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April 17, 1969 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1969-04-17

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Seventy-eight years of editorial freedom
Edited and mnadged by students of the University of Michigan

A Sterling worker-student alliance

N' '

420 Moynard St.1 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.



Nixn' s budget:
Misunderstanding priorities

THSHAPE that the new federal budget
appears to be taking following Presi-
dent Nixon's disclosures of the projected
changes in non-defen'se areas is con-
tinuing evidence of the misplaced priori-
ties of' American society in general and
government in particular.
The budget, which for purely f i s c a l
reasons will be nearly $4 billion less than
that proposed by former President John-
son, includes cuts amounting to $1.1 bil-
lion in the defense sector, $1.0 billion in
social security, and $1.9 billion in other
areas. Thus the proposed budget will
further perpetrate the United States' pro-
pensity to concentrate funds in military
areas, decreasing vitally important do-
mestic programs while continuing to
pour $30 billion a year into the Vietnam
war and another $50 billion into other
"defense" programs.
THE CHIEF victim of the new budget
is the social security program. Un-
der Nixon's proposal, benefits would be
increased across-the-board by seven per
cent, as opposed to the ten per cent in-
crease asked by Johnson. Since the entire
Nixon budget is aimed ,at curbing infla-
tion, which hits hardest 'those people -
including social security beneficiaries -
who must live on fixed incomes, it seems
odd that the major cut in that budget
will be to the detriment of the very peo-
ple the government's fiscal policies are
designed to help. At the current rate of
nearly'five per cent inflation per year,
a seven per cent increase in benefits in
1970 will' do little more than keep social
security recipients at their current level
of indigence. A considerably more gen-
erous increase in benefits is necessary to
raise the bottom 20 per cent of recipients
about the poverty level.
THE- BULK of the other cuts in the
proposed budget fall under the. De-
partment of Health, Education and Wel-
fare. Vitally important programs under
HUD and the Interior Department will
also be restrained or even crippled by re-
duced funds.
Urban development projects are en-
dangered bar a proposed cut in the fiscal
1970 budget of $1.25 billion for model
Sports Staff
JOEL BLOCK, Sports Editor
ANDY BARBAS, Executive Sports Editor
BILL CUSUMANO ............Associate Sports Editor
JIM FORRESTER............Associate Sports Editor
ROBIN WRIGHT ., ... Associate Sports Editor
JOE MARKER ................Contributing Editor
Business Staff
GEORGE BRISTOL, Business Manager
STEVE ELMAN . Administrative Advertising Manager
SUE LERNER ... ............,,Senior Sales Manager
LUCY PAPP ...................Senior Sales Manager
NANCY ASIN . . Senior Circulation Manager
BRUCE HAYDON..................Finance Manager
DARJA KROGULSKI....... Associate Finance Manager
B RBARA SCHULZ...........Personnel Manager

cities and $1.25 b llion for urban renewal.
Although Nixon has requested $675 milr
lion for model cities in fiscal 1969, the
program is almost bound to fail without
additional funds the following year.
The administration takes a positive
step in its request that Congress not
"freeze" the $322 million of Federal Aid
to Dependent Children. But further wel-
fare programs, such as development of a
program for a guaranteed annual in-
come' will have to wait until fiscal 1970.
EDUCATION may also suffer under the
proposed budget. The President has
proposed a drastic reduction in aid to
federally impacted school districts, as
well as reduced construction grants for
higher education and library facilities.
But it is in health programs that the
new budget may have the most disastrous
long-term effects. A proposed reduction
of $267 million in Medicaid funds will
hurt only those in need of care now, but
cuts of $104 million in Hill-Burton hos-
pital construction funds and lowered ap-
propriations for medical research under
the National Institutes of Health ,w i l l
have far-reaching effects many .y e a r s
into the future.
A NOTHER example of the budget's
short-sightedness is its treatment of
the Park Service. While operating funds
to keep present parks open 'on week-
ends - will be increased, monies for
the acquisition of new parks and forest
lands have been sharply reduced. Once
wilderness areas are destroyed, they can-
not be replaced; yet acquisition is given
the lowest priority instead of the highest.
Finally, the transportation budget has
been juggled to give most of the funds
available to highway construction. Much-
needed airport development and mass-
transit systems - to say nothing of the
development of high-speed railroads to
alleviate the problem of crowded high-
ways - are almost totally ignored.
PIE NIXON Administration is in an un-
derstandably difficult position when it
attempts to assess the relative values of a
variety of domestic programs in order to
determine where the ax should be ap-
plied. But none of the proposed cuts are
justified, when 40 per cent of the Federal
budget is still being used for purposes of
war, and when the Administration's own"
ABM project stands to add so much more
of the people's money to the already
bloated defense budget. There would be
no need to make such cuts if the govern-
ment did not insist on being the world's
policeman. While it does, domestic wel-
fare will continue to suffer.
Editorial Page Editor

