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February 28, 1970 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1970-02-28

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t ae nrIi$an DaiIl
Seventy-nine years of editorial freedom
Edited and managed by students of the University of Michigan

'Whither Wilson's) Britain?'

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.



I am curious; why the injunction?

FJHE TEMPORARY injunction issued by
Judge Ager against the film "I Am.
Curious (Yellow)" was unwarranted. The
fact that the action even seems legally
unjustified not, only makes both Ager's
and' Prosecutor Delhey's intentions mys-
tifying, but points up the question of
the constitutional validity of the state's
obscenity law.
Judge Ager issued the order of restraint
against a film which has not yet been
determined to be "obscene." The effect,
was to penalize the Fifth Forum for
charges which had not even been sub-
stantiated, thus interfering with t h e
theatre's constitutional right of freedom
of expression.
The relevant state law provides that
any local executive officer may issue an
obscenity complaint and an injunction
may be immediately issued to prevent
the sale, distribution, acquisition, or pos-
session of the material which is said to
be "obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, in-
decent, or disgusting." The ;law does not
further define "obscene".
THE SIGNIFICANCE of the law is
frightening. An' official can make a
complaint against any material which he
feels obscene, and an order for restraint
may immediately be issued making the
material unavailable to the public. Even
aside from the free speech issue, the law
further violates the spirit of the Bill of
Rights by putting the burden of proof
on the accused rather than on his ac-
cuser. (". . . innocent until proven guil-
BUT MORE basic here is the matter of
outlawing "obscenity" itself. How
one may determine for another what he
should or should now view is difficult to
fathom. The Michigan act simply ignores'
the problem. The Supreme Court has of-
fered us this definition: that the material
have a dominant theme which as a whole
appeals to prurient taste, be of an of-
fensive nature to the community, and be
utterly without redeeming social value.
It is apparent that people do consider
various materials to be of an "offensive"
nature, and may conclude that they ap-
peal to prurient taste. But the last judg-
ment is difficult to assess. Is there any
material, any theme, which can be shown
to be utterly without social value?
It may Pe argued, after all, that a part
of the social significance (or value) of

a work is what it says about its creators,,
the social system, or the values it repre-
sents. Assuming that a possible value of
viewing a film is that it can serve as a
learning experience, must the perceptions
which result be only of a "positive" or
esthetic nature (more so than those of
any other learning situation)?
A lewd film tells us something signifi-
cant about the people or organization
that produced it. It may even tell us what
they think the audience wants to see.
In other words, can the social value an
experience provides be so easily defined?
And, quantitatively,'when is a work of
"redeeming social value" - when one
person derives a valuable or learning ex-
perience from it? Two persons?
THE SPECIFICS of the Fifth Forum
case ark as questionable. It would
seem that the use of the power to issue
an injunction ought to be used only very
discriminately, as it does infringe the
constitutional rights of those involved.
In this case, however, both Ager and Del-
hey admitted in court that they had not
seen the film before acting against it.
Defense Attorney E. H. Ellmann h a s
pointed out several dominant themes of
social significance in the film and has
defined the role of sex in the film, show-
ing that it was subordinated to other
themes and that the film as a whole did
not appeal to purient interests. In addi-
tion, Ellmann has argued against the
constitutionality of the injunction.
It may be true, as Ager ruled, that the
legislature and not the local court should
decide on the constitutionality of the law.
But if it was Ager's duty to rule on the
alleged obscenity of the film and the need
for the injunction, how could he do so
without seeing the film? Or at least hear-
ing arguments from both sides of the
THE. COURT'S way of serving the com-
munity may not be as incomprehen-
sible as it seems. Perhaps Ager and Del-
hey are just one jump ahead of an un-
informed citizenry. Or perhaps Delhey
has recently developed an interest in
film reviewing, and views the court (his
home ground) as the natural place for
him to air his views. But surely the Daily
would open its pages to his prose in order
to spare us his heavy hand.

