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February 13, 1970 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1970-02-13

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siur Sfriganau ai
Seventy-nine years of editorial freedom
Edited and managed by students of the University of Michigan

420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, Mich.

News Phone: 764-0552

Editorials printed in The Michigan Daily express the individual opinions of staff writers
or the editors. This must be noted in all reprints.



Hoffman is trying
the right to dissent

THE JURY goes out today in the trial
of the Chicago 7. It is now the time
to demonstrate against this perversion
of American justice manifested by the
very existence of this highly political
trial .n a nation which professes to be-
lieve in freedom of speech and assembly.
Indicted under the "Rap Brown clause"
of the 1968 Civil Rights Act, the s e v e n
defendants are charged with having con-
spired to cross state lines with'the intent
of inciting a riot at the 1968 Dempcratic
Convention. No one with any degree of
familiarity with the new left could pos-
sible believe that the seven (or, with
Bobby Seale, the original eight) defend-
ants could ever have managed to achieve
the degree of coordination necessary to
plan the Chicago riots.
Besides the conspiracy count, five of
the defendants - Mobilization leaders
David Dellinger, Rennie Davis, and Tom
Hayden, plus Yippies Abbie Hoffman and
Jerry Rubin - are also charged with the
"overt act" of attending meetings a n d
making speeches. The other two, J o h n
Froines and Lee Weiner, are alleged to
have taught and demonstrated the mak-
ing and use of "an incendiary device" in
a presumed unsuccessful attempt to fire-
bomb the underground garage at Grant
Park. Add Black Panther Seale - drop-
ped from the trial and sentenced to
four years for contempt by Judge Julius
Hoffman when he'insisted on his right
to defend himself - and you have the
most improbable bunch of conspirators
since the Spock-Coffin trial.
THE CHICAGO TRIAL has been charac-
terized as a "theater of the absurd"
- which indeed it often seems to be.
Judge Hoffman has refined the role of
judge-as-prosecutor to a fine art, and the
defendants have responded with . overt
.manifestations of their disrespect unpre-
cedented in an American court.
They have seized upon the trial as a
golden opportunity to publicize their
politics, reasoning that, sihce political
prosecution is illegal - or at least im-
moral - the only honest response is to
treat the whole proceeding as (for Rubin
and Hoffman) a joke or (for Hayden and
Davis) an affront to their basic dignity
and humanity.
THPEATER OR NOT, this trial may rank
as one of the most important - if not
the most important - single trial of this
century. If these men are convicted, and
if their conviction is upheld by the ap-
peals court, First Amendment guarantees
of speech and freedom of assembly will
be effectively voided.
Most of the egidence presented by the
government attorneys was garnered by
spies: undercover policemen, FBI agents
and paid informers. The extent to which
the radical movement is infiltrated by
such types is reminiscent of Czarist Rus-
sia at its worst, and is quite enough to
give anyone in the Movement an acute
case of paranoia.
Speech cannot be truly free in a society
which sends police to spy on its citizens

