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October 03, 1970 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1970-10-03

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3tixin Da4
Eightyyears of editorial freedom
Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan

R dical Lesbians: Defining deviance

420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, Mich.

News Phone: 764-0552

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



Keeping the rhetoric hot

VICE PRESIDENT Spiro Agnew's recent
tongue-lashing of Republican Sen.
Charles Goodell provides ample evidence
that President Nixon has no intention of
following his own advice and "keeping the
rhetoric cool when the, action is hot."
Flying in the face of the recent report
of the President's Commission on Campus
Unrest, Agnew's rhetoric, rather than
cooling, has recently become hotter than
ever. Following the attack on Goodell as
a party member who has strayed beyond
the point of no return" he blasted G.O.P.
national chairman Rogers Morton, who
had endorsed Goodell on Wednesday,
and yesterday was reportedly ready to
start a fund supporting Goodell's Con-'
servative Party opponent.
The political implications for Agnew in
this matter are broad, of course. By ad-
vancing from his earlier stance of at-
tacking only "radical leftists" to leveling
charges at members of his own party,
Agnew is perhaps beginning to run the
risk of a Joseph McCarthy demise because
he is beginning to restrict his base of sup-
Whereas he originally expounded only,
the previously unspoken hatreds of mid-
dle America, he is now beginning to
spread the targets of his attacks to such
large parts of the political spectrum that
he risks having' fewer and fewer persons
left whom he has not alienated, and thus
fewer supporters.
Politically, of course, this could be dis-
astrous, as it was for McCarthy. But ap-,
parently, Agnew is not worried about this
- and neither is President Nixon. For he
is letting Agnew do all of his dirty work
for him, he is letting Agnew continue to
divide the country, and he is letting Ag-
new keep hatreds at such a level that
people will continue to be blind to the
fact that The War is still going on and
that other problems are not being solved.
None of these could Nixon do by him-
self. For Nixon is too shrewd a politician
to think that he could risk alienating
anyone in the electorate by himself. But
if Agnew can be gracefullk eased out of
office after he has run, the course of his
usefulness, then Nixon can continue to
use him in the role of the man who can
keep the electorate hypnotized and hide
the flaws in the President's ability to ad-
minister the country.
IF THIS is what Nixon is doing, then the
recent violence commission report
calling for the President to exert "his re-
conciling Imoral leadership and also to
"convince public officials and protesters
alike that divisive and insulting rhetoric,
is dangerous," would clearly be detri-
mental to this strategy if it were to be-
come generally accepted among the elec-
In response to this, the President has-
thus continued to do absolutely nothing

