Fifth Estate Collective
The Rising of the Women

This issue of the Fifth Estate, appearing on the 61st anniversary of International Women’s Day, is dedicated to all our sisters around the world. It is the product of the Fifth Estate staff, women front the Women’s Media Co-op and women involved in other activities around the city.

In this issue of the paper we wanted the chance to express our ideas, art, anger and feelings about our own lives. We wanted to publicize and support the struggles of women in other countries. We also hoped that by making available a list of women’s organizations and services, we would make it easier for women to meet together and find activities they would like to participate in.


Anti-War Conference

On March 27 a conference—learn-in sponsored by the May Day Coalition will be held to educate people concerning the war in Indochina and its effects on the United States. The conference will also give people a more complete idea of what the April 30 march on the Chrysler Tank Plant in Warren is all about.


Fifth Estate Collective
History of Women’s Day

“Mother, what is a feminist?”
“A feminist, my daughter,
Is any woman now who cares
To think about her own affairs
As men don’t think she oughter.”
—Alice Duer Miller, 1915

On March 8 in 1857 hundreds of women textile workers marched from a poor, working-class district on the Lower East Side of New York City to a wealthy area nearby. They were demonstrating against poor working conditions, low wages, and a 60-hour work week, and demanding equality for all women. They were dispersed by the police who “were just protecting property.” Many women were trampled and arrested.


Fifth Estate Collective
Special Women’s Issue Staff & Contributors

STAFF COLLECTIVE: Barbara B., Barbara C., Barbara V., Betty B., Betty M., Carol, Carolyn, Carrie, Cathy, Cinda, Cindy, Colleen, Collette, Debbie B., Debbie S., Elizabeth, Fran, Gronya, Jackie, Janet, Jean, JoAnne, Judy, Julie, Lauren, Lona, Lorraine, Marge, Marie, Marilyn, Mary Jo, Nalda, Pat, Resa, Terry, plus assistance from the regular Fifth Estate Staff.


Fifth Estate Collective
Women March In Warren and in Washington

in Warren...

Many women are going to take part in the anti-war activity being planned for the Spring. A group known as the Mayday Coalition is planning a march to the Chrysler Tank Plant in Warren on April 30. Several groups of women are planning to form a contingent named after Angela Davis to be part of the march.


Fifth Estate Collective
Woman Rock Musician Interview

An interview with Lorraine, of the women’s band GOLDFLOWER, which has played for many enthusiastic women, including Erika Huggins and the other inmates at Niantic State Prison in Connecticut.

Lorraine grew up in a Long Island suburb. At 14, she was playing bluegrass guitar and hanging out with Washington Square folk musicians. At 16 she met a guy named Bobby and married him just before her 17th birthday. They moved to the lower East side where their daughter Magdalena was born. Lorraine left, taking Maggie with her after about a year of marriage. She went through a lot of heavy stuff: unsatisfying relationships, trying to bring her daughter up herself, no money, a brush with hard drugs. A good psychiatrist really helped her a lot. After a while, she felt good enough to start playing guitar again. Singing and playing with Bev and Laura in Goldflower has given her confidence that she lacked even when she was already quite good. But she’s still learning and struggling, doesn’t think of herself as having “made it.” I thought some of the changes she’s gone through in the past couple of years would be meaningful to other women, whether you’re trying to be musicians, or just starting to find out what you’ve always wanted to be.


Fifth Estate Collective
Woman as Artist Interview

Fifth Estate: Jackie, what were some of the main obstacles that confronted you while growing up’?

Jackie: Well, first of all as a child I really didn’t consider any profession that influences society as being for women. Every profession that influences rather than servicing people is male.

When I was very young, 8 or 9, I had a diary. I was very interested in art, particularly literature because that’s all I was exposed to, but I automatically assumed that it was impossible for me to be an artist. I could appreciate art, but that was it. I got into a very defensive idea about appreciating art because I didn’t think I could actually do it. At a very early age I had already got that idea fixed in my head. There are very few women artists for a young girl to identify with, and in my neighborhood and family, women were wives and mothers, certainly not artists.


Fifth Estate Collective
In case of... Resource list

American Civil Liberties Union, 961–4662

Ad Hoc Citizens Committee, 923–0610

Centerhouse Switchboard, 399–9090

Community Reporter, 833–5085

Detroit Anti-War Coalition, 874–4410

Fifth Estate Offices, 831–6800

(Distribution Centers, KOTC, 831–1574)

Fire Department, 962–0400

Gay Liberation, 923–7749


Fifth Estate Collective
Women’s work is never done

In this column we’d like to share with you some of the work and ideas of women in Detroit. There are many more things to be done, like starting your own rap group, theater group, women’s newspaper, child care center, male baby-sitting service, a women’s union, women’s history classes, auto mechanics and carpentry classes, and women’s legal aid services. How about a women’s center so we can meet each other and coordinate our activities? We need to pool our energies to get some new things started in Detroit. Let us know what you are doing. Maybe we can work together.


