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October 31, 1981 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1981-10-31

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OPINION

0

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

Saturday, October 31, 1981

Wasserman

Vol. XCiI, No. 45

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, Ml 48109

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

Watt a surprise

WE of THE NEW Ri&WrT
$E-1EVE IN EQUAL
JUS~TICE BEFORE THE LAW
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BUT THAT DoESN'T
IMPI-Y THE RI&HT TO
A FREE LAWYER

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T4ERE AR's PEpLC-,
OF COURsE-, WHtO
CAN1NoT AFFORD' Ciiq5L

The Michigan Daily
THEY 5HOtV STAY
OUT OF TROUBLE

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INTERIOR SECRETARY James
Watt has come up with a few sur-
prises lately-and, surprisingly,
they've been pleasant. Watt's latest
retreat from his pro-development
stance occurred when he announced he
would drop plans for a hydroelectric
project that would have affected the
flow of the Colorado River through the
Grand Canyon.
The original position, Watt said in a
statement issued Thursday, was "the
wrong idea at the wrong place at the
wrong time." In other words, it was a
mistake.
The original plan would have
changed the water level of the
Colorado River, and might have had
devastating effects on the surrounding
vegitation, fish, and wildlife habitats.
The development could have also had
irreparably altered the river bed.
Watt's decision Thursday was one in
a series of surprising pro-
environmental actions. Earlier this
year, for instance, Watt opposed the
Dickey-Lincoln dam in northern
Maine. The dam would have filled

much of the St. Johns River valley to
provide additional electric power for
New England. He also supported
legislation prohibiting federal floor in-
surance for development of currently
undeveloped barrier islands. This
move may help discourage construc-
tion on the offshore islands.
Perhaps Watt has begun to alter his
former hard-line stance on the virtues
of development over preservation. But
it seems doubtful. Watt's past ex-
perience as president of the Mountain
States Legal Foundation, a fiercely
pro-development legal organization in
Colorado, and many of his anti-en-
vironmental moves as interior
secretary, have indicated the man's
disregard for the country's natural
resources.
A more logical explanation is that
some of the pressure environmental
groups such as the Sierra Club and
National Audobon Society have placed
on the Reagan administration to
remove Watt has gotten through to the
interior secretary. Whatever the case,
James Watt is coming up with a few
surprises-and they're good ones.

1

Ready with revolver in 1890

Inter-class rivalries are practically non-
existent in 1981; but in 1890 rivalries bet-
ween upper and lower classmen were

By
Will McLean Greeley
acute-and occasionally dangerous. The
following article appeared in the October
10, 1890 Daily, and illustrates the impor-
tance of dress and tradition between
members of the junior and senior classes.

A JUNIOR LAW PROTECTS HIMSELF
'WITH A REVOLVER; CULMINATION
OF THE TROUBLE THAT HAS
BEEN GATHERING FOR
SEVERAL DAYS
Two or three junior laws (law students)
have been assuming airs too aristocratic, so it
seems to the learned seniors, by wearing
"tiles" (hats).
Thursday last one of these guileless "tiles"
was conducting a junior downstairs from the
Law lecture room, it was struck by rude
senior hands and forced down the head of the
now unhappy junior. To his further discom-
fiture the junior was hustled and pounded
over the dusty floor, losing a part of his
clothing in the melee.
Yesterday, when the juniors were ready oto
come down, it was rumored that the seniors
would repeat the dose of etiquette to another
junior. But they didn't. Listen why. A large

number of juniors went down 'and formed
near the stairs. Then the obnoxious hat came
down followed by about one hundred of the
largest juniors with blood and determination
stamped on every feature.
This afternoon the matter assumed a more
serious phase. The plucky junior came from
the lecture at 3 o'clock, still wearing the ob-
noxious tile. He was followed out into the
street by a crowd of threatening seniors.
Hemmed in on all sides at the corner of State
and Williams streets he drew a revolver and
kept his antagonists off with a heavy cane.
The latter seeing that the junior was in dead
earnest, decided that discretion was the bet-
ter part of valor, and permitted the man to
pass on his way.

