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May 12, 1970 - Image 4

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Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1970-05-12

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Ilw Sir Dt Pit4J
Seventy-nine years of editorial freedom
Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan

Nixon sways with

political wind

420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, Mich.

News Phone: 764-0552

Editorials printed in The Michigan Daily express the individual opinions of staff writers
or the editors. This must be noted in all reprints.

TUESDAY, MAY 12, 1970

NIGHT EDITOR: RICK PERLOFF

College presidents must be
feXible in conr ontations

By HARVARD VALLANCE
TAKING HIS BEST interests to heart,
President Nixon has apparently con-
cluded that the killing of four students at
Kent State University last week was not
the ideal incident on which to base his
appallingly insensitive condemnation of
the protesters and has set out accordingly
to make amends. In a senario with almost
comic overtones, a brief period that began
with the famous "bums" epithet and an
ill-fated attempt to blame the demonstrat-
ers at Kent instead of the killers has end-
ed with a 5 a.m. "rap" with allienated
youth at the Lincoln Memorial and a rath-
er unusual reprimand from the cabinet.
The President has had to spend much of
the past week in an attempt to neutralize
the effects of a serious miscalculation of
his ability to rally middle America against
student radicals. While one can hardly
blame a president for playing politics, Nix-
on's sudden display of understanding for
the problems of disenchanted youth is a
bit hard to swallow.
HIS SWIFT CONDEMNATION of the
"violent dissenters" who were fired on by
the guardsmen initially seemed to make a
great deal of political sense in light of
Governor Reagan's success in California.

It was Reagan who coined the usage of
"bums" as a synonym for demonstrators
and nothing made him so popular as his
gift for insult and his hard line against
the active California left wing. The killing
by police of two innocent youths in dem-
onstrations in the past two years - one
was wanted for a parole violation any-
how - brought no great cries of alarm
from concerned parents or school admin-
istrators and only served to reinforce Rea-'
gan's role as the man standing between
the people and anarchy.
The president evidently assumed that
the incident at Kent State would be an
appropriate "I-told-you-so" followup to
his campaign to build an alliance of fear
with the Silent Majority based on the ab-
surdity of dealing effectively with the non-
threat of student "revolution."
BUT THE KENT STATE killings, it has
turned out, are not what they at first ap-
peared. Of the four who died, none were
outsiders, none were rioters, and one was
even second in his ROTC class. Kent State
is not Harvard or Berkeley but a norm-
ally quiet campus close to Middle Ameri-
cans, and identity and sympathy ran deep.
The President seemed to realize that his
unsympathetic remarks about protesters

were falling on unsympathetic ears as ten-
sions rose and hundreds of colleges closed
down as worried parents began to realize
w h a t the consequences of the tension
might be.
With public sympathies running heavily
against the national guard, is is not sur-
prising that the president would enjoy
taking some credit for cooling off the
crisis.
Without undue perception, Secretary
Hickel noted; and m o s t ,of the cabinet
agreed, that the President's remarks had
not been cooling things off and that the
situation today was ,not unlike that of the
alienation of youth from the Republican
Party in the 1930's. An unprecedented pro-
test march by 10,000 students at the Uni-
versity of Texas indicated the depth of
student despair.
IN LIGHT OF THE national outrage the
president has concluded that it makes po-
litical sense to tone down his rhetoric and
to "rap" with the kids at 5 a.m.
Better opportunities to capitalize on stu-
dent violence will surely present them-
selves in the future and it would be a mis-
take to assume that the President would
decline to take his best interests to heart
when the occasion arises.

