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Editorials printed in The Michigan Daily express the individual opinions of staff writers
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TUESDAY, JUNE 10, 1969
NIGHT EDITOR: HAROLD ROSENTHAL
._ .. 1
The real trial
of the Tenants, Union
IN THE LATEST ISSUE of Nation
magazine is to be found an alarm-
ing and accurate diagnosis of the mal-
aise of our civilization. Nation quotes a
lecture given by German political
scientist Ralf Dahrendorf that points
out the development of a new kind of
fascism in t h e countries of Western
Europe and in the United States.
Dahrendorf makes t h e distinction
between what we know as historical
fascism and a new "systematic fase-
ism." He says, "systematic fascism de-
scribes a state of social and political
affairs in which the individual is ec-
onomically well off, has a safe job, is
provided for by the state in case of
need, even has the right to move about
(although not to stage a protest dem-
onstration), to read different news-
papers, and vote for different parties-
and yet is not free in the sense of hav-
ing a realistic chance to influence the
course of events."
Students and other groups seeking to
bring about change in the political and
economic configuration of American
society fare too aware of the existence
and effects of what Dahrendorf calls
"systematic fascism." The quest f o r
change has been driven back not so
much by dictatorial oppression as it
has by the inertia and inflexibility of
American institutions. And while the
repressive influence of someone 1i k e
Ronald Reagan is both real and sig-
nificant, the less obvious institutional
inertia is even stronger than the sheer
muscle that Reagan puts in the streets
STUDENTS AS A GROUP have found
it almost impossible 'to apply the
concerted and constant pressure need-
ed to change institutions like the uni-
versity, the military establishment, and
the forces of. economic deprivation.
Student activism has been too frag-
mented and too transient to have a
real effect. Unable to direct constant
pressure, students have found their de-
mands too easily ignored.
Take the example of'housing in Ann
Arbor. Students made several futile at-
tempts to shake loose from the stran-
glehold of the oligopoly of local land-
lords. But efforts like the eight-month
lease campaign attracted too little stu-
dent support and no support from the
University. Without active momentum
to carry it over the months last sum-
mer, there is little wonder that t h e
campaign for t h e eight-month lease
was easily aborted
Many students became convinced
that Ann Arbor landlords w e r e un-
touchable, in firm control of City Hall
and the local courts. What was worse,
the landlords appeared to be operating
with at least the tacit consent of the
University. It seemed that students
were powerless to change an unshake-
able prostration by exorbitant rents,
the twelve-month lease, and w i d e-
spread landlord negligence.
BUT THEN CAME the rent strike and
the Tenants Union.
The Tenants Union is the first con-
certed step that has been taken to seek
correction of t h e deplorable housing
situation in Ann Arbor. Students have
organized around the rent strike in an
attempt to wii recognition of the Ten-
ants Union as the bargaining agent for
local tenants. The Tenants Union is
not demanding immediate rent cuts; it
is not asking, an end to, private prop-
erty. The Tenants Union asks only that
it be recognized and allowed to par-
ticipate in collective bargaining with
Its acceptance so far has been en-
couraging. Gaining strength from the
days when Peter Denton presented the
idea to an indifferent SDS, the Ten-
ants Union now commands' wide stu-
dent support, several important court
victories, and the endorsement of the
local Democratic Party, ,as well as that
of members of the City Council and the
But the Tenants Union is something
more. It is probably the most success-
fl ,ni Pn t mmnvrment evers non this
student withholding rent is worth ten
at any demonstration.
YET, THE TENANTS Union will need
increased student support next year
to keep it going. Except perhaps for
money, it has everything else it needs
to keep itself alive - including a good
issue and good leadership.
Most student movements run out of
gas because of the entropy inherent in
- most of their issues. The abortive stu-
dent power movement of 1966 disin-
tegrated when Harlan Hatcher ap-
pointed a committee to investigate stu-
dent demands. But housing in Ann Ar-i
bor is not an issue that can be quieted
by appointing committees.
