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November 20, 1974 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1974-11-20

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

The following is an interview conduct-
ed by the Daily last week with Jeremy
Rifkin, one of eight national coordinators
of the People's Bicentennial Commis-
sion. Included in this transcript are
quotations from Mr. Rifkin's remarks at
a public meeting in Pendleton Library
last Wednesday evening. The interview
is in question and answer form; other
quotations are set off by quote marks.
Given an appointed president and a
Congress that was elected, in a time
of great civil stress, by 20 per cent
of the electorate, where do we go from
here? I think the economic bankruptcy
of our system has been demonstrated
fairly conclusively; does our most recent
election demonstrate a similar political
bankruptcy? Considering the documents
with which we began as a nation, the
civil rights, the concept of government,
isn't our present situation the tail end
from which we slide into totalitarianism?
NO, I THINK WE go right back to be-
ginnings. In psychological terms, we face
pretty much the same thing, under the
same conditions, that people faced in
1775. They had gone through a decade of
protest, the 1760's, with all the student
strikes and riots. They had their own
watershed event, the Boston massacre,
almost 200 years to the month before
Kent State; four people were killed and
everybody quit the movement and said
"I don't know if it's worth giving my
life." They went through the silent years,
as historians call the period from 1771
to 1773. In 1773, the government leaked
out secret documents outlining a massive
plan to repress the civil liberties of the
people; these were distributed to every
newspaper in the colonies and sent
shock waves through the people. They
survived the first multinational corpora-
tion, the East India Company, going
bankrupt and getting a legal monopoly
on the tea trade, with a tax. They went

R ifk~in:


through inflation riots in 1774 and 1775;
great monopolies, profit gouging, loss
of faith in all government, in the aristo-
"THE FIRST BILL of Rights, estab-
lished during the revolution precipitated
the birth of the first women's organiza-
tions, including the Daughters of Lib-
erty; the first free medical services:
abolition groups; and the first prison
reform groups. What we have to do is
ask ourselves, 'What were the principles
that these people were fighting for, and
which ones are still applicable today?'
I happen to think that a lot of them are
still very important and crucial today.
What they were never able to do is
the unfinished business of the Ameri-
can Revolution. And for those who think
there is no unfinished business, that the
Revolution was a success, I ask these
three questions; Do you believe in demo-
cracy?, Do you believe in the principle
of one person, one vote?, Do you think
that your vote has the same weight as
Exxon, GM, and ITT have? If you think
about those questions it becomes pretty
obvious that we're existing under a gov-
ernment with four branches - Execu-
tive, Judicial, Legislative, and Corpor-
THE INTERESTING thing is that the
odds they faced seem to overwhelm
them. They couldn't imagine an alterna-
tive to the monarchy; after all, there'd
been no democracy since ancient Greece.
Except for Iceland.
I don't want to poke holes in your
argument for the sake of historical ac-
curacy, but Iceland always gets left out.
AS RICHARD NIXON said when he
went to Iceland - here was a great
moment for Iceland on the world map,
the first time an American president
visited there - the guy was punch

drunk and got up in front of the inter-
national press, you might remember, and
he said, "This is a proud moment. This
is the first moment in American history
dent has set foot on Ireland."
He just went on with his talk; nobody
corrected him. All the PR value was
blown. He was a s....
He still is.
HAVE YOU seen the bumper sticker
"Free the Clot?" It's really sick, the
sort of thing Lenny Bruce would have
thought up..Where were we?
What happened back then is that fin-
ally average people - Tom Paine, a
corset maker, Abigail Adams, a house-
wife, Ben Franklin, a printer -- decided
they were going to take control over
their lives. They created a political
force, and they overthrew the greatest
empire the world had known at that
Getting back to 1975, you're asking
what can be done, nobody's voting any
That's not precisely what I'm ask-
Ing. I'm saying, we've done this once.
Do you think that people are going to get
together the energy and the creativity
to pull a new democratic, representative,
humane form of government out of the
I BELIEVE that within 24 months
there's going to be a full-scale radical
political movement based in middle
America, what Nixon called the Silent
Majority, to fundamentally challenge the
basic economic nature of the country.
I think it's going to make the new left
look like the Little League in terms of
militancy. It's going to make the stu-
dent movement look like nothing. And
I think the People's Bicentennial Com-
mission is the tip of the iceberg. We've
proven that you can get to millions of
middle Americans. If we talk forth-
right, straight, don't pull any punches,
and talk about the issues, then people
will respond, will join, will mobilize.
We've just demonstrated the potential.
I'd like to hear about some of the
places where you've seen that mobiliza-
TAKE A LOOK at the Boston Tea
Party last December. The city of Boston
teamed up with the Salada Tea Com-
pany to bring us the 200th anniversary
of the Boston Tea Party and do a nice
public relations bit for the national press.
The Massachusetts PBC decided it was
going to have the first Boston Oil Par-

