Rebecca L. Rutt and Jevgeniy Bluwstein, of the University of Copenhagen and Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona’s Institute of Environmental Science and Technology (ICTA) wrote a paper called “Quests for Justice and Mechanisms of Suppression in Flint, Michigan” using our Community Research Collective’s graphic entitled “Race and Municipal Emergency Management in Michigan”:
There is widespread acknowledgment of the crisis nature and injustices around water quality and access in
Flint since mid-2014. This crisis led to different forms of grassroots activism demanding political accountability,
transparency, and redress. However, residents’ experiences and their needs and demands in response to
the crisis have been largely ignored. This article explores the mechanisms of suppression at work in obscuring
these needs and demands. Specifically, it sheds light on the role of the public sector, the media, and the
academic institutions in reproducing these mechanisms of suppression. The article situates the struggles over
political accountability within the neoliberalization of public administration and government through emergency
management. Capital accumulation can continue and intensifies, whereas emergency management
further contributes to suppressing public dissent in the times of crisis via the erosion of political accountability.
By illuminating institutionalized mechanisms of suppression of residents’ needs and demands, we argue that
the Flint water crisis should also be seen as a crisis of government, journalism, and academia.
Keywords: environmental justice, neoliberalism, depoliticization, emergency management, resistance, Flint