The Tenants Union is not making de-
mands that can be met quickly - like
abolition of women's hours. Lower
rents and better housing are continu-
ing issues. But definite progress can be
seen in seeking lower rents and better
housing conditions. Little can be seen
in fights against such things as racism
and militarism. Students who are dis-
illusioned with fighting a losing war
against the Pentagon can be convinced
that the fight f o r better housing in
Ann' Arbor is something that can be
More importantly, the housing issue
has in it something to be gained for
everyone. It cannot be dismissed as a'
parochial interest being fought for by
an already privileged student class.
The housing issue is one that students
can w i n lasting benefits for them-
selves, but it is also an excellent way to
fight poverty. Things like high rents
and poor maintenance are serious
problems for low-income people in this
city. The Tenants Union can do some-
thing about that.
The Tenants Union has shown that
it can appeal to a wide range of stu-
dent opinion. Support for the r e n t
strike has come from groups ranging
from IFC to Radical Caucus. It is sig-
nificant that the Tenants Union can
mobilize the more conservative a n d
apathetic elements on campus. Too of-
ten, people have dismissed student ac-
tivism as the work of a small minority.
If there was ever a chance to confront
people with a real majority, the Ten-
ants Union seems most likely.
BUT NOW THE Tenants Union is at a
turning point. A c a s e in Circuit
Court brought by seven landlords could
decide to what extent the Tenats Un-
ion can continue their battle with sole-
ly "legal" means. The small group of
landlords are charging the Tenants
Union with "conspiracy" to get tenants
to break leases. The landlords also
charge that the Tenants Union con-
spired to have libelous articles printed
in The Daily, although they have yet
to point out any.
Judge Ager could pass down a perm-
anent injunction against the Tenants
Union. But, fortunately, even this ex-
treme decision is not likely to exting-
uish the Tenants Union. Not even a
court order can turn back the clock.
Really, what is on trial in Circuit
Court is the health of our democratic
institutions. Do tenants - or a n y
group of people - have a right to or-
ganize and bargain collectively? "Can
change come about peacefully and le-
gally? Or, when we are told so often
to "dissent within the system," are we
really being told not to dissent at all?
The real trial will extend from the
courts to local government and the lo-
cal police. Is, in fact, the new Demo-
cratic administration any more willing
to accept change and the right of col-
lective bargaining than the Republi-
cans? Are the local police, as recent
episodes cause us to wonder, the serv-
ants of the people or the stewards of
the vested interests in the community?
THE FLEXIBILITY and well-being of
our democratic institutions will be
tested beyond the case in Circuit Court.
If students want to make any real im-
pact on the course of events, the Ten-
ants Union may provide that chance.
.MURRAYKE M PTON N
THE TIMES reported the other
day that "at least'a dozen seh..
for members of the Cornell faculty
have announced that they are
leaving "far less scenic but calm-
Their complaint is that "free-
dom to teach has been comprom-
ised" largely by President James
Perkins' appeasement of black
student dissidence. One of the de-
parting complainants was D r.
George H. Hildebrand who says
"I wouldn't come back u n d e r
Perkins. One-quarter to one third
ofethe faculty support his at-
tempts to politicize the campus.
One-quarter to one-third see
through him, and know what's
going on. The rest are soggy mid-
dle ground professors that want to
keep peace in the family."