and then uses them as witnesses to prove
that those citizens were, as Rubin has
said, "guilty of thinking bad thoughts
while crossing state lines."
In addition to the undercover agents the
government based much of its case on
testimony by police and city officials.
There was much of what appeared to the
defendants, and others, to be blatant ly-
ing on the witness stand, but challenges
by the defense were generally overruled,
usually on technical grounds. Similarly,
defense lawyers were not able to question
fully their own witnesses, while the testi-
mony of others was excluded by the judge.
Truth, it seems, was unimportant, ir-
relevant to this trial.
FURTHERMORE, THE government will
have succeeded in its goals even if the
defendants are acquitted for it has ef-
fectively harassed some of the most dy-
namic leaders of the anti-war movement
by diverting their time and energies away
from new radical activity. It is a testi-
mony to the strength of the anti-war
movement that two highly publicized and
well-atended actions - the Oct. 15 mora-
torium and the Nov. 15 Mobilization and
March Against Death - occurred while
these (supposed) key leaders were all tied
up in court. Nonetheless, the trial itself
- regardless of the verdict'- may have
served as a deterrent for radical action
by others.
Finally, the seven defendants and their
lawyers face as a result of this trial and
of the blatant bias of Judge Hoffman,
summary jail sentences for contempt
of court whether they are acquitted or
not. If the judge imposes the threatened
sentences this will open up a whole new
possibility for political persecution: the
trying of dissidents on trumped-up charg-
es under circumstances sure to make
them react in a manner which can be
judged contemptuous. Thus the Chicago
7 might be the first of many political
prisoners in prison despite direct or ap-
pealed acquittal on the original charges.
THIS TRIAL cannot pass ignored into
history. The New Mobe has called
for nationwide demonstrations when the
jury returns its verdict. Ann Arbor, which
sent 5000 people to the Nov. 15 march on
Washington, should be in the forefront
of this national action. We have a moral
imperative to hold demonstrations if the
seven are convicted, or if they are sen-
tenced to prison for expressing their
rightful contempt of Judge Hoffman's
More - much more - than seven men
is on trial. Dissent, freedom of speech,
truth itself will not mean very much if
these men are condemned for taking the
Bill of Rights literally.
If the government succeeds in Chi-
cago, none of us will ever again be free
to take effective political action against
a system which is unresponsive 'to t h e
will of the people.
Editorial Page Editor

ALTHOUGH THE verdict isn't in yet,
the Chicago Conspiracy Trial is al-r
ready over. Regardless of the final out-
come in the case, the knowledge of what
has happened in that Chicago court, and
what the trial symbolizes and forebodes,
is haunting. The events which have taken
place during the course of the trial have
been shocking, intimidating, and enlight-
A wide range of legislative, police, and
judicial resources were combined to con-
duct the prosecution: the Anti-Riot Act,
the Conspiracy law, scores of police in-
formers, illegal wire-taps, the jailing of
defense counsel, denial of Bobby Seale's
right to have the lawyer of his choice,
jailing of Dave Dellinger for saying "bull-
shit" to an FBI agent's testimony, re-
fusal to hear testimony from former
Atty. Gen. Ramsey Clark, and more.
The Conspiracy trial, from its incep-
tion, has reflected the insanity of a poli-
tical and economic establishment which
has found itself confronted by a social
movement demanding an end to foreign
and domestic exploitation, and to the
war and misery which is bred by that ex-
On January 24, 1969 - four and a half
months ago - the trial began. Judge
Julius Hoffman strode into the c o u r t
on the 23rd. floor of the Federal Build-
ing of Chicago ready to hear evidence in
proof of a conspiracy to intend to en-
courage riot at the Democratic Conven-
tion. He knew his was to be to3e first case
involving the 1968 Anti-riot Act.
SITTING .ON his high, imposing chair,
he saw yippies, a black man, two uni-
versity professors, three anti-war organiz-
ers and their two attorneys. Judge Hoff-
man's purpose as he faced those men was
to maintain order over an explosively poli-
tical trial. He consistently ruled that testi-
mony on the war in Vietnam or on youth
culture was not relevant to the case. But
for the defendants the opposite was the
case. They knew their indictments were the
result of their political outlook and be-
liefs. Therefore, their purpose was to
present to the jury and to the nation the
range of issues which had originally com-
pelled them to come to the Chicago con-
Bobby Seale, chairman of the B 1a c k
Panther Party, made two speeches during
convention week, 1968: Julius Hoffman
asked that Seale stand before his court
to be charged with conspiracy. "Remember
Mr. Seale, I'm one of the best friends your
race ever had," Judge Hoffman s a i d .
Bobby Seale was refused the right to

