DETROIT: I DO MIND DYING: A Study in Urban Revolution by Dan & Marvin Surkin Georgakas

DETROIT: I DO MIND DYING: A Study in Urban Revolution

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A romantic, personality-oriented account of the militant groups formed by black industrial workers in Detroit after the 1967 riots. They went by acronyms like DRUM (Dodge Revolutionary Union Movement), ELRUM, MERUM, CADRUM, NEWRUM and HRUM, depending on the factory or neighborhood or occupation within which the militants operated. The authors believe they embodied an effort by ""urban revolutionaries"" to ""gain control of their lives"" and take ""real power the power to control the economy, which meant trying to control the shop floor at the point of production."" These descendants of classical syndicalism were inspired by a newspaper -- the Inner City Voice; they coalesced into the League of Revolutionary Black Workers, then spawned another list of groups representing grass-roots, Saul Alinsky-type neighborhood organizing foci. Ultimately they dissipated, even before the collapse of the auto industry made ""point of production"" control completely futile. The book documents the intense local orientation of the RUMs as well as their racist disposition -- they refused to organize, or even hand leaflets to, white co-workers. And they campaigned strictly around immediate grievances. When they won in union elections and were defrauded of their victory, the various RUMs refused to fight the fraud, retreating into a ""they're all corrupt anyhow"" stance. They developed no program beyond agricultural self-help co-operatives for black ghetto residents. Nevertheless, the authors affirm that these groups aimed at ""a multilevel power apparatus parallel to the power apparatus of the system [they] sought to destroy."" And the book approves the groups' claims to eventual seizure of power in a general strike. A valuable reference in terms of names, organizations, and events.

Pub Date: May 5th, 1975
Publisher: St. Martin's