Detroit Seen

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Fifth Estate # 284, July, 1977

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The August mayoral and Common Council elections in Detroit are worth no more than a casual brickbat if for no other reason then their irrelevance. Unlike many other cities, where political machines were powers to be reckoned with, in the Motor City the politicians occupy a position not even a distant second to the city’s real rulers—the auto companies. Barely rating even a few copy inches in the mass media, the usual collection of opportunists, careerists, and thieves are waiting to feed at the public trough. Perhaps even more despicable is the same gaggle of socialists, ex-militants, and other leftoids vying for a shot at a small piece of power in the state apparatus. In elections like these, participation is even more of a humiliation than normally—don’t vote or if you do have a voter’s card—piss in the voting booth…

A long-term study of patients at Northville State Hospital outside of Detroit has found that people suffering from psychosis are more apt to vote for Republicans than Democrats. Science News Magazine reports that the study showed that a survey of “chronic psychotics” at the hospital overwhelmingly supported Nixon over McGovern and confirmed an earlier study in 1964 where similar patients supported Goldwater heavily over Johnson. According to the researchers, the psychotics tend to be “dominated by authoritarian personality traits” and hence favor authoritarian candidates. But more in line with the view that all politicians are authoritarian, the psychotics were evenly divided in 1976 between Carter and Ford…

How many times have you started to go into a rock concert at a place like the Masonic Temple all set to have a good time and be brought down by being subjected to a frisking by a snarling rent-a-pig? It always seems to many of us that this was highly illegal under U.S. law, but a Federal court in Seattle has upheld the right of police to search people for drugs and alcohol, but only at rock concerts. No mention was made of sporting events or other types of music concerts…

One of the headlines on the June 22nd Free Press front page read: “Consumer Prices Rise for 5th Month.” The article stated that consumer prices have continued to rise on an average of 10% annual rate since the beginning of 1977, with some goods such as coffee jumping 10.3 percent in prices during May. The Carter administration called these figures “a significant decline” from the first four months this year, while the Republicans claimed the price report showed “galloping inflation again in the month of May.” While these politicians exchange euphemistic attempts to explain why da system (is dis a system?) don’t work, other folks seem to be doing something about it. Mark Beltaire’s column, in that same Free Press, said that “Major business-security research organizations say known cases of employee theft in the U.S. increased by 19% during 1976! Hardest hit were stores of all descriptions employing more than 10 persons, manufacturing plants in the apparel and record industries, service companies and entertainment centers, particularly drive-in theaters (?). Losses estimated at $24 billion annually have doubled in the last five years and account for more than the total amount stolen by all the nation’s armed robbers, burglars and car thieves.” Maybe when folks get in enough practice stealing their lives back piece by piece, they’ll be ready to take it ALL back…

Back by popular demand: we’ve received so many requests for Eat the Rich and Fuck Authority t-shirts that we have decided to run off another three dozen. They are available for $3.50, but if you are in the Detroit area we will be silk-screening them at the Fifth Estate office, 4403 Second, on Thursday, July 28, at 3:00 pm and at that time you can bring down your own garment and do ‘as many shirts as you want free of charge….

The Ann Arbor Sun, which tried so hard to be this city’s “hottest paper” by nuzzling up to Detroit cops and politicians, folded last October, but has now been hauled into court by four ex-employees who want the back wages they say they were cheated out of. The four said they expect at least 20 other ex-staffers to file similar complaints while the Wayne County Circuit Court has issued a warrant for the arrest of Barbara Weinberg, the Sun publisher, when she failed to appear in court to answer the charges. Shoulda stayed in Ann Arbor….

Although by now no one doubts that the U.S. Labor Party is anything but a flat-out group of reactionaries, it is still always amazing to see their latest lunacy. One of their head honchos, Peter Signorelli, was on TV debating a representative from Michigan NORML, a group that is supporting a mild reform of the state’s marijuana law. Signorelli outdid any law-and-order freak, claiming marijuana was part of a Rockefeller plot (what else?) to enslave American youth, and advocated penalties to be strengthened by terms of up to 20 years in prison….

The June 2nd Detroit Free Press carried an article entitled “House Joins in Call for Abortion Ban” which reported that the Michigan State House of Reps had voted to call a national constitutional convention to consider passing a ban against abortion. Ever since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that certain laws prohibiting abortion violate the U.S. Constitution, religious/moralist hypocrites have been foaming at the mouth in an attempt to write a new resolution which would counter the landmark decision and once again ban abortion. We say religious/moralist hypocrites because, though claiming they want to stop “the slaughter of the ‘unborn’ by the mothers and the doctors,” they are merely interested in punishing those who do not live by their rules. One of the sponsors of the new resolution to ban abortion, State Rep. Rosetta Ferguson (D-Detroit) said: “No woman has to become pregnant…Those who play must pay.” Apparently Rep. Ferguson isn’t interested in the lives of those mothers, just the ‘unborn’…

Since the repeal of the ordinance banning discrimination against homosexuals in Dade County, Florida, all the religious fanatics and quasi-fascists have come pouring out of the closets. On the 17th of June, Warren City Councilwoman Lillian Dannis successfully passed a resolution expressing “deepest gratitude and support” to Anita Bryant’s “brave and righteous campaign” in Florida. Perhaps the next resolution of thanks that Lillian and her cohorts will pass, will be to show the deepest gratitude and support to the thugs who beat to death a San Franciscan gay while shouting “Here’s one for Anita.”

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