(Second of two parts)
iN 1945, the British Labour Party pub-
lished the latest in its series of mani-
festoes, announcing once again that Labour
is "a Socialist Party and proud of it. Its
ultimate purpose at home is the establish-
ment of the Socialist Commonwealth of
Great Britain . . ." The rhetoric was stale
by now. Its performance in office between
1945 and 1951 denied its proclamations,
and this time the BLP could not point to a
minority status as excuse.
Let it be clear that the third Labour
government was not fruitless. It instituted
a National Health Service, a comprehensive
program of social insurance, had proposed
and instituted nationalization in coal and
utilities, and did more in housing and edu-
cation than any previous government.
But this was social legislation, not so-
cialist legislation. The distinction is crucial.
The former calms the powerless, the latter
gives them power. In 1895 Arthur Balfour
saw the matter plainly:
merely to be distinguished from Socialist
legislation, but is its most direct opposite
and its most effective antidote."
More currently, the Economist was quite
satisfied with the Labour program:' "An
avowedly Socialist Government with a
clear Parliamentary majority might have
been expected to go several steps further."'
In return for even this minimal program,
though, the BLP demanded discipline from
the trade unions. When the discipline was
broken-when "necessary services" were
halted by strikes-out came the troops to
r'eplace the strikers.
NATIONALIZATION (once considered
even by Labour to be a matter of principle
-a cardinal demand for a party seeking
democratic control over the economy) was
now to be limited to those industries which
were obviously collapsing in private hands
(e.g., coal).
And control of the nationalized indus-
tries-this was exercised not at all by
workers at the shop or pit level and only
nominally through Parliament. In fact,
control was vested in a managerial board
dominated by men with "business experi-
ence"-i.e., with business interests.
The controls which the Labour govern-
ment inherited from the war-time Coali-
tion government were used, not to limit
the power of private industry, but to
rationalize British capitalism, to make it
more efficient (on the order of our New
Deal). .
The Labour government also retained '
the bulk of the civil service which it in-
herited, right up to the policy-adviser level.
This to avoid giving the impression that.
(heaven forbid) Labour was out for "jobs
for the boys." More fundamental, though,
was Labour's need to placate the defenders
of the status quo-whom Labour religiously
refused to challenge.
rank-and-filers that the Labour cabinet be
responsible for the full BLP caucus in
Commons met solid resistance. Labour
leaders assured Churchill that he might
deal with them as he would with any other
independent politician. To hell with the
Finally, at the tail end of its term,
Labour took on the steel industry. Unlike
coal, steel had been profitable in the recent
memory of most British politicians. The
BLP's faint-hearted attempt to nationalize
it met with a taste of capitalism's power.
BRITISH INDUSTRY poured a fortune
into anti-nationalization propaganda, a
fortune available for such a campaign pre-
cisely because industry was in private
hands. The British capital flight-already
marked during the earlier years of Labour's
tenure-increased markedly now as large
investors instinctively punished Labour for
stepping on capitalism's toes. They sought
a more "conducive" atmosphere.

STEEL MAGNATES conducted a con-
certed and effective campaign among
businessmen to deprive the government of
advisors for the running of a nationalized
steel industry. Steel was eventually na-
tionalized, but in so halting and apologetic
a fashion as to guarantee its denational-
ization in the very near future.
That future was sealed with the elections
of 1951.
Labour, battered and demoralized by the
onslaught it faced during the steel debates,
dragged itself limply through the cam-
paign. It tried vainly to paint itself as a
classless, harmless bunch of well-meaning
technocrats. It declared emphatically that
the elections were not a class matter.'
set them. On the contrary, they declared,
Labour was out to socialize thriving capi-
talist industry. Most assuredly this was a

