Sol Plafkin
Off Center

Drums are rolling early and heavy in the Michigan Democratic Party’s forthcoming internal civil war with Detroit’s 37-year-old Mayor Jerome P. Cavanagh pitted against just-retired Asst. Sec. of State for African Affairs and former governor, 55-year-old G. Mennen villiams.

Unfortunately, the campaign promises to avoid discussion of pressing current issues (e.g. the war in Vietnam) and seems likely to center on a silly and meaningless battle of the “young” vs. the “old.”

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Sol Plafkin
Off Center

One nice thing about public feuds between politicians is that it gives everybody a rare chance to see part of what’s going on inside governmental circles. We learn, that at least to some extent, many decisions are made on the basis of personal vanity, pride, and ego conflict—and not solely as the result of some impersonal “power structure” beyond the reach of our full comprehension or influence.

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Sol Plafkin
Council Rejects City’s Bike Ban

Intelligence finally reigned supreme recently when Detroit’s Common Council tore apart Ray Girardin’s stupid proposal to ban motorcycles from city parks without a special permit.

The proposal was immediately condemned by the American Civil Liberties Union as unconstitutional and in violation of the civil liberties of individuals because of its vagueness.

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Sol Plafkin
Off Center

The ridiculous bill in the U.S. House of Representatives to penalize flag-burners passed by a whopping majority (385 to 16) last week—but in their haste, the patriotic legislators forgot to include the specific term “burning” in their prohibition. They did ban mutilating, defacing, defiling or trampling the flag.

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Sol Plafkin
Off Center

If there’s anything more disgusting than a person who has no guts, its a person who has half-guts.

For example, Rep. John Conyers, Jr. For the past several weeks I’ve been writing about the wonderful job he was doing in fighting passage of that horrible “flag-burning” bill.

I suggested to producers of the Lou Gordon TV show on Channel 50 that this would be an excellent topic for a debate. They agreed. Rep. Conyers agreed to appear at first, but when his opposition was going to be Richard Durant, the highly articulate ex-Birchite and present chairman of the 14th District GOP, Conyers welched.

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Sol Plafkin
Off Center

One of the biggest problems of “rebuilding Detroit” after the July 23 rebellion will be the attitudes and actions of the very powerful “white liberal” leadership in our community.

These paternalistic gentlemen have not, I can assure you, learned any significant lessons from the events of the past few weeks and are still insisting on keeping up with their meddling with their dirty paws in the growing determination of Black people to truly emancipate and govern themselves.

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Sol Plafkin
Plafkin Backlashes Ravitz

It was a muggy, uncomfortable night at the 17th District Democratic Headquarters in the all-white Redford section of northwest Detroit. Meeting was the “Democratic Forum,” a conservative faction of the District. The speaker was the noted liberal statesman, Councilman Mel Ravitz.

What was he there to talk about? What else but the recent Detroit insurrection (Part I). And it was amazing how one person, a learned Ph.D. in Sociology, could say so little in such a long speech.

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Sol Plafkin
Off Center

If the once highly-touted, but now quite tarnished “War Against Poverty” has done nothing else, it has provided a new battleground for political bickering-among the poor themselves and among the middle-class citizens who think they’re trying to help the poor.

Probably the greatest boondoggle around here nowadays is the Wayne County Office of Economic Opportunity (WCOEO) program. Designed to serve the “poor” areas in Wayne County outside Detroit, it makes the Detroit poverty program look like a smashing success in contrast.

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Sol Plafkin
Off Center

It couldn’t happen in Detroit!

That was the proud proclamation of our city’s leaders all summer long until that fateful morning of July 23. Detroit had supposedly been the nation’s leader among big cities in making civil rights progress.

That is, Detroit was tops in fake tokenism and self-deception. There was bragging that so many Black people here were in positions of prominence and relative wealth. But, obviously, these successful people only represented an infinitesimally small portion of the Black community—and even many of these middle-class oriented people, who still feel the brutal whip of discrimination, were quietly hoping for the summer revolt which finally exploded on one of the first hot Saturday nights in a relatively cool summer.

