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February 20, 1966 - Image 3

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The Michigan Daily, 1966-02-20
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:,_

g p 4

4 4

War With

the

Wrong

Weapons

Vol. XII, No. 3

Mirliitrn

I MAGA

Robert Moore, Magazine Editor

Sun

(Continued from Page Seven)
other protests to Washington to be dis-
cussed later.
ALL THIS suggests that Alinsky was in-
volved in the Syracuse program
directly. He was - until Syracuse Uni-
versity's chancellor announced 1 a s t
month that, his consultant's contract
with the University having run out, he
was not going to be rehired.
In only one city, San Francisco, have
the results of such "political ferment"
been encouraging. Mayor John Shelley
had nearly exclusive control of the city's
Economic Opportunity Council and said
he could never be persuaded to give it
up. Representatives of the poor, how-
ever, had control of the neighborhood
centers, and refused to approve Shelley's
programs unless they got a majority on
the council.
The fighting came to a close after the
Federal official in the city to oversee the
antipoverty said that no funds would be
forthcoming unless the neighborhood
centers approved the way the money was
to be spent. Shelley then caved in.
Chicago, of course, may be called an
exception, due in large part to the po-
litical importance of its mayor. Unfortu-
nately, it is a very big exception, having
received about $21 million in Federal
anti-poverty money. 'ITe fact that it is
always called an "exception" has general-
ly tended to prevent action. But it ap-
pears that San Francisco is the excep-
tion; the pattern in Chicago is, with some
variance, largely the rule.
V
THE FUNDAMENTAL nature of all
these program is, as James Ridgeway
of The New Republic said of Chicago's
program, they amount -"to little more
than an extension of existing social or
welfare services which have served as
instruments of a policy that results in
keepingsthe poor Negroes in walled-up
ghettoes. . . (at this writing) the Poor
themselves have not been involved in
planning the poverty war and have very
little to say about the way it is run"
The story need not have developed in
this way. But the way in which this pat-
tern developed is, to say the least, inter-
esting.
As Loftus noted in The Times, the
Economic Opportunity Act is sufficiently
vague to allow for some significant vari-
ations in the "maximum feasible partici-
pation" of the poor. Shriver was evident-
ly determined initially that this involve-
ment be meaningful. He told a confer-
ence of welfare associations that welfare
workers didn't involve the poor enough
and ought to fulfill their responsibility
to do so.
THEN, HOWEVER, the nation's mayors,
alarmed by the way in which poor
people in their cities or in others were
shaking up local governments and seek-
ing an end to welfare colonialism, realiz-
ed that their interests and established
procedures, most of them shabby, were
at stake, from their parks departments to
their housing authorities.
The United States Conference of May-
ors, meeting in St. Louis in June of 1965,
thus wrote a strong resolution attacking
the poverty program for "creating ten-
sions" between the poor and themselves
and for "fostering class struggle" against
city administrations was very nearly cer-
tain of passage.
Earlier in November there appeared
a disclosure that the Bureau of the
Budget, yielding to further pressure from
the mayors, had opposed a role for the
poor in the planning (as opposed to
execution) of poverty programs.
Loftus' disclosure was dismaying, but
not surprising, to most observers. But
Shriver denied the whole affair, say-
ing with a straight face the next day
in a speech in Scottsdale, Ariz., "No
such change in OEO's policy has been
directed or ordered by anyone in the
administration . . . Our policy is today
and will remain exactly what it has
been from the very beginning."

(The Bureau of the Budget may also
have been concerned about the fact that

bringing poor-and hence untrained and
managerially naive--people into the pro-
gram as planners and workers is less
"efficient" than using trained social
workers. This is indeed true, as poverty
programs in Mississippi and New York
City have shown. But it is well to recall
once again that the essential aspect of
a community action program is the fact
that it is a program with, not for, the.
poor. And participation of the poor, not
high cost-effectiveness, is the only pos-
sible way to go about it.)
BUT APPARENTLY SHRIVER was un-
able-or unwilling-to outflank the
increasing and extremely potent opposi-
tion to involving the poor. Under pres-
sure within the administration and
without (he may still want to be the
Illinois governor someday), he made a
well-publicized trip to Chicago in
December.
Seated with Mayor Daley at the head
table of a poverty warriors' banquet
attended by Chicago's Establishment-

