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December 05, 1978 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1978-12-05

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Page 4-Tuesday, December 5, 1978-The Michigan Daily

C'

hIe 3icbigrn lBaiIQ
420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Eighty-Nine Years of Editorial Freedom

What goes around, comes around

Vol. LXXXIX, No. 73

By Reginald Major

News Phone: 764-0552

Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan

i

But I thought he said

0

" 0

E VERYDAY JIMMY CARTER
sounds a little more like a
Republican and a little less like the
man the American people elected two
years ago. Candidate Carter promised
to decrease defense spending by five
per cent. But now President Carter is
going to allow another increase in the
defense budget this year, while
sifultaneously holding down the
budget deficit. To accomplish this,
President Carter's budget advisors are
talking about slashing the
Comprehensive Employment Training
Act (CETA) program by 60 per cent. In
addition the Office of Management and
Budget .wants to eliminate some
500,000 federally funded summer jobs
for youths and 11,000 youth training
slots.
President Carter, who received
overwhe'lming support among the
poor and minorities when he was a
candidate, has turned his back on those
who made his presidency possible.
Those who also thought the United
States spends too much money on
defense for a country not at war voted
for candidate Carter, too. Now he turns

his back on them saying the North
Atlantic Treaty Organization troops in
Europe are not adequately prepared
for combat.
In a time of high inflation and
unemployment, Mr. Carter has
decided to cut the butter and buy some
more guns. A man who styles himself
as the foremost champion of human
rights should realize that human rights
include the right to be gainfully
employed. No one who takes human
rights seriously would fight inflation
by robbing the poor to feed the rich. No
one who takes human rights seriously
would take jobs from young Americans
while building more and more weapons
of destruction..
We hope Mr. Carter will see the
hypocritical path that has been set for
him by his budget advisors. The
implications of a 60 per cent cut in the
CETA program are catastrophic.
Organized labor, urban, and black
groups recognized this immediately.
With the possibility of a recession
looming ominously, a drastic cut in the
public service jobs would be courting
disaster.-

_Al eyes on Nicaragua

A LTHOUGH THE two sides involved
in the Nicaraguan conflict are
attempting to negotiate a peaceful set-
tlement, it appears that talks will
eventually breakdown and citizens will
again take to the streets in what may
be the ultimate showdown for
Pli dent Anastoasio Somoza. Mean-
while, the rest of Central
Anerica-and South America for that
matter-wait to see what effect the
Nicaraguan conflict will have on their
lives..
Last week, the leaders of
Nicaragua's Broad Opposition, an
alliance of groups and individuals op-
posed to Mr. Somoza, demanded the de
facto president leave the country while
a plebicite is held to decide his fate. If
the national referendum goes against
the president the group demands that
Mr. Somoza resign immediately.
r Although Mr. Somoza has agreed to
the idea of a plebicite, which was
proposed by an international team of
mediators, the president said he would
not quit if he lost. Instead he offered to
have another election wherein
Nicaraguans would choose a con-
stitutional assembly that would ap-
point a provisional president to whom

he would turn over power.
Mr. Somoza said he was "motivated
by peace and love for the Nicaraguan
people" in his decision to accept the
plebicite proposal. "I don't want fur-
ther bloodshed so I changed my mind
to put my presidency on the line and let
the people decide if I should stay in
power," he said.
Despite his deep-seated "love" for
the Nicaraguan people, Mr. Somoza is
quite adamant about getting his way
with the plebicite. "I have given the
most," Mr. Somoza said. "If they don't
like it they can go to hell." Clearly this
kind of attitude will not facilitate
negotiations. In fact, it may very well
be the major factor in ending the talks
and the beginning of a long and bloody
revolution.
The Nicaraguan conflict has already
inspired popular movements
throughout the rest of Central America
to increase their efforts. A peaceful
solution in Nicaragua would give hope
to many that a similar answer could be
found for their national problems. But
if Nicaraguans are forced to resort to
armed struggle, the oppressed peoples
of Central and South America will
inevitably and unfortunately follow
suit.

