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April 04, 1980 - Image 4

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1980-04-04

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

a6

ge 4-Friday, April4, 1900-The Michigan Daily
It's time to trash the degenerate

Hash Bash

Quite a few people liberated themselves from
their senses at Tuesday's 9th annual Hash
Bash; some of them even enjoyed it. While
hash was scarce, there seemed to be plenty of
marijuana and alcohol around to accomplish
the task.
Unfortunately, the approximately 1,000
:"Bashers" accomplished little else that was
constructive. In fact, quite a bit of destruction
was accomplished. By 9:30 p.m., when all but
about 30 screaming diehards had departed, the
darkened Diag was covered with paper litter
and broken glass. The area itself emitted an of-
fensive, rank, stale odor.
A FEW of the partiers were violent. A stab-
bing and several fights were reported. One
fight broke out on the steps of the graduate
library late in the evening. The two participan-
ts kicked and punched at each other, then fell
onto the steps and struggled before they were
pulled apart.
All of this was "accomplished" largely by a
group of out of town rowdies, some of them high
school students, who came to town not to
protest stringent pot laws, but to get high, get
drunk and "have a good time."
The theme of the event-mindless defian-
ce-became apparent when the police tried to
clear off the central portion of the Diag at about
6 p.m.
The "Bashers" circled the Diag, hurled cur-
ses at the police, and chanted "We won't go!"
The chant, echoing the anti-war protest chant
"Hell no, we won't go," brought chuckles from
many of the bystanders. Later, after the police
cleared the Diag a second time, about 100
"Bashers" streamed around them and "oc-
cupied" the steps of the graduate library.
Elated by what they thought was a victory over
the police, they broke out into an obviously
-wellthought-out chant, "Fuck the Pigs!"
IN THE MEANTIME, the police had retur-
ned to their encampment between the

Chemistry building and the Natural Science
building. The captain was sending some of his
men home. When the police failed to respond to
the taunts from the crowd; members of the
crowd slowly began to disappear into the
darkness.
Admittedly these "stoners," as many of them
referred to themselves, were not the only group
that attended the Hash Bash. Several Christian
groups showed up to sing Christian songs,
distribute leaflets, and to preach. Crowd
response varied from indifference to an in-
cident in which a preacher was pelted with
pennies, pebbles and pieces of bark.
Some original Hash Bashers were also there.
Many of them expressed dissatisfaction with
recent Bashes, noting a loss of the original
spirit of the event. That spirit grew out of the
communal enthusiasm of the "street people"
who founded the event, but who no longer make
up the majority of the crowd.
MANY STUDENTS ignored the event as
much as possible. That was difficult, however,
as they were forced to negotiate their way
through or around the crowd on their way to
their classes or to the library. Some students
were afraid of the denim and leather clad
crowd. Others simply enjoyed the spectacle. A
few participated.
While many people argue that the Hash Bash
serves as a symbolic protest against the overly
harsh pot laws, pro-pot literature was scarce.
No organized effort was apparent. No speeches
were made. No official representatives from
the National Organization for Reform
Marijuana Laws (NORML) attended. If
someone had offered the crowd some coherent
pro-pot thoughts, they certainly would have
been cheered, but they just as certainly would
have done nothing about it. These were not
people who spent time writing to their
Congressional representatives.
Some of the participants view the Hash Bash
as an annual "rite of spring," a time to

By Doug Feltner
celebrate the re-greening of the world. They
say they come to enjoy the day, to throw
frisbees, sing songs in small groups, and of
course, to smoke and drink.
HAVING A GOOD time is a great thing, but
the Hash Bash atmosphere was not relaxed
enough to allow anyone any real enjoyment.

Police took many struggling individuals into
custody. Any peaceful partier would have been
better off choosing a different day, when he or
she could enjoy the same activities-more or
less openly-on the same Diag.
A few "Bashers" argued that the event is
necessary to keep the police from overstepping
the bounds of their authority; to prevent future
police brutality. In fact, the Hash Bash serves
to create incidents between the police and the
people, not to deter them. The revelers who

were antagonistic apparently viewed them-
selves as the successors to the protesters of the
late '60s and early '70s, but most of the group
"protested" without a political cause. While a
few Bashers alleged that the police were over
zealous, the officers for the most part showed a
great deal of restraint in a difficult situation.
The myriad groups that attended the Bash
were evidence of the event's overall lack of
direction. No group of people organizes or
sponsors the event. The University, the police
department, and the community do not con-
done it. Instead, the University and the com-
munity are forced to defend themselves from
the flock of purposelessly rebellious partiers.
THE QUESTION that everyone must ask is:*
How do we get rid of the Hash Bash? Since no
one organizes it, that would be difficult. No
easily accessible group exists to accept the
blame. People from throughout Michigan and
the surrounding states just show up on April 1
and it happens. Stricter police intervention
would probably bring about the death of the
Bash over a period of years; that thought may
lie behind the increased police spervision of the
last few years, but it may also be in part
responsible for the rebellious atmosphere.
return to the spirit of the original bashes
doesn't seem possible, because the people who
attended the event-and -the times-have
changed.
Perhaps the answer would be to replace thb
Hash Bash with something else, something that
the University and the community would want
to be involved in. Maybe a well-organized
spring festival-with some focus-would work.
Or perhaps an independently-organized event
with a pro-pot focus could be arranged.
Whatever the case, the squalid nuisance of
the present Hash Bash should be eliminated.
Daily reporter Doug Feltner covered the
April I Hash Bash.