parently was pressured into dropping
Alinsky from the list.
For all their criticisms of the War on
Poverty-mismanagement, the inaccurate
claim that a year in the Job Corps costs
more than a year in Harvard or earns
more than a year in the Army, and so
on-the Republicans haven't shown much
enthusiasm for ensuring that the law
on community action works as it was
written. Congressman William Ayres, the
senior Republican on the House Educa-
tion and Labor Committee, is apparently
worried most about getting "a complete
and independent audit."
In view of the political implications
and complications, it is probably sur-
prising that the poor have been involved
at all. Organizing the poor on the basis
of their sharp feelings of resentment
against their miserable conditions-for
which City Hall is often responsible-is,
in brief, teaching the poor. to fight City
Hall. And it is unreasonable to expect
that City Hall or its allies such as the
welfare industry will help people who

On November 7, 1965, Saul Aliusky, one of the
nain proponents of the organization-of-the-poor
philosophy, spoke at Raekhant Amphitheatre
here. Anong the things he said then:
"If you Saw Watts, you wouldn't question why
it blew up. You'd only ask ,why it didn't go in
964, o01. 63, o. 'G."

f It is "wi shful

thinking" to aSSnin e federal

money can correct the gross inequities in tmod-
er society. The Negro ghettoes are developing
a real hatred towards the poverty program and
the "welfare industry."
0 "When we hold a delegate convention of The
Woodlawn Organization, we have in the room
twice the total membership of all the civil rights
organizations in Chicago. This is why Mayor
Daley will pay attention to TWO, even if that
attention is negatively directed."
"X4: AW11V~'. .1 :1"1X 41 ...v 1p"l.. J"1v {'::'i:" }' . . . . . . . ":1
:":": tt:".:".:*.: . .*.*.' . . "4" ."1 4"". " "J1:. ..1
t1~11~i ~1J .4want to1fight1.City1.Hall.1You41do1not1let

segregation) and so on. On balance. It is
making the obvious obvious to observe
that Daley needs the administration more
than the administration needs him.
Something far more important than
offending a few mayors is at stake. As
has been seen, the poor are unsure,
powerless and deprived by the hopeless-
ness of their condition. Although they
are, in -the strictest sense, "capable" of
using their opportunities, they have been
so crippled by their powerlessness and
their dependency that, in reality, they
are not. As President Johnson observed
eloquently in his historic Howard Uni-
versity speech, opening the doors of op-
portunity-whether by growth or edu-
cation-is not enough; a man must be
able to walk through them.
And hence the necessity for organizing
the poor: to do things not simply for
the poor, which increases their feeling of
powerlessness and insignificance, but with
them. Long convinced that "you can't
fight City Hall" and get results, the poor
will never regain the feeling that they.
too, matter, that they, too, have and
should take a part in society, unless they
are catalyzed by the antipoverty program
and can see for themselves.
ORGANIZING THE POOR has, it is
true, caught the fancy of student
activists. But it is a time-honored belief
of the most respectable Republican
orthodoxy that, given the opportunity to
do so, the individual and only the in-
dividual can demonstrate, through actions
springing from his own enterprise and
initiative, that he is willing to be the
master of his own destiny. If they really
believe in individual initiative and local
responsibility, it is incumbent on con-
servatives no less than liberals to see
that "maximum feasible participation" of
the poor in decisions on their destiny is
a reality.
That the poor do not, in general, now
believe it is possible to govern one's fate
has been seen. But this condition is not
inherent; it does not come from some
quality all poor people have. It is en-
vironmental, and comes from poverty
itself.
Having decided their lot cannot be
improved, the poor have concluded they
are powerless, and so they withdraw
from public affairs. In so doing, they
become powerless; some of those who
acquire power over them exploit them;
and the cycle is complete.
THE RECORD suggests thatonce the
poor are organized-and they can be
-and once they realize that there is a
definite relation between their acts and
their destiny-and they will-then they
will begin to participate in public affairs
again, and the psychology of poverty will
begin to crumble.
The role of government, therefore, is
to help catalyze this process: to provide
economic growth and educational oppor-
tunity, and to help organize the poor-
to help bring them back into the affairs
of the great Republic from which, thanks
to the seeming hopelessness of their
situation, they have so long been obsent.
The possibility that government will
cease to work for "maximum feasible
participation" of the poor in determining
their own destinies is thus tragic-for
at stake is the validity and the vitality
of the democratic process itself.
ltdr gat 4att
MAGAZINE
Magazine Editors: Robert Moor
(layout); Lawrence Kirs hbaum
(copy).
PHOTOS
Andrew Sacks-Cover, p. 5, p. 7
Thomas R. Copi-P. 3, p. 4
Ann Arbor News-P. 2 -

Press run this issue: 9100.

