Detroit Seen


Fifth Estate # 339, Spring, 1992

Welcome to the Spring 1992 issue of the Fifth Estate (Vol. 27, No. 1, our 339th paper)! As usual, we are later than we had planned, due in part to our worst nightmare: the breakdown, in the heat of production, of our IBM Composer. Most of this issue has been typeset on Macintosh computers by a host of busy friends stealing time at work, home and in school computer labs.

However, our friends at Left Bank Books/Distribution in Seattle came to our rescue by finding, repairing and sending us a reconditioned Composer in time for us to complete this issue. Our thanks especially to Russell whose commitment to mutual aid and diligence made it all possible. Write Left Bank or visit their extensive bookstore at 92 Pike St., Seattle WA 98101 for their latest catalog. P.S. This was typeset on the new Composer; most everything else on this page came from computers. Receiving this new machine may hold off us buying our own computer for yet another season.

Thanks to our Sustainers, those who have made generous one-time donations and all our readers for their continuing patience and support.

As we are going to press, several of us are preparing to attend Build To Break: A National A.Y.F. Conference and Midwest Regional Anarchist Gathering, to be held May 8-11, on the campus of Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio (hosted by the Dayton Anarchist Collective, P.O. Box 3316, Dayton, OH 45401). This is the first large anti-authoritarian gathering for most of us since 1989’s Without Borders. We’ll be there with bundles of this paper—to perform, present workshops and Be Anarchy. Look for a full report in our summer issue.

Two traveling organizers for the Love & Rage network visited the Motor City in early March and talked to a small, unsympathetic gathering at the 404 space.

After Chris and Mike gave a rambling, hour-and-a-half talk about the benefits of being in their “network” and how such a structure was necessary to “strategize for the coming period,” they were met by mostly critical questions. One person close to the RCP said, after listening to them, “These guys are trying to re-invent leninism.”

Several in attendance told the L&R organizers that they felt their network was trying to act like a vanguard, mirroring the strategy of the Revolutionary Socialist League people who helped found their group. One person observed that following L&R’s “organized” efforts, national anarchist gatherings had gone from thousands of participants to hundreds, and that before their paper and network existed, people had done just fine communicating and coordinating things like defense of prisoners and anarchist contingents.

The critics of L&R mainly felt that although it was good to have another paper, their attitude established an “us and them” situation and that “strategizing” was for leftist politicians who want to lead the “masses.”

Although the L&R paper often contains good articles, it sometimes reads like its predecessor, the RSL’s Torch. For instance, the L&R January edition features the theme of “Anarchism and Black Liberation” and carries a disturbing reprint from a 1974 Yipster Times, entitled, “All the Way with the BLA.” The article, reflecting the period in which it was written, ignores the authoritarian and militarist character of the Black Liberation Army and the fact that they admired Stalin and Mao.

Also, L&R reprinted the author’s pseudonym, “F. Dzerzhinsky,” obviously unaware that the actual person who bore this name was a Polish count who became head of the Bolshevik’s first dreaded secret police in 1917 and oversaw the murder of countless thousands of workers and anarchists.

A friend and subscriber to the Fifth Estate has started Red Cedar Earth First! to do radical environmental actions here in southeastern Michigan. He needs the support of any interested eco-actionists. Contact RCEF! at 4372 Welland Dr., Orchard Lake, MI 48323. LIVE LONG, LIVE WILD!

We appreciate all the mail we get, including that from inmates. Their descriptions of the hell-holes they are consigned to, the brutality they experience, and the arbitrary rule of the authorities, increases our desire to rid the world of prisons. The fact that we receive such a volume of copies of legal papers, appeals, notices of administrative hearings and the like, from inmates attests to the desperation these men and women face.

However, we are sad to say that there is nothing we can do on this end to alleviate injustices or expedite appeals as we have no access to legal counsel or assistance. We enjoy getting personal messages, but in many ways, sending the details of the legal morass prisoners face wastes precious postage and we rarely read the legal documents.

Help for prisoners must come from self-organization in the institutions themselves and from groups specifically established to aid the incarcerated.

Demonstrate Against Detroit Incinerator Sat., June 6, 11:00 A.M.

Gather at southwest corner of Gratiot & Russell near the Eastern Market.

The Evergreen Alliance is calling for people to come and “represent their worst fears and dreams for ourselves and the earth” through puppets, theatre and costumes. Contact the Evergreen Alliance at POB 02455, Detroit MI 48202 or call them at 832-1738.