Detroit Seen

by

Fifth Estate # 291, April 30, 1978

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Last month the Detroit City Water Board was boasting to the news media that Detroit’s water was some of the cleanest in the country. By clean, City officials mean that the chances of there being any harmful (or non-harmful for that matter) bacteria in our drinking water is almost zero. But considering all of the chemicals added to the already polluted waters that surround Detroit, it’s not surprising. What is surprising though, is that we’re still alive! An example of the amount of chemicals the water board uses to clean up our drinking water can be found in the fact that people at the Detroit Print Co-op have found that the needed content p h for the fountain solution in their presses (the fountain solution is a mixture of water and chemicals that keeps ink off of the non-print areas of a printing plate), can be found in plain old Detroit tap water. Drink up…

Well, while other prisons around the country are attempting to keep the FE from getting inside their walls, we’ve become a bit of a hit with the brothers locked down at the federal prison in Milan, Michigan. Within the last month, we’ve received (and filled) no less than 24 subscription requests from the Milan facility. We hope that they’ll continue to get the paper and would like to thank all those FE subscribers on the “outside” who have sent us an extra buck so that we could send free subs to prisoners…

Well, it’s about that time of the year when all those cute little Camp Fire Girls start ringing doorbells to sell their cookies. With the different ranks of the Camp Fire Girls tagged with sweet names like Blue Birds, Discovery and Horizon, it may be difficult to believe that a lot of the Camp Fire ideals are much like those of Hitler’s Youth Corps, but they are. In a little leaflet that was handed out by some Blue Birds at a local shopping centre, there were listed the “high ideals” and “law” of these cuties, which just smacks of a fascistic mentality. Apart from all of the usual shit of “Worship God” and “Seek Beauty,” the laws also demand that the Camp Fire Girls “Glorify Work” and “Be Happy”—whew’

We’d Like to See Their Faces Department: Just imagine how many surprised folks there will be among the more than 38,000 people who will soon be notified that their names are indexed in the Michigan State Police file on alleged “subversives” which has been maintained since the Red Squad was formed in 1950. Though the Red Squad was ordered dismantled in 1975 after two Michigan Courts found its activities unconstitutional, attorneys for a group of Plaintiffs (who actually represent many others in this lawsuit) have been fighting for four years to force the State Police to release the names in their secret files. The next step for the State Attorney General’s office is to run all the names listed through the Secretary of State’s license computer to obtain the most current address for each person who will then be notified by first-class mail that their names are contained in the secret files. Though each individual will then supposedly be able to examine their file if they wish, Attorney Richard Soble told us there is still apparently quite an argument going with the State as to just what in each file people will be allowed to view. So don’t get too excited because it’s possible all you may get to see is a sheet with everything censored out but your own name. Some Plaintiffs who have already been allowed to see parts of their files were amazed at how extensively they were followed and spied upon (going to and from the Laundromat or the supermarket, or just sitting in their homes while cops recorded the time their lights were turned off and then on again!)…

Overheard in one of Detroit’s law firms known for its involvement in multifarious political activities: Law clerk: “I’m hoping for a job with the government in Washington when I graduate. How am I going to explain my working for a revolutionary law firm?!” Answer: “Don’t worry, son—there’s no such thing.”…

The bookstore headquarters of the Detroit nazis has finally been shut down after months of campaigning by a squalid coalition of leftists and their liberal and religious allies. Almost foaming at the mouth over the “fascist threat,” the whole alphabet-soup of leftist parties and groups had swung into action mobilizing its faithful in one demonstration after another on successive Saturdays, attendance determined by which sect one was loyal to. There is not a one of us who doesn’t openly suspect that all of these groups were nothing if not overjoyed by the appearance of four pathetic, pre-psychotic buffoons sporting swastikas for providing the left with the heady prospect of the recruitment of new members by luring “the masses” to yet another march in front of the bookstore. Still, when it was all over, the never-ending weakened protest marches didn’t carry the day—it was the courts enforcing the landlord’s eviction notice that put the scum out in the streets. On the day of eviction, the city was treated to the obscene spectacle of leftists cheering flak-jacketed Detroit police breaking down the nazis’ door to enforce the rights of private property. In expectation (or perhaps hope) that the nazi menace will be a permanent feature on the scene, the landlord has rented the vacated space to—you guessed it—the “Labor-Community-Interfaith Council Against the Nazis.” A happy ending—we could puke!…

HELP!

Just as we were about to print the current issue, the Fifth Estate was informed by our bank that $200 was confiscated from our account to satisfy a five-year-old debt incurred by the paper when it was a weekly publication with a different staff. This sum represents almost half of our monthly budget and although we were able to meet all of our bills for this month, the effects of the loss will soon be felt in the months to come. Even though this should not be taken as a disaster appeal, we would like to take this opportunity to urge as many readers as possible to become sustainers and pledge a monthly sum to the paper’s maintenance. Sustainers who pledge $5 a month or more receive the FE first-class and a periodic extra publication for their added support—and at this point we really need the help.

ABOUT OUR COVER

The quote on our cover this issue was excerpted from Communique 8, issued March 18, 1971 by the Angry Brigade, the same day a bomb exploded at the trendy Biba boutique in London. The entire text will be reprinted in our next issue along with more discussion on underground guerrilla activity.

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