FE 35, August 1-15, 1967
“The chickens are coming home to roost.”—Malcolm X, Nov. 22, 1963
Malcolm was right, of course, and the chickens have come home so many ways since that grim day four years ago.
The destruction, looting, killing, and violence have been chronicled to such an extent that no repetition is necessary here.
This newspaper has concentrated its observations on the hippie, new left, and avant garde community it serves.
The geographical center of that community—the
The Fifth Estate office at Warren and John Lodge was unharmed as were the adjacent offices of the Artists’ Workshop, Trans-Love Energies, and the Detroit Committee to End the War in
Hippie and political residents of the
They joined the Negros and Southern whites in cleaning out the stores on
Kae Halonen, a resident of W. Hancock, described the scene as that of integrated looting. “There was complete cooperation between the races in their common endeavor,” she said. “There were children carrying toys they never would have been able to afford.”
Detroit’s Communications Company, which distributes leaflets in the area put out a broadside that advertised “Detroit Summer Plunder Festival” and advised residents to “Get the Big Stuff” and “Loot—it’s the American Way.” One hippie was reported to have unlocked an abandoned gas station and was pumping free gasoline to anyone who came along.
When asked if looting was not contrary to the hippie philosophy of love, John Sinclair, head of Trans-Love and Fifth Estate staffer replied, “We told the merchants before the riot they should give everything away, but they wouldn’t listen.”
“It’s a little out of hand, but it’s beautiful,” said one hippie. “It looks like
Residents of Prentis, near WSU, report severe abuse at the hands of the
Eric Glatz of 669 Prentis told of how police and national guardsmen entered his apartment and struck him several times. An eye witness report of other brutality appears elsewhere in this issue. The Fifth Estate welcomes other first-hand reports of the riot including illegal experiences. Anonymity of the writer is of course assured.
As I sat typing this story two carloads of
“Stand up and touch your toes!” yelled one cop at those stranded in front of the building.
The cops searched their victims and in the process kicked one to the ground. There was no problem in the neighborhood, but that’s how it always is on Prentis.
H. Rapp Brown, chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, who was arrested July 26 for inciting to riot, said “We (Negroes) built this country and we’re going to burn it down.”
And it looks like they will if
That’s a hell of a chicken.
FE 326, Summer 1987
It was a full scale beggar’s banquet, the return of the repressed, a surprise party. The city people, young and old, black and white, went through the pawnshop windows like meteorites. Nervous exorcists, trembling before a mortal turned evil and massive and enigmatic, the politicians asked, “Who are you?” And like demons unleashed from an inferno, they answered, “Many.”
How it burned! Ferocious and magnificient, in the conjured-up, premature, arsonist dawn. It was a small moment of truth: the plundered became the plunderers. Booze ran in the streets from the shattered liquor stores. Then the blood ran. The cops and the troops began their grim retaking of the city. Fifty caliber wasps swarmed against the apartment buildings, cutting through the brick effortlessly. Tanya Blanding, four years old, was dragged away in the bullets’ undertow, a touch of
The tragedy is that so few looters ever learned the meaning of their festival and started buying into the new program on time. The tragedy is that so many have turned fatalistic and have turned their backs on their potential allies and their faces to the wall. The tragedy is that there is now a surplus of snipers, and they’ve got no aim.
It was a binge, a saturnalia, a world turned momentarily upside down. It was a tremor, coming from deep recesses that some would prefer to wish away, to buy away, to machine-gun away. But it’s still there, a shifting tectonic magma, rumbling, creaking, pressure building, and it won’t go away.