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September 05, 1968 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1968-09-05

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iir 3ri$ttn DBu
Seventy-seven years of editorial freedom
Edited and managed by students of the University of Michigan
under authority of Board in Control of Student Publications

Prague's short-lived golden age

420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, Mich.

News Phone: 764-0552

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



Tt er side
of law and order
TRADITIONAL MARXIST analysis divides America into classes based primarily on
economic considerations.
Perhaps a more relevant cleavage today is between those who fear and those
who trust the police.
Each day thousands of Americans suffer from unobserved and unreported in-
stances of police harassment or police attack.
These incidents rarely generate massive protests. They do not bring pressure on
the police departments for reform.. The victims are generally those without a con-
stituency-the blacks, the poor, and such socially ostracized groups as "hippies" and
war protesters.
These disenfranchised fear and hate the police. But for the majority of Ameri-
cans, the policeman is a source of help in time of trouble, a consoling number to
paste on the wall above the telephone.
The events of the last week and a half especially have indicated that many of
the offspring of privileged white families are beginning to perceive the reality of po-
lice harassment.
THE FRIGHTENING power of uncheckedpolice officers was demonstrated yester-
day with brutal clarity to Daily staffers in particular and University students
and faculty in general when Steve Wildstrom, Daily managing editor, was attacked
without provocation by county deputies.
Wildstroi was trying to enter a public building where welfare mothers were
meeting with the county board of supervisors to protest inadequate clothing allow-
As a complement to this attack, Wildstrom was arrested and charged with as-
sault and battery.
Fortunately Wildstrom's injuries were limited to cuts and abrasions. Wildstrom
is white and well-educated and able to obtain concerned legal counsel. He is far
more able to bear the onus of an arrest record than the average ghetto resident.
Still, it is not hypocritical for us to admit that police brutality has become more
real for us, in the same way we hope millions of Americans were affected by last
week's needless slaughter in Chicago.
While it pales next to this latest manifestation of police brutality, we are also
incensed by the repeated refusal of Washtenaw County police authorities to allow
properly-credentialed 'Daily reporters access to buildings and events open to other
local media.

PRAGUE-The days between
Bratislava and the Russian in-
vasion may have been Czecho-
slovakia's golden age. For these
short weeks, now almost forgotten,
the future looked promising for
the people of Czechoslovakia,
Skeptics, who had doubted that
Dubcek would really change any-
thing, became believers. If only for
a little while, Czechoslovakia was
a nation again, and things were
destined to become better.f
The invasion of Russian troops
cut short the Age of Dubcek. The
promise for a better future was
snuffed out by the invading tanks.
But the Czechs and Slovaks stood
fast. They would not allow them-
selves to be prostrated again.,The
failure to recognize this new na-
tionalism in Czechoslovakia was
probably the worst miscalulation
of the Russians during the Krem-
lin-Prague interplay.,
Soviet observers in Prague should
have expected a rise in national
unity especially after the post-
Bratislava d a y s. Nationalism
emerged on all fronts and was
more than partly responsible for
the united resistance against the
Russian soldiers.
The Soviets also permitted a
dangerous taste of the new free-
dom that Dubcek promised. It
would indeed be foolish for Mos-
cow to presume that the Czechs
would long remain content with a
return to the conditions under the
Stalinist Anton Novotony. In-this
sense, the days after Bratislava
were not in vain.
Before Bratislava, many Czecho-
slovakians were dubious about
Dubcek's promises for more free-
dom. I learned this from two
Czechoslovakian students that I
met at a youth hostel in Paris.
Paris, on their way to southern
France, where jobs awaited them.
They said that since Dubcek had

