Looting Detroit: The Film Series

Detroit is a really a small town that has been under attack by the far right, like Central Falls, Rhode Island and Puerto Rico. The story in the film series is told by Detroit’s best and brightest. They are lionhearted fighters who are silenced, jailed, made invisible or openly attacked in the mainstream media if they hit a nerve of the greedy pigs who run the town and feast on tax money. The greedy pigs run Detroit using all kinds of tricks which you will see in the film. Every night of the week you can go to a community meeting planning a protest somewhere, while buildings burn down ceaselessly without investigation and children live in relentless poverty.

Detroit has been maligned in  media. For those who have not lived in a Detroit neighborhood or had friends who were Detroiters, we ask you to erase everything you have heard from the racist media in Detroit, which then spreads nationally.

Detroit is the kind of place where a film series like this could be made on virtually no budget – just from a strong social network of activists and community folks. Outside Detroit, a place with few resources, support came from Jan BenDor to make the film and funding from National Nurses United.

We suggest you begin with the introduction, then continue the series in order. All the films are listed in the menu.

It is meaty. We started the film series with the intention of making one short film, but Detroit’s recent history has been so woefully ignored and twisted – and the interviewees were so brilliant we couldn’t condense it. It’s more Guns, Germs and Steel than it is a commercial. Detroit deserves this. The Motor City is an incredible mix of grit, strength and love. We hope that you get some truth about 600,000 people who are lied about daily in the news. If you see any of these things happening in your city, we hope you will follow the instructions in a chant that seeps out of well marched sidewalks in every part of town: “When democracy is under attack, what do we do? STAND UP AND FIGHT BACK.”

Looting Detroit: The Series was created by Jan BenDor and Jean Vortkamp. To contact Jan: jan at bendor.org To contact Jean: jeanvortkamp at yahoo.com


20% of the world’s fresh water is in the Great Lakes and Detroit has a water treatment plant worth billions that processes that water. Detroit, a majority African American city, has been under attack for decades to privatize this precious resource. This film shows who is trying to privatize it, how the bankruptcy was used to move it toward privatization, and how mass water shut offs and inflated water prices affect impoverished Detroiters.

Film length: 40 minutes

Resources about Detroit and Water



Detroit was not “saved” by bankruptcy. In a right wing takeover, it was looted by banks and billionaires who stripped Detroiters of their rights. This film exposes the truth about the Detroit bankruptcy and the people involved. Detroit citizens and pensioners were abandoned by the justice system and local & state government and left to fight on their own. Hear from the
citizens and pensioners of Detroit how billions were stolen from them.

Film length – 57 minutes





  • $732 million dollars was diverted from Detroit’s revenue sharing according to the Michigan Municipal League.
  • What is revenue sharing? “State revenue sharing is the process by which a portion of certain tax revenues imposed and collected by the State of Michigan are distributed to local units of government, including municipalities, as provided by State law. Currently, the State shares a portion of sales tax revenue with local governments.” (EXHIBIT 3 CITY OF DETROIT MAJOR REVENUES FOR FISCAL YEAR 2007-2008 THROUGH FISCAL YEAR 2012-2013)


  • Detroit’s citizens are taxed more highly than in any other city of 50,000 or more in the state.
  • Detroit taxes people who work here but do not live here, but often does not collect those taxes.
  •  Here is an article about how big corporations may owe taxes. Surprise that when they were interviewed they said no. LOL. Of course.
  • The city took a $68 million loss in revenue sharing from 2010-2011 to 2011-2012.
  • Why should there be revenue sharing? Here is an interesting perspective from the Roosevelt Institute.