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August 18, 1973 - Image 4

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1973-08-18

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Tl
Summer Daily
Summer Fdiion of
THE' MICHIGAN DAILY
Edited and managed by students at the
University of Michigan
Saturday, August 18, 1973 News Phone: 764-0552
Nixon's Watergate
speech is insulting
PRESIDENT NIXON'S feeble attempt to turn the tide of
public opinion on the Watergate scandal only proves
more conclusively the disdain he holds for the Ameri-
can public.
Nixon admitted freely that the "statement does not
answer many of the questions and contentions raised
during the Watergate hearings. The President's solution
is not to discuss and end the contradictions but rather to
ignore them, and expect the American public to do the
same.
The President argued correctly that there are press-
ing problems at home and abroad that need his attention.
He has botched the economy, ignored the problems of the
poor and elderly, and allowed the Russians, with our
wheat, to buy bread for 23c a loaf while we pay 45c. But,
incompetence is no excuse for corruption.
NIXON HOPES that he can appeal to the fatigue of the
American people to allow him to escape without ex-
plaining his actions. But, the American, who had given
him a 30 percent popularity rating on the same day of his
speech will not likely be all forgiving merely because the
President asks politely. A full explanation is necessary
and sooner or later the President will have to give us one.
Trouble averted
by 'U"film action
IT IS WELL that the University alleviated a tense situa-
tion by abandoning their implicit threat to cancel
the fall schedules of student film groups and allowed
them to schedule facilities for their showings.
The confrontation between themselves and the film
groups had been instigated by University action and
could only have deprived the University community of
films in the fall.
The threat of cancellation stemmed from a University
decision in May to postpone all further scheduling of fa-
cilities for film groups pending the passage of new regula-
tions dealing with student organization finances. Accord-
ing to Vice-President for Student Services Henry John-
son, the postponement was intended, not to force action
on the issue, but merely to delay scheduling for a month
or two while new regulations were drawn up.
THREE MONTHS later, however, those new regulations
were nowhere in sight and film groups and faculty
members were climbing the wall over what was about to
turn into a cancellation of their fall film schedules.
Breaking off long-standing commitments to film distribu-
tors could, because of the financial penalties involved,
drive film grouns out of business. Fall courses for which
films were cognated were also threatened.
The timely retreat upon the part of the executive
officers - they renewed scheduling without any new
regulations - should not disguise the fact that the origi-
nal decision to postpone scheduling was a crude and ill-
considered one.
The decision to postpone scheduling was undertaken
without any prior consultation with Student Government
Council, affected faculty, or the film groups themselves.
The decision was not adequately explained at the
time it was made and resulted in a near-crisis situation
which no one knew about until it was nearly too late.

And instead of bringing pressure to bear on just
those film groups of which wrong-doing was alleged-
or alternatively, upon all student organizations affected
by the new guidelines - the officers unfairly jeopardized
the existence of all film groups.
BY BRINGING a potentially fatal amount of pressure
to bear upon the film societies-who are important
carriers of ideas and together perform invaluable serv-
ice for the University community-the officers managed
to transform an issue of financial accountability into an
issue of free speech and cultural freedom.

Daily Photo by KEN FINK
The striking workers huddled in a plant lunchroom to plan strategy.
Inside the bowels of Chrysler

(EDITOR'S NOTE: The following
is the second of a two-pact account
from three Daily staffers who covered
Tuesday's Chrysler plant shutdown
in Detroit and managed to enter the
plant and talk with striking workers
in spite of tight security. In Part I,
tension mounted as the rebel workers
applauded the three for crawling un-
der the plant's main gate.)
By DAN BIDDLE, KEN FINK
and DEBRA THAL
The demonstrators on the out-
side cheered; the officials on the
inside shouted warnings and flailed
their arms helplessly, and the un-
likely bsnd of nervous journalists
and Afro-topped Chrysler workers
t r o tIt e d triumphantly into the
bowels of the plants.
The event took on a dream-like
quality at this point; it was as if
we had been watching a movie,
went to get some popcorn, and re-
turned to find ourselves on the
screen.
MOREOVER, much like a Key-
stone Kops feature, the "film"
seemed to speed up suddenly. All
afternoon, The Daily's contingent
had paced about the gate area,
irritated by the apparent slowdown
in the story's development since
the morning episode between Gil-
breth and the guards. But now the
pace quickened.
We entered the plant's main
building and accepted Frank's in-
vitation to ride a motorized fork-
lift through the half-mile of dark,
silent machinery that laytbetween
us and the balance of the rebel
workers.
It proved a memorable ride.
THE POWERFUL little machine
weaved between long rows of en-
gine parts and automobile frame
sections like an experienced rat in
an easy maze. The workers, un-
bound in their enthusiasm, urged
the forklift driver to "put your
foot on it!"
As we shot down a long corridor,
a series of low-hanging exit signs
almost removed Biddle's head.
The speed of the ride and the
relaxed, carefree manner in which
the driver negotiated tight turns
led Fink to express fears that
whereas prior to entering the plant
we might have lost our story, were
now in clear danger of losing our
camera equipment and our lives.
BUT THE RIDE ended before
that happened. We leaped from
the vehicle, ran up a Sight of stairs
and entered a dingy second-floor
eating area.
There, amidst vending machines,
discarded paper cups and limp un-
eaten potato chips, sat the forces
of revolution.
They stood up and cheered at
our arrival; a dozen workers offer-
ed us chairs and started respond-
ing eagerly when we asked about
the morning's events.
BILL GILBRETH, the man of
the hour, overruled them.
His blond hair and shaggy mus-
tache stood out in a room full of
black men and women; his sense of

