Detroit Seen


Fifth Estate # 340, Autumn 1992

Welcome to the Fall 1992 Fifth Estate. No, you didn’t miss an issue. Summer just sort of went by and we never got an issue out. As usual, you can probably expect only one more edition this year. Even though we print only three times a year (officially we are a quarterly), it is heartening to continue to receive the support we do from readers. Our usual thanks to all of you—sustainers, subscribers and book store buyers—for making this project continue.

Although the computer age looms ever closer to us with each passing issue (we still don’t have a screen in our office? however, two of our key staff people have recently obtained one for home use), we still intend to maintain our circa 1965 IBM Composer.

But we have given up on our mid-70s Compugraphic Compuwriter, Jr. which seems irreparable at this point. We are offering it gratis to anyone who wants to take it out of our office. We even have a back-up machine which can be cannibalized for parts. Perhaps a better deal for someone who already has the above equipment is our stock of developing fluids, paper and fonts. We will send these to any movement publication for the cost of postage. Help get this stuff a good home so it doesn’t wind up in the Detroit Incinerator.

Fairly predictably, the local RCP (Remote Controlled Parrots) have begun sullying the landscape with graffiti demanding, “Free Chairman Gonzalo.” “Gonzalo” is Abimael Guzman, the recently captured head of the zombie, red fascist, Andean Khmer Rouge, Communist Party of Peru. The party is officially known by its Spanish initials, PCP, giving it the same name as the deadly U.S. street drug.

The self-declared maoist and stalinist party is known popularly as the Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path—ugh!) and has attained an often high degree of support among Peru’s destitute peasants and urban poor. However, the PCP is deeply tied to the country’s narcotrafficantes, murders any opponents and deals harshly with anyone considered an “enemy of the people” such as homosexuals.

As with the cult of Mao, followers of the Shining Path have elevated its chairman to semi-god status. However, they were visibly shocked to recognize a mortal being when a sullen Gonzalo appeared on television peering out from behind a barred jail window.

We don’t like to see anyone in the slammer, but there is a certain irony in a situation when one who covets the power of the state becomes a victim of the machinery they admire. So, we have little sympathy for Chairman Gonzalo; he is of a piece with Fujimori, the dictatorial president of Peru—they deserve each other. May both of them fail in their desire for the state and may the Peruvian people find freedom on their own.

As we go to press, members of the 404 Willis Collective, with help from Anarchy and Fifth Estate collage artist Freddie Baer, finalize plans for a three day festival celebrating bisexual art, identity and activism. Baer and other artists will show their work, poets will perform their words and discussions pertinent to bisexuality will be held. Food, dancing and conviviality will be shared. For more information on the October 23-25 gathering, contact Sunfrog at P.O. Box 11589, Detroit, MI 48211.

Time is running out for Michigan’s Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. This sacred land is in peril of having its now roadless heart cut by a two-lane “scenic by-way”—Beaver Basin Rim Road. We must stop the industrial growth monster. Contact Red Cedar Earth First!, Box 4721, E. Lansing MI 48826.

It seems inconceivable that anyone would celebrate the murderous, arrogant Gen. George Custer, but that’s exactly what the Monroe (Mich.) [Custer’s birth place] Historical Society did this July in this city just south of Detroit. It was like neo-nazis celebrating Hitler’s birthday, so some folks put together a counter festival beneath the general’s statue and told the truth about his massacres and the way native people were treated by the U.S. Poets read, Mick Vranich & Wordband played and people righteously vilified Custer. Remember, Custer died for our sins.