*9

NEXT WEEK: PARKING TICKETS,.
POLICE, AND U STUDENT, 1959

Our pals, the Saudis

U.S.

AMERICA WAS treated to a
fascinating lesson in friendship
this week.
On Thursday, hours after the U.S.
Senate bowed to pressure from
President Reagan and voted to ap-
prove the largest arms sale in history
to Saudi Arabia, a Saudi Arabian of-
ficial conveyed his deepest gratitude to
America for the arms deal. "The Saudi
people," said Saudi Defense Minister
Abdel-Aziz, "will never forget this
stand by their friends."
Also on Thursday, our Saudi friends
announced that they would be doing us,
the inestimable service of bringing the
OPEC cartel back together. OPEC, it
was announced, will set a common
base price of a barrel for the crude oil.
its members produce.-
Later in the day, the Reagan ad-
ministration busied itself discounting
the OPEC decision, claiming the action
would lower the price that all but one of
the OPEC suppliers charge for oil.
Unfortunately, the one country that
is raising the price is America's
largest oil supplier: Saudi Arabia.-
The price increase in Saudi crude

will probably mean that the average'
price per barrel of OPEC oil will in-
crease by $1 to $2 per barrel. It also
means that the price of gasoline sold in
retail outlets in the United States can
be expected to increase between 2 and
3 cents per gallon. But heck, what's a
few cents between friends?
It is indeed a curious friendship the
administration is cultivating with the
Saudis. The administration gets to
commit a substantial amount of
political capital-and political
machismo-to a bloody, open fight on
the Senate floor; the Saudis get to rein-
force the strength of a commodity car-
tel aimed directly at the West. The
American government agrees to sell
billions of dollars of sophisticated
weaponry to an absolute but poten-
tially unstable monarchy; the Saudis
get the ability to attack one of
America's staunchest allies.
It seems, at best, an uncertain frien-
dship. But somehow it seems to fit well
with an administration where less is
more, where the way to increase tax
receipts is to cut tax rates, and where
the way to feed the poor is to carve up
the food stamp budget.

underground not

new

S

By Frank Browning
NEW YORK-Ruth and I were
tucked away in a corner of a
neighborhood bar just off the
Bowery. It was late in the after-,
noon, the Yankees were blaring
away on TV and a gang of fans
were slamming their fists on the
bar to the steady march of the
game.
Ruth neither saw nor heard
anything of the ball game. Like
perhaps half my friends in New
York last week she was con-
sumed by the unfolding drama of
the Brink's armored truck rob-
bery that had left two cops and
one guard dead on the highway.
t"ANGRY?" SHE spat out, her
eyes on fire. "You've got no idea
how angry I am. How could
anyone be so stupid as to pull that
kind of stunt in the middle of
Rockland County, where half the
cops in New York live, and then
to drive onto a freeway where you
can't escape? And to leap out
with shotguns blazing, loaded
with hollow point slugs? It's one
colossal screw-up."
Ruth had once been close to the
Weather Underground. She had
been invited to join, to take a
leadership role (in the parliance
of today) and thereby to organize
the revolutionary army of the
new working class. Those were
the times when the committed
were distinguished from the un-
committed by their sure belief
that there would be "a revolution
in our lifetime."
Ruth had in fact lived "un-
derground" for several years,
although she had not chosen to
ally herself directly with the
Weatherpeople.
"I REMEMBER very well
when it all started," she said.
"They truly believed that
thousands of angry workers
would be joining the
revolutionary army. There would
be clarion calls from the factory
gates. And I remember, too,
saying, 'But what if they don't
join us by the thousands? What if
it's just knocking out banks and
police stations in the middle of
the night? What will that
mean?' "
Ruth's question of a dozen

New York detectives escort Eve Rosahn after she was charged in
connection with the robbery of a Brinks truck in Rockland County,
New York, last week. The robbery was allegedly perpetrated by
members of the Weather Underground.

