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December 15, 1960 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1960-12-15

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Seventy-First Year
b Will Prevail'
rials printed in The Michigan Daily express the individual opinions of staff writers
or the editors. This mus t be noted in all reprints.

French Students and Algeria
(EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the firstsĀ¢
of two articles on the French na-
tional student union and the A1
geriau question. Thomas Turner, N
'60, former Daily editor, and Wil- :
11am Lee, a graduate of Dartmouth
College, are overseas representatives
of the United States National Stu-
dent Association studying 4t the
Institute of Political Studies, Uni-
versity of Paris.)

, DECEMBER 15, 1960


ACWR Syinposium Causes,
Examination of Practicality

to World Responsibility have been forced
take a long, hard look at their program
a result of this weekend's work symposium.,
The symposium itself was a pretty unspeseta-
.lar affair. None of the national figures in-
ted to address the. group were able to make
so he conference was limited to local talent.
vertheless, I suspect that it has set a lot of.
ople thinking.
In order to understand the impact, it is ne-'
ssary to appreciate the prevailing mood
nong members of the ACWR prior to the
nference. That mood was characterized by
e unquestioned belief that no thoughtful,
ogressive American could posibly object to
e program being advanced. Opposition was
pected, to be sure, but only from reaction-
les, isolationists, veterans groups, and a few
ng-haired economists who brooded about such
ifles as the balance of payments. Republican
position was generally regarded as a pre-
ection stance which would quickly dissolve.
s Brian Glick commented when drafting the
oung Democrat's endorsement of the ACWR,
upporting this program is like supporting'
other and the Flag.
'HE FIRST JOLT to this blind optimism was
Gilbert Bursley's speech Friday night.
ithout attempting to "throw cold water" on
e group's enthusiasm, as he put it, Bursley
vertheless posed a long list of problems
hich had to be worked out before the peace
.rp could be successfully organized. The
eech was hardly profound. It was anecdotally
-iculous in places, as in its emphasis on
oosing a name for the movement that would
anslate well into other languages. Neverthe-
ss, it had a definite impact. Over and over
heard people say they had "never realized
ere were so many problems involved."
Now, the questions Bursley raised should have
cured to anyone who had carefully considered
fe concept of a youth corps. The reaction to
s speech implied that, hard as it is to
:lieve, many supporters of ACWR had never
.lly thought through the program they so
,rnestly advocated.
MERE ARE BRAINS in the movement, and
plenty of them, but the intellectual qualifi-
toins of its members has laways been subor-
nated to the emotional. It was enough that
person know, in a general way, the low level
literacy, high infant mortality and tech-
Dlogical primitiveness of the underdeveloped
eas. The importnat thing was that he should
assionately "want to help." As a consequence,
e membership of ACWR was well armed -with
ealism, enthusiasm and a strong service
otive, but lacking knowledge of the world it
)ught to conquer. Prof. Hayes stated Friday
ght, "I see no need for protracted study
id planning," and no line could better have
iptured the mood of his audience. There was
hasty impatience, a desire to "get going,"
it with amazingly little thought of where to
, and why.
Symbolic of this mood was the reaction to

Bursley's suggestion that the organization
should set down in writing its objectives, both
general and specific. This caused quite a stir,
with the result that the enrollment in the study
group on purpose exceeded that for any other
issue. It is not surprising that some interest
should be shown in the overall objectives of
the youth corps. What Is surprising is that the
organization could have come so far without
formulating them,
BuRSLEY'S SPEECH, upsetting though it was
to many, had nevertheless been concerned
only with details such as legal arrangements,
sharing of costs, choice of a name. Still there
had been no challenge to the overriding pre-
mise: that the youth corps was a fundamentally
sound idea and could be of real service to the
underdeveloped areas. In the seminars Satur-
day, members of the ACWR were confronted
for the first time with the possibility that
their program was unworkable, on philosophic
grounds as. well as administrative. And the
challenge came, not from reactionary interests.
but from the faculty members best qualified
to render a judgement.
T IS DIFFFICULT to sumup the tone of the
seminars in a word or two. The contribution
of the faculty and student participation varied
greatly from group to group. But the overall
position of the speakers is probably best
described as one of "friendly skepticism." Stu-
dentsc were_,told that pure idealism was not
enough, that the real need was for technical
and social skills of a type which would dis-
qualify, most members of ACWR.
More significantly, they were given several
good reasons for doubting the feasibility and
wisdom of the whole idea. Natives might use
the peace corps as a scapegoat for the defer-
ment of dreams, they were warned. American
skills are so much a part of the modern en-
vironment that they might prove useless in
primitive surroundings. Youth corps members
might even end up dependent for survival on
the very backward people they intended to aid.
Unfamiliarity with local ocnditions could make
a mockery of grandiose improvement pro-
grams. Members of the youth corps might be
resented because of their color, their con-
nection with colonialism, their very youth.
There was a real danger that far from improv-
ing our position in the world, a youth corps
might actually worsen them.
THESE WERE SOBERING observations. They
must have given pause to students who,
rushing from one committee meeting to an-
other, had failed -to think through the im-
plications of their program. Only the future
progress of the movement will show whether
the weekend symposium has in fact disillusion-
ed backers of the ACWR. But it is safe to say
that the conference was an important water-
shed. The idealistic, unquestioning support of
the program must now give way to a realistic
examination of its possibilities and perils, by
students fully aware that the whole idea of a
youth corps may have to be abandoned.