Wilson, the sometime darling of the Labour
left, became Prime Minister.
TYPICALLY, WILSON saw his job as
"making British capitalism work."
Industrial costs had to be lowered in
order to lower prices, he decided. Wages
must be held down. Capitalists and would-
be investors had once more to be reassured
of Labour's benevolent intentions. Manage-
ment privileges had to be safeguarded
against the ominous strength of the shop
stewards-representatives of the workers
elected at the shop-floor level.
All this, of course, was a tricky business.
Too tricky for the Tories, whom British
workers had correctly come to identify as
the direct representatives of the British
industrialists. They were much less wary
of Harold Wilson, though.
Wilson's BLP position, his rhetorical al-
legiance to the working class, his welfarist

mentary activity one of its activities-is
rapidly evolving into a purely electoral
shell. The real differences between the BLP
and (say) our Democratic Party are be-
coming less and less obvious.
Even in areas with strong Labour tradi-
tions, local elections have been going to
the Tories for the past few years. Workers
simply no longer believe Wilson's promises.
THE QUESTION is, which way will the
workers move?
The attraction of the right is real. Brit-
ish support for-U.S. imperialism spawned a
left-wing student movement of which the
workers are suspicious. Then, the inability
of Wilson's Britain to provide an adequate
employment and living standard makes
workers very sensitive to the job-demands
of even Britain's small black population.
The Tories are playing on the malaise
in the Nixon-Wallace way: three weeks ago
Conservative Party leader Edward Heath
issued a major call for "law and order." To
his right, MP Enoch Powell appeals even
more blatantly to the middle class's fears
of blacks and students. He picks up sym-
pathy from sectors of the working class,
POWELL'S WEAKNESS here, however,
lies in his frank hostility, not only to black
and student militancy, but to trade union-
ism as well.
Nevertheles, if Powell (for this reason)
has difficulty gaining direct and ongoing
working-class support, his racist attacks on
black immigration continue to disorient a
section of that class and encourage it to
vent their frustration on a non-ruling-class
Even further to the right is the National
Front, a neofascist formation with roots in
the old British Nazi Party.
1967 and now seems to have grown signi-
ficantly from its original 10,000 members.
Its slogans include "Union of White Domi-
nions Now," "Get Tought With Criminal
Thugs," and "Defence: Let British Know-
How Make Us Strong Again."
The Front has the demagogic anti-capi-
talist line of the early fascist movements,
too: "Get International Finance Out of
Britain," and "Workers Want More Say in
British Industry."
This appeal is purely rhetorical, of
course. The NF is firmly tied to the purse
strings of British industrialists and will not
engage in serious attacks on its own bene-
THE LEFTIST SCENE is also varied.
The Communist Party, strongly represent-
ed among trade union militants, is firmly
attached to the coattails of some "left-
wing" union leaders. They are therefore
unable of presenting themselves as an
alternative to that leadership's sell-outs.
The Socialist Labour League (a Trotsky-
ist grouping) takes its sectarianism very
eriously. It has a quasi-religious atti-
ude toward concrete trade-union ques-
tions and refuses to engage in meaningful
action around them for fear of soiling
its hands in reformism.
A NUMBER OF OTHER organizations
(the largest of these being the British
International Socialists) are attempting
to build on the workers' malaise, empha-
sizing the lessons contained in trade-un-
ion struggles, and helping to give direc-
tion to what remains, after all, a fragment-
ed economic discontent.
Their goal is to transform this discon-
tent ,into a clearsighted radical, under-
standing of the need for and the possibil-
ity of thorough-going workers' control of
industry and the revolutionary overthrow
of capitalism.
Few serious militants here are drawing
up detailed battle plans, for "the rising,"
but the new wave of official and unoffic-
ial strikes sweeping British industry could
usher in a new era of working-class radi-
calism as well. That, at least, is thehope.



