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October 08, 1970 - Image 4

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1970-10-08

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

- why then this restlessness?
Auto strike III: Whaddya think, when will it end?
by tuart gannes

WILLOW RUN
A HUGE TRACTOR-TRAILER truck rumbled down
Tyler Road past the gates to the Chevy Assembly
Plant, its teamster driver waving and honking to the
squinting, shirt-sleeved men on the UAW picket line.'
"Man that sun is bright," a sports-shirted worker noticed
as he shuffled over to the line, "I ain't used to this kind
of weather."
If you aren't familiar with the weather in Michigan,
and you were out on the picket line at the gate to the
Chevy plant in Willow Run last Thursday, you might
have been fooled into thinking it was still suimertime
rather than the first day of October and the seventeenth
day of what may well be one of the most gruelling auto-
workers' strike in the history of the industry.
The men on picket duty stood in groups of two or
three in the sun near the gate to the factory, par-
ticipating in their never-ending discussions of the merits
of various cars. Cassady, his back propped by the com-
pany's Cyclone fence, paged through a copy of the Detroit
Free Press, pausing to gaze at the business section and
then stopping to concentrate on the want-ads.
A few men gathered around the pick-up truck of
the picket-captain who had brought a case of cold pop
which he was selling for 20 cents a can ...
* * *
ON THE OTHER SIDE of the driveway to the fac-
tory, a UAW tent, rented for the strike, flopped in the
fall wind. During rainy days, most of the picketers seek
its shelter. But last Thursday was sunny.
If you walked into the shade of the tent last Thurs-
day, you were a black man or a journalist. And if/ you
were a journalist, it wasn't hard to discover that you

were out of place. At any rate, I walked into the tent.
"How ar'ya man?" came a voice from the floor.
Pretty. good, and you?
"Not bad ... What'cha here for?"
I work for the Michigan Daily in Ann Arbor, and I'm
doing a story on the UAW strike.
"Well you can tell those people in Ann Arbor that
this strike is a lot of booey-shit. We want to get back
to work and make some money."
Isn't that what the union is striking for?
"Well, they is striking for more money, benefits and
what not I mean . . . Listen man, I gotta go."
Turning to a younger man leaning back in a corner
of the tent I inquire: What do you think about the strike?
"I don't know, I don't say too much, I just be in the
crowd. Come action though, I be there. See, this strike
is a bad thing . .. When a person ain't working, he gets
the opporunity to steal . . . When I was 17 or 18 that's all
I did."
How old are you now?
''Nineteen."
Are you worried about getting drafted?
"Man, I don't even know my number. I never go
down there. A lot of my relatives is already been killed
in Vietnam."
A third man walks in and sits down. Turning to
him I ask: What do you do in the factory?
"I put on starters . . . It's a pretty good job; you
do your work and that's just it . . . I'm already an old
many I'm thirty-one and wasting my life away. Last
summer I separated from my wife. Now I do a lotta
booze . . . Listen man, you got a cigarette? No? Well,
I gotta go."

BACK OUT BY THE GATE, the men were talking
about the strike. "Yuh know," mused one of the workers,
"GM's already raised the prices of the cars and we ain't
even got a contract."
"Yeah, it works out so every year they make more
money," says another. "GM is so big . . . you could fill
the whole state with their factories."
"They're vast," says a third, "but I think we're
gonna beat them. We're gonna bust their ass."
How long do you think the strike will last?
"I don't know. Why don't you go over there and
ask them?"
Walking up the driveway to the Chevy office, you
notice the neatly manicured lawns, and the trim shub-
bery and flowers surrounding the windows on the first
floor. Try the main door, but finding it locked, walk
around to the side. This door opens, but since nobody
talks to you, sit down.
The room's atmosphere is much different from the
weather outside. The sun and the wind are gone. No
trucks rumble nearby to shake the ground. Instead you
hear the steady hum of ventilating fans whooshing
through grills in the walls. The room is filled with IBM
punch clocks, and rows of racks holding time-cards.
Every minute, the machines collectively whirr, as they
rearrange the numbers on their faces,
Finally, a white shirted man walks up and looks me
over: Hello, I'm from the Michigan Daily .. .
"Are you waiting for a check? No? Well I can't help
you."

