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March 27, 1966 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1966-03-27

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Seventy-Sixth Year

Book Review:

Poverty in America'


NEws PHONE: 764-0552

Editorials printed in The Michigan Daily express the inidividual opinions of staff writers
or the editors. This must be noted in all reprints.
Scd dW ard: Don't Vote
For the Guy Who Kicks You

by Louis A. Ferman, Joyce L
Kornbluth, and Alan Haber, with
an introduction by Michael Har-
rington. The University of Mich-
igan Press, 1965. 532,pages, $5.25.
IN A PAPER I wrote approxi-
mately-a year ago entitled "The
Leisure of the Theoried Class ...
the University and Value," I noted
the tendency on the part of those
living within the belly of the
academic beast to view the world
around them in terms of sterile
epiphenomelogical categories--"to
exist fat; happy and complacent
amdist an array of gadgetry. and
within an ideology designed to
perpetuate a sort of antiseptic
painlessness." "Theirs," I conclud-
ed, "is a religion of noninvolve-
It was my belief that Johnson's
"war on poverty" would turn out
to be little more than a skirmish
-and that his "critics" (of the
"near left" and "just left"), han-
dicapped as they were (and are)
by their specifically academic
ideology, would rant and rave, rent
their clothes and pour ashes over
their heads, but, in the final an-
alysis, be at a loss to explain why

"poverty had not yet been eradi-
IN THE COURSE of the year
that has ensued since the writing of
this paper, an anthology entitled
"Poverty in America," has appear-
ed which presents its readers with
an unparalleled opportunity to ex-
amine the failure of the "academic
left" to come to grips with the
real world.
In some sense, "Poverty in
America" represents a sort of cen-
tennial selection in, honor of
Proudhon's "Philosophy of Pover-
ty." It is a sad commentary on
the state of social thought in
America today that the ensuing
100 years have done so little to
dispel the disastrous metaphysics
which robbed much social analysis
during Proudhon's lifetime of even
the vaguest opportunity to come
to grips with the problems then
facing French society. The same
sort of observation seems even
more appropriate today.
POVERTY, for both Proudhon
and his inadvertant disciples, is an
essence which may be fully de-
scribed but not fully understood
by the middle class intellectual. It
has a life of its own. Like some
great and mysterious disease, it can

be analyzed in terms of its symp-
toms-and their immediate ef-
fects on people- but it, in itself:
is undefinable.
Dwight Macdonald, one of the
contributors given the dubious
honor of defining poverty for the
enlightenment of "Poverty in
America's" readers, comes to the
conclusion that poverty has to do
with a lack of money-and, he
quickly adds, a concommitant lack
of advantages. Poor people, we
are sagely told, are not as in-
visible as we thought they were
before Michael Harrington dis-
pelled that silly thought.
The rest of the anthology con-
sists of a series of a) countings of
the "poor" (definition variously
understood),;b) sketches giving the
inside dope on what it is like to
be poor, and c) explanations as
to why poor people are so bad at
family budgets, social relationships
-and the forces which occasion
them-get short shrift.
For instance, in "Automation;
Jobs and Manpower," one of the
articles presented in the collection
Charles Killingsworth informs hi,,
audience that nothing at all is
wrong with the way in which the
American economy is developing
except the fact that it hasn't been
"investing enough in human re-

sources" - which means feeding
and educating its people. This, it
seems, is making it difficult for
that metaphysical entity, the
Economy, to have enough trained
manpower to gobble up.
THIS IS NOT to say that the
authors and contributors don't
have some ideas as to how to get,
the Economy and the Society go-'
ing. Although they eschew any
particular point of view, and, in-
deed, their points of view vary a
great deal, the authors of the ar-
ticles appearing in the chapter en-
titled "Policies and Programs,"
share one essential element in
common: all are unwilling to con-
front poverty not as a failure of
personal will ("sapped by condi-
tions" for some), not as a "seri-
ous social ill" to be eradicated
(sic), or as an outcome of econom-
ic disjuncture in a corporate eco-
nomic scheme, but:
As a thing we define differ-
ently under different circumstanc-
es, not because it was somehow
less personally disruptive to be
poor in 1929, but because it is we
who are doing the defining;
As a condition dependent upon
"various factors"-but which is
describable in terms of conflictful

or potentially conflictful relation-
ships between various groups, and
Finally, a systematic product of
the ways in which goods are pro-
duced in societies-who produces
them, and who controls their dis-
This is to assert that "Poverty
in America" fails because while it
seeks to portray poverty (and that
it does), it does not analyze it
within the sort of context which
makes these bits of description
meaningful: an analysis of the
relationship between the ways in
which societies seek to solve prob-
lems, and their political and eco-
nomic structure.
IN THE SPIRIT of "Poverty in
America," then, I submit that one
sort of poverty being faced by this
country is the "academic poverty"
which gives rise to the division of
problem areas to the point where
all analysis is either trivial or im-
I submit that the study of so-
cial phenomena is not a clinical
but a theoretical and scholarly
endeavor, which must seek to re-
late the elements of a society to
one another and make some sense
out of these relationships.