T E RECENT history of UNEF,
the French national union of
students, is dominated by one
overwhelmipg problem: the six-
year war in Algeria. UNEF has
been torn to pieces several times by
disputes over the war. Yet It-,now
stands as a major force in the
French Left, again because of the
Algerian problem and its position
But as the problem itself seems
little nearer to successful resolu-
tion than at any other stage in
the past six years, UNEF continues
to operate in a vacuum under the
deGaulle government, which is re-
sponsible far less to public pres-
sures than to the General's private
assessment of how far he can push
the Right without bringing para-
troops down on Paris and his Fifth
Republic down in ruins.
In sum, the recent history of
UNEF is a recent history of France
UNEF has long held the posi-
tion that students are "young in-
tellectual workers," that a student
union is a trade union which must
lobby for better working condi-
tions for its members.
Within the context of the high-
ly-centralized French educational
system, in which a single national
ministry is responsible for a na-
tionwide system of schools, this no-
tion of "student syndicalism" is a
logical development.
UNEF, as representative of the
French students, received a subsidy
from the Ministry of Education,
and periodically petitioned the
minister for more scholarships,
more and better student restaur-
ants and hostels, higher teaching
salaries, and the like.
In most European countries, the
syndicalist tradition has led to
a strict a-politicism, the student
union not jeopardizing its cam-
paign for material well-being of
its members by taking controver-
sial stands. This was the position
of UNEF, until four years ago,
to the politicization of UNEF is
one which has been felt by all the
unions of Europe and the English-
speaking world-the necessity for
communication and cooperation
with student groups from Asia,
Africa and Latin America.
These groups from the "under-
developed areas" must by nature
be political. Under a dictatorial
government, such as that in Spain
or the Dominican Republic, under
a backward economy, such as that
of Bolivia or India, or under both,
as for example in the Portuguese
colonies of Mozambique and An-
gola, one cannot hope for academ-
ic freedom and material benefits
for the students without a change
in the overall system.
Contacts with student unions
from these areas have led the a-
political unions to compromise
their opposition to political stands,
and have educated them to the
very real problems of the Asians,
Africans and Latin Americans.
IN THE CASE of UNEF, politi-
cization was particularly impor-
tant since Paris is an important
focus of international student ac-
tivity. Students from all corners of
the present and former French co-
lonial system congregate there,
and their groups are for the most
part{ quite far left. To maintain

T he Picking and Choosing

rE THING comes through clearly enough
from the way Sen. Kennedy has been choos-
g his Cabinet. It is that he has not been put-
g together just a Cabinet. He has been put-
ig together an Administration. He has no in-
ition, it seems plain enough, of following the
senhower pattern. He does not mean to ap-
Int a few men like John Foster Dulles and
orge Humphrey and then to delegate all but a
w ultimate decisions to them. Sen. Kennedy
pects to be at the center of his administra-
n, not to preside above it and in large degree
art from it.
He is not, therefore, handing over to the Sec-,
ary of State the conduct of our foreign re-
ions and to the Secretary of the Treasury the
nduct of our financial and economic concerns.
ther, he is selecting the teams of key men in
e Departments, having it in mind that he
I work with them.
Doing that is an intricate task. He must find
n who have ability. He must find men who
lieve in, not merely who accept, his general
rception of our situation and our needs. He
ust find men who are politically available
d are personally compatible. They must have
:h energy, which means normally that they
st be in the creative period of a man's life,
iey must have experience, not in the sense
at they have lived through it all but because
ey are educated and, therefore, know the
sk from having studied It.
' HAS BEEN, of course, a fascinating game
to speculate about who would be tapped. But
is easy to take our own curiosity too seriously,

In fact, among the different men seriously
considered for the State Department, the Treas-
ury and Defense, there were not, I believe, any
substantial issues of policy which would collide
with the decisions of the President himself on
foreign or on economic policies. The differences
among the men have been differences of style
and of personality, differences of how and not
differences of whether or what. In the Adminis-
tration of a strong President, which Mr. Ken-
nedy most surely intends to be, Cabinet officers
do not play the role of policy makers as did
Dulles and Humphrey in the Eisenhower ad-
For these reasons the choice of the key men,
of which the Cabinet officers are by no means
the whole lot, could not be done in a hurry. The
time that the Senator has been spending since
election is not long in view of the fact that he
is organizing his administration and not mere-
ly his Cabinet. If he can get most of his key
men n place by the end of ths month, there s
no reason why he should not be ready to take
over three weeks later.
ONE THING has struck me while we have
been waiting for the picking and choosing
to produce the results. It is that on the central
questions of foreign affairs and economics, the
criteria among the available men have not been
ideological, not whether they were to the left or
to the right. When the whole list of selections
has been announced, it will be a mistake to read
it as meaning that the Kennedy administration
will be "conservative" or "progressive." It will
be too active and too varied to fit comfortably

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