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September 22, 1965 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1965-09-22

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Seventy-Sixth Year

Direct Action and the

Viet Nam,



Inone AreFree, 420 MAYNARD ST., ANN AvLoR, MICH.
Will Prevail

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.

German Elections Depict
cGrowing Political Maturity

LAST SUNDAY'S expected political vie-
tory for West German Chancellor
Ludwig Erhard demonstrates anew the-
increasing political maturity of that na-
tion and ensures continued economic and
social development.
Erhard's chief opponent, West Berlin's
Mayor Willy Brandt was a worthy,
sophisticated rival. A Brandt victory
would not have altered the true signifi-
cance of this election, which lies in the
fact that the right-wing Free Democrat-
ic party and other extremist splinter
groups continued to lose power.
Public opinion surveys taken in West
Germany ten years ago indicated that
approximately 14 per cent of the popula-
tion would vote for a "man like Hitler"
if they had the opportunity. Today, that
figure. is close to four per cent. For. the
first time in history, the Germans are
making parliamentary democracy work
for an extended period of time. (The post.
World WarI Weimar Republic lasted no
more than five years.)
HOW CAN THIS apparent basic change
in German politics be explained? Eco-
nomic prosperity Is a highly important
factor. West Germany today is the most
prosperous nation in Europe, and on some
production indices (steel, for example)
ranks third= in the world. The gross na-f
tional product is expanding at the heal-
thy annual rate of five per cent. The.
West German mark is a stable currency,
one of the most solid in Europe. Unem-
ployment is unknown in the New Ger-
many; foreign labor is continually being
recruited to help fill vacant jobs. The
average German factory worker or clerk
is taking home more money each week
than his British, French or Italian coun-
terpart, and he can now afford a car
and a month-long annual vacation.
Another important factor contributing
to unprecedented German stability is
prestige. One of the prime causes for
Hitler's. rise to power was the post-war
humiliation of Germany by the victor-
ious World War I allies, expressed most
clearly in the Versailles Treaty.
Fortunately, the Western allies learned
their lesson well. Thanks to the Marshall
Plan and a more enlightened attitude in
the United States and many European
nations, Germany's World War II crimes
have virtually been forgiven, although.
they never will be forgotten. The Bonn
government, at least, has been treated
as a respectable . member of the world
community, and while serious problems
relating to reunification and the status
of Berlin remain, there seems little
chance of an immediate threat to West
Germany's political and economic secur-
Due to this prosperity and success,
there were few concrete issues in Sun-
day's parliamentary contests. Personali-

ties constituted the key to the election
and the cigar-chomping Erhard has evi-
dently retained his place as the personi-
fication of German success and prosper-
ity. In addition, he plays the role of the
father-figure leader which West Ger-
mans have preferred ever since Konrad
Adenauer took over the leadership of
the ravaged nation after the war. Some-
what surprisingly, even the young gen-
eration of Germans born during the war
and voting for the first time Sunday
opted for Erhard.
their influence on Germans today may
well involve unexpiated guilt for actions
during World War II. Writers who have
talked at length with Germans of all
ages have found in them a curious re-
luctance to think or talk about the Hitler
years. The younger generations contend
that they are in no way responsible for
what happened, and they are right, but
for the most part they show little inter-
est in probing the reasons for German
society's mass hypnosis by Hitler.
The older citizens, those who played
some kind of role during the wartime
years, are understandably anxious to for-
get, but their attitude when queried,
seems, by and large, to result from some-
thing approaching mass repression of
wartime memories, and a resultant over-
preoccupation with material values. This
rampant materialism, while common' to
much of the Western world, has reduced
German culture to a mechanical, spirit-
less expression of its society's bourgeois
Even more discouraging, the younger
generation in Germany shows none of the
idealism and political vigor which char-
acterizes at least a healthy minority of
their counterparts in the United States
and elsewhere in Western Europe..
doubtedly find much in Sunday's elec-
tion to confirm tentative theories re-
garding an authoritarian strain common
to German society as a whole. Whether
or not such a hypothesis is correct, the
world community can at least take some
comfort from the election results.
Despite deficiencies and weaknesses in
German society (and no society is free
from such failings), it seems apparent
that, for the forseeable future, West Ger-
many presents no visible ,threat to world
peace. However, a "German problem" re-
mains with us. Settlement of the question
of German reunification and her disput-
ed eastern borders with Poland, as well
as the German role in the Western alli-
ance must assume top diplomatic prior-
ity as soon as the rapidly multiplying
crises in the Far East assume managable

