Breakthrough and Donald Lobsinger’s tactics may have backfired in their most recent confrontation with the Establishment—tackled from the right.
Lobsinger could do with some tactical pre-protest advice from some of those who confront from the Left, on how to stay exactly within the law until you are ready to get busted. He was arrested again and faces trial Jan. 15 on disorderly conduct for breaking up a meeting Dec. 3 at St. Lucy’s Catholic Church in St. Clair Shores.
And now his best bet would be to appeal to the American Civil Liberties Union or the National Lawyers Guild, both champions of unpopular causes, for legal help post-protest, but he isn’t likely to take the advice.
Lobsinger gets very brave in a place like St. Clair Shores, unlike his behavior at the first meeting of the Citywide Citizens Action Committee after the 1967 rebellion, where he was surrounded by blacks and said little.
With Frank Ditto, the sole Afro-American at the meeting, Mob-bringer could afford to let his mob of about 25 shout “nigger,” “filthy animal” and “your days are numbered.” “Your bear doesn’t scare us either,” one member shouted at the fuzzy-faced, gentle Ditto, who sat calmly through the tirade.
When Ditto spoke it was to say that he had been emotionally stirred by the meeting, not by the insults but by the “compassion, understanding and love I saw on the faces of so many people.”
Fr. Francis J. Szaniowski, pastor of St. Lucy’s, and Mrs. Dorothy Hunt, chairman of the human relations committee of the women’s club sponsoring the panel discussion on “black power,” told a suburban paper that Lobsinger’s tactics and Ditto’s response had swayed the rest of the audience of 200 toward support for Ditto.
Ditto is no flaming radical, heading the East Side Voice of Independent Detroit, which receives considerable help from traditional, white liberal groups. But it could be seen as a step toward radicalization of those suburbanites who had never seen fascism in action before.
Lobsinger’s arrest came when he interrupted the program moderator John Hartl who offered to give Lobsinger five minutes at the mike in exchange for silence the rest of the meeting (shades of Edmund Muskie).
Lobsinger used his five minutes to charge ESVID with supporting the Association of Black Students of Wayne State, which he called a “hate-white, pro-communist” organization.
He proceeded to read a black-authorized poem from a BSA symposium program, and when he came to the word “mother-fucker,” Hartl turned off the mike and police escorted the protesting Lobsinger outside. After a noisy demonstration, the rest of his followers also left.
After the program, Ditto was given a police escort out of St. Clair Shores back to Detroit’s near-Eastside.