U'

As MOST OF the nation's campuses and
a few of its cities erupted last week,
both public officials and college adminis-
trators were being forced to take note of
the growing number of students who are
willing to not only protest--but to join in
a struggle.
Not being accustomed to such massive
displays of violence, the administrators
have turned to their oft-used plans for
"facilitating communications" as a means
to qu ll the current unrest and prevent
its recurrence.
But in doing so, they missed the sig-
nificance of the escalated campus activ-
ity. Involved in last week's actions were
people no longer satisfied with being al-
lowed to sit down and discuss the sick-
ness of America with those who perpetu-
ate it. More and more of them were ready
to take whatever action is best suited to
bring about a swift cure.
With the nation's campuses certain to
be the focal point of any emerging strug-
gle, it is clear that college officials must
make every effort to block the growing
attempts to squelch political expression.
And they must be ready to depart from
their traditional sense of "what is allow-
able" to accomplish this.
HERE AT the University, P r e s i d e n t
Fleming was faced last week with a
technically illegal occupation of North
Hall which houses the ROTC programs.
His initial decision to allow the protesters
to remain in the building without fear of
arrest s h o w e d a sensitivity which has
been sorely lacking in most of his deci-
sion over the past 18 months. But the
careless actions he took after most of the
protesters vacated North Hall - actions
which resulted in five arrests - nullified
any credibility he may have earned with
participants in 'the protest.
Most of the protesters voluntarily left
the building at about 10 p.m. Friday night
amid rumors that there would be an at-
tempt to plant a bomb or set fire to North
Hall.
However, a few of them remained with
the stated intention of preventing any
possible damage to the building. Operat-
ing under the assumption that Fleming
would stick to his agreement not to allow
police to arrest North Hall occupants for
trespassing, the four "security people"
were taken completely by surprise when,
at 12:50 a.m., city police charged in with-
out warning and arrested them..
FLEMING SAID yesterday that he had
met at 11:30 p.m. with Police Chief
Walter Krasny and approved the use of
Sumtmer Editorial Staff
ALEXA CANADY ......................... Co-Editor
MARTiN HRSCHMAN ............... Co-Editor
SHARON WEINER .... .. Summer Supplement Editor

city police to check the building for bomb
plants and fire hazards.
Although the question of po'ssible ar-
rests was not mentioned, Fleming said,
"all of us assumed that this was really a
new and different situation": The group
that had been there had gone, he ex-
plained, and a new group not associated
with the other group was now occupying
the building. The president's comments
imply that he no longer considered his
agreement to allow the protesters access
to North Hall to be in effect.
But at no time were the four remaining
protesters - who, contrary to Fleming's
statements, were members of the original
group occupying the building-informed
by the president or his representatives
that the building was being closed.
Faced with the possibility that North
Hall was threatened by a b o m b, Flem-
ing, as president of the University, could
have alternatively asked a limited num-
ber of plainclothes policemen to check
through the building without bothering
the four protesters who were peacefully
standing in the first floor lobby.
Instead, he v i o 1 a t e d an agreement
which had been worked out during exten-
sive consultations with students, faculty
members, city officials and ROTC officers.
SUCH INSENSITIVITY and inflexibility
is not surprising-they have charac-
terized the president's actions-for the past
academic year.
Perhaps the insensitivity of the pt'esi-
dent was best exhibited at the February
Regents meeting, when the demands of
the Black Action Movement (BAM) were
first presented.
About 70 b 1 a c k students entered the
meeting, and asked that Fleming as ""a
show of good faith," call a special Regents
meeting in two weeks to discuss progress
being made by the administration in find-
ing money to implement the demands.
This was not a difficult request to affirm
-it clearly would have eased the frustra-
tion which, that evening, provoked the
black students to remove books from the
shelves of the Undergraduate Library. But
Fleming refused to entertain the idea,
saying it would be difficult to arrive at a
feasible minority .enrollment plan in two
weeks.
WHAT IS required of Fleming, and
other university presidents is a de-
termined effort to r e m a i n flexible in
confrontation situations, and sensitive to
the fact that decisions which they believe
to be just-in the traditional sense-may
provoke violence.
It should be clear to each college ad-
ministrator that insensitivity and inflex-
ibility in their actions can only be con-
strued as incompetence.
-ROBERT KRAFTOWITZ

lv.

