Detroit Seen


Fifth Estate # 286, September, 1977

This issue of the Fifth Estate is only twelve pages due to both staff and financial problems. Several members of our collective are traveling and all others but one are working full-time. This leaves the paper to just a few of us working mainly at night after our jobs. Not being very good businesspeople, we have never been able to figure out why we are in flush times at one period and at the brink of going under at another, but we have reached a point not real far from the latter. In that we have a fairly low budget, this means we are only talking about $350 a month, but still it is enough to get our creditors knocking at the door. Finances haven’t quite reached the point they did a year ago when we had to send out an emergency mailing asking for funds, but that is a real possibility if the picture does not improve soon. We have just sent out 150 renewal forms to those people whose subscriptions are about to expire. We urge those of you receiving them to return them as soon as possible as the money from those renewals would put us back in shape. Book orders, new subscriptions, donations and our ever-faithful sustainers’ fund will keep periods like this from re-occurring. Also, look for an FE benefit in the near future….

It may be unfair for us to attempt to distinguish between the opportunism of the different politicians running for office in Detroit’s local elections but attorney Ken Cockrel sure manages a stand-out attempt. When Cockrel was in his radical period (following his defeat as a Democratic Party candidate) and a member of the authoritarian Central Committee of the League of Revolutionary Black Workers, never did an enemy of the proletariat loom larger than that of Walter P. Reuther (“U.A.W. means Ugly Ass Walter” was a League chant at demonstrations). And this was not a charge without foundation. However, now that slick-talking Ken is looking for votes anywhere he can find them, he has been passing out leaflets showing himself at a podium flanked by a large photograph of the late Reuther. Now this could have been overlooked by Cockrel’s campaign, but we doubt it. In that it was probably purposeful, do Ken and his socialist supporters think that the League’s denunciation of Reuther was mistaken, or will they admit that this is just a sleazy attempt by a sleazy candidate to cash in on the phony image of Reuther as a great labor leader?…

No Big Surprise Department: Although Detroit Mayor Coleman Young maintains a high degree of popularity with many segments of the black community, his real talent lies as the front-man for the city’s white, Republican ruling elite as witnessed by his recent re-election campaign disclosures. Leading the list of contributors to his war chest are people like Henry Ford II, Max Fisher (a major fund-raiser for Nixon) and wealthy suburban contractors. Young and his pals get the political pork barrel in exchange for keeping things neat and orderly so Hank-the-Deuce and friends can continue milking the city—nice arrangement…

Realizing that nothing may be as surreal as daily life in the Motor City, the Bureau of Surrealist Research is getting set to publish “Asleep,” Detroit’s first (or at least the only since the old Detroit Times ceased publication) surrealist magazine. They are now accepting artwork and manuscripts and say it will appear as soon as they receive enough to fill it up. Send your stuff to Ridgeway Press, Box 120, Roseville (plenty surreal), Mich. 48066.