ty. They called for the first massive
demonstration against Big Business since
the Depression. The city of Boston said,
"We know they can't pull that off, be-
cause Time magazine says the New Left
is dead." There hadn't been a demon-
stration in Boston in four years. And
even on a nice spring day at the peak
of the Moratorium movement, they could
only get twenty thousand people out. The
city figured there wasn't going to be a
The day of the Boston Tea Party, and
what we were calling the Boston Oil
Party, came around. A northeast bliz-
zard hit Boston, a mean ice blizzard.
The police looked up the financial dis-
trict, and they estimated that they saw
35,000 protestors against Big Business.
Working people, families, taxpayers and
students - most of them had never de-
monstrated before in their lives - were
out in a blizzard. I believe that that is
the most dramatic demonstration of our
AND I BELIEVE this spring we're
going to see mobilizations leading up
to April 19, the 200th anniversary of the
shot heard round the world, when we
predict a hundred thousand Americans
will show up in Lexington for an anti-
corporate rally which will have the same
sort of effect that Martin Luther King's
1963 march had on the civil rights move-
ment. I think there will be rallies around
the country. I believe we will see a
nationwide Continental Congress emerge
sometime in the next two years to forge
a common platform of rights and griev-
ances for working people in this coun-
Let's talk about Boston. Granted, I
perceive that we as a society are going
to witness and undergo a lot of fer-
ment. But I'm afraid that the social fer-
ment will not be like America in 1775,
but like Germany in 1932. I think that
what's going on in Boston is the tip of
that iceberg.
YOU MEAN THE busing stuff that's
going on.
Yes. West Virginia is another g o o d
example. How can we - little people,
no money, not a lot of clout, no general
election for two years - exert influ-
ence so that the ferment isn't going
to mean holocaust?
"THOMAS PAINE, Thomas Jefferson,
who was a printer, and Abigail Adams
were all instrumental in starting the
revolution 200 years ago, and you ask,

"I believe that within 24 months there's going to be a
full-scale radical political movement based in middle
America, what Nixon called the Silent Majority, to f unda-
mentally challenge the basic economic nature of the
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'What can we do?' We have the power
to do the exact same thing they did,
and more. Furthermore, we're in such
a vulnerable position right now that we
have no choice but to act. We're at the
end of the line.
As I see it, we can do one of two
things. We could sit around waiting for
that man on the white horse, or we can
start now to see ourselves as leaders
and take action. And the time is right
because the Bicentennial is a platform
we'll never have again. But people al-
ways want to know what kinds of mas-
sive action they can take. How the hell
do I know? Anyone who thinks there's
a utopian answer is crazy.
All we can do is start with small poli-
tical action, start forming small busi-
ness constituencies and then go on from
there. You have to begin on a small
scale. That was the problem with the
post-Kent State revolution. It triggered
a national catharsis. It happened too fast
for people to absorb it, and by claim-
ing that a real revolution was happening,
false hope was created.
BUT WE HAVE to start now by ex-
hausting every possible remedy under
the democratic system, electoral and
non-electoral, legal and non-legal, mili-
tant, but not violent, and then see what

happens. It is not difficult to imagine all
of us who are uncontented with the
corporate economical system getting to-
gether, and forming a mass political
movement. And if you start to feel help-
less, just think about how the Chinese
must have felt before their revolution."
The reason any revolutionary move-
ment succeeds has nothing to do with
guns. Any time a revolutionary move-
ment can convince the people that it is
the legitimate heir to the tradition, the
history and the promise that's been un-
kept, then it wins the minds and hearts
of the people.
The way institutions and people stay
in power is by convincing people that
they're the legitimate heirs. Once they
are stripped of that, the revolutionary
movement can claim legitimacy, and all
the guns in the world can't keep tyrants
in power. The revolution will win. Same
here. The 60's wasn't a revolutionary
period in this country. It was a support,
a cheerleading movement for t h i r g
world struggles. There was no revolution-
ary ideology eked out. That's why so
many of us flipped out; one day we were
Maoists, the next day we were some-
thing else.
Patriotism in the 20th century.

