Detroit Seen

by

Fifth Estate # 280, February 1977

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The Fifth Estate Benefit Party held Jan. 14 turned out to be one of the most enjoyable to date, with folks guzzling down six kegs of beer and dancing their asses off to the Shadowfax band. Special thanks are due to all the people who helped out including Mark Wenson for printing our leaflets; Carman Harlan of WWWW, Jack Broderick of WJZZ, Mike McCoy, Phil Marcus Esser and Judy Adams of WDET, and other stations and newspapers which helped publicize the event. A last minute bureaucratic hassle with the state liquor commission which threatened to stop the party was averted thanks to staff members of the Lansing Star (Box 24, Lansing, Mi. 48824) who made a special trip which saved the day—thanks folks. Still in all, this could possibly be the last benefit due to our staggering overhead—this time $455—for beer, band, rent and five smaller items—against door receipts of $608, which produced only a total income of $153. This is almost enough to print one issue but we were hoping for at least twice that. Any suggestions? And if we do have another benefit, will any readers give us a hand on setting it up?…

The FE financial situation has improved greatly due to the generosity of readers and the willingness of some to become sustainers. We recently received a $100 contribution from a reader in California and a group in the same state sent $50 (see letters). Smaller one-time donations help and our list of monthly pledges has been growing. Many thanks. Sustainers donate a sum each month and in return usually get a book (this month Letters of Insurgents just published by Black & Red and the knowledge that they are helping to keep the FE afloat…

After a period of a couple of months where Ammunition Books has only been open at random hours, we are establishing a regular schedule again. Hours will be Monday and Tuesday afternoon 1 to 5 pm and Wednesday evening from 7 to 10 pm. We’re hoping that the tine of night we will be open will include the opportunity for people to come down and discuss libertarian ideas and share a cup of coffee or tea. Hope to see you there…

After a year of silk-screening hundreds of Eat the Rich and Fuck Authority t-shirts, we have decided to give it up, mainly because it has just become drudgery to us. We still have both screens available and anyone who wants to invest a small amount of money for ink and t-shirts (old ones will do) is more than welcome to take up the squeegee and run off a few. Give us a call at the FE office if you’re interested. One note: the process is somewhat messy so that it really makes little sense to do less than five at a crack, so get some friends and have a silk-screening party…

Police State Rock and Roll: Tickets for the Bob Seeger 4-night concert at Cobo Hall have printed on the front, “Admission conditioned upon consent to be searched”—and that’s after you paid $7.50 to get in….

A report from an anonymous Wayne State University medical student, who said she was afraid that if her name was known she would suffer academic reprisals, has reported that the school intends to slaughter 140 dogs for “instructional purposes.” Although several med students say that the killings are unnecessary, the WSU medical faculty insists that they are, if students are to “work on a human being.” An FE alternative: since dogs are generally loving and gentle creatures while doctors and professors are generally dangerous, repressive and heartless ones, why not have an annual lottery among the medical school staff to select several of their number as substitutes for the dogs…

Total Waste of Time Dept.: The state vote totals for minority candidates and parties in last November’s presidential election have finally been compiled and show graphically that a ballot cast for them was even more of a wasted effort than a vote for the major capitalist parties. A case in point is the Socialist Workers Party which ran a slick (spending thousands of dollars and getting lots of liberal endorsements) and slimy (backing away from even their traditional Marxist-Leninist positions) campaign. Even with all the hoopla of a traditional electoral campaign the SWP was able only to garner 1,804 votes in Michigan out of several million cast, actually gathering less than their pathetic total four years ago. Faring even worse among the also-rans was the decrepit Socialist Labor Party, with 1,148 in the state; and the U.S. Labor Party with 1,366. Doing better, but certainly not well were the independent candidacies of Eugene McCarthy, 47,905 and the Libertarian Party, 5,407. Locally, the sleazy candidacy of General Baker of the Communist Labor Party for the 9th District State House of Representatives seat picked up 1,526 votes of the 19,650 cast after a highly-financed campaign that appeared indistinguishable in most aspects from his Democratic opponent (Baker called for opposition to drugs, prostitution and crime). The main effect of the CLP campaign appears to have been an ecological assault on his district which left every wall, tree and abandoned building plastered with their horrid campaign posters. It should be added that almost all of the parties have charged vote fraud, but if you choose to play the game, you gotta operate by the rules of those that run it—too bad…

Detroit folk who missed the gang fever this past summer (anyone?) will get another shot of media blitz if only some Erroll Flynns will sign up. The Detroit Freep has been keeping the spectacle alive by detailing plans for a new production, “Who Is Erroll Flynn?”, a 20th century Detroit morality play engineered by a couple of local entrepreneurs, Keith Harvey and Lawrence Eliot. Harvey is supposedly a gang-member/liaison for the Flynns and that other major Detroit gang, the police. Eliot is a long-time Wayne State politico, familiar to some as the flamboyant former president of Wayne’s Association of Black Students. Since then he’s moved on to minor appointments in the local government gravy-train. The producers hope to show the gangs transforming themselves into responsible community groups; deciding, for instance, that raping a female high school student is bad for their image, but casting is going slow. Only 14 of an expected 200 hopefuls turned up for early auditions…

Working (or not working) people in Detroit are determined to grab a slice of the RenCen pie,-judging by the angry crowds lining up for service jobs at the Plaza Hotel. News of openings for four guides, receptionists and janitors brought a few hundred people downtown despite the nasty weather. The crowds began shouting, Rushing etc. when applications were withheld, creating a minor riot until the managers capitulated and gave everyone a form. What’s being sold as faith in Detroit’s future looks more like desperation when you’re standing in employment lines, especially when your unemployment’s about to run out…

The Detroit Institute of Arts opened its 7th film series this month with a special goodie scheduled for February 18. “Idi Amin Dada,” an excellent documentary about the bizarre Ugandan dictator, will finally make it to Detroit, although released in New York last September. If you read reviews, the New York opening brought unreserved praise from film critics who were surprised by the cooperation of Amin, which makes the film uniquely eye-opening. Apparently Amin’s ego couldn’t resist the opportunity to be a star, although he offers himself all the time. Dada told the straight press recently he’d be pleased to be king of Scotland or the US, if only the people would ask…

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