Detroit Seen

by

Fifth Estate # 299, October 22, 1979

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Usually when a publication such as ours disappears for several months it is due to money problems, political differences among the staff or a combination of the two. However, we can happily report that neither of these maladies caused our hiatus, but rather a combination of sloth and self-indulgence. The days and then the months just slipped away as we traveled, tended our gardens, took leisurely bike-rides, worked our dumb jobs and generally laid about as much as we could. Now that our mail has slacked off to almost zero, and the rumors of our demise have begun to reach us once again, we figure it is time for another assault against contemporary reality. Perhaps, though, it understates our intellectual activity to suggest we were only doing the above mentioned pastimes, because every article in the paper has been the subject of discussion and debate; some of it extending back several months. This newspaper is much like letter-writing: you get back in accordance with what you send out. In that we value greatly the input we receive from readers, you probably can expect to see more of this paper during the winter months ahead…

Another birthday for the dinosaur—on this one the FE is 14! years old having begun as an “underground” paper back in October 1965. A small celebration was held with a bash in a local warehouse with the Hot Shit Pick-Up Band getting everybody dancing…

Subscribers Please Note: If you have received a Renewal Notice anytime in the last five months and haven’t responded as yet, please do. We made mention of our mailing out those notices in the last issue, but the piece of copy fell off of page 15 and all that was left was a cryptic headline reading: Attention Subscribers…

Sign of the Times: Wayne State, Detroit’s urban university, the jumping-off point for many radical activities during the sixties and early seventies, has announced its first football homecoming festivities of the decade this fall. The school paper announced that “yo-yo and dance demonstrations, parties, a dance and a pep rally” are planned for the mindless celebration of school loyalty plus a parade featuring mounted police, cheer-leaders and jeeps from the Veteran’s Society. None of this was possible in past years and hopefully will become impossible again soon…

After years of court action, a settlement in the lawsuit against the Michigan State Red Squad has been worked out providing for a release of surveillance files to individuals and groups. The terms of the agreement allow the State Police to delete names and code numbers of informers and undercover agents prior to releasing the files collected over 30 years, but will “protect the right of any individual or organization, to seek the deleted information at a later time.” This latter provision undoubtedly would be for any damage suits that would arise after people see the extent of meddling in their lives by the cops and their stoolies. The released files will include third party names, unless “the Information is highly personal (e.g. sexual relationships or drug usage, etc.)” in which case the information will be deleted. In order to get information on the availability of the files, the State Police will send a first-class mailing to those with files, at their last known address (which has been cross-checked with Secretary of State lists and which gives the cops an updated address file on past and present activists). After that, ads will be run in all major newspapers in the state. The State Police will designate certain posts for obtaining information but the leftist National Lawyers Guild will also serve that function for anyone squeamish about contacting those responsible for the abuses in the first place. The Guild may be reached at (313) 963-0843. Hopefully, upon full release of the files, a comprehensive picture of police spying and disruption will be available and reviewing many of the files may produce the identity of the informers employed by the cops.

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