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November 12, 1972 - Image 17

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Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1972-11-12
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. Page Twelve

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Sunday, November 12, 1972

Sundry, November 12, 1972

THE M I CH IGAN DA I LY

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(Continued from Page 1)
mass meetings; at the same
time emphasizing the open na-
ture of the party's structure.
But the issue got nowhere
with the voters, who found it
hard to visualize Steve Burg-
hardt, HRP's candidate for state
representative, doing much in
Lansing that his Democratic op-
ponent wouldn't. They realized
that, he would have to use his
individual judgment to decide
how to interpret his party's plat-
form, when it came to voting on
the House floor. This, in fact,
was why HRP could not run
just "anybody" for public of-
fice.
In addition, some voters pon-
dered that ,whether out of apathy
or disagreement, they didn't have
much to do with HRP or its mass
A 1 H0UH PVO T(O&)
L.AS T7H6 SER
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211S3Sae-An 4ro
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reGe

"She shakes as many hands as possible."

(continued from page 5)
many people as possible. They
know that everyone gets a rush
from a celebrity, and every,
body in this district has heard
of Bella Abzug. Bella weaves
her way down the street remind-
ing everybody who she is, just
in case they have forgotten.
If perchance she is cornered
into spending too much time
with one person, she handles the
situation eloquently, as in t h e
following d isc o ur se with
a teenage Puerto Rican boy.
Boy: Ay Bella what are you
gonna do about the cops?
Bella: Well I have been a
leading proponent . . .
Boy: (he cuts her off) No, no
. . . see me and my friends are
walking on Broadway last night
and this cop comes up to us .. .
Bella: (she cuts him off) just
listen for a second. Here is my
card. Call my office and tell
them your problem.
Boy: Just like the rest, pass-
ing the buck.
Bella: (indignantly) I do not
pass the buck.
She moves quickly into a
crowd waiting patiently to shake
her hand.
Bella handles her staff just as
efficiently as she handles her-
self. She is the one who decides
who goes where and when.
"Listen, I'm going into t h a t
Foodarama for awhile, it looks
crowded," she says.
"But Bella, we are behind
schedule," an aide insists.
"I am going in, could you do
me a favor and find me a ton-
gue sandwich with Russian dres-
sing on white toast?" That puts
an end to discussion and she is
off into the crowded supermar-
ket.
Most of her staff admits that
Bella is a hard taskmaster, but
as one aide puts it, "Bella will
drive you to an ulcer but then,
make damn sure you have
enough milk to treat it with."
Foodarama on 159th street
and Broadway is a large super-
market that specializes in a
large selection of low quality
meats and caters to a mostly
Spanish-speaking clientele.
The moment Bella enters the
store all eyes shift from t h e
specials of the week to this big
lady who is making, her way

down the aisles, shaking hands,
throwing out spanish phrases,
patting children on the head, and
pinning buttons on all the check
out girls. In all but a few min-
utes she has made her name
and face as well known to the
shoppers as a can of Campbell's
soup.
A small woman in her sixties
is following Bella around t h e
store remarking repeatedly,
"she is much prettier than on
T.V. Huh?" When this be-
comes unbearable Bella is forc-
ed to joke, "Listen I am a poli-
tician, not a movie star . . . at
my age a sex symbol?"
She leaves the store as quick-
ly as she entered.
With the agility of a half-
back, she dodges shopping carts
and shakes hands all the way
out the door. Everyone seems
to be in a stupor, not knowing
exactly what happened in the
last few minutes. No one is sure
how to react except for B e n
Knoff, store manager, who is
yelling from his office door,
"Hey Bella, new image huh?"
Abzug was in the store earlier
in the campaign and, according
to Knoff, was completely differ-
ent. "Then she seemed more
pushy, I was waiting for her to
stand on the check out counter
and give a speech."
Bella herself is aware of
this mellower style and explains
that "I thought that it was only
proper that in the light of
Bill's death that I keep the re-
mainder of the campaign as sub-
dued as possible."
Yet Jerry Kretchmer, a one
time Ryan supporter now cam-
paigning for Bella, is sure that
"she can still get as excited as
ever."
One aide added that, "she
knows that her loud manner
often alienates people, and she is
not in any position where she
can alienate people right now.
* * *
Although Bella seems to tire
as the day wears on, she still
maintains her sense of humor.
When confronted by a N i x o n
supporter festooned with every
imaginable Nixon button s h e
comments, "if you are going
v-