Daily Photo by Mitch Stuart
CHANCES ARE GOOD that this Hash Bash participant is not a University student, since the
April 1 event haS been virtually taken over by non-University revelers in recent years.

Nm clv If~ll

Vol. XC, No. 146

News Phone: 764-0552

Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan

earing1
ON-SMOKERS HAVE suspected
for a long time that their health
i gehas their comfort - was being
tl nerid by the fumes of other
peoples' cigarettes. Their suspicions
were confirmed last week, when a
s medical journal released a study
detailing the harm that can come to
people who inhale second-hand tobacco
smoke.
The debate between smoking ad-
vocates and opponents is regarded as
being trivial by many, especially on a
scale with such "big" social, issues as
abortion, inflation, unemployment,
and affirmative action. But the
smoking issue does raise some in-
teresting questions about rights - be
they civil, human, or irrelevant.
Some years back, the American
Tobacco Institute, a rich and fairly
powerful lobby, began publishing ad-
vertisements in national magazines
concerning smokers' "right" to enjoy
y their little peccadilloes. The ads
suggested that those who opposed this
refreshingly quaint behavior were a
small, vindictive band, maniacally in-
, tent on depriving other Americans of

the smoke

For many of us students in Ann Arbor, life
is an unsettled, crisis-filled time that is to be
endured rather than enjoyed. We put up with
less than ideal living circumstances, for-
tifying ourselves with the belief that our suf-
fering is somehow a necessary prerequisite to
later success. We often live in damp
basement's, drafty rooms, or dingy apartmen-
ts. We pay grossly inflated rents but at the
same time the vast majority of us must cope
with one or more serious housing code
health or safety violations.
Many of us are young, are preoccupied with
doing well in school, and are transient tenants
in this town. We are ideal victims in a market
where the landlords are well-organized and
well-funded. The situation seems almost
hopeless. Perhaps the University student
tenant is doomed to pay unfairly high rent to
live in an overcrowded, substandard house or
apartment. Maybe it is not worth the effort to
push for local housing reforms when most of
us will soon be moving on.

their freedoms.
Anti-smokers argued that they
should be able to sit in restaurants,
classrooms, and other public places
without having to live with the un-
pleasant product of what others could
easily do without. They seemed to feel
that the introduction of any unap-
petizing odor into their nostrils con-
stituted a fundamental breach of liber-
ty.
The truth would seem to lie
somewhere in between the extremes,
as in fact it usually does. Smoking is
not a right. It is a privilege afforded by
material wealth and others' indulgen-
ce. Nor are the "rights" claimed by
non-smokers any more legitimate.
/Where in the Constitution is the
freedom from disagreeable sensory
stimuli guaranteed?
The issue is not fundamental
freedoms, but simple courtesy. If it
takes legislation to get smokers to
behave courteously, then so be it. But it
would be nice if people could be coun-
ted on to treat others with con-
sideration without government coer-
cion. ,

The A2
hozusing
must worry about subletting our current
housing and scrounging for the next year's
housing market with a.7 per cent vacancy
rate-one-tenth of what HUD has determined
as the minimum vacancy rate a city can have
and still allow tenants adequate mobility and
freedom of choice?
University and city officials agree that the
housing situation in Ann Arbor is bad. But not
much is being done to improve it, and we can
largely blame ourselves.
HUMAN NATURE being what it is, most
people work only at things they believe will
benefit them. Reformers are generally people
who feel they are Victims of the system
needing reform. Victims, on the other hand,
are people who can't or won't fight back.
Many of us sit back and wait for University or
city officials to remedy the housing crisis. We
are foolish to do so. We're the ones who stand
to gain or lose from campus living con-
ditions, not the bureaucracy. We're the ones
who should be most motivated to work for
reform. Instead, sadly enough, we're the ones
who won't fight back. It's true. Despite the
popular image of the Ann Arbor student ac-
tivist, students will not fight the Ann Arbor
housing system.
Our housing task force at the Public In-
terest Research Group in Michigan
(PIRGIM) is working to organize people and
organizations in the Ann Arbor community in-
to a powerful pro-tenant coalition. With this
coalition we can push for solutions to such
problems as poor maintenance of rental units,
inadequate city inspections, illegal lease

