The water crisis in Flint, Michigan

Michigan teachers, students face double threat from school reopenings: contaminated water and COVID-19

By Sheila Brehm and James MacDonald, 24 February 2021

With the Democratic Whitmer administration pushing for a March 1 reopening date for public schools, teachers and students face not only the danger of the coronavirus, but lead and legionella bacteria from unflushed water systems.

Former governor Rick Snyder charged over role in Flint, Michigan water poisoning

By James Brewer, 15 January 2021

Snyder and eight others were indicted Thursday on charges relating to the criminal poisoning of the city’s water supply that began almost seven years ago.

The socialist answer to the paltry $600 million Flint settlement

By Joseph Kishore—SEP Presidential Candidate, 24 August 2020

Only through the development of the class struggle can the working class make right the years of bipartisan social crimes against the working class of Flint, Michigan.

Flint’s $600 million water settlement—a pittance to whitewash a massive social crime

By Sheila Brehm, 21 August 2020

The ruling class is eager to finally put the Flint water poisoning behind them and hope the multi-million-dollar payout will appease workers, at least temporarily.

Six-year statute of limitations elapses with no criminal indictments by Flint Water Prosecution Team

By James Brewer, 28 April 2020

The six-year statute of limitations has passed for filing criminal charges against officials responsible for the Flint water disaster that poisoned a city of 100,000.

Amid coronavirus pandemic, thousands in Detroit remain without running water

By Kevin Reed, 21 March 2020

The claims of the Democratic Party’s mayor of Detroit and Michigan state governor that they would restore shut-off utilities have been exposed as a fraud.

Michigan judge throws out state charges against Flint water consultants

By James Brewer, 19 November 2019

Claims of professional negligence and public nuisance against private water companies advising the City of Flint were dismissed by a circuit court judge on November 8.

Officials cover up lead in water crisis in Newark, New Jersey

By Shuvu Batta, 27 September 2019

Residents of Newark, New Jersey, continue to be exposed to lead in their tap water as their city and state officials attempt to lie their way out of the crisis.

New Jersey Democrats authorize bonds to cover up Newark water crisis

By Shuvu Batta, 30 August 2019

A bond issue of $120 million was pushed through before residents were given an opportunity to attend hearings or scrutinize details of the proposal to replace all lead service lines in the city.

Michigan: Two million gallons of untreated sewage spill into Flint River

By Mitch Marcus, 24 August 2019

Exposure to or ingestion of raw or partially treated sewage, as the city maintains is the case here, can cause immediate harmful effects.

The work of Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha in the Flint water crisis

By James Brookfield, 22 August 2019

A courageous defiance of political intimidation by politicians of both big business parties—Democrats as well as Republicans.

Ann Arbor forum discusses who was responsible for the Flint water crisis

By James Brookfield, 22 August 2019

A Democratic state senator tried to blame the disaster solely on the Republican state government, although the mayor of Flint and other local officials were Democrats.

“You can’t trust the government”: Flint, Michigan residents speak out on Newark water crisis

By Sheila Brehm, 20 August 2019

The lead-in-water crisis in Newark, New Jersey is evoking angry responses from Flint residents who have gone through similar experiences over the last five years.

“This is corruption, collusion, conspiracy”

Newark, New Jersey residents denounce Democrats over lead-poisoned water

By our reporters, 19 August 2019

The city began distributing bottled water last week after it was revealed that faucet filters were failing to screen toxic lead from home drinking water.

Lead contamination crisis grows

Newark, New Jersey suspends distribution of bottled water over expiration concerns

By Shuvu Batta, 16 August 2019

City officials were forced to stop distributions Tuesday in response to concerns over cases of bottled water that were labeled as expired.

Jacksonville, Florida officials move forward with electrical utility privatization plan

By Matthew Taylor, 9 August 2019

The Jacksonville Electrical Authority board has laid the groundwork for the approval of the sale of the largest public utility in the state through months of crisis mongering.

