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January 15, 1974 - Image 4

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1974-01-15

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

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

Saeksan: Reorganizing society's values

420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, Mi. 48104

News Phone: 764-0552


Revitalizing student action

WITH A FEW serious reservations, we
commend the constituents who dom-
inated and eventually took over last
Thursday night's Student Government
Council meeting.
While noisy demonstrations, radical rhe-
toric, and literally locking a quorum in
the Council chambers will not solve
SGC's problems, Thursday's perform-
ance was the first glimmer of activism
in a campus that has been somnamnbulic-
ally silent through an almost comical
series of fraudulent elections, financial
disasters and, at times, even racism.
Administrative officials and the Re-
gents have not yet reacted to this latest
SGC crisis. The form their reaction could
take - and the reaction of the Johnson
Commission charged with investigating
SGC - may prove last week's action
more detrimental than beneficial to the
cause of student power.
Yet despite the chaos and disorganiz-
ation of the demands voiced at the meet-
ing, the constituents displayed an interest
and seriousness of intent rarely parallel-
ed by SOC's own members, not to men-
tion th6 campus as a whole.
jOPEFULLY, WE ARE witnessing the
growth of a long-term, all-encom-
passing student interest in student wel-
fare more appealing than that of the ad-

ministration - sponsored Johnson Com-
mission or SGC's own investigative com-
For what is at stake is student power,
the ability of students to control their
own lives at this university, which cannot
be handed to students by the adminis-
tration nor, it would seem, by the present
At worst, these students will be an
ever-present reminder of purpose to a
frivolous SGC in future weeks if they ful-
full the least of their promises as voiced
by one constituent: "I will come back. I
don't care if the police and the FBI are
here. I don't care if you beat me up. I'll
crawl back. And I hope some of you will
crawl back with me."
Now that whatever unifying powers
former SGC President Lee Gill may have
had are gone with him, these students
may be SGC's best--if not only-remain-
ing hope. We hope their enthusiasm will
infect non-minority students as well, in-
suring a widely-based scope for SGC re-
AN OPEN MEETING has been called to-
night at 7:30 p.m. In East Quad to
discuss SOC's problems and goals. This
could be the first step towards the re-
juvenation of student government on
this campus. We urge all students to par-
ticipate in tonight's meeting.

Copyright 1974 Marnie Heyn
BY anybody's standards, Saeksan Pras-
ertkul has been a powerful man in Thai-
land. It is not his past achievements and
fame which concern him now, however, but
rather the future of Thai society.
A charismatic 25-year-old Thai student
in political science at Thammasat Univer-
sity in Bangkok, he led a series of demon-
strations that resulted in the overthrow of
the military strongmen who were bleeding
Thailand dry. The ouster of the Prapass-
Narong regime was the one bright spot in
a year characterized by coups to the right,
notably in Chile and Greece.
Why was Thailand different? Saeksan be-
lieves, as American activists no longer do,
that students make the difference.
When we were settled over coffee in the
den of the Chicago home where I met him,
he said, "You want to talk to me because
of the revolution, but I want to tell you
about the future.
"I have left the National Student Centre
of Thailand (NSCT) to form a new organiz-
ation called the Federation of Independent
Students of Thailand. I left because the N-
SCT members are part of the elite struc-
ture of our society and cannot understand
that, while liberty and national sovereignity
are important, there are many large social
problems that afflict our country.
"I HAVE TAKEN for my constituency
poor people, rural people, but I am not
talking about charity. I want to change
the system that produces poor people.
"After the demonstrations, the NSCT peo-
ple were very self-congratulatory. They
look down upon the vocational and teaching
students who were the bulk of the demon-
strators. These students, who were the
most disciplined group, were seeking dig-
nity and some sort of compensation from
"I am forming a new organization to
break down the elitism that is present
among university students.
"We needed a more specific political line.
I've developed closed cadres of more radi-
cal, aware students who are all involved
in doing political work. We are formulat-
ing concrete proposals for government ac-
tion, and striving to educate the populace.
"We need to organize power bases of
students and people for a democratic thrust.
Our organization encourages leadership. We