class question! If this was not-the Tories
sensibly wondered-what was?
Caught between a lack of enthusiasm in
its own ranks for a program self-adver-
tised as pedestrian and-on the other hand
-the massed and militant ranks of Tories,
industrialists, frightened middle-class ele-
ments, et al, Labour went down to a crash-
ing defeat.
IN THE END of course Labour had as-
sured its own demise. Trying both to
placate big business and the working class,
Labour had run into the one pulsating
reality it had in practice tried hardest to
ignore: the interests of the two groups it
was courting were in conflict. Labour had
either to accept the permanence of capital-
ism and its industrial authoritarianism or
it could attempt to spearhead a drive for
workers' power through the nationalization
and democratic control of industry. It could
not do both. When it tried, it failed.
IN THE YEARS preceding the election
of the Harold Wilson government, the
McMillan-Home Conservatives ruled over
a Britain whose economic growth was the
slowest of the world's major producers.
With wages and prices continually ad-
vancing, British industry was being priced
out of the world markets-particularly
those of the Common Market "Six."
Reaction to the effects of this on the
home economy and a general disgust with
the much-publicized Profumo scandal gave
the Labour Party in 1964 (narrowly re-
gained a narrow Parliamentary majority).

promises, his proposed boost in the business
tax all served to sugar-coat the pill he was
about to prescribe.
FIRST CAME his "voluntary wage
wage freeze." Then the mandatory wage
freeze. Wilson set out with his new Prices
and Incomes Board to do what the Tories
couldn't-to subordinate the workers' con-
sumption to the needs of British capitalism.
When the wage freeze "stick" failed to
stem strike-enforced wage increases, Wil-
son turned to the "carrot."
In return for wage increases exceeding
the statutory limit, management (under
Labour's guidance) would institute time-
study programs, piece-work, speed-up, lay-
offs, indiscriminate transfer of workers
around the factory, 24-hour shiftwork, cuts
in overtime and overtime pay, reduction
of safety measures, increase work for each
production worker involved. The wage in-
creases were soon eaten up in rising prices,
but the inroads made against working con-
ditions remained.
Recently, Labour MP Barbara Castle in
.e"ty Parliament the third stage of
Wilson's campaign: a bill similar to our
Taft-Hardley- Act, designed to limit the
trade unions right to strike. But a quick
headcount in Commons told Wilson he
hadn't the vote to swing it, so the Castle
bill was speedily withdrawn.
former constituency has been profound.
The Labour Party-historically a mass-
based workers' organization with parlia-

For freedom of the skis

LAST SATURDAY, a Swiss airliner en
route to Tel Aviv was destroyed by
a bomb. All aboard the plane were killed
in the resulting crash.
On the same day, an Austrian plane,
also a civil aircraft, was damaged while
l'n flight by a similar device. The pilot
managed to land the plane without loss
of life, although a great deal of. damage
was done to the aircraft. ,
These incidents are the latest in a
series of attacks against civil aircraft,
their passengers, and airline offices. To
date, nearly one hundred people have
died as a result of such actions--e.g.,
the attack on an El Al plane at Zurich,
the bombing of an Athens booking office,
and attacks on Ethiopian planes.,
Too, a number of aircraft have been
hijacked to other destinations by armed
terrorists, and certain passengers h a v e
been held in prison for long periods fol-
lowing such actions. Two Israeli passeng-
ers in the last case of this kind are still
seriously ill after their prison experience
in Damascus.
WORLD AVIATION is especially vulner-
able, to attacks because of the great
difficulty of getting passengers and mail
cargo on the thousands of flights t h a t
take off every day. Cuba has hijacked
planes landing in its Jose Marti field al-
most every week.
Whereas in general civil aviation has
become one of the few areas of true and
meaningful international cooperation, the
record in the field of air piracy is less
encouraging. International organizations
have thus far taken no significant steps
against those responsible for such crimes.
THE SWISSAIR incident was swiftly

