Five years ago this month, on January 24, 1967, the Detroit Narcotics Bureau and its superiors in the city government in Detroit made a concentrated last-ditch attempt to stop the growth of the emerging rainbow culture, which was at that time just barely beginning to flower in the Detroit area. A massive "dope raid," involving the entire Detroit Narcotics squad, state and federal police, U.S. Customs officials, Food & Drug Administration hacks, and undercover snakes of all kinds, was launched against the Detroit Artists' Workshop and the hip community of which it was the center; 56 brothers and sisters, including an entire rock and roll band, the Magic Veil Light Company, head shop proprietors, the staff of GUERRILLA newspaper, a group of freeks who had assembled at the Workshop for a poetry class, and members of communes and households throughout the Warren-Forest area, were rounded up, held in jail until the newspapers could hit the streets with their sensationalistic headlines, and held up as examples of what would happen to all young people in the Detroit area who refused to toe the line.
The "Great Dope Raid" wasn't about dope at all–the police and newspapers used the incredibly small quantities of reefer they came up with to try to lay a so-called "legal" basis for their crimes against the people, but from the outset the intentions of the control addicts were clear: they were out to arrest the development of an entire people by threatening and busting people who refused to stay under control, and they were using the barbaric marijuana laws of the state of Michigan as their weapon. There was never any question in the community as to the political nature of the "Great Dope Raid," and now, five years later, there can be no question as to the ultimate failure of the pigs' strategy, our culture has continued to grow and spread despite the efforts of the control addicts, and each day we become stronger and stronger as a result of our ever-increasing numbers.
The January 24th raid marked an important turning point in the life of our community–it led directly to the formation of Trans-Love Energies, the forerunner of the Rainbow People's Party, and it gave those of us who made up the hip community at the time a whole new sense of ourselves as a people who were under attack by the forces of reaction. It gave rise to a five-year series of benefits (including the first rock & roll benefit in the history of the Michigan rainbow community) for the victims of the January 24th raid, a series which just culminated in the John Sinclair Freedom Rally December 10th, and it brought the entire community together in a way that would otherwise have been impossible. It also marked the start of a long and strenuous battle against the Michigan marijuana statutes, a struggle which cost our Chairman, John Sinclair, almost 2 1/2 years of his freedom before the desired result was achieved on December 9, 1971, with the passage of the new marijuana legislation, and on December 13th with John's release from prison.
Today, five years after the "Great Dope Raid" of 1967, we can see that the control addicts have suffered a tremendous defeat through the power and the spirit of the people–instead of killing off our spirit and keeping us from developing our humanity and our common culture to a higher level, the fools in power have united us even more closely that before and have exposed themselves so openly that thousands and thousands of brothers and sisters have come to reject their vicious lies and their whole system of exploitation and greed. They've thrown everything except bullets at us, and we have not only survived their attacks but have grown more and more powerful as a result of our common struggle. Our culture spreads itself further every day, we are beginning to orgainze ourselves to take care of our own needs and to create an alternative social order in the midst of this madness, our visions make more sense to more people all the time, we are stronger than ever while the dinosaurs just get weaker and weaker, we are a rising force in the world and there is no way we can be stopped.
We are now at another major turning point in our history-–we've reached a point where there is no longer any question as to our survival, we've made it clear that we're going to survive and develop our culture no matter what they do to try to stop us, and now we can start moving to develop the institutions and the solutions which will enable us to further ensure our survival and to grow now into our fullest human potential. As our numbers grow larger and larger we can begin to see that our future is incredibly bright, and that it's now a matter of developing ourselves and organizing ourselves more and more until we're capable of dealing with all the problems which we face as an emerging people in this world. Our potentiality is huge now, it's beginning already to realize itself, but it can't be fully realized until we really organize ourselves and move together in an organized fashion to develop that potentiality into the beautiful real thing it is meant to be.
We are entering a period where many of the visions and dreams we've entertained in the past can begin to come true, but unlike we used to think, they aren't going to come true spontaneously–that's the first thing we've learned as a result of our struggle, that no major social change happens spontaneously, not even something as relatively small as changing the marijuana laws or getting one person out of the penitentiary, and we know now that change comes only through the organized efforts of the people. We know that despite the almost limitless possibilities which are open to us at this point, despite the tremendous wealth of energy and genius we possess as a people, none of it means anything unless it is developed carefully and systematically by the people moving together in an organized fashion in the service of their own interests; and we know that the people are being held back now by the lack of strong people's organizations which can lead the people in their struggle and help the people organize themselves into effective survival growth units during the period of transition from the old order to the new.