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

Wednesday, November 20, 1974

News Phone: 764-0552

420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, Mi. 48104

Ford candor gap revealed

Sneaky tests

pigeonhole students

MOST AMERICANS believe that
President Ford is honest, at least.
The country heaved a sigh of relief
when "Honest Jerry" took the reins
of leadership from "Tricky Dick" last
summer. There was a feeling that the
credibility gap would be closed.
Not so, according to an article in
the Nation. The author of this article
contends that Ford has a candor gap.
When testifying before the House
Judiciary Committee on his pardon
of Richard Nixon, he gave vague re-
sponses to questions asked by Repre-
sentative Elizabeth Holtzman (D-
N Y.) about two meetings he had
while he was still Vice President.

The first meeting was held on Au-
gust 7 with General Haig, the sec-
ond, the following day with Michigan
Senator Robert Griffin.
The hypothesis has been raised
that General Haig discussed the pos-
sibility of President Nixon being par-
doned before he resigned. Ford desir-
ed Congressional approval, so he
conferred with Senator Griffin.
THERE HAS BEEN suspicion of such
a deal between Ford and Nixon
since the pardon. Skeptics include
columnist Sol Friedman. It seemed
Ford wanted to trade amnesty for
draft evaders for amnesty for Nixon.
Since the Johnson Administration,
the executive office has been plagued
by a credibility gap. With Nixon that
gap became a yawning chasm. When
Ford became President, many people
felt the White House would return
to the old American virtue of hon-
esty. Unfortunately, there hopes don't
seem to have been fulfilled.


EVERY SUMMER thousands of fresh-
persons take the OAIS test (Opinion,
Aptitude, and Interest Survey) - the
one that asks whether you like raw or
cooked carrots. The "Oasis" test used to
be compulsory, and still is for students
in some schools like Nursing and En-
gineering. Even for the rest, the cir-
cumstances engineered bythe Orienta-
tion Office render the test semi-com-
pulsory. OAIS is administered with var-
ious placement tests in one session, and
students taking any tests are required
to sit through all of them.
Bu even those who willingly took the.
test are victims of fraud - because
OAIS measures much more than the
students are told about. Besides the
scores discussed in the OAIS Student's
Guide (creativity, achievement, etc.), the
test yields three secret "psychological
adjustment" scores: "Social Adjust-
ment," "Emotional Adjustment," and
"Masculine Orientation." Students are
duped into exposing (to counselors,
Health Service physicians and various
busybodies) dimensions of their person-
alities which they never agreed to re-
THE SCORES (and even the fact that
they exist) are withheld from students,
according to the OAIS Counselor's Guide,
because they are so "complex and per-
sonal" that misinterpretation "would
probably be quite frequent and possibly
serious unless considerably more were
said about them in the Student's Guide
than space would permit." Yet academic
counselors receive only a half-page ex-
planation in the Counselor's Guide,
though they usually have no more psy-
chological training than students.
What do these scores purport to mea-
sure? "Social Adjustment" predicts pop-
ularity: high scorers "usually get along
well with others and tend to be well-
liked by their classmates." Even sup-
posing a student's popularity is such
a useful fact for counselors and others
that they should know it as a matter of
course - which we doubt - the person
to ask is the individual student, who
alone should decide if the matter is any
of the counselor's business.
"Emotional adjustment" probes more
deeply, tapping feelings of anxiety, se-
curity, and emotional stability. A low
score might lead a counselor to suggest

Orientation." It measures conformity to
the attitudes typical of one's sex, i.e.,
the extent to which one answers ques-
tions the same way as others of the same
sex. High scorers "tend to be aggres-
sive, independent, rough, inconsiderate,
unpolished, mechanically inclined, and
interested in athletics, the out-of-doors,"
etc. Low scorers "tend to be bashful,
submissive, modest, dependent, docile,
sensitive, patient, and interested in
books, cultural matters, and helping oth-
This scale has more noxious features
than we have space to discuss. Why was
a test of sex conformity labelled a test
of masculine orientation? Since high
scores are good and low scores bad

