Let Your Freak Flag Fly


Fifth Estate # 106, May 28-June 10, 1970

Repression is coming down heavy on the youth of America. Though millions in the U.S. smoke pot, it is the young who get busted for it by selectively enforced laws. Though millions in the U.S. are neurotic patriots, it is the young who get prosecuted for desecrating the flag. Due process of law, a constitutional right, is denied to those who most need legal protection because they are the ones that are repressed: under the law.

The young are shortly becoming initiated to the repression that blacks and third world people have experienced since the founding of the U.S. They are starting to see that the system is out to crush anyone that is not directly wired into it.

Under the law, cops have the right to stop you on the street and search you if they have grounds to suspect that you may be dangerous and about to commit a crime. As a matter of fact, they will stop and frisk you and then think up bullshit reasons later on in court.

The courts are demanding of the young a respect for the flag that stands for global oppression that puts away thousands daily for trying to remove just this symbol, and what it represents, from their own lands.

Desecrating the flag symbolizes the young people’s growing rebellion against a government, which at gunpoint, denies dissent.

The following incident is typical of the repression that is suffered by the young and this is merely the beginning.

Allen E. Barber, known to his friends as “Pig,” short for “Pig-pen,” was busted Tuesday the 19th by the real porkers for “casting contempt for the U.S. flag.” Barber was stopped on the corner of Hancock and Commonwealth and searched because it appeared to the pigs that he was carrying a revolver in his army jacket pocket. The pistol turned out to be a hair brush and an excuse for a police shake-down. The pigs found, stuffed well into the pocket, what appeared to be a joint and a strip of bunting from a crescent shaped patriotic symbol like many of us saw at the Democratic Convention in ’68. He was taken to the Vernor Station for violation of the State narcotics act. He was later transferred to Beabien to await the results of laboratory checks on the quality of the dope. He was held without an official charge and without bond until his trial on Thursday.

The grass proved to be insufficient evidence, so the court, in the person of Judge William J. Sutherland, pressed for the maximum sentence of 90 days in DeHoCo for allegedly dangling a flag out of the army jacket pocket.

“I believe in peaceful dissent,” states Sutherland, “but this Barber had never done anything to perpetuate or better our country. He has no right to do this until he proves worthy of living under our flag.”

Sol Plafkin, from the local ACLU office is representing Barber and has filed for an appeal. The bond has been set at $500 and according to Barber’s wife he should be out within the week.

Like many of the prisoners out at the Detroit house of “correction,” Barber was railroaded into jail. He was illegally held, he was denied bond, he was denied a telephone call and he was denied the presence of a lawyer. He was guilty before having any chance of being innocent. Because, according to the judge, one has to earn the right to be an American. What this means is that one has to earn the right to judicial protection.

The level of legal manipulation, repression, and the negation of dissent, will be measured by the number of campus disorders and youth led civil insurrections. America has turned the young into outlaws and we will conspire against this system that represses everyone. The American dream has vanished and a revolutionary youth has taken its place.