to vote for him you are going
to need me more than ever."
She has one last stop before
an address at a McGovern ral-
ly downtown. Bella and her
aides head towards West Har-
lem.
* * *
Amsterdam Avenue is bustling
with activity. Spanish music is
blaring out onto the street.
Street hawkers sell genuine imi-
tation leather belts for a dol-
lar. Pizza sells for 15 cents a
slice, the cheapest anywhere in
the city.
Bella and company stand out
like a sore thumb in this black,
lower class section, but m o s t
people are more concerned with
the double feature at the Olym-
pia theater, or the fight down
the block, than in someone call-
ed Bella Abzug. She is having
trouble getting attention even
though the block is crowded.
Ollie's Tavern is a small dim-
ly lit bar on Amsterdam Avenue.
The only lights inside are a
neon "Schlitz" sign and a pink
and blue lighted juke box blar-
ingsome song by IsaacHayes.
Most of the patrons are quite
high when Bella comes in and
announces, "Hi, my name is
Bella Abzug and I am running
for Congress." Someone ap-
plauds from the back. She shak-
es a few hands, gives the bar-
tender a button and heads out
the door.
Immediately after her depar-
ture an inebriated discussion be-
gins between two black men
seated at a table cluttered with
shot glasses and an empty Seag-
rams bottle.
"Who the hell was she?"
"Some politician, I don't
know."-
"I never saw a woman poli-
tician before."
"She looked pretty tough -
probably could kick a lot of
those mother fuckers in the ass."
"Yeah, maybe I don't
know"
Out )n the street, Bella con-
tinues down the block shaking
hands, her aides diligently hand
out "Bella" buttons and tape
posters on store windows as a
loud speaker droans, "meet Bel-
la Abzug, your Congresswoman."
IRU 4THE
W7J k

meetings. And some Democrats
pressed arguments that HRP was
a clique of frustrated, student-
oriented, middle class whites, in-
terested only in spiting their
parents and the Democrats.
HRP's "collective decision-mak-
ing" issue was neutralized.
All the electoral battle-talk
collapsed in a heap in the vot-
ing booths around the very
thrust of HRP's existence -
that it is a radical alternative, a
third party. Faced with "good
Democrats," many voters sim-
ply couldn't find any reason to
go with HRP.
In the spring City Council elec-
tions, many young voters identi-
fied with HRP's student-ish can-
didates and saw definite areas of
self-interest in potential city leg-
islation - for example, concern-
ing drugs.
Last Tuesday, however, many
voters could identify equally well
with youthful, campus - grown
g{T IT FAIEP.
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6

OA5B U NANWER
candidates on the Democratic tic-
ket. Moreover, they knew little
about county issues; some HRP
members blame themselves for
not running a better educational
campaign in the county commis-
sioner races.
THE underlying breakdown of
HRP's efforts to carry the
bulk of the liberal-radical vote
last week is tied to the voters'
refusal, or inability, to adopt the
third party approach to the na-
tion's, and this region's, diffi-
culties.
"Why the hell don't you just
take over the Ann Arbor Demo-
cratic Party," the torn voter
queried. "Elect radical, trust-
worthy candidates in the pri-
maries, run massive educational
campaigns, open wide the party
doors and draft a platform to
take to the state convention."
HRP responded that drives for
real change from within the
Democratic Party are hopeless
because it is so wound up with
the present balance of poier
within the country. Moreover, its
members argue, only a radical,
independent alternative party
can push for change and serve as
a forum for a socialist, equalitar-
ian and humane society at the
same time.
It didn't take, and this is the
problem that has faced every
third party movement in Ameri-
can history-especially those that
did not begin with a convention
of "bigtime" politicos who split
off from the major parties. (Both
the Progressive Party and the
Republican Party started out
with senators and congressmen,
who brought along large chunks
of their constituencies.)
Combined with some liberals'
disagreement with HRP's politi-
cal philosophy, this two party
system bias was enough to scut-
tle HRP in this fall's election.
(And there are a lot of students
who simply don't like the Hu-
man Rights Party. Campus con-
sciousness "is not what she used
to be," and leaflets and speeches
alone are not going to change
that. Many voters, student and
non-student, desire no more radi-
cal changes than those proposed
by George McGovern and Lyn-
don Johnson.)
HRP is candid about its ob-
jectives, even if they are neces-
sarily vague. "The electoral sys-
tem is a useful forum to reach
a wide number of people, pre-
senting crucial issues and radi-
cal analysis, while at the same
time achieving some legislative
reforms." Many HRP members

acknowledge that the party can
never become "successful" with-
in the existing electoral system
because of the very structure of
American society.
But some people are not in-
terested in radical analysis, or
in electing candidates to provide
publicity for progressive ideas.
They want results and they see
a Democratic vote as supplying
the maximum return. As con-
sumers, they just don't buy
HRP. And until they are educat-
ed, until they buy HRP's radical
analysis of American social prob-
lems, and its approach, they
won't buy its candidates.
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