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October 10, 1978 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1978-10-10

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4-Tuesday, October 10, 1978-The Michigan Daily
mbe Sirbiau maiI
Eighty-Nine Years of Editorial Freedom.
Vol. LIX, No. 29 News Phone: 764-0552
Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan

Will South America's giant
cast off the military cloak?

C -

CD~r'P - ,


-/j /

'Congratulations! We've decided to parole you into the 20th century!'


SAN PAULO, Brazil-The impending Nov.
15 elections in Brazil could signal an
important new trend for this country, the
contintent's major industrial power, and for
Latin America as a whole: a shift from
decades of authoritarian military rule to
civilian democracy.
While the next president of Brazil will be a
general, as the chief executive has been for 14
years, the two leading candidates are clearly
generals with a difference.
One, Gen. Joao Baptista de Oliveira
Figueiredo, is the hand-picked candidate of
out-going President Ernestor Geisel and is
committed to a gradual liberalization
supported by the ruling party. The other, Gen.
Euler Bentes Monteiro, is the candidate of the
opposition Brazilian Democratic Movement
(MDB), an array of increasinlgy powerful
civilian and military factions that demands a
quick return to civilian rule and a number of
liberal programs.
IN ADDITION, the election will decide the
future make-up of the congress, which looks
as if it might fall into the hands of the
opposition party.
In the context of Latin American military
dictatorships, the election itself is almost as
significant as its outcome. Just three years
ago, such a contest would have seemed
unimaginble, as would thedrecent spate of
political activities, trade union strikes and the
lifting of censorship that has preceded the
Many observers attribute the new political
activity in Brazil to the failure of the
country's much vaunted "economic
miralce," which has sown disaffection among
both workers and industrialists.
The "miracle" which lasted five years,
catapulted Brazil to prominence among
developing nations. The 10 per cent enocomic
growth rate between 1968 and 1973 gave rise to
a vast new working class ripe for
unionization. The industrial work force
tripled between 1964 and 1978.
BUT IN' RECENT YEARS the growth rate
has steadily declined, dropping by 50 per cent
in 1977. Industrialists feel dispossessed,
claiming the economic campaign primarily
benefited foreign-owned multinationals. And
the growing labor unions also have grown
angry, as real salaries depreciated by more
than 50 per cent.
"A miracle?" exclaimed an auto worker in
Sao Paulo. "When prices go up 40 per cent a
year, the only miracle is how I manage to feed
my family."
Today, 95 per cent of the population recives
wages of $80 to $400 a month. With rent and
food at U.S. prices, the majority live on
beans, rice and manioc flour.
The situation has given labor unions an
increasingly important voice. Last May,
despite a government ban on strikes since
1964, metal workers in Brazil's key
automobile industry held the largest "work-
stoppage" since the coup.-
THE STRIKE BEGAN May 12 when 2,500
workers at Saab-Scania walked out. Before it
ended, 50,000 workers had joined the work
stoppage, bringing Brazil's huge, foreign-
owned automobile industry to a halt.

In the context



ships, the election itself is al-
most as significant as its out-
come. Just three years ago,
such a contest would have
seemed unimaginable, as
would the recent spate of
of' political activities, trade
union strickes and the lifting
of censorship that has pre-
ceded the election.

By Nina Wallerstein
President Geisel, fearful that bringing in
troops might hurt his reform image, simply
decided to prohibit news coverage and to
leave the solution to the multinationals, which
eventually granted 11 to 15 per cent wage
The metal workers' victory marked a
major turnaround for the unins, which in 1964
had been decimated by the arrests and exile
of militant leaders. Now, key locals are again
electing militants who are demanding wage
increases and increased job security.