me that now he had faith in Dub-
cek. He reported that ninety per
cent of the Czechoslovakian peo-
ple stood behind Dubcek while he
was at Bratislava. This he found
to be very unusual support for the
The mood among Michael, Jan,
and their friends was a hopeful
one. Jan talked about going to the
United States the next year to
visit his uncle. Another, known to
his friends as the "walking Web-
ster's dictionary," proudly dis-
played his English versions of
Robert Louis Stevenson, Huxley,
and Sherwood Anderson. They all
spoke freely about the Russians
and former leader Novotony. They
admitted that their candor was
not always possible.
One of Michael's friends, a
blonde-haired girl named Hana,
led the group singing as the eve-
ning wore on. She told me that
the songs were in Russian. She
said that they had been forced to
learn them in school. "They are
so stupid," she explained. "We all
hate them but sing them when we
get drunk."
PROBABLY the greatest show-
ing of Czech unity came during
the visit shortly after Bratislava.
The thousands of Prague residents
that lined the way to the Castle
cheered loudly when the car car-
rying President Svoboda, Dubcek,
and Tito drove through.
When the leaders went into the
castle, the chanting did not abate
but rather rose to a crescendo
,when the youthful-looking Tito
appeared from a window with his
hands clutched over his head in
a sign of victory. The happy
Czechs continued chanting, "Svo-
boda, Dubcek, Tito,' while some
carried signs extolling Tito and
denouncing East German chief
Walter Ulbricht.
The surging crowd pressed hard
against the high iron gate to the
front of the Castle. They suc-

part of a stand-up comedian. The
crowd was extremely pleased and
returned to their homes with
their paper flags held high.
One man at a streetcar stop
spotted my Czechoslovakian flag
and came over to me and started
speaking in Czech. When I told
him that I was American, he
pointed to the flag. I waved it in
the air and he walked away,
shaking his head in disbelief.
These were indeed strange times
for Czechoslovakians.
not last long. The Russians moved
in and took over. But the Czechs
and Slovaks refused to be knocked
down willingly. Their brave non-
cooperation was surprising to Mos-
cow. They saw that the attitude,
"What can we do," had been lost
during the daysrafter Bratislava.
The gate in front of Hradcany
castle had opened a little bit.
Because it did, it really was too
late for the Russian invasion.
There could be no turning back
from the days folowing Bratislava.
The Czechoslovakians will proba-
ly keep pushing at teh gate be-
tween them and their government.
And if the Russians had planned
to keep this gate permanently
closed, they should not have al-
lowed it to open-not even just
a little bit.


.. small world, isn't it?"

n Hwksville


The Soviets permitted a dangerous taste of
the new freedom that Dubcek promised It
would indeed be foolish for Moscow to presume
that the Czechs would long remain content with
a return to the conditions under the Stalinist
Anton Novotny.
.a mkstisms2iit#nsiE2EE is##20 i'esliA #ANiA

Editor's Note: The Russian injas-
ion of Czechoslovakia caught T h e
Daily in the middle of semester
break. We are attempting now to do
justice to the importance of this ma-
jor crisis and its many ramifications.
This column by James Wechsler,
the editorial page editor of the New
York Post, was written in the midst
of the crisis. While subsequent events
have rendered a few of his references
outdated, his column still represents
an excellent rebuttal to those who
will attempt to use this crisis as an
excuse for the revival of bellicose an-
THE RUSSIAN rape of Czecho--
slovakia is producing predict-
able spasms of righteousness in
the hawk set. The tragedy has al-
ready elicited from Dean -Rusk the
pious observation that our pres-
ence in Vietnam has acquired new
merit; it "underlines the commit-
ment of this country to freedom
and to the ability of small nations
to work, out their own affairs."
In some commentaries there is
alnost the suggestion that this
act of Soviet self-exposure con-
stitutes a gain for mankind by
vindicating those who have ob-
structed the quest for peace in
Vietnam. By that standard, the
true triumph of hardnosed West-
ern diplomacy will come when the
Chinese drop their first atomic
bomb on New York, thereby prov-
ing beyond dispute the virtue and
wisdom of excluding them from



