Detroit Anti-Racist Action (ARA) formed over a year ago. Since its formation, it has been involved in campaigns against the gentrification of downtown Detroit with all the money going to rich folks (Illich, Ford, etc.) who don’t live in the city or really care about the welfare of people who live here. We have been involved in supporting groups like UPSET, which is fighting for a decent education for Detroit’s children. We have done support work for the Dineh people in the Southwest who are facing forced relocation to benefit big business so they can strip mine the land for coal. We have been involved in fighting the upsurge of right wing groups in the U.S. and the Midwest by working to shut down Nazi and Klan rallies. A recent campaign succeeded in getting Nazis out of an Eastside clubhouse in Detroit.
The need to fight back is more pertinent today than in the past. Many hard won victories from past struggles are being lost so bosses can make even higher profits.
We are already seeing the resurfacing of slave labor in America’s largest growth industry—prisons.
* In 1980 there were 400,000 inmates nationwide; today 1.5 million Americans languish behind bars (an average of 455 people per 100,000, with a prison population growing by an average of 250 a day.) Between 1975 and 1985 violent crime dropped 1.42% while the prison population doubled.
* While only making up 13% of the U.S. population, African-American males are over half of state and federal prisoners.
* In 1994, 72,461 inmates created $1.35 billion worth of products, up from $362 million in 1980. Jobs that left the U.S. during the beginning stages of NAFTA are now returning as enslaved prison labor paying only nothing to $1.15 per hour.
Welfare is being attacked with the end result being people going hungry and homeless in a country with empty buildings and food rotting in warehouses. Welfare reform in the form of workfare is being used to break unions. In New York City, people in the Work Experience Program (so-called workfare), who receive welfare must add their cash benefit to their food stamps, divide by minimum wage, and work that number of hours per month for the city.
This gives the impression of regular, part time jobs, but consider: they have no choice of where to work, no health or safety protections, no guarantee of childcare, no grievance procedures, no ‘days off, no exemption for education, and no job when their benefits and workfare end. It is not surprising that “these welfare recipients are being used to break the city workers union.
RISE IN THE RIGHT
In the past several years we have seen what results from a well funded, organized and armed right wing movement. Recently, anti-choice terrorists have been actively upping the stakes on the issue of a woman’s right to control her own body and life by bombing several clinics across the U.S. Last Summer over 30 black Southern churches were. With the passage of California’s Prop. 187 and armed thugs patrolling the U.S.-Mexican border, we see more organized and violent actions against immigrants. In Lansing this past November, well-funded right-wing groups overturned a civil rights ordinance that protected queers, one that the majority of Lansing citizens supported.
What this all adds up to is an environment where people of color, wimmin, queers, the poor, and other oppressed people are scapegoated and attacked for the problems that the bosses and the state hand down to us.
ANTI-RACIST ACTION (ARA) SOLUTIONS
ARA is taking direct action against the problems that confront us today and organizing to make a real change for tomorrow. Not changes that have the same problems resurfacing with different people getting screwed, but solutions in which people make the decisions that effect their lives and help build an anti-authoritarian, egalitarian society. When the police brutalize a community, we will take action against them, but we will also organize in communities so real solutions can be found to get rid of the occupying force for good.
WHAT IS ARA ALL ABOUT?
Anti-Racist Action is a multiracial, anti-sexist, pro-queer organization dedicated to fighting oppression in all forms through direct action. ARA has over 40 chapters in the U.S. and Canada; all are autonomous, but communicate and coordinate actions through the Anti-Racist Action Network.
ARA PRINCIPLES OF UNITY
1.) Fight against racism, sexism, homophobia, imperialism, and other forms of oppression.
2.) No reliance on the cops or courts.
3.) Non-sectarian defense of arrested, anti-fascist activists.
4.) Same time, same place direct action against fascist mobilizations.
To get in touch with Detroit ARA, please write:
PO BOX 321211
Detroit, MI 48232