4',i

Cinema-
4'thne Damned'
By DONALD KUBIT
The Damned depicts the moral corruption of Hitler's rise to power.
Direc'ted by Luchino Visconti,. and including an international cast,
it is a movie of importance not for its timeliness, but as Visconti sug-
gests, "because we must see to it that what happened in those days
in Germany must not come again."
Although it is not a documentary, The Damned utilizes a number
of historical events to expose the corruption and perversity that char-
acterized Hitler's reign.
The story deals with an aristocratic German family whose fortune
lies in the success of their steel and munitions plant. Forced' by the
changing political temper of the country to alter their way of life, the
leadership of the family is thrown into turmoil. After the apolitical head
of the family is killed, there is a struggle between the remaining mem-
bers for power. The presidency is first given to an ambitious industrial-
ist (Dirk Bogarde) who with the help of an aging widower (Ingrid
Thulin) believes he can run the plant free of outside influence.
However, the presence of a Nazi protagonist (Helmut Griem) is
too overbearing and in the end the widower's son (Helmut Berger) is
taken in by the Nazi movement and quietly disposes of his mother and
her lover and gains control of the plant and affiliates it with Hitler.
Visconti, who also had a hand in writing the script, has paralleled
the external destruction of Germany with an equally devastating
ruination of internal order, which closely resembles a Macbethian air
of power-hungry individuals. As Hitler's forces deceitfully overrun their
rivals, so is the' family destroyed by corruption and favors seasoned
with ulterior motives.
The film is cataclysmic in exhibiting the Nazi experience as a
breeding ground for perversities. The list contains homosexuality,
transvestism, incest, murder, book-burning, and suicide. And the movie
is more than properly titled for it is the damnation of those persons
who preached Nazism that Visconti attacks.
Besides Visonti's expert handling of the material, special consider-
ation must be given to the cast for their performances.
Thulin, as the perfect Lady Macbeth type, is hauhting in her por-
trayal. She is probably the best known for her work in Ingrid Bergman
films, like The Hour of the Wolf, but her job in The Damned definitely
adds yet another notch to her number of accomplishments.
The star of the film must be newcomer Berger. He is marvelous as
the mentally disturbed grandson. Even though he is surrounded by
formidable peers, he is still able to steal many a scene and make an
impression on the audience as a memorable actor.
It is frightening to think that such a blood-thirsty revolt as that
which beseiged Germany could occur in the modern world, and it is
at the same time fortunate that a man of Visconti's caliber can retell
the story in order for us all to learn a lesson.
Many of today's young movie audience has little but a historical
knowledge of how Hitler corrupted Germany and the world, yet it is
important that we go beyond the facts and figures and reveal the
repulsive ugliness of that moment of history. The Damned may seem
dull and out of date to those caught up in the acceleration of day to
day living, but it is a brilliant film in structure and purpose. And it
remains to be seen whether the world has learned from this experience.

14

tsar, The R ::ter'
"Lyndon, the whole general area seems to ache ... !"

Let
Blame Nixon
To the Editor:
THE PRESIDENT HAS laid the
blame for the murder of unarmed
students upon the victims them-
selves.
Could he be unaware that the
purpose of those student demon-
strations was to protest the wid-
ening of the war? Has the Presi-
dent forgotten that it was he who
acted to widen the war?
Has he forgotten that Congress

ers to the Editor

has repeatedly extended the draft
law under which young people are
forced to donate their lives - or
part of their lives - to the gov-
ernment?
Indeed there was force and vio-
lence underlying the .Kent State
massacre. But the students didn't
start it. The violence was initiat-
ed by the government, and was
directedagainst the taxpayers to
force t h e m to finance its wars,
and against young people to force
them to fight in them. Student
protests against this are mere re-
taliation against the violence pre-

viously directed against them by
the government.
If the war in Vietnam or any-
where else were carried on by a
volunteer army financed by vol-
untary contributions, maybe there
wouldn't be any student demon-
strations. Why is the draft a sac-
red cow? Should free men oppose
a volunteer army?
-Paul Stout
Lombard, 111.
May 6