(EDITOR'S NOTE: Bruce Levine,
a frequent contributor to T h e
Daily, is a member of Radical Cau-
cus and the Independent Socialist
LAST WEEK THERE was a wild-
cat (i.e. an "unauthorized")
strike at the Chrysler Stamping
Plant in Sterling Heights, which
employs 3500. The Daily covered
the story: fifty workers were or-
dered by their foremen to remove
scraps of metal from a halted
conveyor belt. The metal was jag-
ged and sharp, and the ten-foot-
deep pit into which the Workers
were told to drag the metal had
walls slippery with oil. Citing the
obvious safety hazard involved,
the workers refused to carry out
their orders.
They were fired.
When the union local's officers
supported the fired men, those of-
ficers, too, were fired. That was
that. The entire work force went
The United Auto Workers In-
ternational ordered the men back
to work (the strike had not been
authorizedtby the International,
you see), and when these orders,
too, were refused, the Internation-
al placed the local under receiver-
ship-seizing the local's treasury
and placing the local's affairs di-
rectly in the hands of the Inter-
national representative. Still the
wildcat continued.
Students from Ann Arbor and
Detroit joined the workers on the
picket lines at this point. Thesnext
day (Tuesday, April.8) , only seven
of the plant's employes crossed the
picket lines for the morning shift.
OneThursday, the workers re-
turned to work-but only after
forcing the International repre-
sentative to promise a strike vote
for the following Monday and to
pledge the International's support
of a renewed strike should the vote
call for it. It should be noted that
even then the vote to return seems
to have been as much the product
of the slippery handling of the
meeting by the International rep-
resentative as of rank-and-file
QUESTION ONE: Why did the
International union try to crush
the wildcat?

The answer to this question lies
in understanding the values and
aspirations of those who run the
powerful union bureaucracies.
Many of these people have been
professional bureaucrats for years,
and long ago forgot what it means
to work in an auto plant. They
have a new job, now, and new
concerns, therefore. In effect, they
have "dropped out" of the work-
ing class.
Their views on unionism con-
form to their new outlook, rather
then that of the union rank-and-
filer. Thus, for the bureaucrat a
healthy union is one which (1')
maintains a large treasury in re-
serve at all times, (2) can effec-
tively and firmly ("efficiently") be
run by the officers at the top of
the bureaucratic pyramid, and (3)
receives sufficient "respect" from
industry's executives to allow the
union's officials to associate "as
equals" with those executives-i.e.,
a union which earns for its offi-
cials "upward status mobility."
A wildcat strike waged over
working conditions threatens all
three of these bureaucratic values.
For one thing, any strike fought
to change Working conditions
meets much stronger managerial
oposition than does one fought for
simple wage increase (for reasons
discussed later).
SUCH A STRIKE is likely, as
a consequence, to drag out much
longer and therefore cut more
deeply into the union's treasury.
Similarly,union bureaucrats fear
such confrontations because the
increased management hostility is
certain to carrybover into greater
future tension between the heads
of the industrial and union estab-
lishments-depriving the latter of
its much sought-after "respect-
ability' in management's eyes.
Additionally, battles waged over
working conditions (involving as
they must grievances over the
specific conditions, of many and
differing plants) require a much
greater decentralization of leader-
ship and decision-making .within
the union than do those involving
monolithic, industry-wide wage
A widcat strike, finally, merely
aggravates the union bureaucrat's
fears, since by definition, such a

strike is a repudiation of the
local's responsibility to "clear" the
strike with the hierarchy.
workers fight so hard against in-
superable odds - especially after
losing what little financial relief
they had when the International
seized the local's treasury?
One answer, of course, lies on
the surface: the workers were ob-
viously concerned with the danger-
ous conditions under which their
fellows were forced to work. Since,
as we've already seen, the union
establishment avoids whenever
possible going to bat for its mem-
bers over working conditions, the
rank-and-filers were forced to go
it alone.
But this is only part of the story,
and explains only why the wildcat
was launched, not why it held on
so tenaciously. Some of the rest
of the story can be glimpsed in
the words of a worker from the
Hantramck plant marching in
sympathy with the Sterling pick-
"An honest day's work for an
honest day's pay is okay, I guess-
but not all the money in the world
makes it any easier to stand a day
in these plants. It ruins you: you.
get home wasted. You've got no
time for the family and just
enough energy to watch some TV
before going to bed."
The eruption at Sterling wa in
part symbolic of the workers' pent-
up frustration and hostility to-
ward their inability to make their
work-lives any more bearable or
meaningful to themselves-with or
without a wage increase and a new
In the factory, the worker is
literally out of control. For eight
hours he sells his body to Chrysler
and at the end of the shift finds
himself drained-in the interest of
efficient profit-making.
ing the great financial loss suf-
fered by Chrysler because of the
strike (including the interstate
idling of other' Chrysler plants de-
pendent upon parts produced at
Sterling), why has management
remained so adamant for so long
over what is seemingly so trivial a
matter as a scrap-pit and some
' 3
y1 '