Amid mounting opposition, former Michigan Governor Snyder withdraws from Harvard fellowship

By Sheila Brehm, 4 July 2019

The decision came in the face of widespread opposition on the Harvard campus, in Flint, Michigan, and nationally.

Democratic Whitmer administration stonewalls Flint residents on dropping of water prosecutions

By James Brewer, 1 July 2019

What was billed as a “community conversation” was an exercise in evasion and lies, with scores of police deployed to intimidate angry Flint workers.

No more lies!

The way forward in the struggle against the poisoning of Flint

the WSWS editorial board, 28 June 2019

The following statement is being distributed to a community meeting in Flint Friday night.

Michigan Democrats drop all charges against Flint water poisoning conspirators

By Sheila Brehm, 14 June 2019

While the Democrats claim they will restart the investigation, Flint residents are deeply skeptical—and with reason.

Michigan attorney general seizes cell phone of former governor Snyder in probe of Flint water crisis

By James Brewer, 6 June 2019

The cell phones, iPads and laptops of former governor Rick Snyder and 65 other state officials are being gathered as evidence in the criminal investigation into the Flint water crisis.

Five years since the poisoning of Flint’s water supply: Part two

By James Brewer, 15 May 2019

This is the second part of a two-part series drawing a balance sheet of five years of the water crisis in Flint, Michigan.

Five years since the poisoning of Flint’s water supply: Part one

By James Brewer, 14 May 2019

This is the first of a two-part series drawing a balance sheet of five years of the water crisis in Flint, Michigan.

Judge rules former Michigan Governor Snyder, EPA can be sued by Flint residents

By James Brookfield, 23 April 2019

Recent federal court rulings allow Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and the US Environmental Protection Agency to be sued in class action lawsuits filed on behalf of Flint residents.

Norwood Jewell, the UAW and the Flint water crisis

By Jerry White, 10 April 2019

The conviction on bribery charges of Jewell sheds light on the close connections between the UAW and the Democratic politicians responsible for the lead poisoning of an entire city.

Flint, a play at the University of Michigan: Stuck, unfortunately, in the quagmire of racial politics

By Joanne Laurier, 10 April 2019

José Casas’ drama is a response to the horrendous Flint, Michigan water crisis, which began in April 2014. As a result, the city’s poisoned population has suffered disease, death and untold misery.

Nothing resolved as Flint water crisis nears fifth anniversary

By Sheila Brehm, 8 March 2019

In the 1930s, during the Great Depression, there were bread lines. But today, in 2019, there are water lines.

Flint water crisis claims its youngest Legionnaires’ victim to date

“Her failing health was due to the government failing her”

By Sheila Brehm, 27 February 2019

Jassmine McBride, only 30 years old, contracted the deadly lung disease at the height of the Flint water crisis in 2014.

Lead at some Detroit schools 50 times the allowable federal level

By Lawrence Porter, 12 October 2018

A new report on lead and copper in Detroit schools reveals the acute health dangers facing working class families due to the massive deterioration in education funding.

Questions emerge following shutoff of water to Detroit schools

By James Brewer, 21 September 2018

Superintendent Vitti’s claim of his “abundance of caution” in shutting the water off at all 106 schools has been belied by new lead and copper test results showing over half with high levels.

As classes begin, Detroit schools shut off drinking water due to high levels of lead and copper

By Eula Holmes and Patrick Martin, 31 August 2018

The pollution of the water supply is particularly devastating for children, whose brains and bodies are especially at risk from toxins.

Judge orders top Michigan health official to stand trial for Flint deaths

By Sheila Brehm and Michael Anders, 21 August 2018

Nick Lyon will face two counts of involuntary manslaughter for deaths due to an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in Flint related to the city’s polluted water crisis.

Town hall fails to ease concerns over industrial toxins found in Parchment, Michigan drinking water

By Joseph Lorenz, 2 August 2018

In a tightly controlled meeting, local and state officials sought to dispel the anger of residents who learned last week that their water has dangerous levels of PFAS chemicals.

