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January 20, 1974 - Image 4

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Michigan Daily, 1974-01-20

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. Page Four


Sunday, January 20, 1914



Stokes: A rulebook
for big-city politics,

B. Stokes. New York: Simon and
Schuster; 280 pages, $7.95.
IN 1967, Carl Stokes was elected
mayor of Cleveland. He thus
became the first black mayor of
a major American city.
The past few years have seen
blacks become the dominant po-
litical force in a number of
American cities;, and these ad-
vances have been reflected in
City Halls across the country.
There are, or have been, black
mayors in Los Angeles, Atlanta,
Gary, Ind., and even in the Mo-
tor City.
None of these victories has
been achieved with ease. Each
required a delicate and studied
handling of coalition politics, a
concentrated effort to register in-
ner-city black voters and get
them to the polls, and in most
cases a considerable amount of
luck. It would now appear, how-
ever, that in at least a few cities
blacks have consolidated their
power to an extent sufficient to
remain in control for quite some
1N SHORT, there is developing
in our big cities an entirely new
political structure, resulting from
the white flight to the suburbs
and the increased registration of

. black voters. This new structure
is still on the rise, and barring
a total reversal of big city
trends in the past decade, it will
continue to rise.
And it all started - or was
first felt - in Cleveland. In
Promises of Power, which Stokes
describes as a "political autobi-
ography," he has written what
amounts to a rulebook for city
politics and the forseeable fu-
Stokes grew tip poor and black
in Cleveland. Surrounded by the
city's ultra - urban scunge and
mired in its black ghetto, Stokes
entertained few real hopes of
ever escaping. He had dreams,
but no opportunities.
He eventually made it through
law school on a G.I. bill at West
Virginia State, and returned to
Cleveland where he and his bro-
ther Louis set up a small crimi-
nal law practice. Stokes harbor-
ed dreams of a cereer in politics
and became involved with the
Cuyhoga County Democratic
Party. For a long while, though,
he was going nowhere at an
alarmingly rapid rate.
"N 1960, Stokes decided to run
for the Ohio State Senate. He
did so over the objections of
most party bosses, who subscrib-
ed to the old wisdom that no
black candidate can get white
votes. But Stokes realized that

black candidates had never
been placed before white voters
before, and was confident that
his reception by Whites wouldnot
be altogether negative:
"Those people disliked Negroes,
but t hey didn't dislike Carl
Stokes -- didn't, that is, af-
ter he had talked long enough
to show them he was a real hu-
man being with intelligence and
understanding equal to those of
the candidates he was running
among . ..
Stokes lost that 1960 contest by
an excruciatingly slim margin.
But it was in this race that he
received the first inklings of the
way the new politics function.
When he ran again in 1962 he
easily won the seat in the State
Stokes found that a black can-
didate could indeed get the
votes of white liberals. With the
backing of maverick Cleveland
multimillionaire Cyrus Eaton, he
launched a campaign for mayor
in 1965. He lost, but won with a
comfortable margin in the 1967
STOKES' career as mayor was
both exhilarating and frustrat-
ing. He was able to construct a
large black political base and gain
virtual control of the city coun-
cil, but lost most of his fights
against the city's huge monied
interests. He says his decision
not to run for re-election in
1971 was a relatively easy one.
Stokes concludes that with the
new politics come new problems.
Blacks may have attained elec-
toral control of major cities, but
they still lack sufficient econom-
ic clout to make serious reform
and rehabilitation efforts feasi-

Exposing the latest prison myths:
The quandary of rehabilitation

ble. The major decisions that
shape black people's lives are
still being made in back rooms
and corporate board offices.
In a concluding section on the
future of black politics, Stokes
expresses fears that the country
is entering a reactionary period.
He fears that growing black na-
tionalism is a spark which will
soon 'ignite massive white retal-
iation - which he fears will take
the form of "systematic" geno-
cide. His thesis cannot be dis-
missed as paranoia: Consider the
outright terror being inflicted
upon blacks in Detroit by the
controversial STRESS police
T BOOK'S end, Stokes is dis-
illusioned. He concludes that
though we might be playing a
new game, the deck is still stack-