4.I

M4yt4itan Pathj
Eighty) years of editorial freedom
Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan

Boycott your stomach and feed your head

420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, Mich.

News Phone: 764--552

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

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 8, 1970

NIGHT EDITOR: STEVE KOPPMAN

By STERLING SPEIRN
Daily Guest Writer
AS THE LEAVES turn and the
temperature drops, p e o p 1e
throughout the country, butpri-
marily in New England, are being
warned about the threat of fuel
shortages following closely on the
heels of last summer's power
shortages.
Americans are of course asking
who is to blame. They are being
told the problem is a little of
everybody's fault. To name a few
culprits: the Federal Power Com-
mission; the Atomic Energy Com-
mission; the public and private
utilities; the coal industry and its
railroads, along with its striking
miners; and finally, yesterday's
hero and today's newest scape-
goat, the environmentalists.
fn a larger sense, however, this
alarming situation provides an-
other cortemporary illustration of
the impoverished condition of the
American spirit. First, it shows
that the United States, one of the
most future-oriented societies ever
to exist, lacks the simple ability
to plan ahead. For all those who
once relied blind optimism on the
foresight of resources allocators
occupying positions of power, their
faith has been destroyed. Second-
ly, those who accepted the reign
of technocrats over interlocking
networks, aided by "whiz-kids"
and trained systems of analyzers,
can now observe the widespread
effects of a few weak links giving
way to the demands of the Amer-
ican public. And thirdly, those
who believed that having each
person pursuing his own food
would insure the well-being of the
community should look now as
domestic fuel suppliers sell at a
high price to exporters while
schools, libraries and other public
buildings face threats of brown or
blackouts.
Clearly what must be done with
this crisis is to critically examine
the larger social context in which
these so called 'technical' tread
'hard') problems are arising.
THERE IS A strong probability
that substantial numbers of peo-
ple may experience fuel cutbacks,
shortages, or rationing sometime
this winter. Barring extreme
shortages that might lead to
senseless suffering or death, power
reductions and limitations may
create the most propitious circum-
e stances that could result at this
ye time.
I fWhat this country needs is, in
Is the most literal sense, less wwer
O to the people, any argument from
y Consumers Power or Consolidated
S Edisonto the contrary notwith-
standing. The reasons are these.
Production and use of power po-
lutes, hence less power consump-
tion equals less pollution. Second-
ly, the quantity of the earth's
e fossil fuel is finite and, atpresent,
y Americans consume a shamefully
d disproportionate amount, while
_ over half of the people alive today
don't know the pleasure of run-
ning water, let alone hot running
tlwater. In this light, can one in
o good conscience purchase and use
O such a thing as an electric can
r opener? Finally the overcon-
sumption of power in America has
r helped create a synthetic environ-
m ent that has incapacitated the
yT American people.
9 While the reduction of power
o consumption is a small step, it
could mark a significant begin-

try. If a cutback on the use of
power was viewed as a return to
equilibrium rather than as a sacri-
fice or temnporary inconvenience, it
might aid the country in retaining
consciousness of the impact of its
life-styles on the environment,
other peoples and itself.
THE LIST of possible ways to
reduce power consumption is end-
less. The aluminum industry con-
sumes almost 10 per cent of the
industrial power used in this coun-
try, and much of that goes for
making aluminum cans. Recycling,
no matter how extensive, cannot
reduce the power required to make
and re-make a aluminum can.
They should not be made at all.
And not all of those inefficient
household items are necessary.
Also instead of keeping their
homes excessively warm during
the winter people -ould wear
sweaters.
In Western Europe, the per
capita consumption is one-half
that of the U.S. Yet life there is
not considered unusually uncom-
fortable by Americans. Certainly
when relative deprivation means
going without air conditioning, a
garbage disposal, and atpersonal
car, Americans as individuals and
as a culture are in serious trouble.
A decrease in the consumption
of power might also serve as a
model for lower levels of consump-
tion in other areas. Hopefully an
initial attack might be made on
that disgusting phenomenon which
is only the elitist's privilege and
flourishes in America-overeating.
Dr. Paul Erhlich of Stanford Uni-
versity has remarked that an
average American baby born to-
day has a pollution and consump-
tion capacity 50 times that of a
child born in India today. If any-
one would be a revolutionary to-
day, and sincerely witness the