We know how they died from a mixture of
cyanide, deranged leadership, automatic
gunfire, jungle isolation, unrealized idealistic
goals and the fear of enemies both real and
imagined.
The question is why they died. Why did over
900 people, most of them black and many of
them elderly, follow a white minister into an
isolated rain forest and then to eternity?
The answer, or at least a piece of it, must
lie back in the San Francisco ghetto which
Jim Jones moved with his church nearly a
decade ago. His arrival coincided with the
last embers of the incendiary riots that had
swept through black communities from New
York to Watts. The Kerner Commission had
just warned that American society was
becoming two nations, one white and affluent
and the other black and poor.
The civil rights battles had been fought,
and the spoils were being divided up, mostly
by those who bore little or no kniship to the
blacks in whose name the struggle had been
waged.
Black faces were beginning to be seen in
banks, auto dealerships, diesel truck cabs and
ad agencies. But most of these newly
employed were led to believe that their
success was a result of their personal
qualifications, rather than the bloody social
upheavals which precipitated the jobs.
Thus conceptually isolated from the
struggle which gave them new opportunities,
these blacks had no notion of continuing the
battle to .increase participaation of those
blacks they left behind.
Much of the indigenous black leadership
was itself separated from effective
participation in black community affairs by
absorption into the sprawling government
bureaucracies - HEW, HUD, EEOC.
The two most vital responses to racism, the
Black Panther Party and the Nation of Islam,
were also undergoing internal changes which
would render them incapable of maintaining
the political and moral leadership they had
once exerted.
These two organizations, one political and
one religious, symbolized in their own decline
the fact that both the black church and black
politics were caught in a paralyzing identity
crisis.
Indeed, the black churches in San
Francisco's Western Addition, where Jones
set up his ministry, *ere already moving
away from the spark of militancy which
ignited some of their actions when they were
part of the movement that produced and
supported Reverend Martin Luther King.
These churches as a group went along with
the redevelopment process that was
destroying the neighborhood in which their
parishioners lived. Some of them benefitted
from the process by having their own church
buildings upgraded or rebuilt. In a supreme
irony of the times, Wilbur Hamilton, a black
minister's son, was appointed to the
Redevelopment Agency a short time after his
father's church was destroyed to make way
for a commercial development.
There were other striking symbols. Jones'
interracial ministry was established in what
had been a synagogue in the days before
working class Jews were "redeveloped" out
of the neighborhood-and with them the junk
shops and old furniture stores which provided
many black families with sturdy but
inexpensive used furniture. It was located
next door to Muhammad's Mosque number
26, itself undergoing trauma from internal
and external sources. In an earlier life the
Mosque had been the Fillmore auditorium,
home of Bill Graham's multi-million dollar
rock-and-roll empire, a symbol of San
Francisco which brought noise, increased
traffic and no money to the neighborhood.
The view from the back of the Temple was a
wasteland created by the wrecking ball and
enclosed by a cyclone fence. It was inhabited
by drug addicts, their street-wise suppliers,
and the lonely old people who hung out in a
nearby mini-park, a Redevelopment Agency
gesture to community beautification in the
heart of devastation.
Jones' ministry was an instant success.
To the old people, many of whom needed
nothing more than some intimate pastoral
concern, he offered his hands and became
known as a faith healer. And to the extent that

he gave them renewed faith, he was a healer.
For the young, he offered spirited social
and political activism, and concrete
programs of community survival - medical
clinics, food programs, day care. He used his
pulpit as a forumn for social issues. In doing
so, Jones was in harmony with only one other
church in San Francisco. That was Glide
Memorial Church. composed, ironically, of a
largely white congregation led by the Rev.
Cecil Williams, a black minister.
Rev. Jones' anti-racist, pro-socialist,
community-oriented church programs
endeared him to a congregation which had
been deprived of the promise once advanced