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By Tony Schwartz
MENT By Jessica Mitford. New
York: Alfred Knopf. 340 pages.
PERHAPS IT is a product of
changed times. When I read
Jessica Mitford's The American
Way of Death as a young teen-
ager, it was one of those rare
books which makes one com-
pletely reevaluate a subject. It
was a 'book whose revelations
one wanted to pass on, to have
them effect others.
Recently, I finished Mitford's
latest book, Kind and Usual
Punishment: The Prison Busi-
ness, which was as thoughtful
andsdevastatingwan indictment of
the modern prison system as
American Way was of the fun-
eral business. And yet, where
thelatter was, in 1965, a call to
action, Kind and Usual Punish-
ment left me only with a bitter
sense of helplessness.
Mitford focuses a unique eye
on whatever enormous institu-
tion she chooses to tackle. Her
wry, sophisticated prose under-
scores the searing, often scan-
dalous discoveries she manages
to make. And so neither style
nor content is lacking in this-
latest work. Rather it is a more
genera] problem which is likely
to trip up anyone who attempts
to write about prison reform.
Even the smartest, m1ost com-
mitted reformers have come to
a sad impasse. They have dis-
covered that, on any large scale
basis, they just don't know how
to "rehabilitate" chronic law-
REFORMERS themselves will
tell you that it isn't enough
to humanize institutions, for even
the best ones are inherently de-
humanizing. Nor will humaniz-
ing prisons increase the likeli-
hood, in any ways that have
been documented, of effective
rehabilitation. Worse yet, almost
none of the educational, counsel-
ing and follow-up programs in
vogue seem to really work. To-
day's reformer-writer can offer
none of the glossy, idealistic stuff
that makes for powerful books.
Instead, we get from Mitford an
updated catalogue of horrors, a
careful portrait of what, - among
all that has been suggested,
we shouldn't be doing.
Mitford isn't naive, and her ap-
proach is pragmatic. She begins
by looking at the latest rehabili-
tative techniques and finds them
curiously deceptive. A prison is
now often termed a "correction
facility," a warden "an institu-
tional superintendent," solitary
confinement quarters "adjust-
ment centers" and "meditation
rooms." What this verbal ma-
nipulation amounts to is a more
sophisticated scheme to exert
control over prisoners, in ways
that are more acceptable to a
public made uneasy by the reve-
lations at Attica two years ago.
Take the increasingly popular
behavioral approach, for exam-
ple. One of its best-known pro-
ponents is the University's own
James McConnell, who outlined

his views in a 1970 Psychology
Today article entitled "Criminals
Can Be Brainwashed - Now."
Mitford sums it up as "the fan-
tasy of a deranged scientist," but
the fact is that this fantasy is
approaching r e a I i t y in many
spanking new institutions.
BRIEFLY, McConnell favors
methods which will maximize
control over the prisoner: drug
him up, heighten his suggesti-
bility and weaken his character
structure by isolating him. Bring
his emotional response and
thought flow under staff control
as rapidly as possible. Sensory
deprivation, Mconnell reasons,
will lead to the ultimate goal;
"to gain almost absolute control
over an individual's behavior:"
Even disregarding the omin-
ous social implications of such
a practice, the immediate point
is that McConnell's ideal is no
more 'than an age-old practice
with a new pseudo-scientific
c o v e r. Solitary confinement,
meals limited to bread and
water, forcing men naked into
cold cells, and even beating them
senseless are nothing new as
"rehabilitative" tactics. T h e y
went on right in our Washtenaw
County Jail up until Sheriff Doug
Harvey headed off to bartend in
Saline. And they continue to take
place in hundreds of jails and,
prisons around the country.
Another much-vaunted rehabil-
itative method which Mitford
attacks is the California inde-
terminate sentence. Designed to
reduce sentence time by reward-
ing incremental inmate achieve-
ments, Mitford shows how it has
actually kept men in prison for
longer than under determinate
sentences. She explains how it
invests even greater arbitrary
power in the at-best-fallible, and
at-worst-sadistic and under-edu-
cated people who staff most of
our nation's prisons. The recom-
mendations of staff are often a
major criteria for a man's re-
lease when he comes before the
parole board. Even worse, the
board itself makes almost no
substanative effort to look at a
man'sprogress, establishes few
tangible criteria for release and
gives each man only a few min-
utes to present his case-with
no right to an appeal.