High levels of toxic chemicals found in drinking water of west Michigan community

By Carlos Delgado, 28 July 2018

City officials announced to residents of Parchment, Michigan Thursday that their water contained dangerously high levels of PFAS chemicals.

Democrats visit Flint: Hypocrisy, lies and cover-up

By Sheila Brehm, 27 July 2018

During a press conference in Flint, Michigan, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi chose to attack Trump not for gutting the EPA or aid to hungry families but for “Russian meddling”

Detroit water shutoffs to resume in midst of punishing heat wave

By Debra Watson, 7 July 2018

Detroit water shutoffs will resume this week, after a one-week pause, though extremely high temperatures and heat advisories in Detroit are expected to continue throughout the summer.

New effort to cover up impact of lead poisoning in Flint

By James Brewer, 30 May 2018

A resolution reportedly passed by doctors at Flint Hurley Medical Center puts forward the false narrative that no one was lead poisoned in Flint, but lead-exposed.

New from Mehring Books: Flint: A Crime of Capitalism

22 May 2018

Now available! This pamphlet exposes the social and political forces behind the lead poisoning of the water supply in Flint, which was rooted in the subordination of all aspects of social life to the profit drive of business.

Flint high school teachers criticize deteriorating working conditions

By Genevieve Leigh and Sam Wayne, 15 May 2018

Multiple educators reported that Southwestern Academy high school has held dozens of classes without teachers for months at a time over the course of the current school year.

Dozens of classes without teachers at Flint, Michigan, high school

By Genevieve Leigh and Sam Wayne, 8 May 2018

The school administration at Flint Southwestern Academy has hidden from parents and the community for months that dozens of their children’s classes are being held without teachers.

Michelle Wolf’s Flint comment touches a nerve in Michigan’s capital

By Jim Brewer, 4 May 2018

Comedian Michelle Wolf’s comment on Flint’s water at the White House correspondents dinner elicited an indignant rejoinder from the Michigan governor’s office.

Four years since beginning of Flint water crisis: Youth denounce government criminality

By our reporters, 27 April 2018

On the fourth anniversary of the Flint water crisis residents and youth speak out on the unresolved lead poisoning disaster.

Four years on: Political lessons of the Flint water crisis

By James Brewer and Barry Grey, 25 April 2018

What above all has changed since the onset of the Flint water crisis is the emergence of a new upsurge of the working class.

As state ends bottled water program in Flint, officials grant new permits to Nestlé Waters

By Sheila Brehm and James Brewer, 19 April 2018

The Michigan officials have granted the world’s largest bottled water company expanded rights to exploit the state’s fresh water supplies.

Nor Any Drop to Drink previewed to Flint audience

By James Brewer, 13 April 2018

Central Michigan University sociology professor Cedrick Taylor presented his new documentary at the University of Michigan in Flint.

Michigan governor ends state water distribution in Flint

By Lawrence Porter and James Brewer, 11 April 2018

Snyder justified this latest provocation against the residents, who have suffered years of lead-poisoned water, by citing test levels, despite scientists insisting that no amount of lead in water is safe.

East Kentucky residents hit by rate hikes and shutoffs of undrinkable water

By Phyllis Steele, 10 April 2018

The Public Service Commission announced a rate increase and water surcharge fee for Martin County residents who have been fighting contaminated water and service interruptions.

Testimony in Flint water hearings details social crime against city residents

By Matthew Brennan, 13 March 2018

At a recent pretrial hearing, a former water plant operator detailed how city and state officials ignored his warnings that the city’s long moth-balled treatment plant could not handle a switch to the polluted Flint River.

Transnational beer corporation creates water crisis in northern Mexico

By Alex González, 10 March 2018

Constellation Brands set up beer manufacturing plants in drought-prone cities and is threatening the region with a water crisis.

IYSSE meeting draws together Flint, Puerto Rico, Kentucky workers to discuss water crisis

By our reporter, 23 February 2018

The meeting provided a forum for workers and youth to discuss the root causes of the mounting water crisis in the US and internationally and a socialist perspective to fight back.