A LETTER RECENTLY circulated among
the voting residents of Ann Arbor's
Second Ward warns: "Lest 'non-residents'
steal the April 4 election, every effort
must be made to support our outstanding
candidate for City Council-Jim Riecker
... Every Republican must vote on April
4." .
The letter was circulated by James
Brinkerhoff, director of plant expansion
in the University Office of Business and
Finance, and campaign chairman for Sec-
ond Ward Republican City Council can-
didate Riecker, an officer of ' the Ann
Arbor Bank.
Brinkerhoff's letter claims, in one
prominently underlined sentence, that on
Monday, March 7, "nearly 1500 new voters
registered for the April 4 city election."
Quite unfortunately, this is a gross over-
statement. In fact, less than 1500 new
voters registered in 10 days. Further, less
than one-fourth of these voters live in
Riecker's Second Ward.
It seems unfortunate that a University
official would be signing his name to a
letter aimed at rallying support opposing
a student's having a voice in his own
welfare. This, however, is Brinkerhoff's
right as a private citizen, and fortunately
does not reflect the University's general
position towards student voting as such.
It was also an unfortunate occurence
that the Ann Arbor News did not cover
the story of the Brinkerhoff letter. The
general University community should be
informed of the reactionary attitude these
Republicans seem to be taking toward a
group of "non-residents" who form, as
any banker should know, one of the key
supports, if not the key support, in the
Ann Arbor economy.
DEAN DOUTHAT, Democratic candidate
for the Second Ward Council seat, re-
printed Brinkerhoff's letter and distribut-
ed it in a letter with his own comments
added. He said: "These so-called 'non-
residents,' who are registered voters of
Ann Arbor, make their home here now;
most earn their living here; they and
their families shop here, send their chil-
dren to school here; they obtain profes-
sional services here. These voters .will
always form a large segment 'of Ann Arbor
residents. Where else should they vote?"
Candidate Rkeecker, when interviewed
concerning the Brinkerhoff letter, con-
tended that he had "tried to encourage
people to vote who were legally entitled
to do so."
He argued, however, that the vote in it-
self is not the answer to the problem of
student grievances, and urged that stu-
dents work through the University for
things such as better housing. "After all,
the University is responsible for you peo-
Subscription rate: $4.50 semesier oy carrier ($5 by
mail); $8 yearly by carrieri $9 y ma.l
Second class postage. paid at Ann Arbor. Mich.

for his far-sighted and obviously well-
meaning suggestions that students might
improve their own situation best by leav-
ing things to the University, and by going
downtown "to talk to the mayor," I might
also suggest that students refrain from
voting for him a week from Tuesday.
The student body is at the point where
it can help itself on housing, but to do
so it will need help from the city. While
there are indications that the general
composition of voting students tends to be
conservative, all students must now real-
ize that the issue in, this coming city
election cannot be Democrat or Repub-
lican, liberal or conservative, but rather
student welfare and the right to a stu-
dent voice in city affairs.
firmly believe (students) should have
a voice in city affairs." It is in the best
interests of all students that he receive
as much support as possible on April 4.
Acting Editorial Director
Jut a Bit
Too, Late
THE COURSE evaluation booklet will,,
hopefully, be distributed this next
week. After three months of work to
write it, the opinions of the students on
their fall courses will be made available
to the campus. But of what worth is this
The original timetable for the booklet
ended the first day of pre-registration. It
was recognized that, due to changes in
faculty and course offerings, the booklet
had to be gotten out as quickly as possi-
ble. Now it appears that the booklet will
instead appear well after pre-registration
is over.
The late appearance of the booklet de-
stroys its value for the students. It was
to have been used to help choose courses
to be selected during pre-registration.
This is now obviously impossible. The stu-
dents who wait to select their courses dur-
ing the riot scene in Waterman next fall
are mostly upperclassmen, who probably
would either not have paid much atten-
tion to the booklet, or would have found
its offerings too limited to be of much use.
ONLY POSITIVE result of the book-
let that can be expected now is the
hope that the faculty accept it as an ob-
j ective analysis of their work.