THE CONSEQUENCES OF DISSENT
Public reaction to the various Viet Nam protests held here over
the last year and a half has often been angry. In letters to Uni-
versity officials, the Viet Nam protestors have been called "cow-
ards," "pinkos"'and "grossly stupid jerks." Yet despite the pub-
lic outcry-and the accompanying financial-political pressure
within the state-the University has courageously defended the
student's right to open discussion and public dissent. (Page two)

and picketed by TWO-Shriver (to the
amusement of all) said he couldn't see
anything wrong with politicians and
wanted to defend the role of the "Estab-
lishment" in the poverty war.
Shriver's original community action
guidebook-khich some disillusioned OEO
types now call the "coloring book"-said
"a vital feature of every community ac-
tion program is the involvement of the
poor themselves-the residents of the
areas and members of the groups to be
served-in planning, policy-making and
-operation of the program."
And Shriver began by insisting that
although there should be no fixed ratio
of poor people on community action
boards, one-third of the board should
generally be composed of poor people.
The OEO put out a .statement on
January 14 of this year, however, saying
'that the national average of poverty
representation on community programs
was about 27.5 per cent-which one staff
member confided had "absolutely punc-
tured" the one-third standard. "The new
legend is 25 per cent," he said, "but
that's wrong, too."
It is possible, however, to be too critical
of Shriver. He has very few allies and
many enemies, from Daley to the social
work industry. He is said to feel that
the new Citizens Crusade Against Pov-
erty, a new privately-financed group
led by Walter Reuther and intended to
train community organizers somewhat
like the Syracuse program, is the best
way to organize the poor since City Hall
won't show people how to fight City Hall.
Shriver has also set up a national
Community Representatives Advisory
Council of 28 poor people or their repre-
sentatives to work with him, but ap-

want to fight City Hall. You do not let
other people put you out of business.
VI-
BUT THE EXPERIENCE of such ef-
forts as TWO has shown that the
organizing the poor works-in terms of
increased human decency, and in terms
of tangible results, as witness the TWO-
Labor Department training program. The
experience of San Francisco and some
other cities suggests that politicians and
the poor can make a good start at work-
ing together.
What the Administration is faced with,
in short, is a very basic question: to
continue policies of consensus towards
the nation's mayors, or to strike out on
a new path-despite its difficulties, which
are certainly not all involved in "maxi-
mum feasible participation"-and fight
poverty to win.
To be sure, there are political difficul-
ties involved in orgarizing the poor.
Mayor Daley is not likely to be cheered
by the prospect of a TWO with substan-
tial federal encouragement. He and his
Democratic congressmen-whom the ad-
ministration needs badly; Rep. Pucinski
defected on a crucial vote, a near loss,
pn the Omnibus Housing Act of 1965-are
vital for the administration, some might
say.
BUT MAYOR DALEY and his congress-
men need the administration as well:
urban renewal money, public works
money, educational aid (the Office of
Education is finally investigating Chicago
School Superintendent Benjamin Willis'
refusal to act effectively on de-facto

CAZZIE RUSSELL

Cazzie Lee Russell came here from a housing project in Chicago
to become the brightest star on the horizons of college basket-
ball. He has done it with size and talent and an intense, lonely
drive to be the best. But behind the statistics and records, Cazzie
is a sensitive human being facing the problems of race, fame
and the game of basketball with his own brand of poise and
dedication. (Page three)
WAR WITH TIHE WIONG WEAPONS
The Federal Government's multi-million-dollar War on Poverty
is basically misguided, spending carloads of money to treat the
symptoms and not the disease. The basic cause of poverty is a
pychological condition, the feeling of being unimportant and
helpless in the larger society. The best solution to poverty lies
in organizing the poor into self-respecting, powerful groups,
even though such organization could probably topple many big
city political machines. (Page four)
A LONG WAY TO GO
Educated in active involvement instead of passive concern, a
new generation of students is asking for a greater voice in the
r- -
decisions which influence them. For years, students here have
been explicitly seeking participation in University decision-mak-
ing, but have been hampered by an essentially dualistic attitude
of administrators: liberalism in philosophy, paternalism in prac-
tice. A great step forward may soon be made with student par-
ticipation in the presidential selection process. (Page five)

Paae Eiaht

THE MICHIGAN DAILY MAGAZINE

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