Detroit Seen


Fifth Estate # 343, Fall-Winter, 1993

Welcome to the Fall/Winter 1993 Fifth Estate. Our last edition, the Summer 1993 Special Issue on Dope, Queer Sex, and Anarchy generated more controversy and negative responses than any one since our Special Women’s issue published in 1970.

Some of the resistance to the Queer Anarchy section came from expected sources such as the State of Texas, Huntsville Prison Facility, which refused to allow the issue into its dungeon, stating that “it would encourage deviate criminal sexual behavior.”

Other objections were voiced (rarely written) from long-time friends and collaborators of the paper. One subscriber from Massachusetts phoned us in a rage, demanding we cancel his subscription as he screamed into the phone, “I’m straight; I’m straight.” Some raw nerves were obviously touched.

One of the few people to set down his objections on paper was FE contributing writer, Jack Straw. His exchange with two authors of the queer anarchy articles appears in our letters section [FE #343, Fall-Winter, 1993]. We urge the debate to continue as to what constitutes radical sexuality.

We wish we possessed an endless eloquence so we could find different words each issue to thank each of you for the contribution made in keeping this paper financially stable and intellectually vital. Let it suffice to say thank you to each sustainer, subscriber, reader and book buyer for creating the reason to continue publishing.

Also, this edition marks our 28th anniversary, having begun in the Fall of 1965 as an energetic project of a 17-year-old and his friends. The paper fluctuated between biweekly and weekly publication during the 60s and early ’70s as one of the many “underground” papers of the era before becoming an explicitly anti-authoritarian publication in 1975, and finally a quarterly by the early ’80s.

The paper continues now with the vision and spirit of anarchy as expressed in the theoretical longings of four generations of critics of the state and capitalism, and of the native peoples of the planet who lived that spirit and vision for eons before its interruption by Western civilization.

So, we go forward buoyed, not necessarily by the hope of the success of revolution in our lifetime, but with the sense of a continuity of liberatory ideas given to us from the previous generation and one we hope to pass on to the next. We want to make this a project of joy and celebration as much as one of struggle and reflection. We’re glad to be part of it and happy you’re along as well.

A special appreciation to Rob Los Ricos of Austin, Texas, who was visiting Detroit for a few weeks and worked on this issue adding invaluable editing, writing and computer assistance. He’s off to Portland, so, Vaya con diablo, companero.

Dept. of Commie Comix: The Cult of the Chairmans (the RCP—Chairman Bob, Chairman Mao, Chairman Gonzalo) has suffered a split in Detroit, and their bookstore, filled with apologies for mass murderers and authoritarian governments, has thankfully been closed down most of the Summer and Fall. There are four apparatchiks on one side, and four on the other, each arguing the other isn’t sufficiently maoist.

Being more maoist undoubtedly means denouncing all reports of the Peruvian Sendero Luminoso atrocities against native people as ” inventions of the bourgeois media” such as the reported massacre of Ashaninka people in 1989 or not believing that the imprisoned Chairman Gonzalo is trying to cut a deal with Peru’s president to end the Sendero guerrilla war in exchange for getting his ass out of jail. Ah, pity the poor militant.

After two and a half years of being an underground punk space and anarchist run community kitchen, 404 Willis participants decided recently to restructure the collective and try to be more of a community center and less of a punk space. There will still be music shows, but not as many.

Every Sunday, 12 to 3 PM, free vegetarian food is available as well as a funky selection of clothes for the taking. The group is seeking help to keep the space open on Saturdays, too. People power is a plus, not just for cooking and cleaning, but also to give 404 a new face-lift and starting new activities.

Help is also desperately needed for food, coffee, and anything else to help a vegetarian space stay afloat. In the past, money for food has come out of the participants’ pockets, contributing to burning out many people. Food or money can be donated by calling 832-6203 or 832-0114. They can do pickups or anyone can bring food to 404 W. Willis (corner of Cass) on Sunday between 12 and 3 PM.

Many participants of the 404 collective are also active in the Trumbull Theatre. This new space is a large classical theater sitting behind two large hundred year old houses at the corner of W. Willis and Trumbull. In September, the complex was purchased and is a housing co-op and theater, owned and operated by the folks living there. Similar to 404, it is never-for-profit.

Pissed Off Wimmin (an Anarcha-feminist theater group) is also active at this space and will be performing Female Parts by Franco Rame and Dario Fo and The Broading Sky by Sarah Dreher at the Attic Theatre December 20 and 21. Proceeds will benefit the Trumbull Theatre. For more information call 832-0114.