4

Washington:

Alwa ys

a

lot

of

visitors

in

May

By ERIC SIEGEL
MAY IS THE month of visitors
in Washington.
They come in droves, these visit-
ors, to talk to their congressmen.
to sit in the park and grassy areas
of the city, to go to the White
House. They come and, more often
than not, they take something
away - a souvenir, an autograph,
a perverted Washington sight-
seeing tours inc, view what their
government is like.
In a sense, the thousands and
thousands ,- Mayor Walter E.
Washington said 100,000 - of
demonstrators who came to Wash-
ington Saturday were visitors, too.
But they were a different breed
of visitors. For one thing, they
already knew what their govern-
ment was like even if they had
never been to Washington before.
For another, what they were tak-
ing away was much less tangible
than that which most visitors take
away from here.
"This is the time for us to build
up or anger and build up a head
of steam to go back to our local
communities until we cripple their
war machine," Dave Delinger yell-
ed to the crowd.

ment ground or on local campuses;
a few of them met with Nixon
before dawn Saturday.
By 10 a.m. Saturday, the Elipse
below the White House was almost
filled with people.
Less than 12 hours later, a dark-
haired girl was being led by a
metropolitan policeman and lined
up against an old khaiki but to be
carted away and booked on
charges of disorderly conduct for
sitting down in the middle of an
intersection. Her face shone red
in the glare of the cameramen's
floodlights. Her eyes seemed tired
and hollow. Her fingers formed
the peace sign. And she was sing-
ing, "All we are asking/Is give
peace a chance" and trying to look
brave.
In a sense, though, that the girl
was arrested at all was sonlewhat
atypical of what went on in Wash-
ington. Only a comparative hand-
ful of the crowd was arrested; on-
ly a few hundred were involved in
any type of clash with police at
all. For the most part, those who
came not to be arrested but, as one
student from Kent State said, "Be-
cause we had to, because things
have gotten so bad we have to do

happening that afternoon on the
Elipse, but on what would happen
in the future.
"I think this is an historic dem-
onstraition in this sense," Ron
Young, one of the Mobe coor-
dinators was saying. "We. have not
come with false hope that this
demonstration will end the war.
We are not going to go back to our
dormitories and churches and say,
'Oh my God, the war is still going
on,' We are going to spread the
student strike and end the war."
AND THIS demonstration didn't
even have a name. There was no
time to decide whether it was a
moratorium or a mass mobiliza-
tion; there was no time to make
up special buttons to keep in your
scrapbook. This nameless, but-
tonless demonstration arose in a
week, a spontaneous swell of con-
cern and commitment.
The demonstration never lost
its spontaneity. When Beulah
Sanders of the National Welfare
Rights Organization called for
people in the audience to pass up
their draft cards, 300 cards were
received..

whom were taunted with cries of
"Pig" and "Whose side are you
on?" by the militants for their
efforts to keep the peace) and
Mayor Washington, D.C. police,
and an unorganized crowd of 100,-
000 were better able to control
themselves than the U.S Army
(My Lai) or the National Guard
(Kent State).
MUCH OF THE rhetoric was
old and tired, but it was not with-
out its insights. Jane Fonda said,
"It's a lot easier to kill four stu-
dents when the heads of state call
them bums." And again from
Beulah Sanders, "Our welfare
children aren't going to fight for
their country because their coun-
try hasn't done a damn thing for
them."
Throughout the late afternoon
and into the early evening, the
classic argument for violence and
confrontation versus peaceful pro-
test and political action were de-
bated on street corners, around
Lafayette Park by the militants
and the not so militants.
IT WAS A DAY of many moods,
some quite obvious, other less de-
finable. In the end, though, most

ot

I

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