Detroit Seen

by

Fifth Estate # 282, April-May, 1977

Share this on... Facebooktwitterlinkedinmail

Good news on the financial front: the Fifth Estate is still cruising on the generosity of our growing list of sustainers and those making one-time contributions. Also, a thank you to all of those subscribers who have been renewing over the past few months. One note though: if you received a letter last month stating that your subscription has expired, this will be the last issue you receive unless we hear from you. (Hate to lose anyone, but…)

Opening day at Detroit’s Renaissance Center was enough to give you a peek at what the rulers have planned for us. Once you pass through the closely guarded entrances to the neo-Mussolini-style complex, you operate completely on the terms they have created for you: cops predominate—uniformed, private, plainclothed, undercover—and beneath the bullshit hype about what a nice place it is comes: “Sorry, you aren’t allowed here,” “Move the bicycles or they will be moved”, “No admittance in jeans” and so on. The structure is a hideous example of architecture designed to make you feel insignificant, complete with a huge circular hotel lobby ringing the main building which always gives you the feeling of not being exactly sure where you are. Hopefully, it will soon all be picturesque ruins…

John Noud, principal of Hazel Pork (as a letter-writer referred to it) High School recently sent a memo to the faculty and student body of the school. Noud stated in the bulletin that he had occasion to assault a student who disagreed with him and wanted to set down a few “rules” for everyone. He stated that “there is considerable violence in our society. We need to work together at keeping violence out of this school”. As far as we could tell the only violence in question was when some one dared to question the warden’s authority. His rules include things like: “When an adult employee of this school tells you to do something, you do it immediately! And the punishment promised is “I will deal with you hard—VERY HARD.” It’s come to our attention that this petty tyrant can expect all sorts of resistance to his attempts to de-humanize students…

On Sunday, May 1st (May Day), the Safe Energy Coalition, a Detroit based group will be showing two movies on how people have stopped the construction of nuclear power plants in their communities. To be shown at 2:00 pm in the Ballroom of the Student Center Building on the Wayne State University campus, “Lovejoy’s Nuclear War” and “Nuclear Reaction at Wyhl” show what can be done by one person (Lovejoy) or the combined efforts of 26,000 people in Wyhl, W. Germany. For further information call 577-3480 or write: Safe Energy Coalition, P.O. Box 1074, Detroit, Michigan 48231…

A lot of police stool-pigeons must be quaking in their beds now that attorneys in the suit against the State Police red squad have filed a motion asking that the names of informers be released to those they spied upon. The plaintiffs, including this newspaper, want to know how the cops obtained such things as our subscription list for 1971 and membership rosters for anti-war and radical groups. Since the legal precedent for release of informer’s names has already been established in a similar case in Chicago, it may be only a matter of time before it is learned who were the people posing as friends and comrades while in fact being in the employ of the State. We would like to urge that any ex-or current informer take this opportunity to contact the attorneys in the suit or any of the plaintiffs (such as the Fifth Estate) and let us know what your role was, who you reported to, the methods used, etc. Any such response would be held in the strictest confidence and would be taken as a sign that you are no longer cooperating with the police…

So It Shouldn’t Be A Total Loss Department: Although’ executive kidnappings haven’t yet reached epidemic proportions in the Detroit area, local corporations are becoming nervous enough to send their representatives to a recent seminar entitled “workshop on International Security” held in Los Angeles. One of the speakers, Lee Kirkwood, a retired cop now with Universal Security Consultants, Inc., stressed that corporation executives can be “security poor as well as insurance poor,” adding the usual business lingo saying that “security should be cost-effective”. These security consultants will apparently, for a fee, train executives to “elude terrorists by methods which include getting through roadblocks and having plans for escape by driving different cars on different routes daily.” Further in keeping with capitalism’s ingenuity and ability to turn even the disintegration of society into a money-making venture, the Detroit Legal News now carries a daily ad for Counter Surveillance Consultants. These people promise the ability to detect “illegal wiretaps, or hidden bugs anywhere in your rooms or phone equipment.” Seems as if the collapse of our “free society” has merely brought new business ventures to town…

Also reported in the Detroit Legal News (a sometimes interesting-newspaper, if you can manage to get past the pictures of smiling judges, smiling lawyers, smiling politicians) was the fact that “Building Here Hits Over $700 million.” Though most folks might assume this boom will mean new housing or hospitals or entertainment centers, the article reported the following building expenditures: a 3-story parking garage by Mich. Bell (cost $2 million); a 9-level parking garage by American Natural Gas Co. (cost $6.5 million); a 1500-car parking garage by the city—just what downtown needs—(cost $6 million); and additions to distribution facilities at Stroh Brewery (cost $3.4 million). But just so you won’t get too upset, they are putting a new Nature Center on Belle Isle (cost $1 million). It ain’t for nothing they call this the “motor city.”…

Just in case you haven’t already realized that the Communist Party is just another political group, and certainly no threat to capitalism, the April 10 Free Press Detroit Magazine ran a 3-page article about Billy Allan who is the Detroit Bureau of the Daily World (the U.S. Communist Party’s national newspaper). Allan, who is 70 years old and has been writing for the CP for 40 years, is reported to be a “model senior citizen” who “doesn’t take himself too seriously.” Though the article says that Allan is proud to be a Communist, maybe no one else takes him too seriously either since he is reported to be good friends with such local political hacks as Mayor Coleman Young and Councilwoman Maryann Mahaffey, and knows personally every union bureaucrat in the state. Billy, who is one of the few reporters still alive who actually covered the Flint sit-down strike in 1936, was the only veteran labor reporter GM didn’t invite to their big banquet last November commemorating the 40th anniversary of their pact with the UAW. Apparently reporters from all the other newspapers in town raised such a fuss, however, that GM finally did send Billy a last minute invitation to the banquet. But, much to Billy’s credit, he thumbed his nose and refused. One interesting note mentioned in this article concerned Billy’s being tried and convicted in Detroit in 1953-54 of violating the Smith Act by advocating the violent-overthrow of the government. The article mentions that the fabulously liberal and much-bemoaned Senator Philip Hart was a district attorney at the time of Billy’s trial and unsuccessfully attempted to raise Allan’s bail to keep him behind bars. The Free Press may think Billy Allan is “Detroit’s Beloved Revolutionary,” but their affection for him is based solely on the fact that he calls himself a communist only through a grave misunderstanding of the term…

Share this on... Facebooktwitterlinkedinmail