JT IS 'IRONICALLY fitting that Wild-
strom's arrest and the brutality which
surrounded it were intimately connected
with a protest by county welfare mothers.
These protesters are women who en-
dure harassment and occasionally bru-
tality from the police as part of their
everyday living experience. Just as white
suburban mothers cope with the annoy-
ances of broken air conditioners or
smudged fingerprints on refrigerator
And it is the dangerous myopia of these
comfortable whites to the daily burdens
of the poor which is a major source of
the social friction visible throughout our
HO W CAN THE generally white, smug
county board of supervisors know
what it means to live under the humilia-
tion of this affluent nation's welfare sys-
tem? To have to literally beg for money
for clothes to send their children to
school? To submit to patronizing analysis
by self-appointed and often inadventant-
ly racist social workers.
There are few differences between
these continual annoyances and the con-
stant encounters with the police which
are the price of being poor in an America
which has made a fetish out of law and
How many whites know the shame of
being questioned and sometimes even
arrested because there's been a robbery
in the neighborhood? How many know
the hurt of sitting-in to protest an inade-
quate clothing allowance and having your
small child bowled over by a white police-
WHAT OF THE impotence, the emascu-
lation of being unable to make the
established political mechanisms work
in your behalf? Too few Americans recog-
nize that the poor have little chance of
redressing their grievances through our
much-vaunted legal system.
If they place counter charges against
the police, the action is expensive and
lengthy. If the charges are criminal they
must go through the offices of a district
attorney who must work with the police
every day.
If the case ever goes to court, it is
merely their word against that of a
Second class postage paid at Ann Arbor, Michigan,
420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, Michigan, 48104.
Daily except Monday during regular academic school
Fall and winter subscription rate $5.00 per term by

policeman who by virtue of his post
generally commands the respect of a
jT WOULD BE unfortunate if the re-
sponse to this morass were seen as
piecemeal reform. Disciplining a single
police officer will change little.
We must not forget that the lives of
policemen are unenviable at best. They
are underpaid and overworked. Many
of them are children of the ghetto who
have narrowly escaped by virtue of their
own struggles. It is not surprising that
they cannot understand why society is
so concerned with people who are econ-
omically little worse off than themselves.
While no one will deny that the police
must be given some latitude and discre-
tion if they are to carry out their diffi-
cult duties, it does not follow logically
that authorities should be all but immune
from reprisal by poor people who have
righteous complaints.,
FIFTEEN YEARS AGO, the issue divid-
ing America was civilian control over
the military. Today the American people
must reassert civilian control over local
police departments.
There will be a protest at noon today
that will begin on the Diag and then
march to the County Bldg.
While the arrest and attack on Steve
Wildstrom helped to generate today's
rally, the protest encompasses far more
than this isolated instance of police ir-
The real cause for protest, the real is-
sue, is the continued treatment of those
-unlike Wildstrom-who are unable to
fight back.
The rally and march are also in support
of the welfare mothers who have for the
last two days tried to convince an un-
heeding board of supervisors of their
Therefore we ask you to attend the
rally on the Diag at noon today, to show,
solidarity for the countless unrecorded
victims of police hysteria each day
to show our compassion for those welfare
recipients who endure petty harassments
beyond the comprehension of the com-
fortable white community.
Editorial Staff

taken over, nothing had changed.
They had been permitted to leave
the country, but it was a long and
difficult process to attain the nec-
essary papers.
Michael, who claimed he lived
near the birthplace of Franz Kaf-
ka, spoke several languages flu-
ently enough to translate books.
He still had trouble in obtaining
some books, even under the more
liberal Dubcek regime. For Michael
and his friend Jan, difficulty in
obtaining books was just another
insufferance of the Communists,
whom they openly scorned. In
Jan and Michael were pensive.
To them, the future looked hope-
less. Michael regarded the coup
that brought Dubcek into power as
simply a reshuffling of the same
government officials. But when I
asked them what they planned to
do about their oppression, they
loked at me incredulously and
said with resignation, "What can
we do." I guess the revolutionary
spirit was dead in Czechoslovakia.
But all that changed after the
conferences in Cierna and Bratis-
lava. Dubcek did not buckle under
the Russians, as Michael and Jan
expected. People in Czechoslovakia
started to change. their minds.
A month later, I ran into Jan
and Michael in Prague among the
thousands of people who had
turned out to greet Yugoslavia's
Marshall Tito. Their jobs in
France had fallen through, so
they had returned to Prague. But
their outlook was very -much dif-
IN AN OLD fourteenth century
pub near Hradcany castle, Jan,
who jokingly said that he was a
great Castro fan every time he
took the wrapper off a cigar, told

