Cass Technical High

Sat Feb 23 22:38:10 MST 2002

> I worked at Wayne State University from 1972 to 1974, then hung around Detroit
> for the next ten years.  I got to know some of the folks who were out of Cass
> Tech, People Against Racism, League of Revolutionary Black Workers,
> etc.  Collectively they were an impressive lot, so much so that I returned in
> the early 90s to track them down and interview them for a book which became
> "Detroit Lives" (Temple University Press, 1994).
> Among the interviewees was Mike Hamlin:
>       "But then I met John Watson, and through him I began to feel that maybe a
> terrorist act, no matter how large, would not accomplish that much.  And maybe
> there could be a greater impact by organizing people and focusing on the
> working class.  It was through him that I began to understand classes and class
> society.  Watson was, is, a super intellectual, a genius." (pg 85)
> John Watson was institutionalized at the time, so I never met him.  But he,
> like so many others in Detroit who I spent time with, who gravitated around
> Wayne State, represented some of the very best of the left.  They were solid
> and honest, and  changed my life.
> Bob Mast

I loved Mike Hamilin beyond comprehension and in Novemeber 200, UAW (United Auto Workers) Local 600, Ford Rouge held a retirement celebration for him. Everyone showed up which means all layers of society. Mike was my mentor and help me grow up and overcome some very narrowminded concepts. At the time I was the senior in my section of the League at age 17 and had the responsiblity of montioring the 17 student groups at various schools. The most difficult part of my task was the elementary school because the kids in the fifth grade had permission from their parents to join the movement. We were producing comic books with the struggle for workers and civil rights, so everyone could read and see the pictures 

At age 15 you were consider mature enough - from my point of view, to be integrated into the propaganda apparatus, but not old enough for plant gate distributions. Mike paid specical attention to the youth and I travel around the country with him when every possible. Mike had a special talnet for being able to unite any cross section of humanity around wahtever goal they proclaimed. Mike had met Ken Cocrel working at the Detroit News and Ken had a special security clearence from the military, dealing with nuclear something or the other. Ken became an incredible attorney and our spokesperson. John Watson isolated the Palestine Question as the hot spot for the next fifty years and we ran with it, after a thousand meeting where he explained his position. 

Then there was folk like Ron Glotta, an attorny of incredible intellectual capacity and endurance. Ron framed the "Vote Communist Campaign" where we fought our way onto the ballot as outright Communist and called for the dictatorship of the propletariat and our candidate lost by less than a 1% margin. Sure, it was leftisheness, but after the people say "OK" we didn't know what to do. People Against Racism was Frank Joyce Group, who to this day remains a wonderful man. His wife at the time was a talented black women who became the first black and female president of the Baker Union at age 33 if I am not mistaken. She had become a semi-skilled worker at the Frito Lay plant. Her story is fascinating because her dad was Joesph Von Battle, a guy who produced one of Martin Luther King Jr. early recording and the person competing with Beery Gordy for dominance in the music industry. 

Frank did a tour as the national spokesperson of the UAW after working in the plant - Local 51, Plymouth Assembly. Then there was the Motor City Labor League which had member that had come from the old Catholic worker. 

Our biggest error was not writing this history. This morning we had a meeting where some of this history will be written and this includes Edna Watson - a professor, the former wife of John Watson. A lot of material from Waynes Labor archive have to be shifted through and the project is slated to be completed by September - Labor Day, this year. We will have "Detroit I Do Mind Dying" for sell over the net in 90 days. Twenty bucks cover postage. "Detroit I Do Mind Dying" is recorded inhistory as the definitive book on events in Detroit, although many of the partiscipants disagree with the book. The book is excellent. Perhaps we will be able to get General Baker (his real name) to write somthing for thr current project. 

Everyday is busy. The upcoming project will have a revolutionary edge because capital is at another qualitative stage of development. This morning we of course argued over the "theory of value" but this will not stand in the way. 

Writing something will keep everyone from becoming old. This is a great time to be a Marxist with a new doctrine of the class struggle. I will look up your book and we can sell that also. 

Joe Freemen.  

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