place a strong emphasis on self-reliance
a -d social practice."
of American young people who came to
radicalism through the civil rights, peace,
and studentpowergmovements, I asked him
to explain his ideology more fully, and to
talk about how he became aware of the
need for social change.
"In my study of developing nations, it
occurred to me that growth is measured in
Western standards - like Gross National
Product - which are all wrong. They pay
no attention to income distribution. Workers
become merely living machines. Foreign
investment in considered a good end in
"Hotels are built for outsiders, and the
rich profit. Tourism makes money only for
the rich. They export rice in a time of
famine to maintain a favorable balance of
trade, so that they can buy color TVs.
Supply and demand only works when every-
body has money. The rich in Thailand have
turned production toward luxury goods when
the people go hungry.
"ONCE SOCIETY HAS turned toward
consumerism, limited resources are used
wrong, and the people have the wrong
frame of reference: they are unhappy with
their lives, and continually want to spend
"This consumerism affects the education
system. School becomes a lottery rather
than the pursuit of knowledge. Goals are
distorted, and competition becomes more
important than learning. Soon the brain-
Or,in to Western countries begins, because
educated reople can make more money
t- Schols become consumer goods.
"Soon 'winning' becomes the most im-
portant thing in life, and it doesn't matter
how you win. Corruption spreads, because
n?onle are willing to do anything to gain
approval, and therefore privileges from au-
thorities, from those in power.
"I understand that because I was once
1kn that. I was an exchange student to the
U-ited States and Japan. I had nice clothes,
a car, lots of money to spend. My family
was noor, and I worked hard to- get my
"rimileges as a student, but I learned that
I wasn't happy.
young people to be consumers, to suspect
change with a lot of red-baiting. They tried
to coopt me by offering me a leading role
in an anti-communist drive, but I was not
interested. I understand' whose interests
they protect.
"So we're putting forth the philosophy of
Social Buddhism, in language and ideas
that people can understand. This way we
can reach them without attacking their
king or religion.
"We understand that people cannot con-
sume endlessly. We need to cultivate more
spiritual values, to cherish more peaceful
lives. We are no longer simply animals,
so we can learn to behave in a more egali-
tarian fashion. We cut back our own con-
sumption of things we don't need, as an
example to others.
"Control of production must be taken
away from the rich-who use that control
to make toys and gadgets-and transferred
to the people who need tools to live. We
mast eradicate consumerism. We want to
organize hippies, because they have learned
to l""e enough. We all need to learn that.
Greed is man-made, therefore we stop be-
ing greedy.

The police station burns in downtown Bangkok

Register to vote

UPCOMING City Council elections
could well have a great impact on the
lives of students at the University, not,
only in terms of candidates for council
but the ballot referenda as well. In view
of this, we urge all students to register
to vote in Ann Arbor.
The Twenty-stith amendment giving
the' franchise to 18-year-olds and a Su-
preme Court decision allowing college
students to vote in their college towns
made the student vote a power to be
reckoned with. The power of the student
vote exists only in the abstract, however,
if students fail to register.
The current voter registration drive
conducted by the city's! three political
parties and the League of Women Voters
gives student an excellent opportunity to,
take this necessary first step in the exer-,
cise of political power in Ann Arbor.
TBERE ARE MANY arguments in'favor
of student registration in their college
communities, but the essential rationale
for local registration is that it is the Ann
Arbor government which affects stu-
dents' lives, rather than their home
town governments.
All students spend the eight-month
academic year in Ann Arbor while many
students spend additional months here in "'
the summer.
Many regard being a student as some-
thing of an occupation, not merely an
incidental sidelight. Voting in one's home
town resembles living and working in one,
News: Prakash Aswani, Gordon Atcheson,
Christopher Parks, Cheryl Pilate, Chip
Sinclair, Charles Stein
Editorial Page: Marnie Heyn, Cindy Hill,
Eric Schoch
Arts Page: Diane Levick
Photo Technician: John Upton