ceeded in opening the gate about
a foot before the soldiers pushed
it shut. Nevertheless, it is im-
portant that Czechs like Michael
and Jan opened the gates between
them and their government, even
if it was just a little bit.
Tito then emerged on the other
side of Castle and delivered a short
address which expressed hope for
increased friendship b e t w e e n
Czechoslovakia and the maverick
Yugoslav regime. Czech assembly
president Smrkovsky folowed Tito
to the microphone and took the

representation in the civilized
halls of the United Nations.
NO APOLOGIA for the mon-
strous Soviet invasion is worthy
of serious debate. This crime is
more despicable than the crushing
of the Hungarian rebellion; in the
case of Hungary there was the
faint claim that the insurgents
were implacable anti-Communists
whose ascendancy might protend
some ultimate threat to Soviet
safety. But the Czech leaders now
held captive by the Russian com-
missars were themselves Com-
munist. Their heresy was an at-
tempt to escape from the smoth-
ering heritage of Stalinism and
prove. that the traditions of Czech
political democracy were com-
patible with the economics of so-
It was an historic experiment,
and it created panic in the Soviet
leadership. That the Soviets -
or the controlling b 1 o c in the
Kremlin - should fear the con-
tagion of freedom so desperately,
more than 50 years after their
own revolution, is a crude revela-
tion of the insecurityinherent in
The deed is done, and no amount
of lamentation in Washington will
suddenly end the night that has
fallen again on Czechoslovakia.
Nor will the cause of the vic-
tims be significantly aided by a
rhetorical rampage of the Ameri-
can right, exploiting the frustra-
tion and anger evoked by this dis-
aster as an excuse for revival of
all the dead-end sterotypes of the
cold-war era.
Probably no measures short of a
military intervention - advocated
by no one of consequence - can
swiftly reverse what has happen-
on Moscow will come not from
spurious saber-rattlers in our
Pentagon but from the Commun-
ist parties of Western Europe and
f r o m the neutralist nations so
long wooed by the Soviets.
For the moment Moscow's dom-
inant faction has concluded that
the peril of the Czech "liberaliza-
tion" example was larger than the
discord this aggression would stir
within t h e world Communist
movement and in the democratic
left in non-aligned nations.
But the ensuing uproar may be
achieving dimensions underesti-
mated by the Russians. The Mos-
cow monolith that was once world

communism began to disintegrate
long ago when Tito defected: the
division sharpened with the'Sino-
Soviet split (so long derided by
Dean Rusk). Now it is more ex-
plosive than ever.
In so brutally punishing t h e
Czechs for their limited adventure
in libertarianism, the Russians
may momentarily mute some at-
tacks from the China-oriented
"old Bolsheviks." But they have
lit other fires that -could get out
of hand.
LEAST OF ALL do these s a d
hours in Prague afford any latter-
day confirmation of Russian rig-
idities. What renders the U.S. pe-
culiarly impotent and irrelevant at
this juncture is not merely the
implausibility of any activist mili-
tary role. It is our moral estrange-
ment from the varied forces of the
left and center - in Latin Ameri-
ca and Asia as well as Europe -
now shaken by the cold conquest
of Czechoslovakia.
The 'primary but not exclusive
reason for our vulnerability is
Vietnam where, to much of the
world, we appear as intransigent
intruders helping to prolong a war
that most Vietnamese detest. But
such misfortunes as our lamenta-
ble excursion to the Dominica4
Republic and our cynical tolerance
of the Greek junta have also con-
tributed to the decline of the voice
of America.
Conceivably George C. Wallace
will be the biggest immediate ben-
eficiary of American rage over the
Russian coup. But such fevers are
transient. For what must become
increasingly apparent after t h e
initial hysteria is that American
prestige and influence have been
recklessly squandered in Vietnam.
Even more basically, it must be
clear that only a far more respon-
sive diplomacy, sensitive to the
radical subleties and ferment of a
world we never made, can get us
out of the rut.
It is current cliche of political
writing thatthe U.S. is gripped
by a growing conservatism. B ut
that is not the condition of most
of the world. We stand alone and
ineffectual on too many occasions
because (among other things) we
have tried to apply consensus do-
mestic politics to world affairs;
we are alternately viewed as in-
sufferable or inept. The horror-
story in Czechoslovakia is an af-
front to mankind. But the bombs
over North Vietnam will not ease
the anguish of Prague.