to implement the report, while Agnew has
been used to undermine its credibility. In
response to the calls for presidential re-
conciliation, Agnew has said, "To lay re-
sponsibility for ending student disruption
at the doorstep of this President - in
office twenty months - is 'scapegoating'
of the most irresponsible sort."
In answer to the report's claim that it
is "in deep sympathy with peace officers"
and its plea that they be "better trained
and equipped to deal with campus dis-
orders," Agnew merely replies that t h e,
"President cannot replace the campus
cop." Finally, totally ignoring the re-
port's strong language condemning the
use of violence and those who use it, the
Vice President merely says that the re-
port is "more pablum for permissiveness."
Clearly, these blatant misrepresenta-
tions are purely for the purpose of obscur-
ing the mesage contained in the report
so that its recommendations need not be
dealt with directly by the President. The
President himself could not do this, of
course, without risking the charge that he,
was merely trying to avoid his share of
the responsibility.
But Agnew certainly is handy for this
purpose, and the result, if any, will be to
completely invalidate the work of the
commission. Nixon thus avoids solving the
nation's problems, but can say that he
tried by creating the panel. Clearly, this
is nothing more than playing politics
with the nation's problems.
SIMILARLY, the President could not risk
party disunity by directly attacking
either Goodell or Morton. But Agnew can
do the task quite easily, as long as he is
not essential to the existence of Nixon.
What evidence is there that Nixon re-
gards Agnew as expendable? Agnew has
already been quoted as saying that he is
prepared to step down from the vice
presidency in 1972 if his party wills it.
Undoubtedly with the blessing of Presi-
dent Nixon, Agnew also said in a recent
television interview that "I think there
comes a time when the Vice President has
to leave his party if he feels in good con-
science he can't support its candidates."
If he were worried that his departure
would iniure Nixon, he surely would n o t
have made such a statement.
The politics, therefore, clearly parallel
the quality of Nixon's actions. Through-
out his administration, he has formulated
at most one genuinely new program -
welfare - and pushed absolutely none
through Congress. But as long as he has
a politically expendible Agnew around
with which to fan the ignorance-produc-
ing hatreds of middle America, he can
continue to be comfortably inactive. This
presents a sad outlook for the next two
years in the United States.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The follow-
ing is a position paper written
for the Daily by local Radical
Lesbians. Members of the group
were formerly members of Gay
WHEN WE live in a sick society,
with sexual (and o t h e r)
norms that entail incredible re-
pression, we begin to reach the
realm of absurdity and, for that
matter, cruelty when a finger is
pointed at society's "social devi-
ants" and it is loudly proclaimed
of them, "You're sick; sexually
maladjusted." It is this basic,
underlying assumption-that the
"sexual deviant," rather than the
society from which he deviates, is
the sickrelement-that our group,
Radical Lesbians, is confionting.
It is about time that people stop-
ped asking homosexuals why they
relate to members of theirown
sex, and started asking them-
selves why they are so totlly re-
pressed that they can't. It it about
time that women stopped looking
aghast at lesbians and started
wondering why they themselves
are seemingly incapable of relat-
ing to other women past that
"safe" level of closeness. It is, in
general, about time that human
beings started asking themselves
why they delete all other members
of their own sex from the group
of people with whom they feel
they can potentially become totally
(mentally, emotionally, and sex-
ually) involved.
Lesbianism is not a perversion.
Look rather at the intense sexual
repression of society-that force
which seeks to destroy the in-
dividual's homosexual feelings and
allow only hetersexual attraction
to be felt-'that is a perversion. It
is, moreover, the inculcation of sex
roles and a sexual hieracrhy (male
above female) making "normal"
heterosexual relationship, to vary-
ing degrees, relationships of op-
pressor to oppressed that is per-
verse. Society starts cut with the
basic assumption that human
beings can and should only be
attracted to (and consequently
form deep relationships with)
members of the opposite sex. It
socializes its progeny to ccnorm
to the norm of heterosexuality in
ways that are too numerous to go
into here. Those feelings of love
that inovlve sexual attraction to-
wards a member of one's own sex
are inevitably repressed. And if
those feelings somehow do pr-an-
age to come out it is then said
that something in the individual's
childhood must have been mesedd
up; and, most importantly, that
this is indeed a very unfortunate
state of affairs (the homosexual
as "sick"). The value judgment
implicit in this sentiment is all
too often overlooked. And it is
clearly a value judgement-name-
ly, that it is desirable to "come
out of" one's upbringing being in
total accord with society's sexual
norm which condones feelings of
heterosexual attraction and vehe-
mently condemns those of homo-
sexual attraction.
IT NEED NOT be this way. We
feel that the assumptions we as a
group make (reflected in our at-
titudes toward lesbianism) af-
ford a much greater potentiality
for richness in human experience
and, at base, simply make m o r e
sense: All human beings are sex-
ual beings. In view of this, there
is no reason why an individual
cannot be potentially sexually at-
tracted to any other human being,
whether of the same sex or of
the opposite sex - i.e. if homo-

