An Open Letter from Ken Cockrel


Fifth Estate # 287, October 28, 1977

I want to thank the Fifth Estate for permitting me to purchase this ad in order to put forth a position they oppose. It’s not that I don’t agree with them that politics is the process of  rulers and ruled and that the act of voting is an act of self-humiliation (the willing participation in one’s own domination), but I think there is a need for realism at some point. I too was once a revolutionary and had thoughts similar to yours about overthrowing capitalism, and I even dressed like many of you. But I’ve had to make some compromises in my life and I think the least you can do is make some yourselves in return for an ex-radical in city government.

I once belonged to a group called the League of Revolutionary Black Workers which correctly saw the UAW as a central enemy of the aspirations of Black people. Now, in order to be elected, and to try to get the powerful UAW endorsement I’ve had to pose for pictures like the one on this page with a photo of the late Walter Ruether behind me (Remember when we used to chant, “UAW means Ugly Ass Walter”?). Well, that’s humiliating. C’mon, if I can do it, so can you.

I’ve even got a nice bunch of socialists (for window dressing) in a group called NUM doing a lot of my busy work and I’m even going to let them write my program—after I’m elected. C’mon, if they can do it so can you.

If we all participate in acts of self-humiliation, it’s just the same as if we were all still rebels. C’mon, it won’t hurt!



DETROIT workers will do more for COCKREL