Students and workers call for the unity of the working class following meeting on Flint water crisis

By our reporters, 23 February 2018

Students and workers who attended the meeting spoke to the WSWS and expressed their support for the struggle of workers in Puerto Rico, Kentucky and Flint.

The coal slurry disaster of 2000

The story behind the water crisis in Martin County, Kentucky

By Carlos Delgado, 19 February 2018

The water crisis in eastern Kentucky can be traced back to the bursting of a coal slurry dam owned by Massey Energy in 2000.

Kentucky residents face water shutoffs as UK study exposes health dangers from leaking pipes

By Warren Duzak, 13 February 2018

After losing service due to collapsing infrastructure, Martin County residents now face shutoffs and a 50 percent rate hike for contaminated water.

Testimony reveals depth of recklessness in decision to use outmoded Flint water plant

By James Brewer, 12 February 2018

Pretrial hearings last week shed further light on the criminally negligent character of the water scheme imposed on the people of Flint, Michigan.

Democratic mayor holds sham community forum on Flint water crisis

By Will Morrow, 9 February 2018

Police were stationed at entrances to the meeting as residents were informed they would have no opportunity to speak or ask any questions.

Political in-fighting escalates as Cape Town, South Africa approaches “Day Zero” water shutoff

By Genevieve Leigh, 5 February 2018

The Democratic Alliance fears its inability to address the water crisis will lead to a loss of support ahead of the 2019 elections.

Jeff Daniels’ Flint: A drama about the former industrial city

Is it “all about the money” or all about race?

By David Walsh, 2 February 2018

Jeff Daniels’ drama is currently being performed at the Purple Rose Theatre in Chelsea, Michigan, some 60 miles west of Detroit. The play will run until March 10.

Flint, Michigan court hearings highlight widespread collusion in water crisis cover-up

By Matthew Brennan, 30 January 2018

While none of those criminally charged in the Flint water crisis have yet been brought to trial, preliminary court proceedings have revealed a network of dirty operatives.

Cape Town, South Africa to become first city in the developed world to run out of water

By Genevieve Leigh, 29 January 2018

Local government in Cape Town, South Africa continues to implement drastic water saving measures in a last-ditch attempt to stave off a complete water shutoff.

“The water is milky white and smells like bleach”

Kentucky residents told it may take a decade to get clean, safe water

By Jerry White, 22 January 2018

Working class residents of the former coal mining area have had no water or only intermittent service for weeks.

“The state trooper choked me because I was telling the truth”

Former coal miner in Eastern Kentucky speaks about police assault at public meeting

By Sheila Brehm, 17 January 2018

Gary Michael Hunt, a former coal miner who was assaulted by a state trooper for criticizing local authorities about the lack of safe water for area residents, spoke with the WSWS.

Flint City Council backs 30-year water deal that ensures bondholder profits

By James Brookfield, 28 November 2017

The council passed a motion to sign a 30-year contract with the Great Lakes Water Authority for the provision of water services to Flint.

Nearly 4,000 US communities have higher rates of lead poisoning than Flint

By Jerry White, 16 November 2017

Reuters has identified 3,810 neighborhoods nationally where child lead poisoning rates are at least double those found in Flint, Michigan during the height of that city’s water crisis.

Recall election fails to oust Flint, Michigan mayor

By Sheila Brehm, 11 November 2017

Last Tuesday’s mayoral election in Flint was marked by mass abstention after three-and-a-half years of an ongoing lead water crisis.

Flint: How much of the social crime does the film present?

Lifetime movie on the water disaster will air October 28

By Joanne Laurier, 27 October 2017

The film, directed by Bruce Beresford, was inspired by the ongoing Flint water crisis and bases itself more immediately on a February 2016 Time magazine report, “The Poisoning of an American City.”

Court testimony exposes governor’s lies about Flint water crisis

By Sheila Brehm, 9 October 2017

The matter arose during a preliminary hearing concerning the first of 13 officials facing criminal charges over the Flint catastrophe.