IN MOST of the Viet Nam semi-
nars late last Friday night the
conversation understandably turn-
ed toward action programs, and
in one of those seminars, down in.
25 Angell Hall, the issue of how
to mobilize opposition to the war
quickly became polarized.
There were those who felt di-
rect action programs would be
most effective, and there were
those who maintained that mobili-
zation should depend primarily on
convincing people with written
and spoken arguments instead of
demonstrations or civil disobed-
The question was not, by and
large, moral or ethical. One dirk
not necessarily favor an empha-
sis on educational tactics because
he believed in not disrupting so-
cial order; one did not necessar-
ily favor a direct action emphasis
because he could not accept being
"soft" or believed supporters of
the war were evil and one would
have to fight fire with fire.
Rather, the question was prac-
tical: which emphasis would most
likely maximize pressure for with-
drawal of U.S. troops and the
holding of free elections?
THE PRINCIPAL proponent of
a direct action emphasis argued
that the war against Viet Nam is
an extremely unpopular war and
is not deeply imbedded in Amer-
ican values and in the require-
ments and structure of our social
institutions. If the sit-ins, free-
dom rides and demonstrations
which hailed the birth of social
protest in America in 1960 could
mobilize popular opinion and leg-
islation on the far more imbedded
issue of Negro rights, then sim-
ilar direct action should be at
least as successful with respect to
the war against Viet Nam.
The nation was convinced in
the case of civil rights, this pro-
ponent argued, mainly because
people were impressed by the cour-
age and commitment which civil
rights activiste manifested through.
their protests.
Direct action on the war against
Viet Nam could play on the same
emotional responses, making the
public far more receptive to the
various "academic' 'arguments al-
so being offered for opposing the
war and making people willing to
pressure the Johnson administra-
tion into actually seeking peace.
I think this position is the most
valid. Because of and despite var-
ious conditions in the United
States today, the potential for or-
ganizing war opposition need not
be destroyed-and can perhaps be
actualized better-by direct action.
IN ORDER to make personal
actions functional for the eco-
nomic relationships on which
American society is based, a fun-
damentally Hobbesion ethic has,
over time, been implicitly incul-
cated into the thinking of most
According to this ethic, men are
by nature evil and, if left to their
own devices, are incapable of

achieving individual or social good.
Yet men must be organized into
collective units to ensure civil or-
der and for the more efficient
production of goods and services;
at the same time, they are con.,
tinually subject to the efforts of
other evil men to impose their
will on them. Those governments
which have emerged in human
history are, therefore, necessarily
A far more accurate description
(I think) holds man basically
amoral-that is, human behavior
is not a function of a religiously-
metaphysically concerned locus of
causation and cannot be evalu-
ated in terms of the absolute
standard of good and bad sup-
posedly established by that locus.
RATHER, reality and human
behavior are basically materialis-
tic; fundamental physiological
and psychological needs of the
human animal require that indi-
viduals combine together to more
effectively convert the various
forms of energy available into sus-
tenance. The particular form
which the social order takes is a
function of the particular rela-
tionships required by the forms
of energy and the nature of con-
verting tools which a civilization
can exploit for this purpose.
Moral notions are selectively
reinforced through these relation-
ships; since inefficiencies and
breakdowns in the system soon
become evident and are (natural-
ly or by conscious effort) nega-
tively sanctioned, only those mor-
al notions which will produce per-
sonal action that is functional
for these relationships can per-
In this materialistic view, any
unhappiness in the world is a
(somewhat necessary) result of
the repressions imposed by these
economic relationships, not of the
basic evil or incapacity for ful-
fillment of men.
The requirements, ii iterms of
social organization, of the ener-
gy forms and technology current-
ly utilized necessitate limitations
on many forms of human activity.
Activities are dysfunctional if they
do not yield usable goods or serv-
ices-those engaging in the ac-
tivity use more energy in surviv-
ing than they return to the sys-
tem. Activities are also dysfunc-
tional if they alter the complex
of relationships already establish-
ed-society must then expend to
correct the teniporary imbalance,
preserve the power differentiations
which are needed and guard
against further infractions.
postulates, further, that natural
human expression is not necessar-
ily inherently, good or evil; rath-
er, it can only be measured in
terms of the satisfactions exper-
ienced (both by the individual and
by those who are affected by his,
expression). I
Without doubt this moralistic
justification is more effective as
an ethical system for limiting per-