tragic physical conditions and suf-
fering millions experience daily,
he can begin by denying himself
food he does not need or power he
can do without.
Our "consumers' society" should
and must radically de-emphasize
consumption out of a desire and
responsibility to provide more for
those who have less, out of fear
for the world's eco-system and of
the dangers man is creating for
himself. Prof. Rene Dubos of
Rockfeller University has pointed
out that the real threat to the
quality of human existence is
man's very adaptability. The in-
creased use of powers and the
resultant loss of human physical
and mental exertion affects people
physiologically and psychological-
ly. How long shall this continue
before we realize we 'have traded
health for mere survival?
And yet the obstacles to such a
turnabout appear almost insur-
montable. The new environmental
coalitions have performed a much
needed service by analyzing, docu-
menting and publicizing the pre-
carious state of this nation's and
many of the world's eco-systems.
But they have fallen short in the
task of illuminating the implica-
tions that true ecological thinking
holds for the "American way of
life."
IT SHOULD BE clear that any-
one opposing excessive consump-
tion should also oppose the ethic
of American advertising, whose
overpaid advocates work not to
inform the public, but to "crative-
ly" introduce a material good or
service between every human itch
and scratch. He who opposes over-
consumption opposes the American
predilection for growth, the idola-
trous worship of and the chronic
dependence upon an expanding
economy, and constantly increas-

ing GNP (which many have re-
marked is just that, gross). But
growth must not be blindly sup-
ported. Growth for growth's sake
is the ideology of a cancer cell.
Instead people must learn to talk
in minimums. What is the mini-
mum number of people, the mini-
mum amount of power, the mini-
mum amount of food, etc., re-
quired to create a humanly en-
joyable and culturally stimulating
civilization?
Still further the equality of the
American character cannot be ig-
nored. Historian David Potter of
'Stanford described it:
"In his personal economy, so-
ciety expects him to consume
his quota of goods - of auto-
mobiles, of whiskey, of tele-
vision sets - by maintaining a,
certain standard of living, and
it regards him as a 'good guy'
for absorbing his share, while
it snickers at the prudent, self-
denying, abstemious thrift that
an earlier generation would have
respected."
And finally those who reject
over-consumption are against the
power companies who in o n e
breath advertise appliances or en-
courage industry to come and set-
tle where they can provide all the
"cheap" power, and in the next,
scream that more land' is needed
to build atomic power plants or
huge reservoirs to keep pace with
the demands of the people, de-
mands the power barons them-
selves helped create.
IN VIEW OF the imminent fuel
and power shortages, it is likely
that much of the resistance by the
environmentally minded to the
raping of Alaska will dissolve
amidst cries of "More power, more
crude, now." Or licenses will be
more easily forthcoming from the
AEC for atomic plants like that

of Consumers Power near South
Haven, (The safety qualifications
of that installation are receiving
a scathing scrutiny at the current
hearings in Kalamazoo thanks to
the lawyers hired by the Sierra
Club.) Necessity shall be the
mother of inventions, and these
inventions shall cause one ecol-
ogical catastrophe after another.
Unfortunately the laws of na-
ture cannot be determined by
majority vote. In the interim,
there may be more power, b u t in
the end there will be less life.
The real crisis today is not a
lack of power or fuel, nor is it a
lack of "control" of our environ-
ment. The problem has its deepest
roots in disfunctional cultural val-
ues and social relationships that
are no longer viable.
Exploitation of man and the
exploitation of nature \ are ulti-
mately related. One difficult ques-
tion is: Can men be realistically
expected to begin to treat the land
around them with respect when
they have not yet begun to treat
their fellow men with the same
respect? And another is, how shall
people bring themselves to realize
that no thing and no man exists
in isolation and that all are re-
lated?
Until these questions and many
more are answered, the United
States will continue to organize it-
self into two large parts: o ri e
working night and day to piovide
power and goods to satisfy a n d
stimulate the country's consump-
tinve aberrations, and the o t h e r
working equally as hard in the
defense industries to protect this
consumptive process.
Let the revolution begin today.
Boycott your stomach, and feed
your head.
(Sterling Speirn is a first year
law student who graduated from,
Stanford last spring with a de-
gree in political science.)

