Detroit Seen

by

Fifth Estate # 279, December, 1976

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Many thanks to those who continue to send donations both through our Sustainer’s fund (which is growing) and one-time donations. It’s been financially difficult trying to make it through three months without holding a benefit, and it’s the individual responses of so many subscribers that keeps us in the game. We’re going to have another rip-roarer in January (see details later on in the paper) so you can get ready to boogie…

Final notice: If you received a notice about six weeks ago saying your subscription was about to expire, and you haven’t renewed, this will be the last paper we’ll send you without a sign that you’re interested in receiving more. Hate to lose anybody, but…

The hideous, calculated, scheduled state murder of Utah’s Gary Gilmore has brought out some odd reactions from a public titillated by the thought of a public execution. The WSU South End newspaper featured a full-page article on student reaction to Gilmore’s psychotic request for his own death under the headline, “Should Gary Gilmore Be Allowed To Die?”, turning the question into one of mercy killing rather than confronting the whole issue of the “right” of a political state to put men behind a duck blind with hunting rifles and shoot another man in the name of “justice.” Naturally, the students voted to allow Gilmore his wish….

Reports and rumors of crowded jails, barely touch the surface. The First Precinct jail—alias the Hotel Beaubien—is now used to house the overflow from the Wayne County Jail, which is right across the street. The bullpens are used to house 20 to 30 persons and the scene truly resembles a stockyard, where specimens are packed with regard only to how many carcasses can be stored with the minimal rot. There are daily skirmishes between rivaling bureaucrats within the city-county-state over who will house the lot of them; with stories of Wayne sheriff’s deputies storming the gates of Jackson prison in their buses demanding that prisoners be taken off their hands. Quite often the buses were turned back and many prisoners remain for hopeless weeks and months crowded in county and precinct jails with no exercise, fresh air or entertainment. If such treatment could rehabilitate anyone, it would only imaginably succeed in straightening out the judges, prosecutors, legislators, etc., who should be required to spend time in such places… To heed Blake’s saying, “Prisons are made with the bricks of Law; brothels are made with the bricks of Religion…

By the way, many of the young gang members in jail now who think it’s a real joke will be stunned eventually with the actual realization of their fate, although it may take months or years for them to actually sense it. Ironically, many of these young people will surround themselves in law-books for days at a time, seeking loopholes or technicalities that they might apply to their case in the remote possibility that such could lead them out. Probably the best legal minds in the country live on the inside…

It takes about 90 days at least to get your first welfare check after applying, and then you might receive $40 per week…

The State legislature recently voted themselves a fat 30% raise in salary. You would think they would have the dignity of at least rigging a “public referendum” to “approve” such a raise. But in times like these many make no pretense of washing the hands as they dip into the public rectum…

Speaking of hard times, the Detroit Alternative School is having some. There’s talk among some workers of the school closing. Besides continuous financial difficulty, there’s an immeasurable loss of people who have to leave for various reasons (you can almost bet they’re financially related too) and the school needs support now more than ever before. If you are interested in learning about and helping them with their ideas for an educational experience, contact the Detroit Alternative School on Harper near Woodward. They also sponsor an excellent film program, at the Unitarian Church on Cass and Forest, on Friday and Saturday nights. You can help support this and their school by attending the films—get a schedule there—which are shown at 7:30 and 10:00 p.m….

How ironic it has become lately for a bunch of working class people to be out watching millionaires play games, and pay for it. Sports are exciting as tribute to the wonder of the human body and one of the few expressions of play and spontaneity allowed in our culture. Surely our stadiums will fascinate our descendants in the future and will remain far longer than any bank or factory though it’s funny how all three correlate in a hideously surreal fashion

Suburban Clinton Township has decided to emulate the police state tactics of the Motor City by introducing a ridiculous ten o’clock curfew for young people under 17. Besides giving the state even more power to regulate the activity of individuals, it also directly increases the power of the police by giving them even more sanction to do random ID checks on “suspicious persons.” Never was there a period so ripe for supporting “lawbreakers.”…

It’s Good In America Department: Detroit Police have reported finding five men in different locations within five days all frozen to death during the sub-zero December cold snap. Four were found outside-(no one knows how many homeless there are in Detroit) but the fifth was discovered dead in his unheated apartment. Compare this poverty to the holiday festivities and expensive gifts available to the affluent—nice town!…

By the way, the Japanese characters on page 15 of last issue condemned Emperor Hirohito on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of his ascension to the throne of Japan. We have quite a few stickers protesting the government sponsored celebration of the event, which were sent to us by a group of libertarians in that country. If you can use any of them, drop us a note and some postage and we’ll send ’em out.

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