The Rainbow People's Party is 100% dedicated to communalist social change; our organization exists only to serve the people and to help our people any way we can. We are absolutely committed to the arduous task of organizaing ourselves effectively enough so that we can give our people the kind of help they deserve, and we realize that our first responsibility must be to get ourselves and our organization together enough so that we are able to help the people first in our immediate community; and then in all of our communities across the planet, organize themselves to deal with their immediate problems and finally to create the new world which will replace the decrepit world we have inherited from our ancestors. We know that our primary concern has to be the level of our organizational development, and that everything else we do flows from that; we know that our effectiveness is limited only by our own incompetence and our own lack of organizational strength rather than by the alleged apathy and lack of interest in change on the part of the people; and we know most of all that we have to get ourselves together before we can really make ourselves of any positive use to the people.
There are a great many things we could do if we decided to pursue them, and in the past we wasted ourselves much of the time working in areas and on problems we were incapable of handling properly, but we know now that the first thing we have to deal with is our own internal development, and after that the development of our immediate community, so that we will have a solid base from which to move and upon which to build a real alternative social order in this weirdo place. We are considering many possibilities right now, possibilities which are equally promising of success, but we want to make it clear that the first two possibilities we will explore are those closest to us where we are right now: the possibility of developing a powerful people's party which will be capable of dealing with the needs of the people, and the possibility of developing the Ann Arbor community and the Michigan rainbow community into models of the communalist social order of the future.
Like our people as a whole, the Rainbow People's Party is at a major turning point; the primary task we set for ourselves during the first eight months of our new organizational existence–to Free John Sinclair–has been accomplished, we have achieved our other major goals of publishing a regular community newspaper and beginning to establish an organizational base for ourselves in the party and in the community, and we are now ready to embark upon the next stage of our development as a revolutionary political party. With Chairman John back with the rest of us we are now able to turn our attention fully to the problems which constantly face our people, and we can begin to move forward again as we have not been able to move since July 25, 1969 when John was ripped off by the state of Michigan. We know that we have won a tremendous victory over the forces of reaction, a victory which was achieved as a result of five years of struggle and the concentrated strength of rainbow people throughout Michigan and across the country, and we face the future with a tremendous sense of optimism and strength.
Our major problem during the immediate period is one of evaluating the possibilities open to us and choosing those areas of work which are most immediately promising of success; where everything seemed gloomy and hopeless a month or so ago, now everything seems just the opposite, and it's very difficult for us to limit ourselves–as we must–to working only in those areas where we are capable of contributing directly and concretely to the immediate development of our potentiality as a people. We realize that there are so many things our people need that a hundred organizations like our own wouldn't be enough to handle all the possibilities open to us, and we are struggling very hard to keep our feet on the ground so we don't go flying off in all directions at once and thus fail to accomplish anything real at all.
We had hoped to announce in this issue of the SUN the programs and the areas of work which we will be undertaking in the next stage of our development, but after a month of intensive investigation, discussion and study we are still unable to reach a definite decision on the specific directions our work will take in the immediate future, and we have decided to postpone such an announcement until we have our whole plan of work laid out and finalized. We want people n the community to understand what we're trying to do and how we propose to go about doing t, but we don't want to spread unnecessary confusion and weirdness, so until we finalize our plans–hopefully within the next two weeks–we won't say anything definite at all about what we hope to do. There are certain general areas to which we have already made a general commitment, but we haven't yet worked out just what our specific commitments to specific projects will be, and until we can get that worked out completely we'll have to postpone any detailed presentation of our overall program.
We can say right now that we are definitely committed to strengthening, consolidating, and expanding the party organization itself, at least in the Ann Arbor community and hopefully in the Detroit and Michigan community in the next few months; that we are definitely committed to strengthening consolidating and expanding the alternative people's institutions which have been developing in Ann Arbor over the past three years and which have begun to come together under the banner of the Ann Arbor Tribal Council, a mass people's organization; that we are definitely committed to the task of creating alternative institutions and self-determination power in the cultural field, and particularly in the rock and roll industry, institutions organized on the communal model and with an undeniable socialist content, on both the local and the national level; that we are definitely committed to supporting the struggle of prisoners to gain their humanity and to secure their most basic constitutional rights as citizens of this country, any way we can; and that we are inalterably committed to bettering the conditions of our people and helping our people prepare themselves for the struggle for survival and the struggle for liberation in every possible way. These are the primary areas of work to which we have already committed ourselves for the next stage of our development as a people's organization, and we hope to be able to break down the whole thing and explain in detail what we plan to do, by the next issue of the SUN.