Aw
4

"

Using the bludgeon on Goodel]

rME-HONORED political tradition dic-
tates that Democratic politicians sup-
port Democrats and that Republican pol-
iticians support Republicans for elective
office.
If theppols just can't bring themselves
to support another candidate of t h e i r
party, they customarily at least keep
their mouths shut about/him, out of good
manners. Few politicians, especially those
in high office, h a v e ever publicly de-
nounced another member of their own
party. Even fewer have done it and sur-
vived.
And then came Spiro Agnew. No ordi-
nary politician, Agnew has never con-
sidered himself bound by the rules of pol-
itics or good manners. In fact, he behaves
as if he is above those rules. And now he's
proven this once again, by attacking a
"radical-liberal" within the Republican's
own ranks - New Y o r k Sen. Charles
Goodell.
Agnew's conception of the Republican
party is rather different from Senator
(nofiP11's. W h 11 e Ag'new thinks, of then

And so it would be no great loss to thi
GOP, Agnew maintains, if Goodell wer
defeated in his bid for re-election in No
vember. Just to makensure everyone get
this message, Agnew has come close ti
endorsing, Goodell's Conservative Part;
opponent, James L. Buckley, brother o:
right-wing columnist and editor William
Buckley.
HOW WILL Agnew's attack on Goodel
effect the outcome of the election? Nc
one knows for sure. Goodell is running
three-way race, opposing Buckley a nc
Democratic Rep. Richard L. Ottinger, an
other "radical-liberal" type.
If Agnew's attack is successful, it wil
send conservatives of all parties i n tc
Buckley's c a mp and anger Democratic
liberals who had intended to v o t e fo:
front-runner Ottinger into voting fo:
Goodell. .By doing this, Agnew may b
able to split the liberal vote more evenly
between Ottinger and Goodell, denying
either a plurality, and send Buckley tc
the Senate with solid conservative back-

A TRUE ADVENTURE
The great Coca-Cola ripof story
(Dear Editor Jim: How about an editor's note above the Coke story, just
saying that it is ALL 100 per cent true and that I'll swear to it in court. Other-
wise, they'll never believe it.-Jonathan) > }tt".:hu
By JONATHAN MILLER: r ,s:wa:s:{,
The scenario: r xs} ' . .
Myself, thirsty and in need of the phychological reassurance that
Ds th sta d dsseller of CoamCola y
A Coke machine.tm
Aenickel(howbot that,e hve ay nick el Coke machine).
The same tired tradition. Find the money, put it in the slot,
wait fort to fall out of the return coin hole onto.the floor:and.repeat
with a low body hit to the Coke machine with a left o the side-
CTHUNKsssh.
My bottle lay there, nestling in the bottle chute.
Tenderly I picked itup and then, horror of horror, I saw it was
onl mylcblnompn
onyoethird ful
Disgusted I sat down at mydeskafan plled noutatsh, "o D
stationery and wrote them a letter telling them that if you could not <.
rely on a Coke bottle to be full anymore then America was really
in trouble,
This'll impress them I said to myself as I sealed the letter in a
bond paper Daily envelope.
I sat back to wait.":sd,""aa?
The reply came. It was a scream. I still have it, if you want
to come in t 2 Maynard42 sometime when you're feeling depressed =:'' ;:; .":,<.*.' ;-
please do).>f
I was apologised to with a note of sarcasm and advised to complain
tmlclbtlnco an.I picked up the telephone and called information, "Phone of
Ann Arbor Coca Cola company please?"
"How do you spell that please?"}: .--' >:{i :: : '
"Are you kidding," I said, "Coca Cola?"
"Oh," she said. and gave f it e. '. }~* ~

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