The verdict doesn't matter

have Charles Garry as his lawyer; when
Seale later demanded the right to con-
duct his self-defense, he was chained and
gagged so that, as the Judge said, he
could "have a fair trial."
Dave Dellinger, an avowed pacifist since
he refused ind'uction in 1943, placed him-
self between Bobby Seale and the Federal
marshalls when Judge Hoffman ordered
Seale gagged and chained. Dellinger, along'
with Tom Hayden and Rennie Davis, had
worked for months to obtain permits for
the Convention Demonstrations. He and
Davis were beaten during the course of
those demonstrations. The court structure
which had cooperated in refusing to grant
the parade permits was now trying him
for inciting the violence that occurred.
Dave Dellinger for his insistance on the
right to demonstrate peacefully was de-
signated in the original court indictment
as the "prime architect" of the police
violence. He has been in prison before; he
neither fears the power of the state, nor
believes that the authority of this poli-
tical state deserves respect.
Last week, when Judge Hoffman or-
dered the immediate revocation of bond,
and jailing of Dave Dellinger, Abbie Hoff-
man refused to let the Federal marshalls
get to the 54-year-old pacifist - Abbie
was thrown into the chairs of the press
section of the courtroom, and slammed
against the wall.
Abbie was a civil rights organizer in the
early 1960's, learned that black people
in America must make their own destiny,
and then evolved into a cultural revolu-
tionary. He and Jerry Rubin (Jerry was
an early leader in the Berkley Free Speech
Movement) came to the public eye most
brilliantly during their appearances be-
fore the House Un-American Activities
Committee, and their much heralded de-
bate over whether to raise the Pentagon
10 feet, or 300 feet into the air. When
defendant Hoffman took the witness stand
to testify, the Judge bemoaned the fact
that "You have no respect for me."
When Judge Hoffman ordered the jail-
ing of defendant Dellinger, Abbie call-
ed to the Judge, "You're a disgrace to
the Jews, you runt! You're a fascist! Why
don't you work for the Nazis?"
JUDGE HOFFMAN complained that the
defendants have not conducted themselves
in a responsible manner in his court. "I
have never in all my life been exposed to
such behavior," said Hoffman. William
Kuntsler, an attorney for the defense, who,
incidentally, will likely be jailed for sev-
eral years for contempt, responded to the
Judge's complaint. "Your Honor .. . you're
not used to dealing with free men."



The Conspiracy trial has shown us condition us to intimidation - to inculcate

something of the legal system in the Unit-
ed States, and the political and social
system which it reflects. Judge Hoffman
is a particularly over-zealous representa-
tive of the legal system; his general prior-
ities are the same which the system re-
wards and promotes in other men. The
character of Judge Hoffman is not at
issue; the issue is the American court
system and its role in serving power and
wealth, instead of human rights. A haunt-
ing and sobering thought is that if
Judge Hoffman is a judge of the U.S.
Federal District Court, then what happens
on a day to day basis in night recorders
court in Detroit, or in the station houses
of Watts, or the prisons of Appalachia?
The court system of the United States in-
corporates within it certain priorities,
certain values - the essence of which is
becoming increasingly clear.
THE SYSTEM is an arena for social
conflict - the sort of conflict our society
finds rising out of social injustice, racism,
and a cruel, alienating culture. But, rath-
er than resolving conflict, our court system
functions to repress certain social and
political behavior. As with other policing,
coercive institutions, the courts try to
maintain order in an inconsistant, unjust
One of the purposes of repression, as
can be seen from the Chicago trial is to

in people a feeling of powerlessness. The
inherent contradiction, however, is that
if the Movement were powerless, if it
were not finding support from a wide
range of people, there would be no "need"
for repression. The court system, like
the politically rigged two-party system,
functions out of our control. But cases like
the Conspiracy 8 will not let us stand idle.
Our need for a sane and human society
will remain.
THE SEVEN MEN presently on trial in
Chicago will likely face many years in
jail - for contempt. Yet their trialhas
served as a rallying cry, as a means of
expanding the movement. The slogan,
"Stop the Trial", succeeded in exposing
a legal system which has been seen as
"neutral territory" for too long. T h e
defendants are men who chose to be a part
of the current social movement. They,
like Huey P. Newton, minister ofadefense
of the Black Panther Party, are not
martyrs, and do not wish to be so; they
are examples of courage. They symbolize
those who know the need for a new and
human society and have struggled for it.
Their faith in the ability to change our
society does not come from their trust in
the existing institutions. As Jerry Rubin
said at the Teach-in on Repression, their
trust is in "the people; that's you, all
of you - in the schools, in the factories,
in the jails, in the streets."