of Latin

His promise of "safe and gradual reforms"
is seen as dangerous and too swift by the
military hardliners, and timid and stalling by
the more liberal faction.
Figueiredo, ran unpposed for the ruling party
nomination last January. A balding, tallish
man, he was best known as the chief of
Brazil's military intelligence service, a post
that won him little support. Following the
nomintion, he warned, "If the opposition
wins, government reforms will be
endangered. Our country might even
Figueiredo's pronouncements drove many
dissatisfied industrial leaders, as -well as the
liberal wing of the military, to seek an
alternative. In August they joined the MDB
opposition party to settle on Bentes, a highly
respecred four-stary general who declared,
"A return to democracy needs to come from
the bottom. The government's reforms'come
from above."
The MDB, formed in 1964 as the only legal
opposition party, represents a broad range of
political views. All opposition politicians not
in jail or exile, moderates and communist
alike, find themselves in the same party.
Skeptcis in the party question how
general-any general-can lead Brazil t
democracy. And indeed, the cautious Bentes
has done little to upset conservatives.
promising not to lead Brazil int
"confrontation and radicalization."
WHOEVER WINS in November, the new
spirit of political activity in Brazil is not likely
to diminish. Liberal and radical politicians
already are discussing plans to rebuild the
parties that still are illegal, and exiled
leaders are corresponding with local
followers about returning soon.
In vew of this, President Geisel and Gen.
Figueiredo have devised a 'plan many feel
could diffuse the opposition. They would
dissolve both parties before the election. If
this happens, opposition candidates might
scramble to form new parties than unite
behind a single front.
And in recent weeks, the increasing level of
left-win and anti-communist demonstrations
and arrests have raised serious doubts for
some that a smooth transition to more liberal
policies is possible. Said a schoolteacher in
Rio de Janeiro, "No one understands what's
happending. For the first time the
government is tolerating strikes and
demonstrations. But I'm not too optimistic.
The military could decide to arrest everyone
once again."
But for the time being, at least, politics
again are alive and well in Brazil-a fact that
other Latin American dictatorships are
closley watching with interest.
Nina Wallerstein is a North American
correspondent for two Brazilian periodi-
cals. She recently returned to California
from a one-year visit to Brazil. This
article was written for Pacific News




Diggs and justice


crat of Detroit, was convicted
tprday on 29 counts of padding his
iployees' salaries to pay his own
rtonal bills. The jury of nine women
hd three men, all black save one,
jd Detroit's senior black
ressman guilty of defrauding the
. government - and hence the tax-
Jers - out of more than $60,000.
t ep. Diggs now faces up to five
Wis imprisonment on each of the 29
fitnts - a total of 145 years in jail -
i a fine of $191,000.
Rep. Diggs now seems bent on
a4hpaigning for reelection in the 13th
4 rict of Michigan where he has
Oigned since 1954. "I'm still a
4hdidate and I expect to be elected,"
jAgressman Diggs said after his
)pviction. He said he will present
tfself for seating as he has for his
Legally, of course, Rep. Diggs has
vry right to run for reelection. The
ales on that were made clear by the
Ipreme Court in the Adam Clayton
owell case in the 1960s. And if he
is, as expected, the high court has
l[eady ruled that the House has no
tice but to seat Rep. Diggs.
jo, given that Rep. Diggs is
etermined to take his case to the
qeple - having lost it once already in
curt - there now appears to be only
uree means of serving justice to
eaigressman Diggs and the country.
edeally, the voters would take into
eount that Diggs is a convicted felon
iho has defrauded them of $60,000.
4I , ideally, the people of the 13th
'jtrict would impose the ultimate
gAsure and vote Diggs out of office.

The incident, however, has been
somewhat clouded in the minds of 13th
District constituents - thanks to Rep.
Diggs. He has managed to turn a 29-
count indictment into some kind of
political persecution. He has convinced
the voters of the 13th to stick with
Charley Diggs because the Justice
Department is out to get him. He has
also added just a hint of racism, hoping
to further polarize and add to the
suspicians of his predominantly black
constituency that he is being hounded
by the white establishment.
So Diggs is going to be reelected, and
he is probably going to be reelected by
an even larger majority than he has
been before. Diggs has wrapped
himself in the cloak of martyrdom.
Second, once seated, a two-thirds
majority of the House will vote to expel
Rep. Diggs. Expulsion is a form of
inter-House censorship that hasn't
been utilized since the Civil War. Even
this is indicative of how unacceptable a
form of censure expulsion really is.
Congressman Diggs is, after all,
elected by his constituents - with the
full knowledge that he is a convicted
felon - and so it should be up to his
constituents and not his House
colleagues to remove him.
There is then, only one acceptable
tact for the 'future of Congressman
Charles Diggs. If he really cares that
his district has adequate
representation, and if the man had any
honor at all, he would resign. Rep.
Diggs should resign immediately and
give his party time to nominate an able
replacement. For the sake of his
constituents and his country, Rep.
Diggs must resign.