As Detroit mayoral election approaches, water shutoffs continue amidst pervasive poverty

By Debra Watson, 6 October 2017

As the election approaches, persistent and shocking levels of poverty in Detroit and continuing residential water shutoffs belie claims that the city is making a comeback.

Study: Flint’s poisoned water caused drop in number of healthy pregnancies and births

By Sheila Brehm, 23 September 2017

Due to lead-poisoned water in Flint, fertility rates dropped, and the number of women who miscarried, had a stillbirth, or delivered babies with health problems, increased.

Democratic gubernatorial town hall in Flint: No policies to address lead poisoning disaster

By our reporters, 21 August 2017

The event was a stage-managed exercise in political evasion.

SEP public meetings: “Flint and the Grenfell fire: Social crimes against the working class”

26 July 2017

The SEP and the IYSSE are holding public meetings Thursday in Detroit and Flint, Michigan to review the experience of the Grenfell fire tragedy in London and its broader implications for the working class.

Michigan researchers investigate connection between Flint water crisis and high infant mortality rate

By Carlos Delgado, 18 July 2017

The city of Flint saw a significant increase in rate of infants who died before their first birthday in 2015, when the lead-in-water crisis was at its height.

Banks, bondholders driving the legal conflict over Flint’s water supply

By Sheila Brehm and Jerry White, 6 July 2017

Few Flint residents believe the claims of the governor and mayor that the 30-year deal to buy water from Detroit is motivated by concerns for the people of Flint. But what are the real issues behind the legal conflict with the City Council?

The human cost of capitalism: The Grenfell fire and the poisoning of Flint, Michigan

By Jerry White, 30 June 2017

In both London and Flint—and cities throughout the globe—modern-day capitalism is condemning the working class to impossible conditions and an early grave.

Flint residents again face home foreclosures if they do not pay for poisoned water

By Jerry White, 28 June 2017

The unelected financial review board decided Tuesday to overturn the one-year moratorium on imposing tax liens on residents who do not pay for the city’s lead poisoned water.

Flint, Michigan residents speak about London fire

By Sheila Brehm and Phyllis Steele, 28 June 2017

Residents in Flint, Michigan, said the Grenfell Tower fire, like the lead poisoning of their city, was the result of politicians subordinating the needs of the population to private profit.

Michigan health director named in latest round of charges over Flint water crisis

By Shannon Jones, 15 June 2017

The director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the highest ranking state official yet to be named in the ongoing official investigation, is facing manslaughter charges.

Theater professionals address the Flint water disaster

Public Enemy: Flint, an adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s classic play: A remarkable artistic event

By Joanne Laurier, 15 June 2017

A version of Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People (1882) was performed last week in the devastated city of Flint, Michigan, as a commentary on the city’s water crisis.

Interviews with actors in Public Enemy: Flint

By Joanne Laurier, 15 June 2017

Several members of the cast of a new adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People (1882), performed last week in Flint, Michigan, spoke to the WSWS.

Flint, Michigan home fire kills father and two children

By Carlos Delgado, 14 June 2017

A father in his 50s and two teenage children are the latest victims of fatal house fires in the economically ravaged city.

Democrats use Flint residents as props to push phony infrastructure plan

By Sheila Brehm, 10 June 2017

A number of protest groups are promoting an infrastructure program advanced by Congressional Democrats to divert growing anger over the lack of resolution to the water crisis.

State official resigns after using racial slur, expressing contempt for Flint and Detroit workers

By Shannon Jones, 8 June 2017

In the audio recording, Stair rants at length against working class residents of Flint, black and white, whom he calls “f**kin’ deadbeats.”

Lead-tainted drinking water found throughout San Diego schools

By Jake Dean, 7 June 2017

A majority of schools examined so far have tested positive for elevated levels of lead in drinking water.

Poisoned Water: “NOVA” science series broadcasts segment on Flint water crisis

By James Brewer, 3 June 2017

The Public Broadcasting Service presented an engaging and informative documentary on the science behind the Flint water crisis.