community but voting in a place where
one spends a summer holiday.
In addition, Ann Arbor politics provides
a good deal more diversity than can be
expected in most local politics. The pres-
ence of the Human Rights Party offers
Ann Arbor voters a wider range of elec-
toral choice than traditional two-party
Moreover, students voting as a bloc can
make progressive reforms possible in this
city that can serve as models for the rest
of the state and country. This power can-
not be equalled in home town voting,
where students are an insignificant mi-
nority and often relatively ignorant of
candidates and Issues.
UJH BALLOT FOR the upcoming April
1 city council election will provide
citizens with the opportunity to vote on
two issues with great relevance to both
the student constituency and the com-
munity as a whole: Rent control and the
$5 marijuana fine.
Voter approval of the $5 marijuana fine
law would represent one step toward
shifting the emphasis of local police work
away from the enforcement of laws
against victimless crime and petty traf-
fic harassment to more serious criminal
The rent control law is an idea whose
time has surely come in this community.
The never-ending upward spiral of rents
in Ann Arbor has placed the city's cost of
living among the highest in the nation.
The rent control law is an attempt to end
the city's intolerable housing situation
which has placed the tenant's right to
decent housing at a reasonable price
within the arbitrary power of the land-
Registration now will give University
students the political muscle to help
make Ann Arbor a better community for
all residents, students and non-students
alike. -

stop. People should want to drink milk be-
cause it is healthy, not because it gives
them sex appeal.
"Economic planning must be instituted
so that the needs of people come before the
production of luxury goods, and also so that
the extremes of economic classes are di-
minished. The poor and the rich will be
no longer."
I asked Saeksan for his evaluation of the
present political situation in Thailand, about
foreign military influence, and about the
role of the CIA.
He said, "The three figureheads of the
military regime are gone but the power
structure is virtually intact. Although the
civilians now in power are basically good
people, there is always the very real fear
that Prapass, Narong, and Thanom will re-
turn, or that some other military person or
clique will attempt to seize power. The
king seems to be sincere in his desire for
democratic rule.
were principally responsible for the export
of rice while there was a shortage, rice
exports continue unabated. Hunger could
change the shape of the government if peo-
ple got desperate enough, and some pow-
erful person promised them food.

"I don't believe that we could have over-
thrown the regime without the tacit ap-
proval of your government. Evidently the
regime had become too greedy, too big a
"Japan and the United States must leave
our country alone. Now the CIA wants to
come in and take a census. We can take
our own census, and feed our own people,
and run our own country without interfer-
ence from anyone. We can make our own
constitution and elect our own parliament
if your government will keep its hands off.
"That is my hope for Thailand. Right
now I cannot hope for your country, or for
many other countries in the world. Tyrants
are always ready to stand on the necks of
those poorer or weaker than themselves.
T' o;1 ' wey to get rid of them is to be
strong, to fight back. Most people cannot do
that apparently, especially Americans. I
wait for the day.
WHEN ARE YOU GOING to have a revo-
l1tion in this country? You have the cause;
now you need only the will. You will be
t'ranni7ed, as will the rest of the people
in the world, as long as you tolerate your
government's infamy. You students can

Daily Photo by MARNIE HEYN
Saeksan Prasertkul

r rke th
-ers ties

Continuing the Farm

THIS SUMMER, after Teamster
President Frank Fitzsimmons
repudiated 29 contracts signed with
grape growers in the Delano area
and verbally agreed to stop steal-
ing farm labor contracts from the
United Farm Workers Union, many
UFW supporters felt the struggle
was over and it was just a matter
of time until the UFW regained
the contracts it had won with
the 1965-1970 grape boycott. Un-
fortunately, this hasn't been the
After months of hemming and
hawing about consulting with his
lawyers and the Teamster execu-
tive board before signing the nego-
tiated agreement with the UFW,
Fitzsimmons announced on Nov.
"5 that the Teamsters intended to
"honor" all their contracts with

grape and lettuce growers, includ-
ing contracts with Delano grape
growers that Fitzsimmons h a d
specifically repudiated as "unau-
thorized" this summer. Thus t h e
fledging UFW is still faced w i t h
battling not only grape and lettuce
growers but also the largest and
richest union in the world.
THE STORY of Teamster raids
against the Farm workers Union
goes back a number of years. The
Teamsters first raided the Farm
Workers in 1970 and almost over-
night signed 170 contracts cover-
ing workers in the lettuce fields.
5000 lettuce workers went out on
strike and the lettuce boycott was
In March 1971, the Teamsters
agreed not to seek to represent
farm field hands and agreed to re-