sonal action to what is functional
than a materialistic justification.
The person who sees the social
system' in economic terms can
hope to change the power rela-
tionships expressing those eco-
nomic requisites-and there are
alternatives which would be pos-
sible even in the U.S.
But the person who sees the
system simply as the necessary re-
sult of man's basic evilness and
who does not comprehend the
roots of its particular form can
have little hope for change. With-
out hope he is, then more man-
To be sure, both this material-
istic analysis and the Hobbesion
metaphysical analysis can lead to
the same type of social arrange-
ment. Yet the difference in what
is seen as the basis of social.
problems ultimately means a great
deal with respect to the purposes
and methods of exercising nation-
al power beyond national boun-
THE AVPRAGE middle-aged
American understands social or-
ganization almost solely in terms
of the necessity to ward off the
destructiveness which he considers
to be basic to non-societal man,
does not understand the econom-
ic basis of either his morality or
the American social system and
has been invested with a path-
ological incapacity to conceive of
other forms of organization ful-
filling the needs of societies with
different energy resources and
technology (and thus different no-
tions of what is "moral" behavior).
Viewing reality through this
lens, the American finds endless
justification for America's own pe-
culiar brand of "wars of national
liberation" (such as the war
against Viet Nam).
These wars characteristically-
flow from the moralistic urge to
save other people from a "foreign"
form of social organization which,
nevertheless, might best suit their
economic resources and might best
ensure maximum individual ex-
pression (as by more equitably
distributing the political capacity
for directing 'the use of economic
facilities, the only source from
which genuine pluralism springs),
those who support him notwith-
standing,,this is the true nature
of what the United States is doing
to Viet Nam and in the rest of
the underdeveloped world which,
has been made to depend on our
foreign aid.
Our conviction that there is
only one form of organization
which can save all mankind from
itself has become so strong that
we are engaged either in literal
genocide or in the more subtle

manipulations of propagandizing,
supporting pro-Western dictators
and engineering economic pro-
grams which do not work because
they are planted on the wrong
base in the wrong way.
Basically, we are insecure in our
belief that as individuals we are
incapable of achieving happiness
on our own and insecure in our
belief that the social system we
inherit is as necessary to our well-
being - as it is pervasive of our
lives. So we vindicate our doubts
by trumping up charges of "ex-
ternal aggression" and platitudes
about "fighting a war for peace
and democracy" and "prove" our
rightness to ourselves by killing.
IN THE MEANTIME, those eco-
nomic relationships which actual-
ly determine our system from the
start make wars almost a neces-
sity: guns and bombs do not glut
the consumer-goods markets and
do bring profits and do minimize
These economic necessities, con-
siderably strengthened by the need
to protect American capital invest-
ments and resource exploitation
in foreign lands, have basically,
caused most of our neo-colonial'
wars, and the extension of the,
crusader ethic has remained with
us to determine, now more on its
own than before, our present war
against Viet Nam.
It is the same. spirit in which
we determine how the poor and
the aged and the uneducated are
to receive their benefits, in which
we try hard to socialize both spir-
it and individuality out of chil-
dren, in which we exercise pater-
nalistic controls over young adults,
in which our leaders limit the,
bounds of "free" debate, in which'
we witch-hunt the deviants about
us, in which we extend our mass
consumption values through pres-
surized advertising (where the
consumer may be king) but the
supplier is definitely Regent).,
WHERE, THEN, is the potential
for mobilizing a social movement
which must essentially repudiate
these notions, and how does di-
rect action fit into that move-
ment's tactics?
The potential for a movement,
lies in two groups: a) those who
have never fully participated in
the 'power relations of the socie-
ty and who therefore have es-
caped (or themselves rejected) its
moralistic Justification; b) those
who are now growing up into a
world which. is finally too blat-
antly overbearing to fpol them.
In both these groups there is
the possibility of appealing to the
stifled instinct for existential ac-
tion by actually engaging in ex-
istential action.
FOR THE NEGRO and white
lumpen proletariat across the na-
tion, the ethic of social infallibil-
ity and social necessity is large-
ly a sham, for the system has been
neither infallible with respect to7
solving economic situations nor
necessary for one to create mean-