Almost 10,000 Detroit households face water shutoff

By James Brewer, 1 June 2017

Some 400 households had their water service disconnected in the one-week period following the city’s resumption of water shutoffs earlier this spring.

“We’re being punished for not being able to pay the city for the poison”

Flint residents speak out on water crisis

By Jerry White, 19 May 2017

With popular anger reaching a boiling point, city officials passed a temporary moratorium of foreclosure threats against residents not paying for the poisoned water.

Flint workers denounce foreclosure threat over water bills

By Jerry White, 18 May 2017

Angry workers on Wednesday confronted the Flint City Council, which voted to temporarily halt plans to put tax liens on homes with unpaid water bills.

Water bill deadline looms for 8,000 Flint households

By James Brewer, 17 May 2017

Despite the fact that the water is still not safe to drink three years after the city began pumping foul, improperly treated water from the Flint River into homes, authorities are forcing residents to pay up or face eviction.

Waste plant polluting southwest Detroit neighborhoods

By Kathleen Martin, 15 May 2017

The new biosolids waste facility has violated one-hour EPA sulfur dioxide emission standards over 2,500 times in the last year.

Detroit water shutoff crisis intensifies under bill repayment scheme

By Kathleen Martin, 10 May 2017

One in six residential units in the city of Detroit are facing immediate shutoffs while national projections estimate that one third of the US will not be able to pay their water bills by 2020.

Three years after the lead poisoning of Flint, residents face water shutoffs, home foreclosures

By Jerry White, 10 May 2017

Three years after the decision to switch Flint’s water supply to the polluted Flint River, nothing has been done to address the catastrophic health consequences of the lead poisoning of tens of thousands of working-class residents.

“After compromising our health, they want to kick us out of our homes”

8,000 Flint residents face foreclosure for failing to pay for poisoned water

By Jerry White, 5 May 2017

Letters sent out by the city said outstanding bills would have to be paid by May 19 or tax liens would be put on homes that could result in residents losing them next year.

“The politicians in Flint, Lansing and Washington—they’re all for capitalism”

Retired GM worker speaks on three years of the Flint water crisis

By Lawrence Porter, 27 April 2017

A retired autoworker reflects on three years of the Flint water crisis.

“People were being arrested for nothing”

Flint residents denounce arrests at town hall meeting

By our reporters, 26 April 2017

Six Flint residents were arrested for exercising their freedom of speech at last week’s public “Town Hall” meeting.

“What they did to this city is criminal”

Flint residents march on third anniversary of lead poisoning

By Larry Porter, 26 April 2017

Hundreds of Flint residents marched to City Hall Tuesday to protest the failure of federal, state and local officials to address the disaster they all had a hand in creating.

Police provocation at Flint Town Hall results in six arrests

By James Brewer, 22 April 2017

The meeting, called as a follow-up to Flint Mayor Karen Weaver’s announcement on the future of the city’s water system, was held at a church with heavy police presence.

Flint mayor proposes to stay with Detroit water

By James Brewer, 20 April 2017

In a surprising reversal, Mayor Karen Weaver declared it “too risky” to switch Flint’s water source for the third time.

$87 million Flint water line settlement announced

By James Brewer, 31 March 2017

While the news media is reporting the settlement in glowing terms, citing many who declare it to be a “victory for Flint,” many residents view the deal as too little too late.

Flint, Michigan begins water shutoffs

By James Brewer, 25 March 2017

:Residents suspect that the announcement that lead levels have improved is now being used by authorities to sweep the water crisis under the carpet.

As officials end subsidies and resume water cutoffs

Michigan blames Flint water crisis on racism: Part two

By James Brewer, 4 March 2017

A 138-page report on the Flint water crisis delivered on February 7 covers up the class issues in the poisoning of the city.

As officials end subsidies and resume water cutoffs

Michigan blames Flint water crisis on racism: Part one

By James Brewer, 3 March 2017

A 138-page report on the Flint water crisis delivered on February 7 covers up the class issues in the poisoning of the city.