'sexuality were not repressed, peo-
ple would be bisexual. One can
accept the hypothesis that homo-
sexuality, given the context of our
present society, results from some
"screw up" in childhood without
accepting the value judgment that
this is bad. Given that the society
is sexually sick and repressive,
that "screw up" in childhood can
just as easily, perhaps more sen-
sibly be seen as a liberation fac-
tor enabling the individual to es-
cape the repression from which
the "normal" heterosexual person,
incredibly uptight about homo-
sexuality and repressing his own
homosexual feelings, does not es-
cape. We are radical in that we
refuse to accept and internalize so-
ciety's hatred and fear of homo-
sexuality; we are radical in that
we refuse to be blinded by a re-
pressive society to the total beauty
- and this includes sexuality - of
the members of our own sex.
At RadicalrLesbians meetings
we discuss our personal feelings
and relate our experiences -
amout men, women, sex, sex roles,
encounters with male chauvinism
(which, given the male suprema-
cist nature of our society, of our
world, occur constantly). T h e
meetings are founded in our de-
sire to relate warmly and p e r -
sonally to each other and discuss
things in this way. The response
has been overwhelminglyfavor-
able. Many women have express-
ed the feeling that these meetings
have been fulfilling for t h e m,
particularly because of the per-
sonal way in which they are run.
The group is varied: some are
lesbians, some are straight, some
have just begun to have gay ex-
periences, and some are "intel-
lectually bisexual, but so far in
practice only heterosexual." What
ties us together as a group is the
desire to open up to the potential-
ity of relating totally to other
In our belief, the choice of
modes of sexual behaviour should
therefore not be between homo-
sexuality and heterosexuality, but
rather between homosexuality and
bisexuality. That is, we take it as
given that exclusive heterosexual-
ity is not desireable. At this point
it, then, is necessary to turn our
attention away from the ideal so-
ciety and its bisexual potential,
and to take a hard look at our
own society and its heterosexual
actuality. It is within this context
(that of heterosexual actuality in
our society) that the importance
of Radical Lesbians as a core part
of the Women's Liberation Move-
ment becomes clear.
ONCE ONE gets past the issues
of abortion, childcare centers.
equal pay for women, etc., he
must get down to the nitty gritty
of the matter - the relationship
between the sexes. That is, how
men and women relate to e a c h
other, how men relate to men,
and how women relate to women.
This, in turn, involves the ques-
tion of the individual's self image
as man or woman. What is so
odious about the relationship be-
tween the sexes in our society is
that such heterosexual relating is
all carried on in terms of sex
roles - prefabricated, established
ways to behave with and react to
the opposite sex. Women are gen-
erally the more passive, followers
on their mens ego trips and nour-
ishers of those cherished male
egos; men are generally the more
aggressive and assertive and the
less sensitive to the other. There
are, of course, exceptions to the
rule. These exceptions, however,

me!" "Beat me"; second, women
are fed and actually swallow the
idea that the only true means of
fulfillment for a woman is to get
a man and, preferrably, to have a
family. This emphasis on "getting
a man" establisches competition
between!women - the goal of ful-
fillment for a woman must neces-
sarily lie outside the female sphere
so that every other woman be-
com s a potential competitior.
Words are inadequate in com-
municating the exhibarating feel-
ing of liberation, the overwhelm-
ing sigh of relief when a woman
realizes, intellectually and emo-
tionally, that men are not their
sole possible source of true ful-
fillment, but rather just one
among many possible sources-
and, within the context of our pre-
seht society, often not a very ful-
filling one at that.
BEFORE WOMEN can be fully
liberated from a male-dominated
society they must realize and ac-
tualize their potential as women.
Martha Shelley, a radical lesbian
fro mNew York, states it very
well: "If hostility to men causes
lesbianism, then it seems to me
that in a male-dominated society,
lesbianism is a sign of health. The
psychiatrists have also forgotten
that lesbianism involves love be-
tween women. Isn't love between
equals healthier than sucking up
to an oppressor? And when they
claim we aren't capable of loving
men, even if we want to-I ask
you, straight man,Fare you capable
of loving another man so 'deeply
that you aren't afraid of his body
or afraid to put your body in his
hands? Are you really capable of
loving women, or is your sexuality
pust another expression of your
hostility? Is it an act of love or
sexual conquest? ... Women are
struggling to liberate their minds
from sick sexual roles. It is clear
that the self-abasing, zuffering
shuffling black is not someone
with a personal neurosis, but so-
ciety's victim-and someone who
has been forced to learn certain
techniques for survival. Few people
understand that the same is true
of the self-abnegatinig passive
housewife. Fewer understand this
truth about the homosexual . ."
Women are people. We can love
-as equals. As equals we can love
each other.