IT WILL SOON be fall, and this
year the unhappy expectation is
that certain persons, like the
leaves, will be falling.
Persons like Robert Morrison,
of St. Joseph's Episcopal Church,
Morrison first surfaced t h i s
summer - outside the Detroit
mayor's office in an all-night pro-
test against cops who allegedly
charged Poor People's Marchers
at Detroit's Cobo Hall.
IUS MOST joyous summer ac-
tivity probably was officiating in
his church at the marriage of two
Wayne State University area ac-
tivists. The ritual was a combina-
tion of the Hindu and the Episco-
pal. The groom was active in the

!e fall o~
say he felt he was merely waiting
to be arrested. As he stretched
one July afternoon across his
desk in his' office, a telephone
repair truck pulled up outside.
"Here to change the taps on the
phones?" Morrison asked t h e re-
pairman. "Not this time," quipped
the other.
serious thoughts and conversa-
tions in his book- and poster-clut-
tered office, which is in a con-
verted house behind his church.
He came to Detroit from rustic
Traverse City two years ago-
about the time Detroit's black
people were beginning to take
control of their struggle. Episco-
palean Morrison, whose football
nWaving at Harvard gained him a


Morrison is not out to solve
the "Negro problem." He is more
interested in 'the white problem.
He constantly lectures on white
racism iin the opulent albino con-
gregations of Detroit's suburbs.
He will address an especially com-
placent group of white churchgo-
ers as "fellow honkies."
HE TELLS IT this way. "I have
an 'I Have A Dream' bumper
sticker on my car, and I drove in-
to a gas station. The black pump
operator challenged 'What's your
dream?' I'told him, 'My dream is
that white people will get them-
selves together and leave black
people alone.' "
Morrison worked with a group
of young prosbering lawyers and

"black pride lounges" in commun-
ity centers, places where teenagers
can shoot pool and read about
their heritage.
in courts, especially federal
courts, watching the legal defense
of an Ann Arborite mysteriously
picked up one June night for se-
lective service violations or of a
black power leader charged with
counterfeiting savings bonds.
He has begun to believe that
he will soon be watching his own
trial. That is, if he lives that
long. A commander of Detroit's
major right-wing organization
publicly told Morrison he'd hang
him from a lamp post outside the
Detroit federal building.

publicly detail Bob Morrison's
struggles with and for draft re-
sisters, black liberation workers
and the white and black popula-
tions at large. Morrison certainly
is not that unusual when Ann
Arbor guys in the Resistance are
working on the Free School and
hunting for apartments as time
runs out between freedom and ar-
rest and trial.
SO IT'S almost fall, and one
day we may find that something
as fast and as indisputable as
Jack Frost will have taken up
Bob Morrison and those like him.
There is, however, something
mistaken in speaking of people
like Morrison in metaphors of fall-
ing leaves to be raked up and
i brned-i

our discontented


Managing Editor

Editorial Director

DAVID KNOKE, Executive Editor
PAT O'DONOHUE.....................News Editor

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