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September 26, 1970 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1970-09-26

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Eighty years of editorial freedom
Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan

A perspective on student worker alliances

420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, Mich.

News Phone: 764-0552

Editorials printed in The Michigan Daily express the individual opinions of staff writers
or the editors. This must be noted in all reprints.



The 'Southern Strategy'
is alive and well

SINCE THE DEFEAT of G. Harold Cars
well's Supreme Court nomination, the
idea of a "Southern Strategy" in Nixon
politics has more or less slipped f r o m
sight. But recent evidence indicates that
strategy itself has not disappeared, but
perhaps become more subtle.
Last Monday, for example, the Justice
Department quietly allowed the "Evers'
Bill" to become law in Mississippi. The
bill was passed by the Mississippi legis-
lature earlier this year, but was started
in 1968 following the n e a r election of
Charles Evers to the House seat vacated
by John Bell Williams.
Evers had run ahead of six white can-
didates in the special election, but was
forced into a run-off by the special elec-
tion law. In the run-off he was defeated
by the remaining white candidate. Had
he been running in a general election,
however, Evers' simple plurality in the
first election would have been sufficient
to elect him.
The "Evers' Bill" eliminates party pri-
maries in the state and provides for a two
step general election in which all candi-
dates run withqut party labels. Under the
law, only the t w o highest vote-getters
could compete in the general election.
The bill would thus make every election
similar in form to the run-off in which
Evers was defeated.
Mitchell had the power to prevent the
l.aw from entering the statute books un-
der a provision of the Voting Rights Act
of 1965, which gives the Attorney General-
t h e power to invalidate newly enacted
election laws in the Deep South by sim-
ply "asserting they would, undercut the
voting rights of blacks." The Justice De-
partment had asked Congress to drop the
provision earlier in the year, but Con-
gress had refused.
THIS PUT MITCHELL on the spot, for
he is now forced to take a position by
either acting under the provision or, not
taking action. From the outset it w a s
clear that Mitchell had no intention of
stopping the law, however, instead of
sending the bill to the civil rights division
of -the Justice Department f o r review,
Mitchell sent the bill to his Voting and
Public Accomodations Section. But even
that division reportedly sent a memoran-
lum stating that "the new 1 a w would
h a v e the purpose or effect of diluting
black voting strength and should not be
allowed to become valid."
In spite of this evidence, Mitchell made
his decision without personally consult-
ing either division. According to reports
from lawyers within the Civil Rights
Division, Assistant Attorney General
Jerris L e o n a r d informed Mississippi
officials of Mitchell's action after con-
ferring with Senator James 0. Eastland
of.Mississippi, but without informing the
staff of lawyers who had recommended
that the, law be declared invalid.,

This type of activity is not limited to
Mitchell alone, however. For it has be-
come clear in recent weeks that the Nix-
on administration is also playing some-
what perfidious politics with the issue of
desegregation of southern schools.
In the last week, for example, several
officials in the administration have cited
figures showing t h a t desegregation of
southern schools is essentially complete.
In view of the fact that last years figures
showed only about 28 per cent of south-
ern schools were desegregated, this in-
deed would be an astounding achieve-
ment for one summer's work. But each
official has unfortunately failed to men-
tion that the new figures stem as much
from a government redefinition of "se -
regation" as from changing schools stu-
dents attend.
DURING THE Johnson administration
only those students attending schools
in districts certified as having met the
full legal requirements for a unitary sys-
tem were counted as attending desegre-
gated schools. Since many school districts
which had integrated schools or classes
but still had more to do were not includ-
ed, the totals listed as attending integrat-
ed schools were rather low - only about
five per cent in 1968, for example.
Against those figures, HEW Secretary
Elliot Richardson's claim that "Now the
total has moved up to 90 per cent, or
about 2.3 million of the 3 million black
students in the South" truly appears to be
progress. But when pressed by newsmen
for the method by which he had arrived
at this figure, Richardson replied that
the figure was "the number of students in
Negro schools which are being attended
by white children also."
With this definition, however, the fig-
ures are essentially meaningless. Even
an HEW spokesman quoted in the New
York Times said there were astyet no
figures to back the 2.3 million figures to
back such an estimate. And furthermore,
he said, the figure does not have much
meaning because it does not tell how
many of the blacks involved are attend-
ing schools containing a very small per-
centage of whites.
. Taken to its extreme, of course, t h I s
could mean that if 3000 blacks attended
a high school with three white students,
the Nixon administration wuld count the
3000 as attending an integrated school.
CLEARLY, THIS system has been devel-
oped as a means of convincing t h e
country that integration is progressing,
while Southerners on the scene know
from observation that the schools are not
being desegregated. Calculated under the
old system, even if twice as many stu-
dents were attending desegregated
schools as last year, the figure would be
more like 1.7 million than 2.3 million.
When the Nixon administration claims
that great progress has been made, it is
thus lying in a sense to the American
Clearly from these two incidents t h e
Nixon administration has not really
changed its mind about wooing the south-
ern vote. But the days when Nixon suf-
fered embarrassing public defeats in these
efforts are probably over. Nixon is still
playing racist politics, but he has become
more clever.

