Creeps Strike


Fifth Estate # 69, December 26, 1968-January 8, 1969

Power authority creeps have reared their puffy bourgeois heads once again in the Detroit area, this time at Clarenceville High School in Livonia.

Any Clarenceville student caught displaying the Fifth Estate inside the school will have his copy of the paper confiscated and his parents will be informed.

School authorities have been uptight about the paper ever since Dick Elbinger, brother of the infamous nude poet Lee Elbinger, began selling the Fifth Estate at the school a few weeks ago. Elbinger was hassled continually for spreading the word and principal Anthony Marra threatened to throw him out of school if he “continued to make trouble.”

Brother Dick would have none of this bullshit and went right on selling the paper despite numerous threats and harassment from the local honkies. As Fifth Estate sales soared, it became clear that school officials would have to move to stop the insidious menace from undermining the authority structure and depriving them of control over their personal fiefdom, and of the minds of its students.

Superintendent of Schools David McDowell and Principal Marra put their heads together and the confiscation order was the result. The mere sight of a Fifth Estate in the hands of a Clarenceville student seems to throw Marra and his cronies into a rage. Is our paper that offensive, Tony?

Apparently it is, for the Livonia School Board voted unanimously to support the decree at a special December 12 meeting. The board granted an open hearing on the issue in response to pressure from the student council which had earlier condemned the actions of Marra and McDowell. But it was obvious from the start that the hearing was nothing more than a thinly veiled power play on the part of the board—a clumsy attempt to coopt student discontent with a sham meeting in the trappings of legitimacy.

Student attempts to be heard were continually ignored by the chair as board members and parents immersed themselves in the Fifth Estate unclassifieds.

Student Council President Berry Sherman stated that the majority of the council members felt that the school administration was violating their constitutional rights in ordering teachers to confiscate the paper.

Principal Marra, however, refused to comment on the illegality of his action, saying only that he thought it was a moral issue between parents and children. Marra later admitted that students would probably read the Fifth Estate outside of school anyway.

The Clarenceville Board of Education relied on its power to act “in loco parentis” (in the place of parents) in allowing its appointed school administrators to decide what sort of published material could be displayed in the high school. School

Board member Dr. Martin Wechsler objected to the Fifth Estate because it contains “weird and distorted sex” and is “favorable to the use of drugs.” What a stiff ass!

This newspaper supports wholeheartedly the struggle of Clarenceville students to decide for themselves what material they should read. For the duration of the repression we will replace any Fifth Estate unconstitutionally confiscated by school officials or police.