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December 04, 1970 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1970-12-04

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_ _ _

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

Jane Fonda: Giving up tinsel for the truth
by daniel zwerdling


420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, Mich.

News Phone: 764-05521

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




Cutting the military:
Just some of the fat,

verge of congratulating Congress for
shifting spending priorities from military
hardware to programs for improving the
quality of life in the United States.
The cause of the Democratic leader's
optimism is that the Senate Defense Ap-
propriations Subcommittee is expected to
ignore the Defense Department's request
to restore part of the $1.9 billion the
House cut from the defense appropria-
tions bill. Instead, the Senate subcom-
mittee is likely to reduce the appropria-
tion by another $300 million.
While any decrease in defense ap-
propriations is encouraging, this paltry
change will at best have a minimal effect
pn the Pentagon. Even if all the "likely"
cuts are approved, the Defense budget
will remain at $66.5 billion.
. Such a slight alteration in defense
spending will do almost nothing to pump
urgently needed funds into federal ef-
forts to aid housing, mass transit, pollu-
tion control and other programs which
annually receive a fraction of the appro-
priations they need. Defense still receives
more money than any other department
while bills for education, housing and
hospitals are vetoed by the President be-
cause they are inflationary. Almost no
member of Congress suggests that de-
fense spending also contributes to infla-
HE CURRENT cuts also cannot yet be
interpreted as a change in priorities
because there is no indication that Con-
*gress can withstand the onslaught of
requests for additional defense appropri-
Editorial Staff
Editorial Director Managing Editor
NADINE COHODAS ...... Feature Editor
JIM NEUBACHER Editorial Page Editor
.ROB BIER .........Associate Managing itr
LAURIE HARRIS ... . Arts Editor
JUDY KAHN Personnel Director
DANIEL ZWERDLING ............Magazine Editor
ROBERT CONROW ............. ....Books Editor
JIM JUDKIS...........Photography Editor
NIGHT EDITORS: Jim Beattie, Dave Chudwin, Steve
Koppman, Robert Kraftowitz, Larry Lempert, Lynn
DAY EDITORS: Rose Berstein, Mark Dillen, S a r a
Fitzgerald, Art Lerner, Jim McFerson, Jonathan
Miller, Hannah Morrison, Bob Schreiner, W. E.
COPY EDITORS: Tanmy Jacobs, Hester Pulling, Carla
Anita Crone, Linda Dreeben, Alan Lenhoff, Mike
MCarth, Zack Schiller, John Shamraj, Kristin
Ringstrom, GeneRobinson'Chuck Wilbur, Ed-
ward Zimmerman.
ISPORTS NIGHT EDITORS: William Alterman, Jared
E. Clark, Richard Cornfeld. Terri Fouchey James
Kevra Elliott Legow, Morton Noveck, Alan Shack-
Sports Staff
SERICSIEGAL, Sports Editor
ILHEPAT ATKINS. Executive Sports Editor
*PHIL HERTZ.........Associate Sports Editor
LEE KIRK......... ........ Associate Sports Editor
'BILL DINNER...... Contributing Sports Editor
Business Staff
IAN G. WRIGHT. Business Manager
s Administrative Adv. Mgr, Sales Manager
*VIDA GOLDSTEIN..;.. Staff Coordinator
MARK WALFISH....... ...............Personnel
AMY COHEN.......................Finance Manager