Daily Guest Writer
munity, which prides itself in
exposing t h e myths of society,
would do well to re-examine Its
own set of beliefs concerning
workers and the possibility of a
student-worker coalition. Radical
students, such as those who have
recently organized "Students to
Support the Auto Workers," un-
fortunately suffer f r o m several
naive, pre-conceived, and arrogant
illusions concerning workers and
t h e relationship of students to
The radical students' mythology
begins by postulating the inher-
ently revolutionary capability of
the mass of workers. The auto
workers are exploited economical-
ly, so ipso facto they must have
revolutionary potential. Starting
with this preconception, the rad-
icals then proceed to rationalize
the lack of actual militancy on the
part of the r a n k and file by
charging that the union leader-
ship is stifling the dissent of the
workers. We are asked to believe
that the UAW leadership is com-
posed of complacent,swhite-collar
bureaucrats who are out of touch
with the needs and desires of the
rank and file.
The conclusion which the radi-
cal left draws from all of this is
that they, rather than the union
leadership, are in tune with the
rank and file, and that hence it is
up to the students to provide the
workers. with leadership. We are
told that "Students to Support
the Auto Workers" will base its
"actions on the interests and ac-
tions of the mass of workers and
not be bound to 'leaders' with no
support"; it is the students who
must bring political consciousness
to the auto workers in order to
lead them to victory.
ON THE SURFACE, this whole
line of reasoning is appealing to
many students. The sense of out-
rage which many students nat-
urally feel upon working in an
auto plant and experiencing its
dehumanizing conditions makes
them feel that the workers ought
to be - and hence are - revolu-
tionary. Furthermore, 'the idea
that the union leadership is a
complacent bureaucracy s e e m s
plausible since students are reg-
ularly coming in contact with the
bureaucracy of other establish-
ment groups - the University and
the government. Finally, it is of

ficers, determine the strike, de-
mands, and set union policy -
were attending their first conven-
tion, and a significant proportion
of whom were under thirty. The
radical students need also to be
reminded that during a strike, the
union officers-Woodcock, Frazier,
Bluestone, etc.-receive no salary.
Hardly the image of an isolated
FINALLY, THE most absurd
contention of the radical students
is their assertion that they are
more in tune with the rank and
file, and better qualified to lead
them than the union leadership.
Incredibly, we are asked to be-
lieve that students, some of whom
have perhaps worked a summer
in an auto plant, are best quali-
fied totdetermine the needs of the
workers, and hence how long they
"should stay on strike ' and for
which demands they should settle.
The students, it seems, rather
than the democratically elected
union representatives, know what
is in the best interest of the work-
ers. What monumental chutzpah.
One wonders why in the BAM
strike of last spring, the white
radicals did not similarly assert
that they would not be "bound to
'leaders' with no support." In that
strike,, the BAM leadership de-
manded that white sympathizers
accept BAM's leadership for the
simple reason that the blacks felt
that they alone were qualified to
determine what was in their own
best interests.
Surely, the UAW strike. is no
different in that while student
support is needed and welcome,
those who are most directly af-
fected --- the auto workers- and
their representatives are most
qualified to lead and direct the
strike. Student support for the
auto workers' strike- can be help-
ful, but unless it is directed into
constructive channels it will only
be disfunctional. Hopefully, the
bulk of the student community
will reject "Students to Support
the Auto Workers" and theirdrad-
ical set of self-delusions, and in-
stead accept the workers as their
equals-equals who are qualified
to lead their own strike and de-
termine their own destinies.
(Al Reuther, a senior in history
from Troy, Michigan, is the nep-
hew of the late Walter Reuther,
president of the United Auto