There are two specific matters we would like to clear up before we move on into the future: the first is the question of the status of our house on Hill Street, and the second is an accounting of the finances of the John Sinclair Freedom Rally of December 10, 1971. A considerable amount of confusion was generated last fall when we announced that we were being evicted from our headquarters at 1520 Hill Street and then failed to report on further developments in that area, and we would like to announce at this time that we are in the process of purchasing this house and the two other structures on this property from the owners who refused to let us rent or lease from them any longer. A down payment was made in November, thanks to many friends who came through with loans and pledges of money when we needed it most, and we are in the process of finalizing the purchase agreement at this time. When the matter is settled we will make a full accounting of the transaction in the pages of the SUN so everyone in the community can know what's going on here, but for the time being the threat of eviction is definitely over.
The John Sinclair Freedom Rally was the largest event ever produced by our organization, and while it raised an impressive amount of money for the John Sinclair Freedom Fund it also involved an almost unbelievable number of expenses. In order to give people an idea of the magnitude of this event and the costs involved in putting it together, staging the rally, and covering all the expenses engendered during the course of the planning and implementation of the rally, we want to offer the following financial statement as a preliminary accounting of the project; a more detailed account can be made available to any brothers or sisters who are interested further.
The gross income from the John Sinclair Freedom Rally totalled $40,381.16; the expenses (so far) amount to $25,440.44; and the net income for the Committee to Free John Sinclair was $14,940.72. The expenses can be broken down as follows: (1) Rental of Crisler Arena $6,000.00; (2) Production costs (sound system, stage rental and equipment rental, projector and screen rental, etc.)–$2,899. 08; (3) Security costs–$285.00; (4) Truck & car rentals, gas & oil, parking tickets, & related transportation expenses–$1,282. 49, (5) Advertising & promotion costs (including printing costs for the program, the posters, and other materials, pressing of the "Free John Now" 45, postage for mass mailings, etc.)–$3,054.74; (6) Operating expenses during the planning and production stages of the project ding staff expenses, office equipment rental, telephone service for regular and special phones used in planning and coordinating the event, etc.)-–$1,378 38. (7) Travel expenses for performers (plan fare two ways in most cases, plus room & board arrangements during the event)–$7,366.02; (8) Planning & coordinating costs before, during and after the event (including a number of trips to New York for planning purposes)–$1,050.98; (9) Miscellaneous (including interest on advance loans for anticipated expenses, legal expenses, and filming expenses)–$1.223.75.
The major single expenses (over $500) include $1,600.00 in expenses for Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen, $1,298.50 in travel expenses for Bobby Seale and retinue; $1,296.15 in travel expenses for Joy of Cooking, who didn't even get to play due to an equipment foul-up; $712.25 in travel expenses for David Peel & Co.; $1,000.00 for projector rental; $1,250.00 for rental of sound equipment; $522.08 for hotel rooms for the performers; $713.15 for printing the Rally program; $1,050.50 for pressing 15,000 copies of "Free John Now" for free distribution at the rally, $1,400.00 for printing 15,000 posters which were given out free at the rally; and $823.03 (with more to come) in telephone charges.
Of the net income turned over to the Committee to Free John Sinclair, the first $2,500.00 went for John's bond in the Michigan Supreme Court; $3,250.00 to legal firms which have worked on John's case over the past five years; $1,450.00 to repay personal loans made to the Committee during the course of the struggle to Free John Now; $3,873.63 to the Rainbow People's Party to cover expenses incurred during the six-month campaign to Free John Now, including many outstanding bills for printing materials, mass mailing expenses, newspaper ads, telephone service, etc; $109.65 for the typesetting costs on a fund-raising brochure for the CIA Conspiracy case; $78.75 for an additional planning trip; a loan of $3,142.00 to the Michigan Committee for Prisoners' Rights used for advance expenses in the production of the benefit for the MCPR at U of D January 15th (a full accounting of that event will be printed here as soon as it's available); and a loan of $274.56 to the Ann Arbor Tribal Council for printing costs on the Tribal Council newspaper. Expenditures total $14,678.59, leaving a balance with the Committee to Free John Sinclair of $262.13!!
Finally, we want to thank each and every person who has helped us during the past five years of our struggle against the established power of the state of Michigan, and we hope that everyone who has participated in this campaign to change the marijuana laws and to Free John Sinclair feels the sense of exhilaration and joy which all of us feel at the completion of this historic battle. We hope the energy which has been generated in the past month since John's release will serve to lift all of us to a new level of activity and struggle, because we've really just started to move the way we have to move in order to survive and grow into our fullest human potential. It's a hell of a beginning, though, and it's up to all of us to carry it on to its natural conclusion. All Power to the People!
(signed). Central Committee, Rainbow People's
John Sinclair, Chairman
David Sinclair, Chief of Staff
January 19, 1972 Year of Unity