ations likely to come soon. In fact, before
the House cuts were made, Defense Sec-
retary Melvin Laird termed the fiscal
1971 bill a "rock bottom" military budget.
For fiscal 1972, he is expected to request
at least an additional $2 billion.
Evidence of Laird's interest in shor-
ing up the military's budget became clear
at a recent meeting of the North Atlantic
Treaty Organization, when the Secretary
hinted that new arms may be needed.
The Secretary said then that, "a new
spirit has evolved here in NATO for the
seventies . . . This recognizes the need to
improve the conventional determent in
The Defense Planning Committee of
the alliance likewise has prepared a "de-
fense improvement program" that will
channel about $1 billion into improving
military bases, forces and weapons dur-
ing the next five years. Underground
hangers, new antisubmarine devices, and
additional tanks are a few of the "im-
provements" called for in the plan.
ALTHOUGH THE defense budget has
inched downward in the past two
years, this was only inevitable as troops
wer withdrawn from Southeast Asia and
a few military bases were closed.
During these two years, Laird has re-
duced expenditures by limiting the size
of the armed forces, and, through pro-
grams like Vietnamization, employed
foreigners to do work formerly assigned
to Americans. Last year frivolous psycho-
logical and sociological research programs
based on the possibility of wars in foreign
continents were slashed.
However, only some of the fat was
pared from the budget. These adjust-
ments have done nothing to curtail the
military's role as the protector of Ameri-
can interests around the world.
This trend in budget trimming is not
likely to continue. As the ABM program
gets into full swing and the admirals and
generals begin to push for projects they
have delayed during the Vietnam con-
flict, the defense budget will start moving
upward and the Pentagon will be back
where it started in 1968.
SINCE THE Cambodian invasion in May,
liberal members of Congress have
called for "reordering priorities" in favor
of domestic legislation. Now, these same
men appear satisfied with a $2.2 billion
cut in defense spending. This is totally
inadequate. Dozens of billions are needed
to adequately fund existing programs.
Despite it vast resources, the federal
government's budget is finite. Taxes are
already high. Budgets for education,
transportation, health care and other
governmental services have already been
cut to the bone. The Defense appropria-
tion consumes over half the federal bud-
get. It is the ,only source that can provide
the funding necessary to "reorder pri-
orities." Senators and congressmen who
are satisfied with cutting defense by $2.2
billion to change priorities seem only to
be engaged in a game of self-deception.

Jane Fonda, the slender movie star
who made such hits as Cat Ballou and
Barberella, doesn't look the part of
radical political activist as she sits
with soft blue eyes and pert breasts
under a pepper-gray sweater and suede
jeans and jacket.
Richard Nixon, the former W a 1
Street lawyer now become President
of the United States, discussed t h e
problems of rising unemployment, his
narrow thighs cloaked in a trim striped
suit and his thin lips pursing as if for
a kiss.
NO ONE THINKS twice about Richard
Nixon's evolution from lawyer to poli-
tician, and few people evaluate his poli-
tics after looking at his thighs. Now here
comes Jane Fonda breezing into town jab-
bering about Black Panthers and the op-
pressive American economic system and we
suspect this star is acting out her groov-
iest movie.
How we approach Jane Fonda says
more about our own problems, than it
says about Jane Fonda. She's confronting,
and transcending comfortable attitudes
and facets of her life which ayone who
professes to sympathize with radical poli-
tics will have to deal with sooner or
later. It hurts. Our lif styles don't mesh
with our theories. Only, we get to hide
as we go through changes - or run
from them - because no one ever put the
spotlights on us and tried to sell our old
images from a movie marquee. It threat-
ens us: Jane Fonda makes $400,000 a pic-
ture, has lived in France, can win count-
less potential exciting lovers - and, she's
throwing it away and giving all her money
to the movement and possessing nothing
but a suitcase and trying to understand
for herself - everything that is wrong
about this country and the role she plays
in it.
"I FEEL comfortable with everyone but
they don't feel comfortable with me," says
Fonda when she can relax and talk like a
person instead of an automaton, which is
what one becomes after speaking at 35
colleges in two weeks. "I have reallynold
friends whom I love a lot but they can't
see me because they're so desperately try-
ing to understand for themselves what I'm
doing. They're all smart, and they sense
somehow they haven't thought t h i n g s
through, haven't made certain link-ups.
When somebody from their milieu, who
they grew up with, and who has all the
benefits that they do, goes a step further,
it becomes very painful for them.
"I was never an American Brigette Bar-
dot," says Fonda; who was always a bit
anti-starish even while she acquired the
fame and riches of a star. Magazines were
intrigued because she spent money on a
beautiful French farm and trees instead
of on clothes and jewels. "I was a liberal
brought up by a Rooseveltian Democrat,
who had dropped out, split from America
six years ago and got married. I started
to change two years ago when I had a
baby. I had tried to avoid my womanhood
because my idea of a woman had always
been of women as victims, as oppressed
people. When I found out I was having a
baby I felt panic: here was inescapable
proof that I was a woman and hence a
"But as I felt the baby growing inside
me I changed, and began accepting fact
that I am a woman, and felt very much
a part of a whole life cycle.
"I DECIDED I had to separate from
my husband. I love him and he's a friend
- but the burden of trying to make mar-
riage work had stifled me. I had been
afraid of being a failure. The responsibil-
ity of making a marriage work rests pri-
marily with the woman. You sign that
paper saying you will "love and obey." So
you deny change in yourself. Two people
going through changes won't always do it
at the same speed, or in the same direc-
tions. "I took on the responsibility of be-

