like the late Michael Brooks, as well as others in independent left media who have put the idea of a more unified movement strategy in so many of our heads. And this is where pieces like this come into play.

For many on the left, ripping Obama is like ripping on Trump. It seems obvious. Boring. We often wish we could fast-forward the parts of the Majority Report when Sam Seder goes off on Trump. We know this, and we want to move on. But hold on, because where are we moving on to? Naturally we want media that provides an honest view of the world, and advocates for the dignity of workers - but we should also support media that moves people toward our position.

That's where pieces like this one, and the Majority Report come in. For many of us, it's a bit like watching a movie when we've already read the book, but takedowns of Obama (and Biden) and Trump are necessary for the building of a larger socialist movement. The intended audience isn't those of us who know where we stand. The intended audience is the massive number of people who know that they've been mistreated for their whole lives by both the Democrats and the Republicans, and who are in need of a political education to stimulate their imaginations of the better world that is possible.

Pieces like this (because of course Obama is leaving the dirty s**t he pulled in Central America out of his memoir! Of course he his!) that seem like softballs are in fact a shock to many people who are quite used to defending Obama against Republicans, but not so much against critique from the left. As socialist organizers who are building a movement, we need to have serious conversations about our media strategies going forward. Look for something from me on this soon, either here on at The Detroit Socialist. Or both (sorry if I double dip!)

In his recently released memoir A Promised Land, Barack Obama has neatly removed Central America from his narrative of the first years of his presidency. Perhaps he thought no one would notice.

Welp. I haven't posted here for over four years. But I'm back to writing. I'm not sure who even follows this page, or wh...
12/23/2020
A Change In Direction

Welp. I haven't posted here for over four years. But I'm back to writing. I'm not sure who even follows this page, or why - but here's a thing I wrote about class consciousness, disillusionment with academia, the brutality of capitalism, the myth of the meritocracy, and how I'm beginning to shape the space where I write.

https://detroitideafactory.wordpress.com/2020/12/23/a-change-in-direction/

Going forward, this blog will be different. I’m keeping the name. I got my first factory job when I was 15 years old in Mount Clemens, so I’ve earned the right to say some things about …

"Comfort the afflicted, and inflict the comfortable?"Deadline Detroit I'm not sure what the point of this post is. Judgi...
04/18/2016

"Comfort the afflicted, and inflict the comfortable?"

Deadline Detroit I'm not sure what the point of this post is. Judging by the comments, many people find it funny. There are conversations to be had here about municipal panhandling ordinances (and freedom of speech), homelessness (not making any assumptions about this person's living situation) and poverty. Another conversation might be about empathy and human dignity.

Posting this picture without context or comment addresses nothing, so what was the point?

Also, it's a special kind of horrible when people with homes discuss when they will or won't give money to someone they presume to be homeless. Whether you give or not, and the circumstances that dictate your decisions are immaterial. Have a heart, and keep it to yourself.

#Detroit #Empathy #Dignity

On the service drive of the Fisher Freeway near Woodward

10/31/2015
Detroit Metro Times

As usual, the students are the Best Part of WSU! #Detroit #WayneState

Wayne State University's Zombie Parade breaks out into a choreographed re-creation of "Thriller." Read more here: http://bit.ly/1P9tRjw (Video via Sarah Rahal.)

10/22/2015
A MARVELOUS ORDER

Hell yes. The opera we have been waiting for! #UrbanPlanning #AMarvelousOrder
https://vimeo.com/142466205

This is a video includes footage recorded at a private workshop presentation of our work-in-progress held on May 12, 2015. A MARVELOUS ORDER The opera about…

The President should stop using the word "thug." This is not the greatest speech, but it does deal with actual issues, i...
04/28/2015
Obama Calls Police Violence a "Crisis," Condemns Mass Neglect of Poor

The President should stop using the word "thug." This is not the greatest speech, but it does deal with actual issues, including that the #BaltimoreUprising is not about a CVS. #FreddieGray #BlackLivesMatter

Fielding a question about Baltimore during a press conference with Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe, President Obama spoke at length about crime and police brutality. Obama condemned Monday night's rioting and expressed sympathy with injured officers, but also called the persistence of police viol…

04/26/2015

Protests do not "turn violent." The violence has been ongoing for over 400 years now. #FreddieGray #BlackLivesMatter

So I'm having this conversation right now. #DetroitWater #WTF
04/21/2015

So I'm having this conversation right now. #DetroitWater #WTF

Let's Get Real: It's Our Money
04/20/2015
Let's Get Real: It's Our Money

Let's Get Real: It's Our Money

Watching construction workers appear before Detroit City Council, one after another, to advocate for the rezoning of the new Olympia arena development, I worried that it might actually happen. As a...