The Hard Lesson of US. Policy

rp ME UNITED STATES, accord-
ing to Walter Lippmann, is
learning in Viet Nam and other
world trouble spots a hard lesson
on the fruits of globalism. Basical-
ly, this means that, given there is
something wrong somewhere in
the world, it does not follow that
the United States is able to-or
should try to-do something about
Lippmann is restating the old
theory, always so shocking to
Americans; that their country is
not omniscient or omnipotent. In
the world today, more than ever
before in fact, good old American
know-how, go-right-in-there-and-
fix-it-up-today policies do not
work and may be, extremely dan-
gerous to world peace and prog-
The classic example is the Unit-
ed States' relations with Latin
America during this century. In
the relatively calm period of Roos-
evelt's Good Neighbor policy (al-
though there were abuses at this
time also) much progress was
made, at least diplomatically. Dur-
ing, World War II many Latin:
American countries built extensive
heavy industry, selling their prod-
ucts to European countries engag-
ed in the fighting.
AFTER WWII, however, the
market for Latin American prod-
ucts collapsed and with it the
support for further development
of their economies. As agricul-
tural development had been neg-
lected, they had to fall back on
their traditional one-crop export
economic bases. When the world
commodity (one - crop country
products like coffee, bananas or
sugar) prices also collapsed in the
early fifties, most of Latin Amer-
ica found itself in the economic
rut of the early 1900's and was
falling further behind the rest of
the world.
In answering to, the continuing
widespread poverty brought about
by these events, Latin America
has been shaken by social fer-
ment; reform movements-Com-
munist, non-Communist, and to-
talitarian-have attempted to take
over the governments of many of
these countries. Most Latin Amer-
ican countries have had at least
one revolution in the last five
The characteristic response of
the United States, heavily engaged
in the Cold War at this time, has
been unwillingness to give up its
economic advantages in Latin
America and distrust of any move-
ment or government that strongly
endorses the socialist measures
that may be the only way to im-
prove the present situation.
Not only has this attitude pro-
duced overt intervention, but it has
also spawned extensive secret oper-
ations, coups and assassinations.
In addition, the United States has
made it well known, in several re-
cent policy statements, that it

will not tolerate governments in
Latin America that do not rigidly
adhere to her policies, no matter
how beneficial they may otherwise
be to the development of these
THIS ATTITUDE of stern pater-
nal protection has been transpos-
ed from neighboring Latin Amer-
ica to the rest of the world. It
seems that countries which have
strategic or economic value for
the U.S. m-ust also be her symbolic
sons; that they are to be manip-
ulated, taught and rebuked like
ignorant children; that they are,
nevertheless, too important to be
left to themselves,,no matter what
their wishes are; that they are,
like the family feud, either with
us or against us..
Yet examples like Viet Nam
prove the folly of this stance, even
if they do not prove its ineffec-
tuality in the short run, because
the United States is operating with
several crucial disadvantages.
These include our lack of knowl-
edge of the attitudes and tradi-
tions of many underdeveloped
countries, our consequent lack of
sympathy with their goals and the
measures needed to reach them
and the short-sightedness of our
obsession with anti-Communism.
The basis for this anti-Com-
munism, of course, is hardly our
fear of underdeveloped nations
losing their freedom to the "athe-
istic Communist doctrine." Rather
we oppose the rise of Communism
to maintain our economic leader-
ship in the world.
AND WHILE we maintain that
the Communist nations are bent
on world domination, it is the
United States which has under-
gone its greatest economic ex-
pansion in the post World War II
period-close to the fantastic over-
seas investment of the twenties.
Programs like the Marshall Plan
the Alliance for Progress and now
the Mekong Delta project of
Southeast Asia have, along with
great private investment, brought
this about.
The control which such econom-
ic alliances affords the U.S. is
fantastic. When an underdevelop-
ed ally decides to take its busi-
ness to the Communist bloc, we
merely dump the single crop in
their often one-crop economies on
the world market, and 'watch the
nation's economy stumble. Cuban
sugar is one very good example.
Cuba has since attempted to
switch to rice. Ghana is a more
recent example. Under Nkrumah
Ghana's economy was in critical
shape-largely due to the falling
world price of the country's main
export, cocoa. In the words of the
New York Times, Nkrumah "drift-
ed into increasing economic de-
pendence on the Soviet Union."
Since the coup the price of co-
coa has made sharp gains. To say
that the U.S. had nothing to do

