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Table of Contents

Contact Infomation:

Special Collections

MSU  Libraries

366 W. Circle Drive

East Lansing, MI 48824



URL: http://specialcollections.lib.msu.edu

Date Received:


Date Processed:


Acquisitions Information:


Preferred Citation:

Researchers wishing to cite this collection should include the following information: Box number, Folder number and/or title, Jim Jacobs, MSS 277, Special Collections, MSU Libraries, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI

Copyright Notice:

Copyright is retained by the author of the items in this archive, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Usage Restrictions:

There are no restrictions on the access of this collection.

Photoduplication Restrictions:

Contact Special Collections

Collection Summary:

The collection contains a broad array of documents as it chronicles the years of an intellectually-centered community activist. There are published journals, typewritten letters, handwritten notes, flyers and announcements, and many pages of “meeting materials.” Of particular interest are the back-and-forth arguments within the Marxist groups concerning organization and hierarchy, true purpose and ideology, and their expectation of members. The collection also contains numerous research papers on Marxist thought, prepared by Jacobs and others for study and discussion, as well as various newspaper clippings recording significant events in Jacobs’ personal, political and intellectual life. Jacobs’ role as one of the plaintiffs in Benkert v. State of Michigan, (the “Red Squad” case) –in which state-sanctioned surveillance of lawful citizen activities was ruled unconstitutional – is represented by his personal files of attorney correspondence, legal papers, and articles. The more recent materials in the collection contain many Detroit city government reports, bureaucratic forms, and memoranda, reflecting Jacobs’ increasing involvement with city programs. The time period of the collection is from approximately 1965 to 1984.

Historical Background:

In 1967, Jim Jacobs began teaching at Macomb County Community College in Warren, Michigan, after earning a bachelor’s degree in political science from Harpur College in New York, and a master’s degree in political science from Princeton University. In his early years at Macomb, Jacobs led many of the progressive movements on campus, including the first march on the Warren Tank Plant in 1970, and a campus strike over the U.S. invasion of Cambodia and the Kent State University shootings. He was the faculty sponsor of the leftist campus group, the Macomb Liberation Front, which led its support to Jacobs – as did many in the community -- when the college attempted to terminate his employment in 1970, citing Jacobs’ participation in a secretarial strike as its basis. An arbitration tribunal rejected the college’s arguments, and Jacobs retained his position.

During the 1970’s, Jacobs was active in Marxist-based groups in Detroit, in particular the Detroit Marxist Leninist Organization (DMLO), the Detroit Organizing Committee (DOC), and the Detroit Local Center (DLC). Jacobs’ writings and papers of this time period reflect the difficult task of working within society while studying and defending a radical view, as the revolutionary groups of the 1960’s attempted to retain their appeal and influence in the 1970’s without losing their core ideology. In 1977, Jacobs was awarded his Ph.D. in Political Science from Princeton. In 1978, a new left-leaning, multi-racial group, the Detroit Alliance for a Rational Economy (DARE), was formed, and the collection contains many of Jacob’s papers from his years of participation in DARE, as well as from his participation in other community groups at that time.

In the mid-70’s, Jacobs joined the landmark legal case, Benkert v. Michigan State Police, as a plaintiff; the Benkert court ruled that it was unconstitutional for the state police to maintain an intelligence unit designed to root out “subversives” and to pass on secret surveillance files on lawful citizens to third parties. Jacobs, himself a victim of the “Red Squad” spying program, wrote about the case for The Nation, assisted plaintiffs’ attorney Richard Soble with formulating a method for all victims to view their secret files, and was active in post-Benkert attempts to further rein in political surveillance in Michigan.

The collection ends with the early 1980’s. Since then, Jacobs has gone on to serve in leadership roles at Macomb Community College, and currently directs the college's Center for Workforce Development and Policy. He specializes in the areas of occupational change and technology, suburban economic development, the retraining of displaced workers, and needs assessment of occupational programs, and has published widely in these areas.

Processing Note:

The materials in this collection are organized by group and listed in chronological order, with exceptions for some particular files. This collection was processed by Anne-Marie Rachman on October 20, 2006.