Fighting the power structure

To the Editor:
ion has been involved in a politi-
cal struggle for power for over a
year. For Carla Rapaport to have
basedher analysis of the Tenants
Union's present position without
consideration of this struggle is
to either purposely obfuscate the
radical nature of the group's ac-
tivity or to basicallyushow misun-
derstanding of the union. Know-
ing Miss Rapaport's integrity, I
must believe the latter.
Two points should be emphas-
ized: First, a political struggle en-
gaged in by a loosely-knit, radical
group, illegitimate in the percep-
tions of a community, will be long
and difficult when waged against
the collusive forces of corporate
landlords, courts, banks, and the
University. This group not only
rules the housing market, it has
the power, respectability, and fi-
nances to dictate policy in eleven
other community areas as well.
When threatened, their response
will manipulate that power until
said threats are removed.
Thus, for example, you have the
courts' reversal on summary judg-
ments, a tactic originally disal-

lowed by our "objective" judicial
system. The legal sophistry is
quite cute: if a landlord sues for
possession of an apartment, he is
entitled to full back rent, regard-
less of the merits of the tenant's
case. If the landlord sues for both
possession and back rent, there
may be reductions, f o r tenants
may have been justified in their
withholding of rent. Seven months
ago, District Court would o n 1 y
hear the lattercase, using that
strange ethic of weighing b o t h
sides of an argument before giv-
ing judgment. This is no longer
necessary; when you've got the
power to control, baby, flaunt it!
ranging from t h e impotence of
the new housing code in protect-
ing tenants' rights to the shrink-
ing housing market. All of them
imply the far from delicate bal-
ance between the control of land-
lords and the needs of tenants.
Naturally, no group will be "vic-
torious" in one year in such a sit-
uation. Incremental changes in
housing codes and maintenance
procedures are viewed by the un-
ion as sops,, not substance. Why

Miss Rapaport wrote we were con-
tent with such actions is incred-
Secondly, the misquoting of me,
"We overestimated the strike...
we ... were on the verge of col-
lapse" points to further misunder-
standing. As I pointed out to Miss
Rapaport, we misjudged the rent
strike as the only necessary tactic
f o r union recognition. It would
have led to our collapse if that
tactic had remained as our only,
all-inclusive strategy and union
function, for the power arrayed
against us is too complete.
But tactics are means, not ends.
There is no such thing as a "suc-
cessful" rent strike; there are rent
strikes, period. If the organization
is successful through such a tac-
tic, it will be recognized m o r e
readily as a collective bargaining
agent for tenants. If not, then you,
merely put the tactic in a lower
priority. As the struggle is over
power, the strategy is one of adap-
tability to situational and or-
ganizational needs, not over the
number of cases won and lost in
court or whether maintenance
improves. Liberals worry over

