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October 22, 1981 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1981-10-22

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OPINION

Page 4.
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Thursday, October 22, 1981
Feiffer

The Michigan Daily

D -f ,

Vol. XCII, No. 37

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board

The Cancun conference:
Expect little

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NATURALLY it's silly to even
suggest that 22 world leaders
shouldn't be meeting in Cancun,
Mexico, today to discuss the problems
OT world poverty.
But there are at least a few in-
dications which suggest that dramatic
shifts in the distribution of the world's
resources are not likely to result from
the meeting.
: First, plush Cancun seems to be an
uniusual place to hold a conference on
world poverty. The narrow, 14-mile-
long island has 48 luxury hotels, all of
which cater exclusively to the affluent.
But whether the leaders attending
the conference realize it or not, within.
just a few miles of their flashy hotels
lie some of Mexico's poorest and least
developed regions. Cancun-the-tourist-
mecca is carefully insulated from
Cancun-the-slum; carefully hidden
from the tourists' view is a town where
as many as 30,000 Mexicans (most of
whom work in the hotels) live ins
primitive shacks.
But if the location of the meeting
seems at first glance slightly bizarre,
some of the cast of characters in this
week's conference is no less so.
Crown Prince Fahd of Saudi Arabia
and President Chadi Bendjedid of
Algeria tooled into tiny Cancun airport
yesterday on board their own private
Boeing 747. Representing the United
States at the conference will be Ronald
Reagan-who has made statements
tantamount to a call to leave much of
the future development of poorer
nations in the hands of multi-national
corporations. And yes, it is indeed the
same Ronald Reagan whose wife
recently spent more than $200,000 on a
set of dishes.
Not to be outdone in the contest for
the most outlandish display of
bourgeois decadence, Ferdinand Mar-
cos had his own furniture flown on a

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Lenin foresaw Solidarity

FERDINAND MARCOS
chartered DC-10 from the Phillipines to
Cancun for the two-day conference.
The conference, of course, is a great
deal more than its. location or the
peculiar (if insensitive) tastes of those
attending. It is a significant gathering
of the leaders of eight of the world's
most developed nations and 14 of the
world's least developed. The conferen-
ce is encouraging if for no other reason
than the fact that the 22 leaders will be
discussing ways to solve some of the
world's most pressing issues.
At the same time, however, it's im-
portant to keep the conference in per-
spective. As the site selection and
some of the leaders' personal
preferences indicate, it is certainly not
a gathering of the 22 world leaders who
are most sensitive to the plight of the
Third World.

It may be that Vladimir Ilyich Lenin
predicted some 70 years ago what is hap-
pening now in Poland and the Soviet bloc at
large.
In commemorating the great 19th-century
Russian writer and revolutionary, Alexander
Herzen, Lenin once spoke about the three
generations in the Russian revolution.
THE FIRST Russian revolutionaries, he
said, had been members of the ruling class,
nobles and landlords, such as the Decem-
brists and Herzen. They formed a narrow
group, far removed from the people, and they
failed.
Their efforts were taken up by the next
generation, the revolutionary intellectuals,
Chernyshevsky and the "People's Will."
Their contact with the people was closer,
but they too were unable to bring about "the
storm." The real storm began when the
masses, the workers and the, peasants, join-
ed the revolutionary struggle. The Russian
revolution of 1905 was the first battle waged
by the third generation.
"THE NEXT step is beginning to develop
under our own eyes," Lenin wrote in 1912.
Lenin's formula can easily be applied to the
history of Poland and the Soviet block since
Stalin's death in 1958.
The first generation in revolt against the
Stalinist model of Communism were mem-
bers of the ruling class itself, who
inaugurated reforms from above, fearing that
without them another tyrant might succeed
Stalin. They curbed the police and revived the
party.
THOSE ANTI-STALINIST reformers in-
cluded Khrushchev in the U.S.S.R., Imre
Nagy in Hungary, Gomulka in Poland. When
their reforms ran out of control, as they did in
Hungary in 1956, Moscow intervened. In
Poland after 1956, Gomulka himself
retreated. In the U.S.S.R., a countercoup
overthrew Krushchev in 1964. Reforms from

By Roman Szporluk
above came late in Czechoslovakia and were
suppressed in 1968 when, in Moscow's view,
they went too far.
The second generation in the anti-Stalinist
revolt was dominated by writers, artists,
scholars and students, known in the 1970s as
"dissidents." This can be viewed as Lenin's
intelligentsia period of the revolution.
Its leading figures included human rights
activists, Amalrik and Siniavsky, Sakharov
and Solzhenitsyn, the Helsinki groups in
Moscow, Kiev and Vilvius, Charter 77" in
Czechoslovakia, and so on.
THE WORKER'S revolution in Poland,
which began in 1980 and is still continuing,
may be "the storm itself." There have been
many cases of labor unrest in Eastern Europe
before, but the workers of Poland for the first
time are fighting for the rights of the working
class as such and for the political rights of the
nation.
As Lenin put it: "The proletariat, the only
class that is thoroughly revolutionary, rose at
the head of the masses and for the first time
aroused millions of peasants to open
revolutionary struggle." (As we see, he even
predicted the rise of Rural Solidarity.)
But is the experience of Poland indicative of
what will or can happen elsewhere in the
Soviet bloc? Solidarity, which has declared its
support for other East European, including
Soviet, workers who might try to establish
free trade unions, clearly does not think of it-
self as an exceptional case.
ALEXANDER HERZEN'S words, written
exactly 130 years ago, 20 years after Russia's
suppression of the Polish revolution of 1830,
may suggest an answer:
"The Russian government, having labored
for 20 years, has managed to tie Russia in-