clauses, i illegal landlord practices, and
especially, inflated rents. In an effort to gar-
ner support for our work and to provide
tenants with a rudimentary knowledge of
their tenant rights so they can protect them-
selves, our Housing Task Force wrote and4
delivered a presentation on tenant rights. We
went to three dorms with members of the Ann
Arbor Tenants Union to answer questions, but
each time, despite our publicity, only one or
two people came. We then had a community
organizing workshop which was well-
attended, but most of those who came were
not students.
AS A FINAL effort to reach students, we set
up a presentation in the UGLI where we had
hoped we could reach a greater mix of studen-
ts. One person came. This student apathy is
almost unbelievable. Why do students allow
themselves to be victimized? Perhaps studen-
ts are too inexperienced to realize how badly
they're being taken advantage of by the local
housing market.
City officials call it a housing crisis, state
officials call it an unfortunate situation, but
students themselves just call it home and are
martyred by their own indifference.It's time
to wake up and challenge a housing system
that we've allowed to become corrupt. As a
start, we must learn about our existing tenant
rights so we can retain the gains that have
already been fought for and won. To find out
about these rights, stop in the PIRGIM office
(Room 4106, Michigan Union) and pick up a
free copy of our pamphlet "A Tenant's Guide
to Survival in Ann Arbor."
We, as Ann Arbor tenants, have the poten-
tial to be powerful. We have the numbers. All
we need is the knowledge and the
organization. Let's demand decent housing*
for a fair price.
The Public Interest Research Group in
Michigan (PIRGIM) addresses a number
of consumer and student concerns in its
weekly column on this page. This article
was written by Patricia Wilson, coor-
dinator of PIRGIM's Housing Task For-
ce.

SURELY, THOUGH, better housing is wor-
th a fight. Try as we may to ignore it, we can't
overlook the fact that our physical and mental
health is greatly affected by a bad living en-
vironment. How can we do well in school
when we can't sleep or study because our
walls don't block our neighbors' voices, or
we're cold because our rooms are drafty?
How can we concentrate in classes when
we're sick from living in damp rooms? How
do we keep a positive attitude despite school
pressures when we must live with dirty walls,
broken furniture, and faulty plumbing?
How many extra hours do we work or how
much extra money do we borrow to pay rents
that increase faster than the consumer price
index and that are way out of proportion to
other areas in the state or country? How do
we do well on exams when we, unlike residen-
ts of many other university communities,

LETTERS TO THE DAILY:n
Latin America needs attention

To the Daily:
Little attention has been given
by the mass media to the current
situation in El Salvador,
Guatemala, and Honduras. When
the Sandinistas in Nicaragua
looked certain to oust Somoza,
the U.S. government's primary
concern was to prevent "another
Cuba." Now that the popular for-
ces in El Salvador are waging a
war of liberation against a
military junta, the U.S. gover-
nment's main concern is to
prevent "another Nicaragua."
And the fact is that whether
Americans like it or not, the U.S.
has supported and continues to
support the most reactionary,
fascist, and criminal regime in
Latin America and the rest of the
world.
In El Salvador, the-government

of this country wants us to believe
that violence is the cause of con-
frontations between both ex-
tremes: right and left. They say
this in order to justify the
military help-in the form of ar-
ms and advisors-that they are
giving to the military junta which
they portray as being a "cen-
trist" government. This is non-
sense. The military junta is the
extreme right. They are conduc-
ting a genocidal war against their
own people, in much the same
way as Somoza did in Nicaragua,
and the U.S. is an active suppor-
ter of this cause. These
militarists stand on the side of the
14 or so families said to control
most of El Salvador's wealth and
economy. It is these feudal
oligarchs that the Salvadoran
people seek to overthrow in order

to have a better life. It is also
these individuals whom the U.@.
government calls "centrists."
It is clear that U.S. economic
and political influence in the area
is threatened, since for decades
U.S. multi-nationals have been
making enormous profits ex-
ploiting the impoverished
Salvadorans; hence, their sup-
port of the junta. Now that the
U.S. government is having
serious foreign policy problems
and is undoubtedly preparing for
war, I encourage those
Americans whose "patriotic"
Girl Scout a
To the Daily:
I just wanted to let you know
how very pleased I was with the
article Howard Witt did on my
senior citizen Girl Scout troop
(Daily Sunday Magazine, March
23).
I was impressed with his

feelings have been aroused by the
government's propaganda to
take a closer look at the activities
and policies of the multi-national
corporations and the CIA
around the world.
And if you start thinking about
Russian dissidents, as we all
have been trained to think,
maybe you should also start
thinking about the 20,000 political
prisoners who are jailed and tor-
tured in Latin America each year
by regimes that the U.S. actively
arms and supports.
-Carlos J. Morales
April 2
rticle praised *
proached the subject.
No flashy, surface treatment,
the article was meaty, full of in-
formation, and yet it flowed along
and easily held one's attention.
Best of all, Howard managed to
capture what and who we are. He
took the time to listen and to un-
derstand He is an outstanding

Advice on census bad

To the Daily:
Nobody ever gave worse advice.
t1n .nr. ('_ru n . il - i '11%1

bandage of ignorance.
3. The draft is in no way and no

-~ Ill ~fl. ~ I I E"~ ~

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