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Sol Plafkin
Off Center

Well, the Detroit Teachers’ strike is over—and guess who got the royal screwing? About 175,000 black kids whose basic conditions of instruction were not improved more than a piddle.

The matriarchy of Union President Mare Ellen Riordan triumphed again. She and her Marygrove Mafia have succeeded in developing such tight control of that organization that it’s almost impossible to move without an approving glance from her.

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Sol Plafkin
Off Center

The Detroit Public Schools will receive $6,000,000 to squander in the next three years from the Federal government for a special project to “enrich” five inner-city-schools.

Among other things, they will increase the staffs in these five schools—but at a heavy price they won’t publicly admit: the reduction of personnel available to the rest of the city’s schools. That’s the tragedy of most “crash” programs; with only a limited amount of teachers to utilize, school boards are more interested in “showcases” for their national public relations image than they are in genuine overall improvement of their antiquated systems.

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Sol Plafkin
Off Center

“Some people believe that all Negroes carry switchblade knives. Well, it’s not true.”

Thus Detroit’s local TV commentator Lou Gordon ‘continues his technique of cute rumour managing. He’s pretty smooth. He states the rumour first making sure that everyone hears it clearly then, after it has sunk in deeply among his gun-toting white viewers, he makes a mild renunciation of the rumour.

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Sol Plafkin
Off Center

Are we in the midst of a revolution now? Or, are we on the verge of one? Can the revolution be comparatively bloodless, basically non-violent?

These are interesting questions we ask ourselves as summer approaches and its oppressive heat threatens to ignite this nation in the greatest internal turmoil since the Civil War.

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Sol Plafkin
Off Center

Of the many comments made following the shooting of Sen. Kennedy, perhaps the most incisive was given by Sen. McCarthy:

“It is not enough in my judgment to say that this was the act of one deranged man, if that is the case. The nation, I think, bears too great a burden of guilt, really, for the kind of neglect which has allowed the disposition to grow here in one’s own land, in part a reflection of violence which we have visited upon the rest of the world, or at least one part of the world.” Sen. McCarthy was talking about the violence that America has been and is still inflicting in Vietnam.

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Sol Plafkin
Off Center

Much attention in the community from now on will be focused on the primary election to be held Tuesday, August 6. Perhaps the largest effort will be that of the McCarthy for President Committee, together with the Michigan Conference for Concerned Democrats, to get their 2,000 candidates for precinct delegates in the Democratic party elected throughout the state. A substantial success in this campaign could effect some changes in the internal structure of the Democratic party, since there are only a total of 5,000 precincts in Michigan.

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Sol Plafkin
Off Center

An interesting entry to the TV “talk show” circuit locally is “Haney’s People,” at 11:15 p.m., on Channel 7 (WXYZ-TV).

Host for the new show is Don Haney who is dark black in color, but not very black in philosophy. For instance, in discussion July 7 on bias in the mass media, Haney kept on insisting that TV had played an important role in magnifying the image (with a clear implication that this was detrimental to “good race relations”) of Stokely Carmichael and Rap Brown.

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Sol Plafkin
Off Center

Publisher Anthony Wierzbicki of the Detroit American is constantly explaining his extensive “crime” coverage. In a recent front-page editorial he stated: “We firmly believe that it is the duty of a newspaper to advise its readers of the truth—the entire truth. Then, and then only can the public make proper decisions and demand proper civic action.”

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Sol Plafkin
Off Center

One of the most noticeable things about the primary election this month was the unusually low turnout especially for a Presidential year. The excitement of a forthcoming national election contest generally creates among the electorate a greater interest in the traditional process and usually stimulates people to exercise their franchise more enthusiastically.

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Sol Plafkin
Off Center

The rabid anti-Communist vultures are now having a field day. They are suddenly showing a concern for the people of Czechoslovakia which they never exhibited for the Blacks in Rhodesia and South Africa or the Orientals in Vietnam.

In the history of the world, words like “freedom” and “democracy” are usually only valuable as items of a propaganda machine. They are cute “means” necessary to unite or propel a people behind a national cause that is really much more dedicated to political and economic power.

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