serve only to prove the rule (by
the stark contrast to the -norm
they provide) and, moreover, are
exceptions only by degree, not by
kind. This is to say, some men
are less "masculine" (keeping in
mind that society has defined
masculinity in certain specific
terms) and some women less "fem-
inine" than others, but one would
be hard put to find an individ-
ual totally untouched by the in-
credibly far-reaching progress of
gender socialization. More impor-
tantly, these sex roles (and sex
temperaments) are thoroughly so-
cially sanctioned, encouraged, and
other justified on (totally unprov-
en) biological grounds.
The invidiousness of the system
does not end with this stamping
of sexual roles and temperaments
onto people. The essential aspect
that is so often overlooked is that
there is a definite status differ-
ential between the sexes with

males comprising the "elite
group". Ironically, women are told
they should groove on this ("I like
to be dominated."). This status
differential transforms the bare-
lyly tolerable possibility of com-
plementary equal roles (only
barely tolerable because they are
still roles) into the decidely in-
tolerable actuality of two sexes
which relate to each other as op-
pressor (male) to oppressed (fe-
male). (Kate Millet, in her book,
Sexual Politics, provides an ex-
cellent analysis of this oppres-
sor-oppresser, "master-slave" re-
lationship and its numerous subtle
and blatant manifestations).
One might wonder how women
could stand to relate in such a
way to men. Two factomi come to
mind: First, not only are women
taught not to see it for what it is
-society is. impressively ingenious
in some things - they are even
taught to want it -- "Dominate

Of f to the Third World with

a memory of Woods tock


f "

Jerry?" asked Michael, eyeing
his comrade's bags. Jerry nodded.
"I'm taking the next plane to
the Third World," Jerry replied.
Michael looked up, surprised but
with respect. You see, he had nev-
er been to the Third World.
"Where y' headed in particu-
lar?" he asked.
"Oppression central - Viet-
"Looking forward to it?"
"Who looks forward to any war
Mike?" said Jerry. "All I can say
is that I feel that I have a duty
to serve the Viet Cong and make
the world safe for communism.
Hell, the wv a y I figure it if we
don't stop the Yanks now and put
an end to imperialism, we'll nev-
er stop them.
"If the Viet Cong go, then the
Pathet Lao go, if the Pathet Lao
go, there goes Laos. Next thing
you know those greasy imperial-
ists1will be at the backyard of our
communes, in Woodstock or Berk-
eley, We've got to stop them
"Kinda like a domino theory,"
interjected Michael.
"Yeah," grinned Jerry. "You
could say that. Hell, I'm as much
against violence as the next guy,
but you got to draw the 1i n e

"I know what you mean." re-
plied Michael. "I think we should
do our darndest f o r oppressed
people everywhere too," he said
and whispered "you know, I think
a great deal of the oppressed."
"Especially in America," s a i d
Jerry. "The oppressed here a r e
the darndest bunch of g u y s
"Don't forget the chicks," ad-
ded Michael, and Jerry nodded.

You really got to admire us,
Michael. We got timing.
"I'll miss the mass meetings of
25 people. I'll miss bricks through
North Hall." He winked at his
friend. "'Member that honey we
hurled last Sunday, ol' pal?"
Michael nodded.
"I'll miss that,' continued Jer-
ry. "I'll miss flashing that piece
sign at any o1 person anywhere.
And I'll miss tear gas and busts.



Delaying the new judiciary

Letters to The Dail)


AFTER NEARING agreement on almost
all major details of their proposal, the
committee planning a n e w University
judicial system is at an impasse over the
makeup of a panel that would decide pro-
cedural questions and preside at hearings
under their plan.
With positions hardening, this deadlock
threatens the substantial progress al-
ready made by t h e committee since its
appointment by President Robben Flem-
ing last April.
Because many students and faculty
members find the present Regents Inter-
im Rules unacceptable, it is important
that the committee completes a fair and
practical plan to replace them as soon as.,
In any case, the current dispute is not
worth further delay, since the fight over
the composition of the three man pro-
cedural panel is more symbolic than sub-
stantive. The committee has already
agreed that guilt and punishment will be
decided by a jury of the defendant's peers
- six randomly selected students f o r
student defendants and an equivalent
procedure for faculty members.
Student and faculty members of the
committee, however, h a v e presented a
confusing array of methods to choose the
procedural panel. All the committee
mnahs.sarP P t+h aor+at nn tempthnrl

student, one faculty member and an ad-
ditional chairman chosen by lot; one stu-
dent, one faculty member and an outside
lawyer as chairman; two students with a
faculty chairman; two faculty members
with a student chairman, etc.
BECAUSE THERE are so many pro-
posals, and variations of proposals,,
it is difficult to sort the mess out. Perhaps
the best proposal, from a practical stand-
point, is choosing the panel by lot from
an equal number of students and faculty
Since students and faculty members are
not able to agree on a ratio of their con-
stituencies for the three-man panel,
choosing by chance is the best comprom-
ise. A student defendant (as well as a
faculty defendant) would have his tria
presided over by either none, one, two
or three student (or faculty) judges.
While some students might object to
being tried at a hearing presided over by
faculty members and faculty members
might object to having students preside,
the safeguard of the system is that the
jury of one's peers decided guilt and
punishment -- by far the most import-
ant decisions.
The method has the additional advant-_
a- e of emphasizing the community of