by the civil rights movement and robbed him
of the excitement of the vision of revolution'
that had evaporated in the years between the
assassination of Malcolm X, the murder of
Dr. Martin LutherAKing, and the bullet-ridden
suppression and internal aubversion of the
Black Panther Party.
In the process he made enemies, some of
whom were in the black community. Black
ministers, some with half-filled churches,
condemned Jones and claimed that he was
using trickery to attrack the loyalty of blacks
who had once attended their churches: But is
was Jones' church which celebrated African
Liberation Day, Jones' congregation that was
given purpose in socially rewarding activity,
Jones' parishioners who were exhorted to
carry on the revolutionary traditions of
Martin Luther King, and not his black
minister detractors.
Jones was on the move, and his growing
congregation moved with him. He moved on
the NAACP, gaining a position on the
executive board of the San Francisco
chapter along with several of his followers.
He moved on the Black Leadership Forum,
sending a representative to lobby for his
admission by claiming that Jones was
partially black. Throughout the black
community, the parishioners moved as a
body, establishing their pastor as a political
and religious force.
Downtown white politicians, whose
meetings were also subject to Jones' packing
techniques, quickly accepted him as a force
in the black community. Jones could produce
bodies-campaign workers
particularly-who could swell a crowd for a
presidential candidate's wife and beat the
pavement for a mayoral hopeful like George
Moscone.
Jones was rewarded wth the chairmanship
of the San Francisco Housing Authority, a
position which previously had been held by a
black minister whose church was located just
around the corner from People's Temple.
But with this power came the inevitable
hostility. Traditional black ministers shunned
Jones and exhorted their congregations to
vote against those candidates Jones
supported. The resulting isolation of the
People's Temple in the black community was
heightened by physical and mental assaults
on the congregation. Temple vehicles were
set afire, the church was firebombed and
members were shot at. There were
threatening phone calls, intimidating letters

and attempted arson.
The congregation began to withdraw int
itself, into a world in which Jones and hi
followers were increasingly unable t
distinguish between legitimate criticism an
illogical hostility.
Cracks began to appear in what had seem
to be a solid front. Individuals resigne
stories of disciplinary beatings increase
and the local media became curious.
Jones reacted by tightening security
enlisting the help of members of the Nation
Islam next door. Ushers were transforme
into sentries, pacing the aisles durin
services, watching for anything suspiciou
Up front, two church members sat in elevat
chairs flanking the pulpit, looking over ever
member of the audience.
But the temple congregation continued t
shrink, becoming more closed off to the worl
which Jones sought to reform. In the quest f
security, in the futile efforts to cover th
cracks in its facade, the temple barred i
doors against the larger brotherhood and t.
faith in the future which it preached.
Approximately 1200 of the congregatio
retreated finally to Guyana. Before leavin
Jones said from his pulpit, "I know there ar
people in the audience who would like to se
us destroyed." He predicted that People'
Temple would prevail over its enemies.
Today, 912 bloated corpses are the legacy o
Jones' vision.
Just one week before the ritual of death i
Guyana, Wilbur Hamilton, San Francisco'
black redevelopment chief, announced tha
100 units of new housing, costing $65,000 t
$100,000 per unit, would be erected in th
Hunter's Point neighborhood, one of the city'
last outposts of low income blacks. Th
process that had already pushed a blac
community out of the Western Addition ha
moved on the fresh conquests.
"Those who do not remember the past ar
condemned to repeat it," read the sign ove
the grisly scene of death in Jonestown.
"What goes around, comes around," is th
way many blacks would put it.
"
Reginald Major, author of Justice ii
the Round on the Angela Davis trial, an
The Panther is a Black Cat on tth
Black Panther Party, is a veteran observe
of black politics. This article was writte
or Pacific News Service.

To the Daily:
A good deal of attention is being
paid these days to my proposal to
implement Michigan's 21-year-
old drinking age and to a court
challenge filed against the 21-
yea r-old drinking age by the
Committee for the Age of
Responsibility. First and
foremost, I want the citizens of
Michigan to understand that

LETTERS TO THE DAILY

idea. I still feel this way. But the
electorate has spoken, and it is
the duty of the Legislature to
implement the 21-year-old
drinking law which the voters
approved. I take this obligation
seriously, and have proposed
House Bill 6731 as a sensible

the sale of alcohol to adults who
are less than 21 years of age.
" HB 6731 would provide
criminal penalties for the use of
fraudulent identification in any
attempt to illegally obtain
alcohol
* My bill would provide alcohol

will undoubtedly be changed a
the bill progresses through lth
Legislature. .:Bills are rarel
passed in the same form in which
they are introduced. I hope tha
concerned citizens will write t
express their views on th
matter. with the help of citizei
input, and a fim commitment o
the Dart of our Teplislatiureit is

MULL!U.~_*., --t~ 19 Ii I

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