solve its disputes with the UFW
through discussions and, if neces-
sary, through arbitration. That
agreement was to remain in ef-
fect until March 31, 1973. In fact,
the discussions and negotiations
never resolved anything and the
Teamsters maintained all of their
lettuce contracts.
In December 1972, Fitzsimmons
went to Los Angeles to address the
annual convention of the Ameri-
can Farm Bureau Federation, the
employer group. "We in organ-
ized labor," the Teamsters' pre-
sident said, "welcome an alliance
with farmers - whether they be
of the family farm variety or the
agribusiness variety - when the
alliance works for the mutual bene-
fit of the farm worker and his
IN THAT SAME month the Cali-
fornia Supreme Court held that
the Teamsters did not represent
the workers in the lettuce fields
when the 1970 lettuce contracts
were signed.
The Court held that the growers
and the Teamsters had a collusive
relationship. The Court therefore
dissolved the injunctions against
the UFW picketting of the lettuce
On April 15, 1973, the United
Farm Workers contracts with the
grape growers of the Coachella
Valley expired, and the UFW was
attempting to negotiate renewal
agreements. These contracts had
been in effect for three years and
covered all UFW members em-
ployed by the Coachella Valley
grape growers.
Within hours of the expiration
of the UFW contracts on April 15,
1973, the growers announced they
had just negotiated and signed con-
tracts with the Teamsters.
um7Tq'1T rUA 'I' . c.t it

of the Teamsters constituted an
unconscionable raid.
While it is true that the Team-
ster contracts provided for wage
increases and other benefits for the
workers, the agreement also pro-
vided for a return to the contrac-
tor" system of employment which
deprived the farm workers of any
semblance of dignity or any op-
portunity to establish and maintain
decent working conditions through
a direct employment relationship.

"The UFW had gone on strike over terms of a
new contract. While that strike was in progress,
the Teammsters signed their contract with Gallo
and announced the workers had voted 150 to I
for the Teamsters. At the time all but 27 Gallo
workers were on the UFW picket lines."
:":"::i"}:':'"tZd.; :{Y r.t: .AjY::?iT'tt?'":{'k;{{":io.:.rX'.tie,y i";:}Ce.i,:"::'>a°'"l,'":':''.''"t ;

e difference. So why are your uni-
silent? Everything depends on
figh t
unlimited supply of strikebreakers
from Mexico, it has been impos-
sible to organize a strike to shut
down the growers, although this
summer's harvest was greatly
hampered. For these reasons, the
UFW is forced to rely or a con-
sumer boycott to bring pressure
on the growers to let the workers
select their own union.
FOR THE PAST year there has
been boycott against A&P in the
eastern part of the United States,

AT 1XT66IJ3:



Is ~~-

AS SOON AS the Teamster Con-
tracts in Coachella were-revealed,
the United Farm Workers ssruck
and began picketing. Whenever
pickets appeared, Teamster strong-
arm squads appeared and violence
flared as they attempted tC break
the UFW strike. Two farmworkers
were killed.
On July 10, the E&J Gallo Win-
ery, which had a contract with the
UFW for eight years, signed a con-
tract with the Teamsters. The
UFW had gone on strike over terms
of a new contract. While t a a t
strike was in progress, the Team-
sters signed their contract w i t h

to pressure them to stop buying
non-UFW grapes and lettuce. As
the largest grocery, chain in the
East, A&P holds a pivotal posi-
tion in the boycotts. The A&P
boycott has been successful in Bos-
ton and Chicago' and has yet to
force them to stop buying s c a b
Recently, we in Michigan have
launched campaigns against re-
gional chains as well as A&P. So
far, Farmer Jack, Great Scott,
Hamady Brothers and Foodtown
chains have agreed to carry only
UFW grapes and lettuce. We are
currently boycotting Wrigley's.


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