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September 09, 1971 - Image 11

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1971-09-9

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Thursday, September 9, 1971


Page Three

Thursday, September 9, 1971 THE MICHIGAN DAILY Page Three


faces dissenters

Instability plagues



in courtroom contest

Although it had its share of
riots and demonstrations, this
summer will be remembered
more for what happened in the
court rooms than in the streets
with attention focusing on three
major trials with strongly politi-
cal overtones. ,
In the past few years the spec-
tacle of famous radicals on trial
under the glare of nation-wide
publicity has been a common one
on the American political scene.
Black Panthers Huey Newton
and Bobby Seale as well as radi-
cal leaders Abbie Hoffman, Jerry
Rubin, Rennie Davis, and Tom
Hayden have all confronted the
government in trials which have
attracted national attention.
What was unique about trials
this summer, however, was not
their political overtones or the
attendant publicity but rather the
end results. In three major trials,
various governmental units failed
to secure convictions against dis-
sident elements.
On May 13 a New York jury
found 13 Black Panthers innocent
of bombing and murder conspir-
acy charges, in the longest crimi-
nal litigation in New York State
r history.
After eight months of trial, the
jury took three and one half
hours to find the 13 innocent of
156 separate counts of conspiring
to bomb police headquarters and
several other public facilities in-
cluding the botanical gardens.
This was followed 12 days later
by the dismissal of all charges in
a case involving the Black Pan-
ther's national chairman Bobby
Seale, along with Erika Hug-
gifs, was charged with murder
and kidnap conspiracy in the
shooting death in May, 1969 of
Alex Rackley in New Haven.
After six days of deliberation
the jury was unable to reach a
unanimous verdict and presiding
judge Harold Mulvey declared
the case a mistrial.
Two days later Mulvey ruled
that massive publicity made the
selection of an impartial jury im-
possible, and dismissed all
charges against both defendants.
Once again a governmental
unit, in this case the state of
Connecticut, had failed to secure
the conviction of a radical. More-
over, the judge's basis for dismis-
sal - inability to secure an im-
partial jury - acknowledged a
long held contention of defend-
ants in such cases.
These cases, although signifi-

With rising unemployment at
home, and the quaking of the dol-
lar in Europe, the American
economy seemed more unstable
this summer than at any time
since the great depression of the
Despite optimistic statements
emanating from the White House,
vital economic indicaters such
as the wholesale price index, un-
employment rate, and rate of in-
dustrial production have contin-
ued to tell a dismal tale of eco-
nomic slump, and rampant in-
With workers caught in a bind
between inflation and a business
recession, the purchasing power
of the average American family
dropped for the first time in over
a decade.
A growing pessimism among
government leaders has been re-
flected in public statements of
various political figures which
have often sounded reminiscent
of the depression era.
Speaker of the House Carl Al-
bert (D-Okla) for example, re-
cently characterized unemploy-
ment as having reached "bread-
line proportions".
Receiving the brunt of the cri-
ticism for the present state of the
economy has been the Nixon ad-
George Meany, president of the
AFL-CIO, has termed the Nixon
economic program "a miserable
A frequent charge of liberal
economists has been that the ad-
ministration has failed to curb
inflation because of its unwilling-
ness to impose wage and price
controls in industry and labor.
Even Meany, long an opponent
of such measures, has announc- ~
ed that he now favors the action.
Earlier in the year, the admin-
istration's spokesmen had pre-
dicted optimistic 'goals of eco-
nomic growth including the re-
duction of unemployment to 4.5
per cent, inflation to 3.5 per cent,
and the increase of the Gross
National Product (total worth
of all goods and services pro-
duced in one year) to $1.085 tril-
On June 7, however, Paul Mc-
Cracken, President Nixon's lead-