planning was equally conspicuous.
Gilbreth, a self-proclaimed Com-
munist and member of the Marxian
Progressive Labor Party, seemed
to seek something more than the
others: they were trying to shut
down Chrysler, but Gilbreth was
out to shut down the capitalist
system.
SO FAR, he hadn't done badly.
The acres of freight yards and
assembly lines on Mack Ave. had
stood silent since dawn.
Yet Gilbreth refused to answer
questions: any statement, he in-
sisted, must be the voice of the
entire group rather than that of
one individual. And who should be
named the spokesperson? Gilbreth,
of course.
It had been reported that lie and
another worker started the morn-
ing fight in which two guards were
injured, but a round of inquiries
from Thal and Biddle produced no
new information. Meanwhile, Fink
was informed that no one's face
could appear in any ' photographs.
Hence, the main topic of the only
roll of film to come out of the
plant during the shutdown was a
group of turned backs.
FRANK LED US on a tour of the
plant's conditions, pausing to point
to huge grease puddles in working
areas. He stopped longest at his
own place on the assembly line,
where, he said, he had to lift 300
K-frame engine mounts into and
out of a stamping machine every
hour.
The frames weighed more than
H0 pounds each.
"Three, four guys have lost fin-
gers in this machine," he said.

Another w o r k e r added, "Down
here, man, they don't run the fans
or nothing. It's like workin' n
hell. And upstairs, up there in
the press room, that's double hell.
"OVER AT FORD, in their lunch-
room, they got air conditioning,
and good food. All we got is rats,
roaches, and maggots."
If his word wasn't good enough,
a pair of rats scurried across the
floor as we walked beneath a long
row of newly painted engine
frames hung up to dry.
That was somewhat more im-
pressive t h a n Gilbreth's revolu-
tionary theories.
OUR RETURN to the lunchroom
was punctuated by a brief face-off
with security guards. For a mo-
ment, push came to shove: Our
worker escorts pushed the guards
away and shoved us into a nearby
staircase which led up to the lunch-
room. Amid shouts of "Hands off,
honkies!", we stumbled back to
Gilbreth's group.
The blond Communist was still
trying to "collectivize" his people;
they huddled at a table and argued
strategy. Further questions from
the reporters proved fruitless, and
we left the plant through a lightly
guarded sidegate with the help
of our escort and some guards who
apparently had little knowledge of
our significance and no interest in
arresting us.
The Daily got its story; we went
and ate at Lafayette Coney Island
somewhere in another part of De-
troit.
AND THE next morning, Bill
Gilbreth's revolution ended io jail.

I I i

i

Letters to The Daily

I

Rodeo condemned
To The Daily:
It is simply beyond my com-
prehension that an area which, on
the whole, is as well-informed
and animal - oriented as the Ann
Arbor - Saline area can condone
the kind of brutality inpolved in a
rodeo. I am appalled that the
people here are willing to pay out
good money to see animals tor-
tured, especially considering that
many of these people own horses
themselves. The only possible ex-
planation is that they do not un-
derstand the kind of hideous
cruelty to which rodeo animals
are exposed.
If you look closely at the
"mean" bronc which is tossing a
cowboy in the arena, you will no-
tice a strap (sometimes a length
of barbed - wire) tied tightly
around the animal's groin. This
strap is tightened by the full
weight of the animal's lunge from
the chute (stimulated by an elec-
tric shock) and is carefully cal-
culated- to apply traumatic pres-

sure to the animal's kidneys, in-
testines, and genitals. The best
horse in the world will buck un-
der these conditions, and he will
continue to do so until the strap
is loosened, whether or not there
is a person on his back.
The heedless brutality of the
steer- and calf-throwing is ob-
vious. What iscnot obvious to
most paying customers is, the
pen, usually covered, in which
the broken and tomn animals are
thrown to await death,nwhenever
the employes of the rodeo. get
around to giving it to thet.
People, please! Don't support
this kind of barbarianism. You
wouldn't permit this kind of thing
to happen to your animals; don't
pay out your dollars to watch it
happen to others.
Sincerely,
Mr. and Mrs. Christopher
Way
8/18/73
Editor's Note: The rodeo in Sa-
line was sanctioned by the Amer-
ican Humane Association.

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