ingful culture based often on less-
inhibited expression than is to be
found elsewhere in middle-class
Especially as illustrated by the
riots of the past two summers-as
well as by the civil rights move-
ment and by the spontaneous way
these classes have of expressing
their natural violent reactions to
the social system-there is tre-
mendous potential sympathy for
those others-mainly intellectuals
and students-who would lead a
In the universities, it is the
sensitivity born of greater intel-
lectual development and experi-
ence (or vice versa) which now
forms the basis for the teach-'
ins, for the Berkeley demonstra-
tions and for the civil rights move-
ment. What this sensitivity ulti-
mately does is to sharpen the dif-
ferentiation between one's natural
needs and sensibilities and the
restrictive, unsensible world.
As with the poor declasse, one
also finds oneself essentially un-
able to participate in the deci-
sions which are important to one's
life, not only because a moralistic
ethic prohibits really free expres-
sion but also because the units
with which one would deal are
too large, too narrow in their al-
lowances, too bureaucratized.
SO THERE IS growing aliena-
tion among college students and
their teachers, and there has al-
ways been potential for activat-
ing the poor. There is a growing
need to express oneself, however
violently or unlawfully, if one is
not to be drawn into dependence
on the system's economic relation-
ships and into self-delusion by its
puppet ethic. Action is potentially
the key, 'and in acting with re-
spect to the war against Viet Nam
one can also strike at that ethic
in a second wiy, insisting that it
does not justify the slaughter of
a whole people.
Just how much of this poten-
tial can be turned into, political
capital is a moot point, and it is
not at all clear that the grip of
the social system is not already
too tight.
But .in this case, education
and proselytization will do no good
either. Compared to direct action,
this method inevitably poses the
issues no more sharply and no
more strongly calls upon latent
desires for ,creative expression (in
this case and in general, sincere
civil disobedience is definitely cre-
YET ALMOST as quickly as
protestors might organize, the war
will sap the strength of this po-
tential movement. Public opin-
ion, news control and police sur-
veillance become more- and more
restrictive in wartime, and in any
case many who would have joined
the movement are being killed.
Still, American soldiers die in
much smaller numbers than do
Vietnamese peasants. In not too
long there will be no Viet Nam to




A Veteran Backs the Viet Nam Conference

To the Editor:
A WORD of heart-felt thanks to
all persons having to do with
the Conference on Perspectives on
Viet Nam.
If, as we know, changes come
only when enough people come
to believe' that a thing is wrong
and pring pressure on government
for action, then there can be no
doubt that the movement is on
the right track.
Particularly pleasing were the
words spoken by Arthur Miller:
"I do not like to be lied to by my

(One of them was my younger
brother, whose last words were, "It
is a little tough to get it the last
I leave Ann Arbor with the feel-
ing that at long last something
real is being done about this non-
-Stewart Graves,
World War I Veteran
Rice, Minn.
To the Editor:
many are in agreement in con-
demning the "war crimes" sign on
grounds of taste and so much in
agreement that that particular
condemnation has become quite'
casual, appearing in subordinate
clauses in a number of Daily edi-
No one criticizes the logic of the
sign, which is impeccable. The
major premise, supplied by the

sign, defines certain war crimes
according to international law; the
minor premise, supplied by the au-
dience, is that the press and gov-
ernment officials readily admit
that our armed forces are per-
forming these acts; the conclusion,
supplied by the sign, is that the
U.S. is committing war crimes.
In order to overturn this ar-
gument it would be necessary to
break down the major premise,
by asserting that international law
should not have moral or practi-
cal force. If anyone would care to
make that assertion, he should at
least be fully aware of the kind
of position that he has to take.
MOST OBJECTION to the sign
seems to settle upon the arrow
which pointed out the Marine re-
cruiters. Now this arrow seems de-
cidedly healthy to me, because it
locates in time and space the
wrong being protested. If armed
forces, whose purpose is killing,
are wrong, then those recruiters
are wrong, those very ones, right

"Taste" in academia often seems
to consist in eliminating time-and-
space reality by means of ab-
stractions, in order that we may
deal with dirt without having to'
touch it, without even having to'
see it. Political people too, of the
left as well as the right, talk
about "things" like "the govern-
ment," "th revolution," "national
interests,""' the Establishment,"
"the U.S.," all of which, if you
ever set out to find where they
are, turn out not to exist.
In dealing with these terms, we
never have to deal with 'the hu-
man beings underneath, which is
a great help to everyone in avoid-
ing moral pangs.
IN WAR it is permissible to kill
people without trial, in fact to
kill people whom we admit to
have been innocent, sort of by-
the-way because "we" are fighting
"the enemy," "the Viet Cong." A
useful way of thinking, certain-
ly, but unhealthy; unhealthy for
ethics because the experiential re-
alities with which ethics should
deal are eliminated, and, subordi-

nately, unhealthy for language be-
cause words come to have neither
objects nor behaviors to which
they refer, while we continue to
respond to them as though they
did. Poor taste, surely.
The "war crimes" sign, then,
has refreshingly designated some-
thing real-a few human beings-_
and certain behaviors of theirs-
recruiting-and has shown us the
point. It is possible to disagree
with what was said about those
recruiters,'but they were pointed'
;out as concrete loci of the prob-
lem with perfect justice and, to
my mind, with many more impli-
cations than were probably for-
seen; healthy implications never-
TO THOSE who consider the
sign to have been in bad taste,
I wish for you a world which is
one big Hatcher tea forever, and
God forbid that a dying man try-
ing to hold his guts inside his
belly should ever turn up on the
-Martha MacNeal Zweig, Grad