Fifth Estate Collective
Youth News


The second issue of the Youth News Service was sent out on February 25. The news packet was sent to some 43 high school and youth collectives who are putting out underground newspapers or are thinking of starting them.

The Fifth Estate is turning over a back office to the Youth News Coalition to use as a general Office.


Fifth Estate Collective
Abortion must be... Legal, free, on demand


Michigan women will demonstrate in Lansing March 13 for one aspect of our liberation—the right to abortion. Our demands are: free and legal abortion on demand; no forced sterilization; repeal of all existing abortion laws.

Abortion should be a human right. To a woman who has no choice but to bear children, liberation is no more than a bad joke. When we can control our own fertility, we can each work and plan our future. We will be better able to fight against the other forms of oppression that we encounter. We must be free to govern our own bodies and it is for this basic freedom that we will march in Lansing.


Fifth Estate Collective
No forced sterilization

We know that sterilization was used as a technique of genocide by Nazi doctors. Today in the U.S. welfare mothers are being punished by forced sterilization. Often in New York, women must choose between sterilization or loss of welfare payments. Elsewhere, poor women must agree to sterilization before they can receive an abortion.


Fifth Estate Collective
Abortion: a nightmare, a relief Two interviews

These are two interviews with women who experienced abortions. One was illegal, the other was a legal.

A nightmare

I didn’t know where to go when I found out I was pregnant. My boyfriend didn’t have enough bread to support a kid, and I work as a waitress in a bar. I was going through changes trying to decide what to do. I was in a desperate position.


Debby D’Amico
To my White Working-Class Sisters

This article was written by Debby D’Amico and was reprinted from Up From Under (the August-September 1970 issue), a magazine by, for and about women.

We are the invisible women, the faceless women, the nameless women...the female half of the silent majority, the female half of the ugly Americans, the smallest part of the “little people.” No one photographs us, no one writes about us, no one puts us on TV. No one says we are beautiful, no one says we are important, very few like to recognize that we are here.


Fifth Estate Collective
Motor City Labor News Hostess Cake

Motor City Labor News is a regular feature of the Fifth Estate. In this column we want to provide a space for people from different parts of the Detroit labor scene to exchange their experiences—experiences of the struggle to gain control over the rate and conditions of work, as well as experiences of the fight to regain control over their unions, where these have gotten bogged down in bureaucracy.


Marge Piercy
Metamorphosis into Bureaucrat

My hips are a desk.

From my ears hang

chains of paper clips.

Rubber bands form my hair

My breasts are wells of mimeograph ink.

My feet bear casters.

Buzz. Click.

My head

is a badly organized file.

My head is a switchboard

where crossed lines crackle

My head is a wastebasket

of worn ideas.


Fifth Estate Collective
Women Unite and Fight

Four Michigan women have filed a suit in U.S. District Court charging that the Automatic Retailers of America, Great Lakes Steel Division, discriminate against women by stabilizing them into job categories; in other words, freezing them into dead-end jobs. They also charge that ARA requires women to undergo burdensome training requirements not required for men and deny women equal opportunity to work overtime.


Jane Kennedy
Letter from Prison

Being a revolutionary, the threat of spending time in prison comes down on me from time to time. Not knowing much about the day-to-day life of women inside the prison walls, I have always been uneasy at the thought of that unknown world and put it out of my mind. The letter that follows was written by Jane Kennedy, an angry voice from inside the prison walls, running down the systematic pain and humiliation suffered by the women prisoners she lives with.


National Guardian
Interview with Angela Davis

Following is an excerpt from an interview with Angela Davis done by the Guardian.

How do you see the women’s movement? Also, do you consider it to have a special role for black women?

Let me begin by saying this: no revolutionary should fail to understand the underlying significance of the dictum that the success or failure of a revolution can almost always be gauged by the degree to which the status of women is altered in a radical, progressive direction. After all, Marx and Engels contended that there are two basic facts around which the history of mankind revolves: production and reproduction. The way in which people obtain their means of subsistence on one hand, and in which the family is organized on the other hand.


Ericka Huggins
Reflections on Sunday

sounds that come from the soul are always the same


open sounds


the kind that reach out

and touch—

that’s what our sisters did/minimum

touching maximum/sharing oppression

and the wish for its


feeling those sounds

seeing them felt on others

watching faces smile for the first time in months—


Em Nam A woman of South Vietnam

The history of the Vietnamese people is clearly a history of struggle, of choosing what to tolerate and what and how to change. No Vietnamese man, woman, or child has been spared the struggle because it is one of survival and the protection of the freedom to define how to live, once in the face of Chinese occupation, then, French colonialism and Catholicism, and now American imperialism.


