"We would have to examine the municipal government's relationship to the system as a whole - is it autonomous, or just doing the bidding of the greater system as a whole?"
I believe our view of the system is reversed, I sense that your view of the system is top-down, while my view of the system is from the bottom-up. A municipal authority is as autonomous as it wants to be, given the fact that its the citizens of the community who are its members and whose votes grant access to the club. Civilization from the ground up.
This is the very complaint I have with the African-American community; how many African-American owned business were driven into the ground after desegregation? Businesses that served the segregated communities and had a stake in the welfare of the community. So in a sense affluent African-Americans have a legitimate gripe with their underclass. Once they, (the underclass) were granted access to the non-African-American economy they quickly abandoned their own communities, so why should succeeding generations of the black bourgeois class risk further ruin.
But therein lies the rub, without a reconciliation both are doomed, the underclass needs Black capital and the upper class needs the security, trust and respect that can only be achieved through community.
Check out the Brits' and French' response to the same trials facing the US.
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