The Great UGLI Sit-In

government." Fake
and lack of popular
in 1917,kplus all the
and lack of protest
have triggered off all
that have brought us
ent pass. The war
and make the world
mocracy turned out
one more power grab.

protest back
since then,
those events
to our pres-
to end war
safe for de-
to be just


IN THE COURSE of human events, it
becomes necessary to tear oneself off
from the rotten decadence of the past
and seek the utopian promise of the fu-
We, the students of the University,
have reached a momentous juncture in
history. Last Sunday the authoritarian
tools of the administration-the jani-
tors of the UGLI-locked students out of
the Multipurpose Room of the library in
order to limit the knowledge of the op-
pressed masses.
Would we take these tyrannical tactics
lying down?
WE TOOK THEM sitting down.
Despite the administration's plot to
thwart the sit-in by adding 371 new seats
to the building this summer, we managed
to mobilize enough devoted comrades
whn were willingt n undergn the trving

so crowded Sunday afternoon that
quite a few students sat on the floor be-
cause they couldn't find a place to study.
Though some have tried to justify this
"sit-in" on the grounds of an administra-
tive "lockout" held the same day, the in-
cident was the perfect example of Com-
munist, cowardly and un-American ac-
tivities at the University. What's more,
it was in poor taste.
Here administrators spend weeks and
months installing 371 new seats in the
UGLI, and students thank them by stag-
ing a "sit-in" in return, just because the
new seats were full.
In addition to all that, where were the
library experts among the protestors?
A ND JUST HOW VALID does that make

TO ADD insult to injury, the
War Department (now called De-
fense Department) awarded so-
called "Victory Medals" bearing
the inscription "The Great War
for Civilization" to World War I
military personnel. What a trav-
esty the annual ceremonies at the
grave of the unknown soldier are!
What would he think if he could
know how he had been betrayed?
One wonders whether the un-
known soldier was one of, the
number who were needlessly sac-
rificed during the last days of the
war. A few days before the war
ended, the Germans asked for an
armistice and, to save lives, re-
quested that hostilities cease. The
request for a cease-fire was re-
fused by the allies, and the Ger-
mans were given until 11 a.m.,
November 11, to accept or reject
the terms offered.
Later, terms were agreed upon

The Night The Kingston Trio Melted

I WAS THERE when it finally
happened and it was truly a
terrible sight. The night the en-
tire Kingston Trio melted away
on the stage at Hill Auditorium
-before a sold out crowd.
From the start everyone was
uncomfortable because of the heat.
Being shown to your seat was like
cutting through a Turkish bath.
If you hadn't lathered up with a
double dose of deodorant or
drenched your clothes with Canoe
or Old Spice, before the lights
were lowered you felt and smelled

air. Many were positive the folk
singers were taking showers in
their dressing rooms. Sporting
new, dry (but not for long)
shirts they began the second half
of the show.
AND THEN - during "Tom
Dooley"-they started shrinking
and melting onto the stage. By the
end of "Where Have All the Flow-
ers Gone" there were just three
puddles of folk singer on the
floor of the stage. Then they start-.
ed dribbling towards the edge.
Girls were screaming and running
out of the building. Nick, one of
4.1- .S« - -4- 3 ,.n ... ..- .r.A"

-as the Kingston Trio did-and
be cut down in their prime. Excel-
lent talents wasted because the
University will not devote the at-
tention to a problem that has ex-
isted for a long time.
It COULD BE even worse next
time. It isn't too dangerous if
only three or four performers melt
but think of the Serendipity Sing-
ers, the French Ballet or the
Cleveland Philharmonic Orches-
tra. If, they should melt all at
once it would be disastrous. Those
sitting in the first six rows would
be lost for certain. Those in the

the best dates, but Senior Life
Savers aren't too bad. It would be
a gamble with a Junior Life Saver
but if she had been swimming in
the past six months (ask for cer-
tification) you could chance it.
With others who did not have
any of the Red Crosstcards, and
who you felt you must date, you
could follow this simple procedure.
Some afternoon, instead of tak-
ing her to coffee, you could sug-
gest a swim at the IM pool, subtly
that is. If she accepted then you
.could check her degree of skill
and decide whether she would be
a safe date to take to Hill Audi-



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