ing a good wife. I was the damnedest wife

going. I would get up at five o'clock in the
morning and go to work and come back
and cook dinner for 15 people. I kept the
best house going, and was always picking
up after everybody and planning meals and
doing everything. And I was proud of it.
"Then I started to get unhappy, and be
aware of the fact that I was denying my-
.self as a human being and was denying
my change.
"The moment I separated - and it was
literally almost immediately - I began
to change, to expand, to grow, to live
outside myself. And the first thing was to
come back here. I'm an American, and I
was avoiding dealing with the things about
my country I'm unhappy with.
Fonda had worked with GI deserters in
Paris, and in the early Sixties she worked
occasionally with groups like CORE and
SNCC. When she returned last November
to the United States, she plunged fulltime
into organizing dissident GI's. Earlier this
summer she helped Mark Lane and a
former Green-Beret-turned-Ramparts-wri-
ter named Donald Duncan, set up a na-
tional office in Washington. Now they're
handling 700 letters a week from soldiers
around the world who are being haras-
sed, court-martialed, and physically abus-
ed. The office provides lawyers, doctors,
references - and Jane Fonda travels the
college circuit, making the money to .fin-
ance the operation.
"I FEEL self-conscious about it being me
who's doing the talking," Ford says. "It
should be Tom Hayden or Huey, because
they know more than I do. I haven't gotten
it together for myself. But when I decided
to do it, I realized I don't know all the
answers so I'll tell people I don't know all
the answers. I'll just tell them things I
found out and pose some questions, hoping
they will answer themselves.
"I've been going mostly to conservative
schools, which is the only valid thing to do.
If I went to Berkeley or Columbia there
would be no point. The people there know
more than I do. I go to little places no
one has ever heard of, in Georgia, John-
stown, New York, Kalamazoo - places
that aren't politically visible. Sometimes
14,000 students show up, and we talk for
hours and hours.
The ultimate conflict: The image and old
life style which Fonda is struggling to
transcend, are precisely what attracts her
audience in the first place. Her stardom is
her curse - it represents the antithesis
of everything which radical politics stands
for - and her stardom is her most suc-
cessful organizing strategy.