Td the Daily:
THE EDITORIAL page of Sun-
day's Daily, was appropriately
enough devoted to essays about
the Middle East. I must say that
the Daily does sometimes try to
maintain an even-handed ap-
proach, at least on this non-cam-
pus issue. However, I was disap-
pointed to note some outright er-
rors of fact.
The article by Mr. Hamill refers
to the "Arab nut rhetoric about
driving the Israelis into the sea."
To whose rhetoric is the author
referring? I cannot think of a
single responsible (or irresponsi-
ble, for that matter) Arableader
or spokesman who has ever pro-
posed driving the Israelis into the
sea. Indeed, it has been the Arabs
who have been driven into the
The same article authoritatively
reminds the reader that "some of
their leaders think that the way to
relieve old grievances is to slaugh-
ter Israelis." Again, what leaders?
I am at a dead loss to think of
any. We are also informed that
"the Palestinian Arabs are already
led by Marxists." My word, is
Arafat a Marxist? Is King Faisal
of Saudi Arabia really so naive
as to send his wealth to support
a Marxist revolution next door?

To the Daily:

THE RECENT editorial attack-
ing student support for the auto
strike ignored some central facts.
It implied that this is support
for the national UAW leadership.
Had the author bothered to check
with anyone active in Students
to Support the Auto Workers, he
would have known we differen-
tiate between workers and Leon-
ard Woodcock. Look at our leaf-
lets, actions, and even the name
of the group.
A main failure of "left" student
movements is that they have not
attracted enough support among
potential off-campus allies. The
main victims of the Indochina
War in this country have been
young workers. And yet student
elitism looks at these people as a
bunch of overpaid yokels. If we
are to begin now to make long-
overdue political link-ups wi t h
workers, how do we go about it if
not by supporting the struggles of
these men and women?
If these link-ups are to be suc-
cessful, the support we give to
workers must show a real aware-
ness of their problems. The edi-
torial hardly qualifies on that
score when it calls the financial
position of the autoworkers "lucra-
tive". The average worker's in-
come does not even qualify as
"moderate", even by the stand-

"YOU KNOW, Mike, its not go-
ing to be easy to leave the old
place. There've been a lot of mem-
ories," he said as he, looked wist-
fully into the past. I'm going to
miss those five-hour New L e f t
meetings when everyone w a s
shouting at exactly the same time.

I'll even miss those pigs.,I can't
deny it. Those pigs meant a lot
to me. I won't forget them easily.
"Oh, there'll be a lot to look
forward to, but well - remember
'repression's coming down on the
brothers and sisters,' and 'heavy
and 'wow what a trip'."
Michael burst in. "And ;'outta-
sight,' 'far out' and all the beau-
tiful people at Woodstock." He
paused. "We were born that week-
end, we burst out of the wotnb
from Mother America with a 'K'.
"It started out good," said Jer-
ry, "but there were the bombings
and a few casualties on the long
trip to freedom and the Messiah
which ourL o r d Abbie foretold
many joints ago.
"Yeah, but we're together," said
Michael. "We're one big happy
head of hair. If you put all us to-
gether, you could fill a weed."
Jerry nodded. "I'm going to be
serious for a moment, Mike. We
have a revolutionary thing going
(pass it on - Woodstock's got a
revolutionary thing going, pass it
on) and we have to keep it alive.


"WE'VE GOT to keep together,
we have to get'to the people and
make them free. I guess you could
say," he stopped, "I'm all choked
up. I mean, well, a fella's got to do
what he has to do and well, Mike,
I think human beings a r e the
greatest - oh God, all I am say-
ing is give peace a chance."
"I think that's one of the pret-
tiest things I ever heard, buddy,"

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