Hildebrand, by the way, is leav-
ing Cornell to become deputy un-
dersecretary of labor for interna-
tional affairs. Now there's a clois-
ter where a scholar can feel assur-
ed of his freedom to think and
* * *
I KNOW VERY LITTLE about
the international affairs office of
the Dept. of Labor beyond the,
memory that sensitive friends in
the department used to talk about
its occupants in the tones Albert
Anastasia's more respectable
neighbors employed about him, a
mixture of pity and embarrass-
We should be happy when the
undersecretary for international
affairs occupies him t i m e with
lying in public, because the chan-
ces otherwise are that he is con-
spiring in private. The interna-
tional affairs work of the Labor
Dept. is a function in intimate
t a n d e m with the AFL-CIO's
George Meany and his anti-Com-
mitern rep Jay Lovestone, who is
as close to the CIA as a wing to
A more ethical part of the job
of undersecretary for interna-
tional affairs, of course, is to ped-
dle the Vietnam war to the trades
unions of the free world. All in all,
this Hildebrand could] find consid-
erably more respectable company
inLa Stella in Queens than where
he's going. And yet he has the
nerve to depart protesting that his
university, having been "politicali-
zed," is no longer, deserving t h e
standard of scholarship he
brought to it.
The American student may be
trying hard, but he will be a long
time catching up with his teacher
when it comes to disgracing t h e
American university. These m en
have sold themselves to e v e r y
buyer from the Air Force to the
American Tobacco Institute.
There it one professor joining
Hildebrand in protesting the de-
gradation of Cornell who has tak-
en fees from some labor unions,
which is like saying of someone
that he used to pick up sailors at
the Navy Yard.
You will notice Hildebrand's re-
ference to "soggy middleground
professors." This is the elevated,
courteous and delicate language
we have come to take for grant-
ed in the activist academic.
HARPER'S RECENTLY s e n t
Marshall Fraidy to Austin to seek
out Lyndon B. Johnson in the
shadows; Fraidy could not find
the President, but he did wonder-
fully with his ambience, coming
across, among other shipwrecks,
Walt Whitman Bostow, the e c o -
nomist who had been Mr. John-
son's special assistant.
"No priggish scholar, (Rostow)
has even acquired, to a mild ex-
tent Johnson's famous unprint-
able earthiness of language, and
has a way of talking in military
terms-'I was in a GI frame of
mind, like a scholar in the line
. . . We greeted Nixon and h i s
people as fellas coming to take
our places in the foxholes . . . We
clobbered them in Tet."
And this, mind you, is t h e
manner of speech of the most
eminent American scholar to serve
in a high place in two national
All in all there are few exper-
iences more repellent than listen-
ing to strumpets decrying t h e
morals of juvenile delinquents.
(c) New York Post
The Texas Wedge
By DREW BOGEMA
ANYONE WORTH HIS SALT can tell you who the best journalist
in America is. No, he is not a product of any of the huge jour-
nalistic combines-not a Tom Wicker, Eric Sevareid, or, thank the
lord, a James Reston-who have made it more because of the loyalty
they have shown toward the powerful institutions for which they are
employed than because of their contributions to public enlightenment.
They have displayed a peculiar form of co-optation toward Ad-
ministrations, whether Democratic or Republican, that one can scarcely
imagine them functioning successfully as journalists without their
privileged communications with the seats of power, granted solely
because of the influence of the corporate structures for which they
work. Galbraith's New Industrial State has in fact arrived, leaving
the conventional wisdom of the day its first victim.
No, the most capable publicist around today is not Norman Mailer.
for all of the life he breathed into the stylistically-sagging journalistic
form. After all, Mailer was only doing his thing-demonstrating to us
his enormous capabilities at pursuing diversity for its own sake. To ask
Mailer to suppress his restless energies and become a public watchdog
would be the equivalent of asking Le Roi Jones to get off the "Negro
RATHER, THE MOST competent journalist around lives and
works in a small, unpretentious, brick frame house in the northwest
section of Washington, utilizing a converted upstairs bedroom and a
basement reference library to house his labors. It is a rare occasion
indeed when someone leaks him information and he has few, if any.
