Detroit Seen


Fifth Estate # 290, March 2, 1978

Several people have asked us if the back page of last issue’s FE [#289, January 24, 1978] depicting the “thoughts” of Kim Il Sung was real or just another put-on. Well, we wish that it was something we had thought up, but unfortunately those tragic State comedians in North Korea beat us to the punch. Everything on the back page was taken from official North Korean propaganda publications—everything except, of course, the segment by the Italian fascist Mario Palmieri—or was it the other way around; it’s hard to tell. Also, we’d like to thank the members of the IWW group in Hawaii for sending us the info for the North Korean movie “The Engineers” which also appeared on the back page…

It seems that some of the workers at the Ford Wixom auto plant feel the same way about their foreman as William Cole did about his before he shot him. We heard that one worker who enjoyed the article about Cole and the poster that went with it in last month’s FE, [#289, January 24, 1978] passed it around on the afternoon shift to the delight of everyone there except the management….

Last month in his syndicated column, Jack Anderson wrote of “right-wing fanatics” who are worrying the FBI. The “fanatics” it turns out were none other than the U.S. Labor Party (the NCLC). For many years now lots of people have been wasting their time arguing over whether or not the NCLC are left, right, fascists, CIA or FBI agents or just a front for the Rockefeller interests. It doesn’t matter much since a thug’s a thug, but a recent Detroit Labor Party poster reading “Conservatives and NCLC agree: We need nuclear power. Labor must unite for support of nuclear power!”. Add that to the fact that NCLC/Labor Party is also distributing copies of a pamphlet entitled “The Plot to Destroy the Teamsters” which supports the Teamsters’ corrupt bureaucracy should answer the question for anybody still asking….

Bank Robbery Dept.: Many of us have had the misfortune of messing up our checking account, bouncing a check or two and then having the added misery of being charged $4-$6 by the bank for our error. A friend of the Fifth Estate met with a similar fate a few weeks ago, but had heard about a recent law suit against the Bank of California wherein the plaintiffs charged that the bank was not merely assessing just the cost of processing the overdrawn check (which came to only 80 cents), but was actually making an immense profit of $128 million a year on penalties charged for bounced checks. In other words, banks make a fortune on our overdrawn checks. Our friend, armed with this information, demanded back all of his money over the actual 80 cent cost to the bank, and made vague threats about a local law suit. Lo and behold, he was informed by the branch manager that all of the money assessed in penalties was being restored to his account….

Two months ago the workers who mail out this newspaper went on strike against their employers, American Mailers, over long standing grievances. Not wanting to cross the picket line, we’ve been labeling, bundling and mailing the paper ourselves. We’d like to thank the striking workers at American—without their helpful hints, the job would have been twice as hard….

It seems that a few State and Federal prisons around the country find the ole FE a trifle too incendiary. The Fifth Estate has been refused to prisoners by authorities in Arizona, Florida and Washington state, but some of the inmates at Walla Walla State Prison in Washington have filed suit against their jailers in an attempt to get the paper over the walls. Right now things are in the beginning stages, but the prisoners have written us that they and their attorneys are willing to take it to court if need be. We’ll keep you informed as the matter progresses…

For those of us who choose not to be swallowed up in the Motor City’s vast vacuum of car-ophilia, but instead get around on the not-so-frequent buses, we now can witness the cops’ latest move to cut bus crimes, which doesn’t happen to be the fare. Large ads in the bus interiors proclaim “Bluebird Is Watching” and show a large bird-like figure wrapping its wings around a bus, its pointed beak sticking out beneath a cop’s hat with a shiny badge. If a mere glance is not enough of a threat, bold type informs you that “For Your Protection—Plain Clothed Police Officers Are Now Riding Your Buses.” While riding home from work recently a friend of the FE noticed a young man light up a joint and inhale its offerings. Another passenger reached over in what appeared to be an appeal for a hit, but what turned out to be the flashing of a police badge. The startled “offender” complained saying, “Come on, it’s all I had,” but was soon escorted off the bus to be frisked by one officer while a second called in for a squad car….

There’s a bunch of billboards left around the city from the municipal elections praising the actions of our beloved Mayor Coleman Egg-foo-Young. The signs, which read: “$800 million from Washington: Mayor Young brings home the bacon!”, refer to the Federal money Detroit was “given” because of the city’s high unemployment. The funds are being used to build an athletic stadium, underground shopping centers, a covered mall for small shop owners on Woodward Ave., and high-rise apartments to lure back the suburban rich. We’re not interested in urban reform (we’ll leave that to the liberals), but it is interesting to see the massive sums being spent rebuilding the business community while destroying houses and apartment buildings—a city of commodities; not people….

If you received notification a while back that your subscription was about to expire, this will be the last issue you will receive unless you have recently renewed your sub. We always hate to cut anyone off of our list, but we have to assume that if you don’t respond, you are no longer interested in our publication.