Bill Blank
The Return of Son of Dead Kennedys

An excerpt from an exclusive Detroit interview with Jello Biafra, lead singer of the Dead Kennedys, one of the more famous hardcore bands. In 1979 Jello ran for mayor of San Francisco, finishing fourth out of ten with a ‘platform’ which included requiring all businessmen to wear clown suits from nine to five. Exclusive here because there was only one other interviewer backstage, asking the usual ‘How did you get your name?’ and ‘How long have you been together?’ questions while I kept asking Jello if he needed a ride.

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George Bradford (David Watson)
Bill Blank

Evergreen 19 Beat Rap As Incinerator Fires Up

http://www.dev.fifthestate.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/watson-incinerator.jpgA minor victory in the midst of an ongoing major disaster, the “Evergreen 19” have walked free, but only from the stench of a courtroom. After prolonged exposure to exhausting testimony on our disorderly conduct charges and a judge who later admitted he wanted us punished with maximum fines, a sympathetic jury found us not guilty in the May 1988 sit-in demonstration at the construction site of the world’s largest trash incinerator (see FE #328, Summer 1988). But as the defendants cheered and hugged one another, the smoke and ash from test burns floated over our community and the Great Lakes region.

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Bill Blank
Steal This Article A Tribute to Abbie

Ten days before Abbie Hoffman was discovered resting eternal, I joined a few hundred spectators in an eerie celebration of ‘60s nostalgia at the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor. The world premiere of the film Ten For Two featured rare footage of the 1971 concert to free the once radical and once imprisoned (ten years for two joints) White Panther, John Sinclair.

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Bill Blank
Poletown: Community Betrayed

a review of

Poletown: Community Betrayed by Jeanie Wylie. 1989, University of Illinois Press

For centuries, capitalism has systematically destroyed or relocated minority and ethnic groups. A particularly repulsive local example occurred during the last decade in Detroit’s “Poletown” neighborhood, where a thriving community was destroyed to build a General Motors Cadillac plant nobody needed and few wanted.

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Bill Blank
CIA Interrogation Techniques Revealed Book review

A review of:

In TERRORgation: The CIA’s Secret Manual on Coercive Questioning, edited by Jon Elliston and Charles Overbeck, illustrated, Parascope, 1430 Willamette, #329, Eugene, OR 97401, 56 pp., $5.95 or www.parascope.com

One anniversary you may have missed in 1997 was the 50-year anniversary of the birth of the Central Intelligence Agency, the secret government organization principally devoted to waging covert state terrorism. To put the spotlight on this repressive legacy, Parascope, a small publisher, has released the previously classified 1963 KUBARK Counterintelligence Interrogation. (KUBARK is the CIA’s code name.) Thanks is due to Elliston and Overbeck for helping make available this chilling manual used in the agency’s long-hidden crimes.

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Bill Blank
A Brief Story of The Clash, Radio & the Fifth Estate Book review

a review of

Stealing All Transmissions: The Secret History of The Clash by Randal Doane, Foreword by Barry “The Baker” Auguste, 2014, PM Press, 192 pp. $15.95 pmpress.org

In December 1979, after stumbling through my first trimester at Michigan State University, I took the allotted three weeks off in suburban Detroit. While the media began priming the struggling city as host of the upcoming Republican National Convention (and a probable Ronald Reagan presidency), a vague desperation overtook me, to search for alternatives, first on the radio and then in the press.

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Bill Blank
Busking behind the Barricades Book review

a review of

A Busker’s Adventure by David Rovics. Various e-book formats at davidrovics.com/

David Rovics hails from a long lineage of gifted topical American folk guitar singers originally birthed by Joe Hill, Woody Guthrie, Leadbelly, and Pete Seeger, with blazing torches passed on through its most notable stepchildren, Joan Baez, Phil Ochs, Tom Paxton and, of course, Bob Dylan, at least before he “went electric” (as alarmingly noted in that 1965 first issue of the Fifth Estate).

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