News & Views » Columns

Red-less rainbow



As of Monday, the folks over at Revolution Books Outlet were still trying to storm the barricades in order to gain access to this weekend’s Concert of Colors, which is staged annually by the civic group New Detroit.

The Cass Corridor bookstore is as red as red can be — as in Marx, Lenin and Mao. As far as the Concert of Colors goes, that hasn’t mattered a bit in the past. According to the store’s Gary Gant, RBO has had a booth along with other vendors at the concert every year since the event’s inception.

But unless New Detroit changes its mind, that streak is about to end.

“New Detroit is saying this is a ‘done deal’ that RBO won’t have a booth at this year’s festival,” Gant informed News Hits via e-mail.

The reason for the ban?

“It appears to be based on a bogus attempt to label RBO’s support for the struggle of the Palestinian people as anti-Jewish,” informs Gant.

The banishment, he writes, comes at a particularly troubling juncture.

“This is at a time of an escalating war on the Palestinians by Israel, and the U.S. as a part of their war on the peoples of the Middle East, and a fascist clampdown in the U.S. in which Arab people have been the first targets. RBO has been on point against this war and repression, providing literature which shows that the war on the Middle East is a strategic part of the U.S. empire’s plans for world domination …”

Gant goes on to contend that “banning RBO from the Concert of Colors is part of a climate where all support for liberation struggles is labeled as terrorist and debate and protest are labeled as treason.”

Now, even the quasi-commies here at News Hits believe there ain’t gonna be no red revolution in the good ’ol U.S. of A., but that’s not the point.

As Detroit City Council President Maryann Mahaffey pointed out at a council meeting last week, banning RBO could be a First Amendment problem since the festival takes place in city-owned Chene Park.

“I may or may not agree with someone’s opinion on something, but I don’t want to prohibit them from sharing their opinion,” said Mahaffey, who added that she will bring the matter to the attention of the ACLU.

New Detroit was formed following 1967’s riots. According to its Web site (, the group’s primary mission is to “combat racial injustice and polarization” by acting as a “coalition-builder, facilitating communication and interaction between the disparate ethnic and economic groups that comprise the metropolitan area.”

In this case, though, that bridge must be washed out, because no one from the organization returned our calls seeking New Detroit’s side of the story.

If you’d like to see RBO once again add a dash of red to this year’s Concert of Colors, phone New Detroit at 313-664-2000.

Contact News Hits at 313-202-8004 or

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.