The Associ c
by carney',and ~ ie


with the gains would be naive.
Peru is 'another example. Un-
der Thomas Mann, then assistant
secretary of state, the U.S. froze
seven projects worth $24 million
and discouraged the drawing up
of new ones, in order that the
Peruvian government would come
to terms with the International
Petroleum Corporation, a subsidi-
ary of Standard Oil. This pressure
did not succeed, and the ban was
dropped in February after two
The final result of this policy
of course, is that the United States
seeks to develop economic ties, but
not primarily to aid the peoples
of these countries. We do not give
the underdeveloped nations of the
world freedom or democracy, or
even the best price in economic

trade. We want to maintain and
extend our economic power.
fuse to allow Communist China to
make similar expansion. Rather
than granting the Chinese a
sphere of influence in which they
'might operate, as Lippmann would
propose, we seek to stifle that
growth. Russia, Britain, the Unit-
ed States, France - all of these
powers had access to such spheres
when their economic development
demanded overseas investment and
expansion. We are trying to make
sure China does not.
The final effects of such a pol-
icy can be very dangerous. Dan-
gerous first, because in "drawing
the line" in Asia with our mili-
tary might at a point which the
Chinese can or will not accept
may only 'make them more bril-
liant. As Newsweek put it:
"Unless the U.S. comes to terms
eventually with China's aspirations
for a bigger voice in the affairs of
Asia, Peking, once it acquires great
military might, could conclude that

it can only get such a voice by
force of arms."
Secondly, when the U.S. spends
the amount it is now spending in
Viet Nam to restrict Chinese eco-
nomic and military influence, pro-
grams which insure America its
sphere of influence - especially
in Latin America-will have to be
cut or frozen, e.g., the Alliance for
Thirdly, the amount spent mili-
tarily to protect U.S. economic
prowess abroad holds up valuable
long-range research that would
allow the U.S. to utilize fully the
resources at its doorstep (food
from the sea, peaceful uses of
atomic energy, conversion of sea
water, etc.). Development of these
resdurces would greatly lessen out
present dependence on overseas
markets, and eliminate the waste
in our consumption.
Finally, the underdeveloped
third world can only lose in the
great powers' game of power poli-
tics and foreign aid manipulation.
It's all part of the hard les-



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S. . Burn, Baby, Burn..

Anti-Semitism in Europe

To the Editor:
ticle on "Leaders' Failure Aids
Anti-Semitism" is an article that
needed further investigation on
the part of the author into the
facts he delved up.
To begin with he accuses the
present administration in Austria
of having anti-semitic tendencies
in the person of former Minister
of the Interior Mr. Franz Olah.
What the man said was JUDAS-
KUESS in regard to the party
he has left. The interpretation is

people of lower ranks such as
secretaries, clerks, etc. were to be
no longer sought after.
They still are looking for Mar-
tin Bormann and others. The Ger-
mans living in Egypt and working
for the Egyptian government have
been deprived of their rights in
Germany in many different ways.
Businessmen who are involved in
the scientific fields have been
blackballing these people by re-
fusing to employ them should
they return to Germany and dis-
approval by the press has been

political leanings (in the United
States that the far right has a
much higher toll).
It is unfair of Mr. Lassar to
condemn nations and accuse them
of anti-semitism in the face of
efforts that have been made to
overcome this disgusting vice.
Furthermore he has not made one
point showing how some of these
countries, and especially Germany
have tried to make reparations to
those who suffered under its crim-

inal regime. To Israel alone Ger-
many has sent millions of marks
in the form of goods, manpower,
trade, an direct cash.
He does not state the fact that
Germany is training the Israeli
army in Germany proper so that
they will be able to defend them-
selves against their hostile neigh-
bors if it must be. Did he know
DID HE KNOW that Germany
sponsors many people from Israel
to be educated at German Univer-
sities? Did he know that Germany,

sisters in the convents hid out
many Jewish children?
I suggest that Mr. Lassar check
his facts before he 'asserts such
things. I am the last person who
would defend an anti-semite, but
isolated instances of prejudice of
all sorts always are cropping up--
witness our own situation with
the Negro.
Before one shows all the bad
points of a country, and par-
ticularly in regard to Germany
and Austria, please from now on
also indicate that these isolated
instances are not a majority view.

4 ;

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