such issues; we adamently refuse
NEW TACTICS must not ob-
scure thereality around any of
us. Next year, as the University
population increases and t h e
housing market remains constant,
there will be an absolute shortage
of housing in the entire city, and
people will have to live in other
cities. On top of it, those staying
will not be able to find two room
apartments for less than $300.00.
Happy? Of course not; there is
too much to do. As long as we are
able to crystalize the dichotomy
between tenant and landlord, re-
gardless of the tactics being em-
ployed, we remain a threat to the
corporate power structure in this
community. And while we remain,
more and more people recognize
their tenancy rights, their differ-
ences with landlords, and their
lack of protection due to such dif-
ferences. And one day they will
demand a change in that power
arrangement, a little lessening of
the corporate claw around their
lives. Then, and only then, will
the Tenants Union think of vic-
-Steve Burghardt
General Co-ordinator
Ann Arbor Tenants Union
Feb. 12
To the Editor:
The following is a copy of a
letter sent to John G, Young, di-
rector of the Engineering Place-
ment Service.
WITH REGARD to your letter
concerning the alleged disruptive
activities sponsored by SDS, let
me repeat some of my reply to Mr.
Ardis' letter. SoC is not a judicial
body. Withdrawal of recognition
from an organization for disrup-
tive actions is clearly a penalty
which should not be imposed with-
out judicial due process, which in
this case means conviction and
sentencing by CSJ. Procedurally
your only redress with the student
body is to bring action in the stu-
dent courts.
Let me also make it perfectly
clear, for myself personally-I do
not speak for Council on this-
that even were CSJ to convict SDS
an ddemand revocation of their
privileges as a student organiza-
tion, I would vote against it. I feel
there is a great deal of moral
legitimation for the kinds of ac-
tions you mentioned, regardless
of +he nronrtd amnLp invnlved.

They had to
To the Editor:
pathizers take note. It is a state
law, I repeat, a State Law that
any person can freeze another per-
son's bank account merely by
starting a lawsuit. ,
The Ann Arbor Bank has no
control over this tactic whatso-
ever. Every other bank in the
area has complied with the court-
ordered garnishment in exactly
the same way the AAB has, I've
talked to them. They sympathize
with the AAB againts the gross
slander being perpetrated against
It is further a state law that a
bank must disclose to the person
who started the garnishment pro-
ceedings the amount in the ac-
count to l% garnished.
tains that the AAB has willfully
neglected to inform their custom-
ers of the freezing of their ac-
counts (The dirty fascists.) Does
this make any sense? It is cer-
tainly not to the bank's advantage
to irritate its customers, and
couldn't possible be to the land-
'lord's advantage (supposing the
bank and landlords' were partners
in some sinister plot to overthrow
the Tenants Union as radical
mentality automatically assumes.)
A more likely story is told by
the Senior Vice-President off AAB,
Bruce Benner, who attributes the
lack of notification to student
transcience. Students move and
forget to notify their banks or the
post office of their new addresses.
Benner, of course, has proof. He
has copies of the letters sent to all
students dated the same day as the
bank received its injunctions.
Tenants Union: Think twice.
Rather, think.
-Robert Loewenstein, '71
To the Editor:
THE PEOPLE should be inform-
ed that tenure has been denied to
Dr. James F. Verdieck of the
Chemistry Department. Dr'. Ver-
dieck is an outstanding teacher
and a sensitive individual, as any
of his students will testify, but his
tenure committee apparently could
not care less.
As always, student opinion was
not so solicited in making this de-
cision; without any decision-mak-
ing nnwer, there is no reason to


A new abyss
in the credibility gap

ALTHOUGH THE nation is still split
over the role of the United States in
Vietnam, poll after poll has shown that
an overwhelming majority of the popula-
tion believes we should never have gotten
involved there in the first place. Pre-
sumably, there would also be strong op-
position to involving American troops in
another Southeast Asia abyss - like
In his most recent news conference
President Nixon assured reporters there
were "no troops in combat" in Laos. Whe-
ther or not this statement is technically
accurate, the nature of American involve-
Editorial Staff

ment and the commitment of U.S. troops
in Laos remains unclear.
Apparently no administrative branch
of the government is willing to explain
exactly what we are doing in Laos. Last
December, Senator Fulbright's foreign
relations committee debated our role in
Laos. The following is what the public has
the right to know - as printed in the
Congressional Record, Jan. 21, E155.
Mr. FULBRIGHT. Nearly everyone
that has spoken out recently has said
that they think it was a mistake to
become involved in Vietnam or, in
this instance Laos. (Deleted). This is
a major operation. (Deleted).
Mr. ELLENDER. (Deleted).
Mr. FULBRIGHT. (Deleted).
Mr. ELLENDER. (Deleted).
Mr. FULBRIGHT. (Deleted).
1\A'.. V U Yr WU fW m " %

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GRIX. Editor

Sit j-44



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