interesting reflections - and
accompanying statistics-are on
the nature of crime 'in our so-
ciety. She shows how FBI re-
ports focus attention on crimes
"perceived by the Establishment
as the dangerous classes. These
are the crimes that make head-
lines, sell newspapers, frighten
and upset people-and create a
solid platform for the politician
pledged to vote more money for
. law enforcement." Mitford
notes how absent from reports
are paper crimes: indirect in-
dustry murder and theft via vio-
lation of health codes, price fix-
ing through covert deals between
large companies, food industry
robbery by virtue of deceptive
advertising practices. Mitford
has a knack for summing points
up w i t h staggering statements
like this one: "Price fixing by
29 electrical companiesxalone
probably cost . . . the public
more than all the burglaries put
together in a year."
And what about that old stand-
by rationalization that any hard-
liner can be counted on to fall
back on-"At least prison keeps
'em off the street." Not so.
tstatistics shw that of the e-
timated 9 million crimes com-
mitted in a year, only 1.5 per
cent result in a conviction and
imprisonment. In short, those
who commit 98.5hper centaof all
crimes are on the loose at any
given moment. Ironically, if most
criminals were to be convicted
and sentenced, the probable re-
sult would be chaos. Let us say,
for instance, that under the
tenets of the new Rockefeller
law on harddrugs, a majority of
New York's dope pushers were
sentenced to life imprisonment
without parole. Mitford estimates
the cost of new prisons alone
would be around 9 billion dollars.
The taxpayer would foot that bill,
and it yvouldn't even include the
$5000 a year cost of incarcerating
any one man for a year.
The final chapter of the book
raises the -inevitable question:
Are prisons, literally and figu-
ratively, worth it? They confine
only a minute percentage of
street criminals, and almost none
of the middle-class paper thiefs.

Even wardens say that 70-80 per
cent of those incarcerated could
be freed tomorrow without much
potential harm to the public.
Most important, prisons are ex-
pensive, and j u d g i n g from
recidivism rates, a rehabilitative
With all of this, Mitford begs
the issue. She goes part way, by
suggesting a moratorium on the
construction of new prisons. She
supports the burgeoning efforts
for more due process among
prisoners, and urges humanizing
reforms within the existing struc-
tures. But, in what is becoming
a tune of the seventies, she final-
ly has no solutions either.
Even a moratorium on con-
struction, for instance, leaves me
ambivalent. Building more pris-
ons may entrench the status quo,
but meanwhile over at the Wash-
tenaw County Jail; there is no
room for recreation, the tem-
perature climbs over 100 degrees
in the summer, and the prisoners
are c r o w d e d in structurally
archaic facilities. T e 11 them
about how they shouldn't live
comfortably because it will pro-
long the system.
What Mitford finally says, is
that the best we can do is the
least: to make institutions min-
imally harmful to human beings,
to maximize options within them,
and to increase the accountabil-
ity of their administrators.-
THIS BOOK isn't going to
change the world. But to read
it is to gain a solid perspective
on what is really happening in
the supposed dawn of prison
Magazine E d i t o r T o n y
Schwartz has been doing research
in the Washtenaw County Jail,
on' the effects of its wide-rang-
ing rehabilitation program, for
.over a year.