-Daily-Jim Neubacher

firings? They could have saved
a lot of money and grief by agree-
ing immediately to revise the
safety procedures' involved. Why
didn't. they?
This question is probably the
one hardest to answer, since man-
agement is not especially interest-
ed in showing us its hand. We can,
get some assistance, though, from
a study of a similar situation made
some years ago by sociologistAlvin
Gouldner . (entitled, aptly enough,
Wildcat .Strike: Management in
that case was well acquainted with
the kind of grievances expressed
by the worke' from Hamtramck
quoted above. And if the tank and
file had not yet realized fully the
logical extension of their own de-
sires-management had:
"Management also tended to
conceive of the strike as a struggle
for control of the plant. It was not
quite a pure :struggle for power,
not ehtirely a power conflict, but
it is rather close to it and may
become even more clearly so in the
future, their conception suggested:
The workers don't look at the
stripe in the light that,'we've got
the strength,' mused a main office
executive. 'Yet they have a strong
desire to run the plants.' " (em-,
phasis in original).
THERE IT IS. A strong desire
to run the plants. That ultimate'
threat to the capitalist: an attack
upon the system's seminal prin-
ciple of private property - and
conjured up not by the success-
ful agitation of a University radi-
cal (who, if necessary, could be
isolated and neutralized), but
spawned by the very nature of the
work process itself!4
The capitalist understands his
need - control, power ownership.
He understands, too, the worker's
latent desire - control, power
ownership. And the capitalist un-
derstands further that upon the
resolution of that conflict de-
pends the future of his class'

No matter that filling in the
pit was the cheapest way out--
Chrysler had a more important
consideration: to , assert in the
strongest terms its own hegemony
regarding control of the work pro-
cess, to assert its exclusive power
of decision-making in the plant,
and to prove to its employes that
on such matters the company
would not be moved. The workers'
"strong desire to run tie plants"
had to be discouraged at all costs.
As Gouldner explains:
"Management could not merely
evaluate and choose its problem
solutions in terms of their ability
to realize the formal -ends of in-
creasing production and'lowering
unit costs; they also required solu-
tions which would be compatible
with their status interests. They
were, therefore, disposed to resist
any solution whicO~ threatened
their prerogatives and diminished
their control over the situation,
however much it might improve
IT IS TEMPTIAG at this point
grandly to announce that "The
implications of all this are ob-
vious," but that is not true. It is
not at, all obvious how a student
can best relate to "a worker, let
alone how a student movement
can best relate to a working-cla'ss
But such considerations belong
in another study. Let us simply
note that when we talk today
about the student movement, we
talk about weakness. As we begin
to consider the working class, we
discover tremendous strength; and.
more importantly, we find that
strength beginning to be mai-
shalled-insofar as we really are
for the, substitution of workers'
control-from-below for ownership/
direction-from-above (i.e., of so-
cialism for capitalism)-we find
that . strength beginning to be
marshalled on "our" side of the
barricades for a change.



The student leader and what makes him tick

Daily Guest Writer
Second of two parts
THE NEW student activists are
probably more issue oriented. ;1
think a single issue often prompts
their initial participation. A stu-
dent is ticked at having to take
Spanish 101, so he joins the R di-
cal Caucus on the language issue.
Or a kid accustomed to a nice
house, is angere1 because the
landlord "forgets" o turn the heat
on in the winter. He then decides
to organize for the rent strike.
N BOTH THE OLD and new
student politician, there seems
to be a curious mix of personal de-
sires. The liking for recognition,
prestige, responsibility, and even
power are a part of numerous stu-
dent activists. To say next year's
freshman will not have to take
Spanish 101 or that Arbor Man-
agement will not dare turn off
the heat in the future, means you
by your abilties have helped fell
Others, on the other hand, en-
joy their picture in the paper for
haggling over meaningless resolu-
tions. In this sense some SGC
members are like the Congressman
whose publicity campaign for re-