Bill Ayers, Kathy Wilkerson and
others.
But what of those who chose to
stay below, whom the FBI now
identifies as terrorists on a par
with the PLO, the Red Brigade,
and the German Red Army fac-
tion? Is thererany conceivable
justification for a political un-
derground in American today?
ANOTHER RADICAL, a
lawyer who has devoted his life to
the defense of political dissidents
and the disenfranchised, framed
the question a different way: "Is
there any way this can be con-
sidered a genuine political
cause?" he asked.
On both coasts, and across the
belly of this country, two sets of
people have been preoccupied
with just that question during the
last week. When is a bank rob-
bery just another bank robbery,
and when is it invested with a
political resonance that tran-
sforms it into an act of courage
and secret heroism?
For the FBI, and indeed for
most commentators in the press,
the answer is simple: Bank rob-
bers, people who organize jail
breaks, people who blow up
police stations in the dead of the
night, are all violent criminals
preying on the legitimate. The
very fact that they work "un-
derground" in a democratic
society is ample evidence that
they are its enemies, and that
they are incapable of winning
genuine support from honorable
citizens.
IT IS A NEAT formula, but it

bank robberies was unsurpassed
and included a gory handful of in-
cidental killings.
Yet a few weeks before he was
shot, Dillinger was able to spend
an entire week walking the
streets of his hometown,
Mooresville,snd., untouched.
Even a Mooresville banker ad-
mitted that he personally had
seen Dillinger "visiting around
with his old friends." Asked later
if someone there didn't feel like
turning the outlaw in, the banker
answered flatly, "Nobody ever
did."
BY NO STRETCH of the
imagination did John Dillinger
regard himself as a political
radical. Yet so great was popular
rancor toward the banks that
were daily foreclosing on Mid-
western farmers, that he was
able to easily move across the
countryside without exposure.
John Dillinger's underground
was the unorganized un-
derground of popular resen-
tment. But there have been other
undergrounds in the American
past,_ often carefully organized
and frequently based on rank
brutality.
The slave rebellions on the an-
te-bellum South, many of them
aided by the white terrorist ex-
tremists of their day, the radical
abolitionists, were nearly all very
bloody affairs. One of the most
brutal and most morally
questionable was John Brown's
famous 1865 assault on a farm
run by pro-slavery sympathizers
in Pottawatomie, Kan., in which

Standard histories describe
John Brown as an extremist, but
not as a terrorist out to destroy
the American system-which in
fact he was. For the American,
system was predicated and
operated on a racism that was as
viciously oppressive as any con-
temporary underground, in-:
cluding the underground railroad
that for several decades
smuggled saves to freedom, that
enabled blacks both to rebel and.
to find refuge. It was for that
reason that white radicals like
John Brown, working in tandem
with black militants, foun4'
political resonance in America. N
"But what of 1981, 118 yearsaf-
ter the Emancipation
Proclamation, when a black,
judge sits on the Supreme
Court?" my friend the lawyer
asked. "Let's suppose the police
are right, that the handfulaof
Weatherpeople still underground
are working with the Black
Liberation Army, that they may
have had a hand breaking Assata6
Shakur (BLA member Joanna,.
Chesimard) out of jail, and that
these recent bank robberies area
all aimed at the support of an un-.,i
derground'of black and Puerto
Rican radicals. Who even .in.
black America, except maybe a;a.
few people on the fringe, supports
the notion of a radical un-
derground of black militants?".
I ASKED THAT question of
another friend, an instructor of
political science at the City
University of New York. "Two;
years ago," he said, "when;
Assata Shakur broke out of jail, I
asked my freshman class how,
many people even knew who she
was. About a third raised their
hands. Not one white student
knew. Every black student did.
When I asked the black kids what
they felt about her escape, no one
said a word. They just smiled."
Mae Jackson, a black social
worker; playwright and mother
in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section
of Brooklyn, did talk, and
heatedly. "There have always
been underground movements in
this country, whenever and,
wherever we've had oppressed
people," she said. "If you create
conditions of oppression, you're
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