Box Folder Description
  1. Studies on the Left (6 Issues: Spring 1965; Jan – Feb, March – April, May – June, November – December 1966; Jan – Feb 1967).
  2. Radical America (10 Issues: Nov 1970; Jan – Feb, March – April 1971; Jan – Feb, Nov – Dec 1972; May – June, Nov – Dec 1974; Jan – Feb, May – June 1975; March – April 1976).
  3. Class Struggle: Journal of Communist Thought (4 Issues: Spring 1975; Winter, Spring/Summer1976; Spring 1978).
1 1 Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) (circa 1962 – 69): Pamphlets, flyers, excerpts from the “Port Huron Statement.”
  2 Harpur College Student Government Announcement and alumnus paper re. Disarmament (circa 1962); UM Peace, Research and Education Project (SDS)
    Newsletters (May 1963, January 1964, April 1964, May 1964).
  3 Detroit National Organizing Committee (NOC) (circa 1969).
  4 Macomb County Community College: termination case against Jim Jacobs and other issues (circa 1971).
  5 Newspaper clippings (circa 1969 – 1972): The Fifth Estate; Wayne State University’s The South End; Warren Community News; People’s Voice.
  6 Detroit-area Union Flyers, Newsletters (circa 1971).
  7 Detroit Organizing Committee (DOC) (circa 1970).
  8 Detroit Organizing Committee (DOC) (circa 1971).
  9 Detroit Organizing Committee (DOC) (circa 1972).
  10 DOC’s “Worker’s Institute Funding Proposal (nd).
  11 NOC and DOC “Educationals” (nd).
  12 DOC Miscellaneous.
  13 Macomb Liberation Front (campus organization) (circa 1971).
  14 Macomb Collective and the Macomb Workers Food Co-op: miscellaneous statement papers and plans; letters; notes (circa 1975).
Box Folder Description
2 1 Communist Organizational Debate/ Detroit (circa 1974- 75).
  2 Detroit Marxist-Leninist Organization (DMLO) Women’s Study (1975 – 80).
  3, 4, 5, 6 DMLO (1975 – 77).
  7, 8, 9, 10 DMLO (1977 – 78).
  11 DMLO Women’s Study (1979).
Box Folder Description
3 1, 2, 3, 4 DMLO, the Organizing Committee for an Ideological Center (OCIC or OC), the Detroit Socialist Collective (DSC) and other groups (position papers, flyers, handwritten notes, announcements, and excerpts from journals. Circa 1978 to 1980).

  5 DMLO (1979 – 80).
  8 Detroit Local Center (DLC) (1978- 80).
  9 Leftist and Communist Party history  (pamphlets, articles, handwritten notes)  (circa 1968 – 1979).
    “RED SQUAD” Papers:
  10, 11 State Rep. Perry Bullard and the Committee on Civil Rights. (letters, transcripts on police surveillance) (1974 – 1976).
  12 Benkert v. Michigan State Police Court Orders and Proposed Settlement  (1976 – 1982).
  13 Court orders on similar cases filed in Chicago and New York (1980, 1981).
  14 Compliance plans, correspondence (1981 – 1982).
Box Folder Description
4 1 Compliance plans, correspondence (1983 – 85).
  2 Copy of Notice (“State Police Files on “Subversion” to be released.”) and letter used to satisfy requirements of compliance under Benkert.
  3 Copy of Application used under the “ Notification and Distribution Compliance Program.”
  4 Continuing compliance/monitoring issues. Transcript of meeting (1990).
  5 News articles on “Red Squad” case.
  6 Research report: “The Private Sector and Its Relationship to the Political Police” by George L. Corsetti
  7 Jacobs, “The Process of Political Surveillance: An Examination of a Local Police Department Unit.” (1976).
  8 National Lawyers’ Guild “Political Surveillance Project.” (circa 1982).
  9 ACLU Metropolitan Detroit Branch: Letter to council members re. Detroit Police and the Law Enforcement Intelligence Unit (LEIU) (1978).
  10 Various reports/newsletters on police spying in Michigan (1975 – 1981).
  11 Proposed Detroit Anti-Spy Ordinance (1981 – 1983).
  12 Misc.
    End of “RED SQUAD” Papers
  13 Miscellaneous Detroit community and government papers, circa 1978 – 1980.
    (Detroit Alliance for a Rational Economy or DARE, correspondence from Detroit Councilman Kenneth Cockrel’s office, HUD forms, Detroit Health Department report on drug and alcohol abuse, etc.)

  14 Detroit Alliance for a Rational Economy (DARE) (1979 – 81).
  15 Detroit Alliance for a Rational Economy (DARE) (1980).
Box Folder Description
5 1 DARE Files: Tax Abatement and Voucher Issues (1978-79);
    Jacobs letter re. Tax issues and draft letter to DARE Exec. Board (1981).
  2, 3 Miscellaneous DARE files (1978 – 81).
  4 DARE convention materials from 1978 – 81.
  5 DARE “City Life in the 80’s” Conference, September 29, 1979.
  6 DARE Community Organization Survey (1980).
  7 Campaign to elect General Baker to State Representative 9th District (1978).
    Primer on community organizing, from Rep. David Hollister, State Rep. 57th District. Article: “The Housing Question: Engels and After,” by Thomas Angotti

    (October 1977).
  8 Draft DARE Constitution; News clippings re. DARE.
  9 Quadrant maps and DARE member lists (1979 - 81).
  10 Campaign to elect Ken Cockrel to Detroit City Council (1977 – 78).
  11, 12 Institute for Urban Policy Research (announcements, articles, notes) (circa 1980 - 81).
  13, 14, 15 East Side Alliance (community group) and DARE files (1979- 82).
  16 Civil liberties and government surveillance (articles, pamphlets) (circa 1982).
  17 “Labor Notes” conference on union solidarity, June 15 – 17, 1984, Ypsilanti, MI.
  18 Miscellaneous articles, legal papers, essays

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