inside sources in the government. You will not see him at White House
or State Department dinner parties. 'He rarely even attends press
conferences, the single most important source for most Washington
correspondents. His principal tools are the pub'ished record and the
In 1953, when I. F. Stone began to Imablish *As Weekly, its future
looked less than promising. As a veteran of sUhh "leftish" media as
the New York Post, the Nation, the old PM, and the New York Daily
Compass, he had acquired a substantial public following. It was nothing
like that of Walter Lippmann or Arthur Krock, but enough to bing
over five thousand subscriptions to the fledgling Weekly when he
announced to the former Compass subscribers that he intended to go
it alone, to test the ideals of free enterprise and the pretensions of
"Izzy" this given name is Isidor Feinstein) had always enjoyed the
privilege of writing for publishers who gave him the liberty say what
he wished. But as a journalist, he had pretty much destroyed any
possible future credence with the media when he publicly supported
Henry Wallace for President in 1948.
By 1953, however, the nation was moving rapidly to the right, and
few newspaper publishers had the courage to resist the tide, as few
could find room for I. F. Stone. So, after the Compass folded, stereo-
typed as a radical jurnalist, he went it alone.
"EVEN WHEN I ATTACKED Joe McCarthy it didn't require any
particular courage. What was McCarthy to do to me? Expose me? It
would be like exposing Gypsy Rose Lee." Stone was the first to have
the courage to call McCarthy a nihilistic demagogue, and, even to this
day when his circulation figures have exploded from 5,500 to well over
45,000, he seldom worries about alienating readers with judgments
that may grate upon their own carefully-nourished subjectivity.
Stone's greatest contributions to public enlightenment, however,
and the topics he grants the greatest emphasis relate to Vietnam and
racism. He was of the few to see Johnson in 1964 as he really was:
"Money and power have been the motivating passions of his life," and
among the first to penetrate the myth of Johnson's legislative mani-
pulative skills and infallibility when wheeler-dealing.
Early in 1965 he criticized the escalation of the war, warning us
that we had forgotten what "we swore after the Korean war we would
never do again-commit American troops to an Asian land war." He
played a large role in initiating teach-ins across the land in early
1966 and 1967 when it was thought that American policy could, indeed,
be made responsive to public opinion.
NOR HAS STONE considered the heroes (or shall one say, op-
portunists?) of the anti-war movement immune from his acid wit.
He describes Bobby as "equivocal," after the junior senator was
heckled in Chicago by students when he said "he happened to have
some disagreements with Johnson, too, on Vietnam." Stone heckled too,
"Is he saving them for his memoirs?"
While many liberals would like to forget, he points out that Ful-
bright cast an affirmative vote for the Tonkin Gulf resolution, which
at the time he described as "legalizing secret preparations to widen
the war." Preparations, Stone claims, Fulbright must certainly have
And as for the likes of Dean Rusk, he will dismiss them with a
quote and devastating comment:
"Every small state," Rusk said, "has a right to be unmolested by
its neighbors even though it is within reach of a great power."
Stone's reply: "This will add to the Secretary's fame as a humorist
in Guatemala and Cuba."
IS STONE A RADICAL? He is closer to the John Reed or Tom
Paine brand of radicalism than the Big Bill Haywood or William
Foster. No, he doesn't do organizational work, not even for the multi-
tudinous number of self-styled revolutionary groups that have shaken
the roots of American ideals.
He is an eternal optimist, forever hoping that the nation, for all of
its pretensions and imperfections, may yet deliver on its promises of
a good society. When Stone takes apart American policies which have
proved wantonly inhumane, it comes out not as a shrill polemic, but
as a carefully documented record of shattered hopes and dreams.
Speaking to Sol Stern once concerning the Black Revolution, Stone
said, "I don't want to burn this country down. I love it. It's awfully/
hard to have a decent society. Look at all the new countries; they are
awfully hard on their people. I feel we have a pretty good society. In
how many countries is there a tradition of a free press?" But what
value is a free press without Mr. Stone?
Murry Kempton is most certainly right when he says, "The argu-
ment could be made that the average issue of I. F. Stone's Weekly is
more illuminating than the average Sunday edition of the New York
The Old G.I.
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