"I CAN reach people who won't come
to hear Tom Hayden, and they're wrong of
course," Fonda says. "The problem is, there
is a huge obstacle to be overcome: The
attitude people have about movie actresses.
Maybe I can help to show people what the
system is doing dividing entertainers from
people, like dividing blacks from whites.
The whole thing about "I want to grow up
to be a movie star' has got to be gotten rid
of, because everything it represents is so
wrong. Entertainers are only part of the
people - otherwise we'd lose our validity.
We're only valid insofar, as we can express
things that are happening to people, in-
side of people, and can be understood by
people - and that we are not separate
and different from people - but. only an
extension of them.
Sure, every time I go into a coffeehouse
it takes time to be accepted as a person.
There are reactions of hostility, or looking
at me thinking I'm on a publicity trip, or
they're overly friendly or sexist. But usually
after a period of time people forget; I
end up hanging around coffeehouses and
no one really notices me anymore. Then
we can rap, talking issues, ad things start
to happen - and that's when I feel hap-
So everyone asks: Is Jane Fonda, one of
the hottest boxoffice stars, going to quit
the movie industry and work fulltime in
"All film companies are exploitive -
they're the biggest rip-off around," she
acknowledges. "And that's a conflict. But I
will go in as long as there are people who
need help, people to be gotten out of jail:
I will go in and get as much money as I
can from Hollywood, I will rip them off
for every penny I can get ,and give it to
the Movement. I have a feeling that won't
last very long. Even considering the money
I can get out of Hollywood I won't be
able to maintain that conflict.
"AS I BECOME more defined politically,
it becomes more and more difficult for me
to relate to a movie that is saying some-
thing I don't believe in," Fonda adds.
"When I was confused politically it was
easy. I wouldn't make Cat Ballou again,
and I especially wouldn't make Barberella.
When I made Barberella I didn't know
what sexism meant. I wouldn't make most
of the film I've done again - which means
I'm not making many movies. I just fin-
ished a movie three weeks ago: Clute, about
a call-girl, college educated, from a mid-
dle-class family, and a cop from Pennsyl-
vania. I have a terrible feeling it's going
to be a copout, but it had the potential of
being a strong political statement about

the oppression of women, heir dehumani-
"Now, a 'political' movie doesn't mean
a movie with an obviousupolitical mes-
sage," Fonda says. "A successful movie
is a movie where people are not aware of
the ideology, but they learn. Movies should
educate, but you shouldn't be able to see
it happening. Badly made, boring polit-
ical propaganda movies end up talking to
people who are already politicized. They're
ONE WAY to resolve the conflict may be
to form her own film company - Fonda
sees possibilities in a socialist film collec-
tive, in which members will be paid ac-
cording to their needs. No stars, no pro-
ducers, no authoritarian directors.
"The more I find out about film collec-
tives, the more I realize how difficult it
is," she says. "I want to talk with as many
people as I possibly can: Newsreel, people
in a film collective in Vermont, where I'm
going next. I've talked with Donald Suther-
land about forming a collective, and a little
to Elliot Gould, and they say they're inter-
ested - only when it comes to the nitty
gritty, I don't know how inerested they'll
actually be."
Fonda hopes to make a movie in May
about the assassination of John Kennedy
Kennedy by the CIA. Until then, she plans
to join her two-year old daughter in Cali-
fornia, head for the mountains and read.
"I would wonder, if I was somebody else,
where I'm coming from," Fonda reflects.
"I'm accused of faddism, of flipping out, of
being in the Movement working out psy-
chiatric problems - but all that criticism
comes from fumbling liberals who feel
guilty they're not doing anything. They
can't understand anyone else's getting in-
volved in any other terms except madew
or quirks.
"I reached a point where I was becom-
ing terribly uncomfortable," she says:
"There was a conflict between my life style
and what I was doing. It started to change,
party consciously, and partly because of
the way I'm living now. When you travel
with just a suitcase and see people in
jail everywhere who need your help, you
give it. It becomes more important than
getting a new piece of clothing. I have
blue jeans and this costume I ripped off
from the last film I made, and that's all
I need. I feel so good about not having
objects and possessions that used to weigh
me down and burden my life.
"I could get all those things back -
if I made a movie tomorrow and kept all
the money," Fonda says. "But that's not
part of my life anymore."

No compromise: Reviewing the

tragedy of Palestine

AS YOUNG JEWS, we learned of
the tiny precious State of Israel,
surrounded by a sea of barbarians
anxious to destroy it. Parents gave
no reasons as to why Arabs should
hate Israel, but then hadn't our en-
tire history been one of senseless per-
secution? What mattered was that
after centuries of subjugation, we
had a land to call our own.
Growing older, we heard o t h e r
messages. Taking the words of our
mentors with some skepticism, we
began to get the other side - of
*hungry peasants driven from their
lands, of refugee camps, of Jews pa-
trolling Arab villages. The socialist
countries reversed their earlier sup-
port of Israel, radicals with whom
we sympathized placed Israel on the
wrong side of the world class strug-