Cuban Women

Cuban women are beginning to see solid results of the many years of struggle that they have been through. Before the revolution, there was little or no work for any women. The only way a single woman could get money for her children or herself was to beg or else sell herself. Most women were totally dependent upon their husbands or fathers. A divorced woman was considered to be nothing but a prostitute, because that was the only way she could support herself. Virginity became even more of a prize for a marriage dowry. Young women were “protected” to the point where they couldn’t leave the house without a chaperone.


Margery Himel
Elizabeth Gurley Flynn

My image of the few women mentioned in history texts in school is completely one-dimensional. There’s Betsy Ross, smiling at George Washington as she sews stars onto the flag...and Dolly Madison, the super-hostess, who saved the President’s portraits from the burning White House.

I get furious now when I think about it. I never even noticed that women (not to mention non-white or working people) were practically non-existent in the history books. That is why I really became excited while reading the life of Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, a heroine of the American Labor Movement.


Fifth Estate Collective
ADC: Working for the “Man”

“That man over there say that a woman needs to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helped me into carriages, or over mud puddles, or gives me a best place...And ain’t I a woman? Look at me. Look at my arm! I have plowed and planted and gathered into barns, and no man could head me...And ain’t I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man when I could get it, and bear the lash as well...and ain’t I a woman? I have borne thirteen children and seen them most all sold off into slavery. And when I cried out with a mother’s grief, none but Jesus heard...”

—And ain’t I a woman? (Sojourner Truth: Speech before the Woman’s Rights Convention at Akron, Ohio, 1851)


Fifth Estate Collective
Know Thyself Women talk about masturbation

A few of us got together to talk, as women, about masturbation, because we felt that it is an important and much-neglected topic. Here is the resulting conversation:

Carol: I can’t remember ever masturbating when I was a child. And I know I see little girls do it alt the time!

Joanne: I did it a lot when I was a little girl, with a stuffed elephant I had, and I always had this feeling that my mother was watching me. I knew it was the wrong thing to do. I used to look for her feet under the door. Then I just stopped. When I was five or six, I started believing the chastity thing—and thinking that sex and those parts of your body were nasty.


Marge Piercy
Burying Blues for Janis

Your voice always whacked me right on the funny bone

of the great-hearted suffering bitch fantasy

that ruled me like a huge copper moon with its phases

until I could partially break free.

How could I help but cherish you for my bad dreams?

Your voice would grate right on the marrow filled bone


Freak Culture at Open City

A couple of weeks ago I went to the Open City Health Clinic for the first time to see a gynecologist. I was a little nervous, but glad that Open City was there for people like me who have no money. I was excited about getting medical care in a comfortable place, rather than some: doctor’s sterile waiting room, and with people who are part of a new culture. People who are trying to create alternative institutions like the clinic, places that are free, that are staffed by people who are concerned for others, and who give concrete aid—places where all kinds of people can come together to talk, and not be as separated from each other as we usually are.


Love all ways


I’ve just discovered why it’s been so hard to write this article. I was really hung up on the word “Lesbian.” I had never applied this label to myself. With this label came associations of sick, abnormal, neurotic and dyke. But if my actions and attitudes are labeled lesbian, then I know that those associations are wrong and only reflect the sick attitudes of this society.


“It’s her patriotic duty... ...to keep looking slim and attractive”

Military life is no sweet deal for anyone. We are aware of the oppression and harassment meted out to our GIs, but what about our sisters, the WAFS in the service?

The WAFS I talked to are not gung-ho! So why do they join? One WAF I talked to put it this way: “We are tricked. They promise us a career, choices, job training and they tell us rosey stories about traveling the world. Once we are in it’s a whole different scene. They keep you busy with paper work or some shit job and the attitude of the guys is so bad. They treat us like scum.”


Two poems

i’m scared walking

so i hold lori’s hand

and she says, its a trouble, mommy,

but don’t worry.

her strong little hand squeezes mine,

then she skips on ahead and i try

to be brave.

* * *

loreie j

i go to prepare a worki for you

the pain of it too much i want

you to live free breathe clean

drink clean walk safe, i


Resa Jannett
Motor City Happenings

Resa Jannett in cooperation with Detroit Adventure

Thursday, March 4

1913: TROOPS called into Washington, D.C. to protect women’s suffrage.

1918: D.C. Court of Appeals drops all sentences and arrests against women from 1913.

THE EPIC THAT Never Was, and The Passenger at Detroit Inst. of Arts. 8 pm.


Fifth Estate Collective
Classified Ads

CLASSIFIEDS cost 50 cents per line per issue. Figure four words per line. (A word is a word including one and two letter words. A phone number is a word. Street numbers are words, Abbreviations should be sensible. DISCOUNT RATES: Five runs cost 35 cents per line, per issue. (i.e. 2 lines in 5 issues cost $3.50)