ing economic advisor, admitted
the failure of the Nixon program.
McCracken cited what he called
"the unexpected stubbornness"
of inflation and unemployment as
reasons for the failure.
In effect the administration
was forced to admit the charges
of liberal economists that the
GNP goal of $1.085 trillion was un-
One dramatic sign of the diffi-
culties facing the national econo-
my came in the late spring when
a run of speculation threatened
the dollar on the European mar-
Economists generally blamed
the crisis on the fact that Ameri-
cans are spending more money
abroad than foreigners are spend-
ing here.
This deficit in the balance of
trade, along with an inflationary
price rise for U.S. goods, re-
sulted in speculation which caus-
ed a run on the dollar, and an in-
crease in the value of European
currencies relative to it.
This steadily worsening state
of the economy triggered a rash
of strikes this summer which fur-
ther aggravated the delicate state
of industrial production.
On May 17 the railroad signal-
men walked off their jobs, stop-
ping the nation's rail system for
two days until emergency legisla-
tion brought the strike to a halt.
About a month later, New York
municipal workers launched a
strike to press for an improved
pension program.
Such tactics as locking draw-
bridges open, and stalling cars
on the freeways, virtually para-
lyzed the city for two days.
On July 1, the biggest action of

the summer took place with the
longshoremen striking the entire
west coast.
Docks were shut down from
Mexico to Canada in the most ex-
tensive longshoremen's action in
23 years.
Simultaneous with the long-
shoremen's walkout was a major
strike of miners against U.S. cop-
per companies. Mines in Utah,
Montana, New Mexico, Arizona
and Nevada were shut down.
Observers have commented
that the per centage of workers
out on strike this summer was
one of the highest since the mass

strike wave of the middle 1930's.
The local situation has mir-
rored and often exceeded the na-
tional crisis.
The Michigan unemployment
rate for the month of June rose
to 9.4 per cent, the highest rate
in ten years, and well above the
national average.
The University has been direct-
ly affected by this situation with
its budget for this fiscal year
still pending in the state legisla-
The administration has called
for budget cuts in all depart-
ments in anticipation of an ap-

propriation far less than what
was requested.
University students have been
feeling the squeeze in more direct
ways, however.
Students graduating here, as
well as at other schools around
the nation, are finding there are
no jobs open for them. Even
those with masters or Ph.D de-
grees are being forced to take
nonskilled jobs because openings
in their fields are so few.
V e t e r a n college councilors
have described the situation as
the worst they have seen in 30

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Seale: Radical victory

cant, were to be overshadowed
a month later by a contest in
which the freedom of the press
to publish material without prior
constraint, despite its contents.
was upheld by the Supreme
On June 13 the New York Times
began a series of articles based
on a secret Pentagon study of
the Indochina war.
The study (see related story,
P. 2) was highly critical of U.S.
policy, and revealed several
heretofore unknown facets of
American involvment in Indo-
china - indicating deception of
the public by the government on
matters relating to the war.
Although the government was
able to secure an injunction
against the Times to halt fur-
ther publication, copies of the
study soon spread, first to the
Washington Post, and t h e n
around the country to such papers
as the Boston Globe, the St.
Louis Post-Dispatch, the Chicago
Sun-Times, and the Detroit Free
Through the process of appeals.
the case eventually reached the
Supreme Court, and on July 1,
in a 6 to 3 decision, the court re-

jected the government's conten-
tion that release of the study
was a threat to national security
and allowed the papers to resume
Justice Hugo Black, in voting
with the majority, wrote "The
guarding of military and diplo-
matic secrets at the expense of
an informed representative gov-
ernment provides no real security
for our republic".
While the defeat of the govern-
ment was most obvious in the
Times decision, each of the three
court cases represented the fail-
ure of governmental units to gain
convictions against elements
which could be considered their
political enemies. The implica-
tions of this for the American
political as well as judicial scene,
however, run much deeper than
the mere trials themselves.
The ability of a government to
accuse and hold political oppo-
nents for extended periods of
time without a conviction still
evidences the government's con-
siderable power.
Using this power as a weapon,
defendants and their supporters
argue, the government is able to



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