'emerging peoples' and not sym-
pathize with Arab arguments?
If we studied the question serious-
ly we saw that Palestine, once a land
of Arab peasants, was now com-
pletely under Israeli rule. We saw
that seven hundred thousand Arabs
had fled before Israeli forges from
lands they had inhabited for many
generations, that over half a mil-
lion Arabs remained today in re-
fugee camps. That the financial sup-
port of American and European Jews
was of great importance in the estab-
lishment of the State of Israel, and
continues to be crucial in its main-
tenance. That Israel hasbecome in-
creasingly dependent on the United
States for military supplies. And that
dominant Israeli attitudes appear to
preclude any meaningful concessions
to the Palestinian Arabs.

ly a nation for well over a thous-
and years in the land of Palestine,
and that since that time they have
been treated as a separate nation
in the vast majority of environments
in which they have settled. But whe-
ther the Jews had 'rights' to settle in
Palestine is not a question that can
be satisfactorily resolved by appeals
to the past.
Yet arguments that the Zionists
have been primarily responsible for

At that time, Palestine had been
part of the Turkish Ottoman Em-
pire for over four centuries. After the
defeat of the Central Powers, the em-
pire was dismembered - and Brit-
ain was designated by the League
of Nations to administer Palestine,
and to aid the establishment of a
Jewish "national home" within it.
This was the Zionist aim at this point
-the facilitation of Jewish immi-
gration. Only some extremists pro-

ent Palestinian state. Jews, finding
other nations unhospitable and faced
with persecution in Europe, demand-
ed unlimited immigration into Pale-
To resolve the conflict, a British
Royal Commission proposed parti-
tion. A state with a slight Jewish
majority would be given an area of
approximately one fourth of Pale-
stine (though this included well over
one fourth of Palestine's habitable
area) for the national home. An in-
dependent Arab state would be estab-
lished in the major part of Palestine.
Zionists appeard agreeable to this
proposal, but it was rejected by the
Arab leadership.
ALTHOUGH JEWS acquired land
in Palestine during the Mandate per-
iod, it remained a very small pro-
portion of the whole. According to

lages, the Jews in Palestine remaind
overwhelmingly urban. Arabs e v e n
owned a substantial majority of the
land in the proposed Jewish state in
And it is the division of Palestine
in 1948 which is key to all that has
happened since. The UN proposal for
partition would have established two
states - one with ,a two-thirds Jew-
ish majority, including about one-
third of the northern habitable area
of Palestine, and most of the south-
ern desert. The remainder of Pale-
stine would have been set up as an
independent Arab state.
This proposal was accepted by the
Zionist leadership, rejected by the
Arab leadership and approved but left
unenforced by the UN. (The Soviet
Union was willing to take part in an
international force to implement the
partition plan, but the United States

a small, economically weak Israel has
led to an Israel which rules all of
None of this can resolve the ques-
tion of whether Jews ever had any
"right" to settle in Palestine. To
those who fled from Europe in the
'30s and left concentration camps
in the '40s with no other place to go,
the arguments for this right surely
seemed compelling.
In a balancing of interests, the so-
lution proposed was the establish-
ment of a small state consisting pri-
marily of those areas with a Jewish
majority. The rejection of this solu-
tion and the continued state of war
has brought about a continuation of
the refugee crisis, the rule of -all
Palestine by Israel and the intensifi-
cation of militant attitudes in Israel
and in the Arab world making peace
seem impossible.


V.:..: . ,{": s::::i...v .rr......r ............:: .":: .:.:,". :v::::* :v:":::. . :: :::".*.*.*. .*... *.*. "i . . . . .
"Arguments that the Zionists . . . cruelly and law-
lessly forced the Palestinian Arabs off their lands and
strove deliberately to take over the entire area of Pal-
estine, appear poorly based . ."

the sufferings of the Palestinians.

posed displacing the Arab population,

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