A WARM fall day, David
Kozubei takes his books out
onto the sidewalk in front of 209
South State Street, and paces
majestically back and forth, at-
tracting customers with boom-
ing English tones that echo up
and down the block. But when
winter comes, he's forced down-
stairs into his bookshop and
waits patiently for people to
come in and browse.
"How's business, you ask?" he
says with a good-natured laugh,
"Well, I've been open four
months and I'm about to starve,
but that's nothing new."
David is a man of about forty,
with a full bush of graying beard
that obscures a small, slightly
sunken mouth. He has lived in
Ann Arbor ever since the owner
of Centicore bookstore traveled
to England five and a half years
ago in search .of a skilled Eng-
lish bookseller and found David.
Since that time, he has worked
for almost every major book-
store in Ann Arbor and he's al-
most undisputedly considered
the man 'most knowledgeable
about books in the entire city.
Now in business for himself,
his shop is about 10 by 25 feet
in size. He sits at a small desk
and points to two stacks of
papers. '"These are all my bills
and my taxes," he says. "I con-
sider myself accomplished for
simply sorting them out."
HE'S THE proverbial drifter,
a bookseller for twenty odd
years who still hasn't settled
down. He has a strong dose of
cynicism, but he's not bitter;
he seems more amused than
anything else. He has a warm,
recurring laugh which is in-
fectious, and whatever hard-
ships he's had have not sig-
nificantly dulled his apprecia-
tion of people.
"I love Ann Arbor," he says.
"It's like an onion skin. There's
ring after ring of people and
unless you dig in you won't get
to meet a lot of wonderful peo-
ple that are around here."
He came to the United States

Business is difficult for a
basement b o o k s hop with a
modest collection of 500 titles
-especially in a city with some
stores over five times that size,
many of which David himself-
has helped establish and stock.
During textbook rush, he might
see a scant twenty customers a
day. But he claims there's "a
miracle every day" and he's no
worse off now than he was when
he opened in September.

..of, David's Books

this?" asks one customer, point-
ing to the shelves. "Well," he
responds, "there's both order
and disorder, but where there's
disorder, the disorder is com-
plete." He points to a portion of
the shelves where the customer
might find the book he wants.
Another c u s t o m e r, a tall,
rather hyperactive man who
visits David's store regularly,
walks in and hands David a list
of books he'd like to put on-

with condensers and one negative carrier

BOOKSELLING in England is
much more of a profession
than it is here, and, in David's
case at least, it's based more
on an intense love of books
than anything else. As a young
man he used to visit bookstores
regularly, studying a new por-
tion of the shelves each day un-
til he knew every book in the
store. Before entering the pro-
fession in the early fifties, he
held about twenty jobs in a
period of two years, ranging,
he r e m e m b e r s, from farm
worker to secretary.
But bookselling is something
that's hard to get away from.
"It's like a drug," David says.
"You know, you keep gravitat-
ing toward it no matter what."
The owners of most big book-
stores, he believes, are most
interested in quick profits, add
that's one reason why he de-
cided to stop working for other

special order. Informing the
man that business is hard,
David says he would like the
money for the books in advance.
"You're crazy," the man says
with a laugh.
"Well, at least a good portion
of it," David says in one of his
few moments of business-like

"I'll see what I
customer says, as
walks out.

can do," the
he turns and

ENLARGER LENSES $14.50 and up
with condensers and one negative carrier
J~vr F

"You get up late in this organization, sometimes
as late as 11 a.m. You have been out late the night
before. Mornings are set aside for paper work and
planning the rest of the day. There is a great deal
of record-keeping to be done on this job. At any
rate, I generally leave for my two areas of respon-
sibility (two counties) between three and four in
the afternoon. The drive takes anywhere from two
to three hours. The work here is the most impor-
tant I do; it is in many ways the toughest (at least
for me). Basically, it's a matter of personal contact.
"Today I traveled to a shack that serves as a
home to four genertions of the same family. The
'house' lacks heat, running water, or even an out-
house. To the score of people who live there, life is

for centuries. To work here your dedication is de-
rived from a faith in that movenent, in these peo-
ple, in this land. This faith is nurtured daily. You
find it strengthened by watching the faces of the
poor, with their anguished and yet defiant stories
of generations of oppression. You find your faith in
the land suddenly confirmed by the awesome beauty
of a rural sunset or the fury of a summer thunder
shower. You find your dedication deepening as you
listen to the intensity of the hymns they sing at
meetings. And you find yourself marvelling at the
kind of strength that has stood the test of time-
that has enabled the'm somehow to persevere. It
is a faith that all of us could benefit from."
In 21 *ural counties in Virginia and North Caro-

"That man comes in here
quite often," David explains.
"He's spent quite a bit of time
in a mental hospital and he just
recently got out. I've been hav-
ing trouble with him lately be-
cause he comes in and tends
to take books without paying
for them."
He is concerned about the
problem, but he speaks with a



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