dissolubly to revolutionary Europe. Boun-
daries no longer exist between Russia and
Poland ... Having joined Poland to Russia,
the government has erected a huge bridge
which begins at the Vistula and ends by the
Black Sea."n
Herzen's assessment was perhaps too op-
timstic for his time because the mass of the
Russian people, and the peoples who live bet-
ween Russia proper and Poland-the
Ukrainians, Lithuanians, Belorussians-were
too backward to understand the message of
Polish freedom fighters.
EVER SO, THE Poles did exert a powerful
influence on the Russian revolutionary
movement.
But things, are different now, and the
peoples of the U.S.S.R. and Eastern Europe
are quite familiar with the economic
problems that have ignited the political
upheaval in Poland: price increases, food
shortages caused by irrational agricultural
policies, waste, bureaucratic incompetence
and irresponsibility, failures in planning and
management.'.
Last November, Mykola Pohyba a
Ukrainian worker from Kiev serving a prison
term for campaigning for human rights,
wrote: "The recent events in Poland have
shown that the working class is capable of
leading the struggle for its rights and
freedoms... The- effectiveness of the
struggle waged depends on the degree of
solidarity of the working class, on the degree
of self-organization.
It is quite possible that in the coming mon-
ths and years this sentiment will be echoed by
more and more people in Bucharest and
Prague, Riga and Vilnius, Moscow and
Novosibirsk.
Szporluk is a University History
professor. He wrote this article for Pacific
News Service.

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LETTERS TO THE DAILY:
Work to improve the Daily, or

0 0

To the Daily:
Howard Witt's column has
ceased to be funny. The contest
that Howard Witt advocated in
his Oct. 20 column, "Why Are
You Reading the Daily?", is
almost as bad as the column it-
self.
The main reason the column
wins out for the "worst" award is
because Witt has failed to notice
the worst mistake the Daily has
made in four years-keeping on
a regular columnist who is un-
willing to do what is best for his
publication.
I shall not attempt to counter
Mr. Witt's claims of
mechanical mistakes and factual
errors; I find they are true to
some extent. Still, I cannot help
but wonder whether Mr. Witt's
self-glorifying criticisms would
have been better received by the
staff in an internal memo, rather
than being aired in public.
Somehow, the flavor of Mr.
Witt's article seems to portray a
man seated high atop a self-

established journalistic tower,
relishing in his ability to spout
rules and regulations from an
English text to the peons of "his"
newspaper.
Mr. Witt states in his column
that he no longer reads the Daily.
While that is an obvious fallacy
judging from his liberal referen-
ces to recent articles, he has
pointed out his own inability as a
perceptive reader. He quotes a
sentence, "The nine RA's and
RD's who don't meet the 2.5
grade point average requirement
will have until the end of the term
to bring up their grades before
being fired," and asks "And what
happens if they don't bring up
their grades?"
If Mr. Witt did not have his nose
buried looking for typos, he would
find that the sentence did answer
his question. Although there is no,
doubt that Mr. Witt knows how to
write-or at least to properly
construct sentences-perhaps he
could use a refresher course in
reading for content.

Mr. Witt comments that there
are enough conflicts among the
staff of the Daily to create an
award-winning soap opera. I
would like to congratulate him on
contributing to the-elimination of
this problem. When he came to
work Tuesday morning I'm sure
he found that, rather than
fighting among themselves, the
staff had aligned itself against
him.
Unfortunately, although he
may have eliminated petty
rivalries, it came at the expense
of any legitimate criticism he had
to offer. Mr. Witt calls the editors
aloof. I wonder whether he has
ever presented his comments
with anything but a condescen-
ding tone.
Yet, perhaps Mr. Witt is right
and The Michigan Daily is nothing
more than a second rate rag. Af-.
ter all, rather than having a

reporter stick a wet finger out the
window, the Daily takes the easy
way out by calling the National
Weather Service in Detroit. It's a
pity the Daily doesn't have the
foresight to budget for a
meteorologist.
If the Daily is all that Howard
says it is (or isn't), I wonder why
he allows his name and much
beloved image to be associated
with it. Perhaps in addition to not
reading the Daily Mr. Witt
should, like a rat fleeing from a
sinking ship, stop inflicting his
column upon a tired public and
get out before it's too late.
Preferably, he should continue
reading and channel his energies
and ideas into finding construc-
tive ways of making the Daily the
paper he expects it to be.
One question: Do I win a din-
ner, an album, or a t-shirt?
-Craig A. Satterlee
October 21

Jed ruins God's beauty

.. .quit Witt, you twit

To the Daily:
Howard Witt's column (Daily,
Oct. 20) displayed more hostility

him to the flaws that characterize
the paper?
I don't want to condemn

To the Daily:
It's a sin that the beauty of
God's love is being shadowed by
the daily rhetoric of our current
"diag-preachers." The God I

about us than any man bent on
screaming in the diag. These.
"diag-preachers" are anti-
women, anti-jews, anti-catholic,
anti-gay, anti-liberal, anti-

'

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