This Vote is Tomorrow! #Detroit #CassCorridor #District6
04/20/2015
Let's Get Real: It's Our Money

This Vote is Tomorrow! #Detroit #CassCorridor #District6

Watching construction workers appear before Detroit City Council, one after another, to advocate for the rezoning of the new Olympia arena development, I worried that it might actually happen. As a...

Regional Transit Authority of Southeast Michigan
04/20/2015
Regional Transit Authority of Southeast Michigan

Regional Transit Authority of Southeast Michigan

Mission Statement Our mission is to manage and secure transportation resources that significantly enhance mobility options, to improve quality of life for the residents and to increase economic...

City Council takes this up again tomorrow! Let them know that #ItsOurMoney being spent! #Detroit #CassCorridor #District...
04/20/2015
Let's Get Real: It's Our Money

City Council takes this up again tomorrow! Let them know that #ItsOurMoney being spent! #Detroit #CassCorridor #District6

Watching construction workers appear before Detroit City Council, one after another, to advocate for the rezoning of the new Olympia arena development, I worried that it might actually happen. As a...

04/20/2015
Detroit Water Brigade

Detroit Water Brigade

Literally 99% of Detroiters who got on payment plans last year to avoid shutoff are facing it again because they can't keep up payments. #DetroitOnePercent

Detroit Police Department
04/20/2015

Detroit Police Department

Serious Missing:
Bre'Auncia was last seen at her home, located in the 16700 block of Archdale by her Mother on April 12, 2015. Ms. Edwards-Lawrence stated she had a verbal argument with her daughter and when she woke up to check on her she discovered her missing.

Bre'Auncia is described as a B/F/15, 5'2", 125 lbs., light complexion, brown eyes and blond hair and possibly wearing a pink coat. Bre'Auncia is in good physical and mental health.

If anyone has seen Bre'Auncia Lawrence, please contact the Eighth's Precinct's Detective's Unit at (313) 596-5840.

#Detroit and #Michigan residents keep paying the tab for people with more than enough money.
04/20/2015
Let's Get Real: It's Our Money

#Detroit and #Michigan residents keep paying the tab for people with more than enough money.

Watching construction workers appear before Detroit City Council, one after another, to advocate for the rezoning of the new Olympia arena development, I worried that it might actually happen. As a...

Raquel Castaneda-Lopez, City Councilwoman of Detroit District 6
04/20/2015

Raquel Castaneda-Lopez, City Councilwoman of Detroit District 6

Thank you to Americorp & the 75+ Detroit Police Officers & trainees that came out today to board up houses & make our community safer!

04/20/2015

Nothin says #Detroit like adult contemporary... #VagueBooking

When someone says there is no money in #Detroit they mean there's no money for you. #Detroit #District6 #CassCorridor #R...
04/20/2015
Let's Get Real: It's Our Money

When someone says there is no money in #Detroit they mean there's no money for you. #Detroit #District6 #CassCorridor #RedWings

Watching construction workers appear before Detroit City Council, one after another, to advocate for the rezoning of the new Olympia arena development, I worried that it might actually happen. As a...

An article about what our legislature has done to my hair, prematurely. Gray is #PureMichigan
04/14/2015
The graying of Michigan

An article about what our legislature has done to my hair, prematurely. Gray is #PureMichigan

In more than a dozen Michigan counties, the median age is now over 50. Statewide, as of two years ago, almost half the population was over 40 – the oldest ever recorded.

Yes Participatory Budgeting in #Detroit #District6 !
04/12/2015

Yes Participatory Budgeting in #Detroit #District6 !

Learning about participatory budgeting process with the one and only Brooklyn Council Member Carlos Menchaca. Community driven development sounds amazing to me- definitely bringing this idea back to Detroit!

Raquel Castaneda-Lopez, City Councilwoman of Detroit District 6
04/12/2015

Raquel Castaneda-Lopez, City Councilwoman of Detroit District 6

Learning about participatory budgeting process with the one and only Brooklyn Council Member Carlos Menchaca. Community driven development sounds amazing to me- definitely bringing this idea back to Detroit!

District 6 in #Detroit and District 38 in #Brooklyn have a good deal in common. Somehow that is encouraging.
04/12/2015

District 6 in #Detroit and District 38 in #Brooklyn have a good deal in common. Somehow that is encouraging.

So honored to be present at NY City Council Member Carlos Menchaca State of the District 38 Address- the similarities between his district & our #District6 are amazing! I am inspired by @menchaca commitment to community, inclusive democracy & social justice.

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