ANOTHER KEY ISSUE in the current
political trumoil is the fate of the thousands-of
politicians and union leaders who were
arrested or driven into exile by the
government since 1964. President Geisel has
promised as one of his reforms to revoke the
law that permitted the president to dissolve
congress and suspend civil rights and to let
500 deposed politicans run for ioffice again,
but not until after the November election.
But again, the reform falls short of the
opposition demands. The National Amnesty,
Committee has called for the release of 200 "
political prisoners and the return of some
15,000 exiles, as well as an accounting of the
hundreds of "disappeared."
Such issues have not only stirred debate
among the divergent interests of the MDB,
but have resulted in factions in the military
governmnt itself' Geisel is now flanked by
generals on both the left and right critical of
his policies, and he seems to lack the kind of
support in his own government necessary to
change the rules.

rr 1S 02 -rPA (-n J OF
TO C1)Al- X1 vc &Wsoc1
L.&4L-T t a S0IAV l
ActkCIC-Y I OU N tOr'
i1rTR a kfLO SOCIAL-




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P~teZWG i.

ik) AU- T810~65,
MDI 2AIl~i-

Editorials which appear without a by-line represent a con-
>nsus opinion of the Daily's editorial board. All oth(r editorials, .
s well as cartoons, are the opinions of the individuals who sub- .,
it them.
. :.. .. ... ..: . .....:.:...


Letter to the Daily

No dream, an illusion
To the Daily:
Your Daily editorial of Tuesday,
October 3, entitled "Humphrey-
Hawkins bill: More than just a
dream," should have been
headed with the title, Humprey-
Hawkins Bill: More than just a
dream-a total illusion.
In calling the bill "one of the
most important pieces of
legislation yet to be decided by
the Senate this year" and "a bill
from which every American will
derive benefit," the Daily falls

them, continue to pretend that
the Humphrey-Hawkins bill will
aid the unemployed.
It will not.
Humphrey-Hawkins, falsely
called the "full-employment" bill
sets a goal of four per cent
unemployment to be reached
more than five years after the bill
is passed. If it would actually
reduce unemployment to four per
cent,' it might be criticized as
The Humphrey-Hawkins bill
contains no provision that would
provide a single job for any
unemployed person.

An identical statement of
purpose was adopted by Congress
in the Employment Act of 1946.
But not a single Congress or
administration since then has
found it "practicable" to provide
jobs or all who want them.
The Humphrey-Hawkins bill
openly opposes any massive,
federally funded programs to put
the unemployed to work. It says
its purpose is "to maximize and
place primary emphasis upon the
expansion of .private
Humprhey-Hawkins ruled out
any tampering with the private-

and other exercises in
futility-anything to avoid a
clash with the Democratic
That is why this bill is not "a
first step" towards providing
jobs but a step to head off the kind
of movement that can win jobs.
The Young 'Socialist Alliance
and the Socialist Workers Party
have an emergency jobs bill that
shows the direct, simple,
straight-forward action that
would be taken immediately and
without hesitation by any
government that truly
represented working people.
Far from a low-key lobbying
-Cf- .. 4,L


Arts Editors



Managing Editors

NIG1I I F( )I{S: Jeff IFrank, Gary Kiinski. (;eoflLai'cofi.
WVa r i
Iteinunger. Liz \hic. I'rie ( lson. Keain IHosebolrough. D iane

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