course very flattering to perceive
oneself as playing a crucial role
in leading the workers to victory.
Unfortunately, this entire set of
beliefs is just so much intellectual
garbage. First, the auto workers
rank and file clearly lacks any
revolutionary tendencies. The au-
to workers do feel they have legi-
timate grievances against the auto
companies concerning onomic
benefits and working conditions,
but this does not prevent them
from being strongly oriented to
the capitalistic system and the
present status quo. Most auto-
workers tend to fear the main fo-
ci of social unrest these days -
the blacks' struggle for equality
and the anti-war movement. They
have deep-rooted attachments to
t h e establishment, having pur-

chased homes and served in the
army (the young in Viet Nam).
They feel especially bitter towards
student demonstrators, who ap-
pear to be destroying t h e very
system of which the workers want
to become a part. The s t r c n g
showing by Wallace and more re-
cently by Huber, in such a u t o
towns as Flint, Pontiac, and War-
ren, indicate the hawkish and
racist sentiments which exist in
many auto workers, and the deep-
rooted fear of change which moti-
vates many of them.
Secondly, the idea that the
union leadership is a stodgy
bureaucracy is simply erroneous.
That the union leadership is
stodgy and complacent is belied
by the UAW's decision to with-
draw from the AFL-CIO in order

to form a more socially conscious
labor organization with the Team-
sters. It is the UAW leadership
whichI has been the moving force
behind the drafting of national
health insurance proposals, and
which has strongly condemned
Nixon's Cambodian invasion and
the Agnew rhetoric which inspir-
ed the Kent State shootings. And
it is the UAW international which
has marched with the blacks at
Selma, Birmingham, Washington,
Memphis, and Atlanta, and the
Chicanos in Delano and the Rio/
That the union leadership is an
entrenched bureaucracy is also
disproved by the statistics of the
most recent UAW convention,
where over half the delegates -
the men who elect the union of-

Letters to the Editor

Another game
To the Editor:
THE RECENT Daily article on
"Games Students Play" by Mark
Dillen completely overlooked men-
tion of one distressingly prevalent
game, although perhaps it was left
out of his article because of pres-
sures upon editorial space or per-
haps of a judgment oi the parts
of the Editors that it was of in-
sufficient interest to their reader-
ship. I would call this game "Is-
sues Through Journalism".
The original players, having
seated themselves, select through
discussion The Issue. Several, de-
signated as Authors, then prepare
Feature Articles and In-Depth
Analyses concerning The Issue, it
being tacitly understood that t h e
more skillfully subtle among them
may later possibly be called upon
to become Head of the Table.
Meanwhile other players must
attempt through their ingenuity to
Heighten Interest and to Enlist
More Players., Some of these are
then designated Correspondents.
Those For The Issue are invited
to sit on the side of the table re-
served for Concerned Student
Leaders and to produce Long Pas-
sionate Letters which are duly
published, while those Against are
seated on the Apathetic side and
see only Short, Weak Letters
printed. (After all, the rules are
that Those Against The Issue
cannot have much worthwhile to
say, and Logic is Not on Their
Side, anyway.)
The players having Demonstrat-
ed A Polarization, the next turn

of the game is To Make the Uni-
versity Responsive . . . but after
this point, the game becomes pret-
ty familiar, doesn't it?
-Richard G .Teske
Assoc. Prof. of Astronomy
Sept. 23
War's end
To the Editor:
THE ARTICLE by Steve Kopp-
man in the September 19 Daily
expressed the writer's conviction
that the war in Southeast Asia
will never be over and that pro-
tests ofvarious kinds against that
war have been ineffective. T h i s
attitude arises from the apparent
belief held by many people that
history and politics do not exist
beyond the last five years in the
United States. The war will end
when masses of Americans take
action to end it. Demonstrations
have been effective not only in the
sense that they have built the
mass antiwar movement to its
present size, but also in the sense
that the May 1970 protests pulled
Nixon out of Cambodia.
On October 31 millions of peo-
ple will be in the streets again
telling Nixon that they want all
the troops home now, and Novem-
ber 15, 1969 in Washington will be
repeated in at least 15 cities across
the nation. The National Peace
Action Coalition, the organization
which has called these demonstra-
tions, involves many people who
have never actively protested
against the war before. We can-
not abandon the mass movement


at a time when its strength is
growing dramatically. The NLF
has not given up, and neither can
-Marcia Wisch
-Tom Vernier
Socialist Workers
Party Candidates for
U-M Board of
Sept. 20

Real wages

To the Editor:

Editorial Staff
Editorial Director Managing Editor
JIM NEUBACHER .. Editorial Page Editor
ROB BIER...............Associate Managing Editor
LAURIE HARRIS....... ... ......s...Arts Editor
JUDY KAHN . Personnel Director
DANIEL ZWERDLING............. Magazine Editor
ROBERT CONROW. . . ..,.... .,...... . Books Editor

THE SEPT. 16 DAILY contained
an editorial by Steve Koppman
twhich concerned the current auto
tstrike. As a member of Students
to Support the Auto Workers
(SSAW), I was glad to see that
the editorial urged support for
the strikers. At the same time.
however, I was unhappy to note
that some ofthe statistics which
Mr. Koppman quoted are inac-
curate, and lead to a misunder-
standing of the real condition or
auto workers.
First off, it is not true that the
real wages of auto workers have
1increased by 2 per cent a year in
the last 3 years. Studies by econo-
mists have demonstrated that the
average auto worker's real take-
home pay has fallen by over $16.00
per week since 1968. Further, the
auto wo kers, on the average, take
}home nearly $18.50 less-in real
wages-than they did in 1965,
when the Vietnam escalation be-
gan. In order for auto workers to
regain their 1965 standard of liv-
ing, they need an immediate wage
increase of over $23.00 per week
(58c/hour), which after , taxes
would come to slightly under
$18.50 per week.
THUS, IT IS quite clear that
auto workers' standard of living
has fallen in the past few years
Secondly, it sh6uld be noted that
it is misleading to imply that auto
workers have, presently, an a ie-
quate standard of living. While
the details of the statistics are to
lengthy to go into in this letter,; t
is in fact the case that the average
auto worker has an income barely
above the privation s t a n d a r d
whichathe LabornDepartment de-
fines as being on the border of
These are not the only factlual
inaccuracies contained in Mr.
Koppman's editorial. However, to
fully detail the actual conditions

An historic. precedent.
for university turmol
WHILE AMERICAN universities are being disrupted by student dis-
satisfaction over this country's senseless Southeast Asian involve-
nient and its tragic neglect of domestic ills, perhaps some solace may
be found in the fact that our universities' turmoil is neither a unique
problem exclusive for the United States nor an unprecedented histor-
ical event. Russian universities in the late 1800s, about thirty years
prior to the Bolshevik Revolution, were not wholly unlike American
universities today.
The Russian institutions, like Kazan, occupied a special position
as a mecca for_ intellectual freedofn and rights not found anywhere
else in society. The university provided the student with a new sense
of responsibility and, like those American students away to college
for the first time, independent of parental supervision.
JUST RECENTLY, during the Lewis Hershey years of the Selective
Service, students who actively denounced the Vietnam war by destroy-
ing their Selective Service cards, were faced with the ugly penalty of
beingdrafted. A scene in Moscow in the 1800's is familiar.
During a public concert, a student slapped the face of the student
inspector. The authorities over-reacted, and the student was condemned
to three years of military service in a penal battalion. There followed
a wave of student protests and demonstrations, one of which had to be
dispersed by the soldiers."
Some of Kazan's professors reacted similarly to that at an Ameril
can university today. In response to student activism one professor re-
marked, in an all too familiar tune, that "the students are at the
university to study, not to cause disorders."
Even the resolutions submitted by the Russian students sound
vaguely familiar to the grievances cited by American student radicals.
AMONG THE RUSSIAN STUDENTS' demands were the right of
students to conduct classes of their choi,e, issue scholarships and other
financial grants, and the right to "assembly and to petition." Similarly,
the authorities responded harshly and with cold insensitivity to student
But, all the authorities did was to arrest the alleged leaders of the
disturbance and either expell them or ask them to resign from the

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The student unrest also resulted in the cancellation of lectures
and other university activities for two months.
What angered the Kazan students? Tuition increases, and more
importantly, university meddling in students' private lives certainly
were contributing 'factors.
The Russian youth even dressed shabbily as a protest against their
society's hypocritical rules.
IN 1880 RUSSIA, as in the U.S. today, many radicals see them-
selves as romantic figures willing "to risk everything for their cause."
Confusing terrorist tactics with political intrigue and romance, one
student in Russia, like a naive militant today, wrote, "Terror ... is the
only form of defense by which a minority strong only in the spiritual
strength and the consciousness of its righteousness (can) combat the
physical power of the majority. . ." The student who wrote this state-
ment was Alexander 'Ulyanov, Lenin's brother, who, at the age of
twenty-one, was hung by the Tsarist regime.
ONE RESULT of the recent Kent State tragedy was that the af-





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