"High scorers tend to be aggressive, independent,
rough, inconsiderate, unpolished, mechanically inclined,
and interested in athletics, the out of doors.' Low scorers
'tend to be bashful, submissive, modest, dependent, do-
cile, sensitive, patient and interested in books, cultural
matters and helping others."'
,r ,.;. y . : ;;.; vr. ,:;: :..;.; vi'?":"?4:v :" : <"i{:;:{;i;:;$:;:;'trC.Yr:> e "::%{i:{?!::::":{:i;} }4

based channeling only registered the
status quo, but in fact it reproduces it.
According to Friecke, objective tests
"personalize the educational experience."
But insofar as the distribution of psy-
chological traits is a function of racial,
sexual and class status, "objective" test-
ing recreates the unjust and arbitrary
assignment of life-chances that it was
supposed to eliminate.
BUT EVEN if OAIS scores had nothing
to do with race, sex or class, and even
if they accurately established what type
of personality one has, such scores
should never be used to make decisions
about people. Treatment of people should
depend on what they do, not what they

tional Adjustment" to the detriment of
Dr. Fricke himself isn't entirely free
of a prurient interest in student psyches,
unrelated to counseling purposes. He
told us that when he hears of a student
"in trouble" with the law - his example
was an (accused) student arsonist - he
often checks the student's scores for
signs of maladjustment. In 1972, of
course, there was a well-publicized case
of a student charged with arson. The
image of Fricke or othersdrummaging
through the records of students in the
public eye leaves us somewhat uneasy.
FINALLY, DAIS scores are made
available to psychological researchers
without the knowledge or consent of the
students and without compensation.
Fricke defends this practice by saying
that "nobody ever claimed the test was
solely for the student's benefit." (No-
body ever claimed otherwise, either.)
Further, wholly unauthorized persons oc-
casionally obtain the scores. There are
rumors of two Engineering students who
impersonated each other and obtained
at least the nonsecret scores.
But the fundamental objection to the
OAIS secret scores is that nobody has
the right to expose another's personality
by fraud or intimidation, or obtain a
covert, compulsory diagnosis of some-
one's psychological attributes. T h e
carrot jokes ring hollow to us. At this
point, students have several courses of
Students who were coerced into tak-
ing OAIS, or misled about its true char-
acter, might wish to explore possible
legal remedies with a lawyer.
Under the Family Educational Rights
and Privacy Act, which goes into effect
on Nov. 21, students have the right to
inspect "all official records, files, and
data," including scores on "psychological
tests." Since the University has strong-
ly hinted it will defy the new law, stu-
dents will have to take legal and per-
haps political action to enforce their
rights. Dr. Fricke has ignored or refused
several requests to see OAIS secret
scores, suggesting he won't end the
cover-up without legal compulsion or
political pressure. Students should, nev-
ertheless, address their claims to him
(3014 Rackham) wheii the law takes

on the other OAIS scores, why are high
scores arranged to be "masculine" and
low scores "feminine" on this scale?
More important, what conceivable use
could there be for such scores which
would not be sexist? Dr. Benno Fricke,
creator of OAIS and Director of the
Evaluation and Examinations Office,
openly admits that the typical use of
this score would be to channel stu-
dents into educational and occupational
slots already; dominated by similarly-
oriented persons.
DR. FRICKE'S own example is the En-
gineering freshperson who, while aca-
demically well qualified for engineering,
has a very low masculine orientation.
The counselor, knowing that engineers
tend to have a high masculine orienta-
tion, is supposed to tell the student that
he or she might be "uncomfortable" in
Engin school, that the other students

are. Psychological minorities are entit-
led to equal rights under the educa-
tional and occupational systems, just as
they deserve equal justice under the law.
There are other problems with OAIS.
Like other "soft" tests, it is open to
technical criticism. Many counselors con-
sider it useless. The correspondence of
scores with "real" personality attribut-
es is a matter of statistical probability
only, and many students aren't what
their scores say they are. Besides, the
test is administered to well-schooled high
school students before they begin to
experience the life of the University and
of the Ann Arbor community. Even ori-
ginally accurate findings become in-
creasingly obsolete as time passes.
ACCESS TO THE scores by unauthoriz-
ed persons, or their use for improper
purposes are problems which can be
minimized but not eliminated. Scores
ar rn,tinplv made ava1~piablet aadm-

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