simply false. Some of the terrorist
groups are under the direct control of
various Arab governments. Indeed, some'
are the creation of these governments.
Other terrorist groups have evolved into
more independent organizations and car-
ry out bombings ontheir own initiative.
But even these groups receive the bulk
of their financial support and much of
their training and weaponry from the
Arab governments.
Moreover, the terrorists are based in
the various Arab states at the sufferance
of the governments. In nearly every in-
stance, the terrorist groups could be
suppressed by their hosts. Thus the Arab
governments could exert major if not
total control over the organizations.
YASSIR ARAFAT, the head of Al-Fatah
(the largest of the terrorist groups),
has stated that his organization did not
believe in atacking civilian targets. This
was an encouraging development. It
would have been more encouraging had
his past record on this' score been dif-
Indeed, even as Arafat spoke his own
terrorists were machine-gunning a tour-
ist bus on the Hebron-Jerusalem h i g h-
way, killing the wife of a Christian
minister from Michigan.
Israeli Premier Golda Meir denounc-
ed Arab governments for financing and
sheltering Palestinian guerrillas who are
"lacking all conscience and respect for
human life."
Because of the devious involvement in
the acts of the liberation organizations by
the Arab governments, any action taken
as a result of this latest outrage must
include the applicaion of pressure on
the condoning governments.




Shedding tears

for closing ears


To the Editor:
THE LETTER from J. F. Mac-
kissic yesterday (Daily, Feb. 25)
in reference to the 'black disrup-
tion' of his class characterizes a
currently growing symptom of a
dangerous disease.
J. F. asserts that: "For a long
time I have been,, if not an active
supporter, at least a strong de-
fender andsympathizer of the
black students' position on this
campus. After today, I seriously
doubt that r can listen with an
open ear to t h e complaints of
black students here again." I sup-
pose that at this point in the ar-
ticle, blacks were supposed to
break down in tears at having lost
J. F.'s open ear.
It may come as a surprise to
you J. F., and to all those who
'amen-ed' his letter, but none of
us did. In fact, in your ignorance
you have revealed the disease: for
too long, this country has been
able to open and shut its ears (and
eyes) at will to the voices of its
black citizentry.
It's your type of support, active

and we didn't want that to hap-
Your 'sympathetic' soul, no
matter how disapproving of the
tactic,. could have been sincere
enough to at least listen. Blacks
do not take over classes for fun
and games. When the professor
dismissed, the class, it was your
free time and attention that you
could have offered, being, of
course, 'sympathetic.' However,
you are so incensed that you write
a letter cloudily asserting that the
tactics used to publicize the de-
mands to an increasingly d e a f
student body somehow negates the
validity of t h i s and all futur'e
black issues. Yes, you are quite
I hope that you read the article
above your letter, J. K., if your
eyes are still open. As to your
closed ears, we do not weep. We
thank you for your letter. It is vi-
tal to know both your friends and
your enemies.
-Darryl C. Conliffe, '71
Feb. 26

down from the stage to remind
him of the class vote. An unfor-
tunate shoving match ensued be-
tween members of the BSU and
o n e of the astronomy teaching
The following is a statement
which I shall read to my class on
Friday, Feb. 27:
FIRST OF ALL let mie say that
I am sorry if my own actions or
attitudes on Wednesday were re-
sponsible for difficulties or em-
barrassment that resulted during
the reading of a list of demands
by members of the BSU.
At the very least I owe you a
clearer statenent of my policies
than I was able to give then.
I -view any intrusion or disrup-
tion of this class as a potential
infringement of the rights ofclass
members, in this case simply your
right to assemble in class to study
the subject with which the class
is concerned.
I say that a disruption is a po-
tential infringement of y o u r

ject since you are, during class
time, a captive audience. For me
to do so would infringe your rights
in attending this class, since you
have come here to study astron-
There is the liklihood that my
actions on Wednesday could be
construed as betraying the direc-

tion of my sympathies. In fact, I
believe that the needs of the black
community are great and are ur-
gent and that we should, indeed,
devote our energies to the rectifi-
cation of 300 years of wrongs.
-Prof. Richard G. Teske
Astronomy Dept.
Feb. 26



I 1 M-lI, IIEImm '11 1I!


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