most effective student leaders
here, you would not want as
being a student activist. One ac-
quires the classical political skills.
Anyone in the three organizations
learns how to speak to different
student groups, write political
material, and operate the ma-
chines indispensable _ for propa-
ganda - the mimeo, stencil and
off-set press. The budding student
politician learns to seek out and
obtain information. One gets a
feel for who is responsible for
decisions in the University.
A student, if he is sensitive and
determined, learns how to develop
an issue. One must know the re-
porters on The Daily and what
groups are critical for support.
Few endorsements by student
groups are spontaneous. They are
sought out. Recognition of the rent
strike, from SGC to the UAW, was
planned in advance. When an is-
sue peaks, one gets a further sense
of the political process: deciding
what it means to w n or lose.
ONE BEGINS to understand the
age-old ABC's of politics-alliance,
bargaining, and compromise. The
rent strike, for example, will not
be stopped when the landlords
recognize a Tenants Union. It will

others to one's specific plans. If
you look at the rent strike as an
attempt by an oppressed segment
of society to realize their power;
life is a lot more comprehensible.
SGC, Radical Caucus and The
Daily provide a training ground
for liberal political elites in our
future society. The leaders of
these student organizations have
and will enter high positions in
the government, journalism, and
social reform groups.
and sacrifices in being a student
activist. First, one must give up
time and often money. An election
to an SGC council seat costs any-
where from $15-$75 in campaign
expenses, and for president from
$50-$250. There are numerous
ways 'to get around the budget
limitations set by the rules com-
mittee. One will not be able to give
much attention to academic work.
A student leader must get over
any achievement motive reflected.
in good grades or serious academic
work. He must convince himself
that personal success is now par-
tially measured in political suc-
cess. If the student cannot do this,
he will live with continual frustra-
tion and his involvement will be
short lived.
The free time of a student ac-
tivist also becomes limited and

SECONDLY, IF an activist is
really determined, there is the
question of how far he is willing to
carry his ideas. What risks is he
willing to take? If he fails, gets
suspended or busted, how will this
affect his personal future? Ron
Glotta, attorney for the rent
strike, said, "When you try to
buck society, society will come
down very hard .on you."
Everyone on the- rent strike
steering committee knew from the
outset the possibility that they,
could be sued in civil court for
third party interference with con-
tract, or prosecuted in federal
court for criminal conspiracy. In
January the prospects in the Ann
Arbor courts with Judge Elden
looked very dim. The intensity
with which the tenant organizers
progressed testifies to their com-
one expects student politics to be
humane. If you learn the skill of
politics, you also see its underside:
it can be just as bureaucratic, au-
thoritarian and dehumanizing as
Mark Rudd, when he spoke here,
summed up the matter in the "di-
lemma of being a non-authorita-
rian leader": with one's political
prejudices, energies, and desire for
change, how do you deal with peo-

to combat the psYchologicl drain
of this imlatience. Student leaders
have to accept small steps at times,
and reconcile themselves to long
term efforts.
FOR INSTANCE, some people
see the rent strike as both sudden-
ly-created and of a semester's
duration. Neither of these are ac-
curate. The rent strike began af-
ter two years work by the Student
Housing Association in gathering
information,', boycotting Apart-
ments Ltd., and attempting ne-
gotiations with landlords over an
eight month lease. The c u r r e n t
effort will not end with several
victories in court or even a gen-
eral settlement of the strike.
The success of the Tenant's
Union will be measured in i t s
sustained bargaining power, after
the initial agreements are reached
and the strike won. This means a
gestation period of two to three
years in forming a representative
and encompassing Tenant's Un-
The balance of rewards and sac-
rifices determines how long a
student will remain in the poli-
tical game. Discouragement is
easy and frequent. When a s t u-
Jent activist stops deriving j o y
from his work, he drops out. Few
of the faces of three years ago are
present 'in the S.A.B. now. This is
one of the real problems of the

Grants could be given to grad-
uate students for "leadership in-
tern" studies. They would have a
year for writing proposals for stu-
dent projects and/or devoting
their time to actually developing a
political issue on campus.
Teaching fellows in the social
sciences could have lab sessions
and seminars in political activity.
Each class would choose a pro-
ject underway or a new one, and
spend the semester working on it,
like the Social Work School. For
example, an introductory econom-
ics class could learn about' local
market conditions by organizing
for the rent strike. A series! of
guest lecturers in selected aspects
of student activism could be ar-
ranged. Topics could include vot-
er registration, underground press,
guerilla theatre, grape boycotts,
etc. Students could take a semes-
ter travel course in activisms, visit-
ing or participating in projects in
other Universities. Travel gra'nts
could be made available for spec-
ial occurences, like the Columbia
protest. These practical courses
could be integrated with the form-
al social sciences to form a minor
or major area of study called "Po-
litical Training."
ONE MARK of a good student
activist is a fertile mind. If stu-
dents do not have money or pow-
er, thley have to use their wits.

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