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March 09, 1983 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1983-03-09

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4

OPINION

Page 4

Wednesday, March 9, 1983

The

'U,

and

change in

The Michigan Daily
South Africa

By Patrick Mason
The University's attitude toward the issue
of divestment from South Africa must be
publicly labelled for what it is - a cruel and
callous farce bred in arrogance, ignorance, and
greed. The administration would have us
believe that because they have begun to con-
sider divestment from four firms operating in
South Africa that they are truly concerned
about the destruction of apartheid through
"peaceful" means. Hardly. It is only a
publicity stunt, and a vulgar one at that.
Obviously, Harold Shapiro's administration
- not the University - has chosen to seize the
propaganda initiative against its opponents.
For those who claim that it is immoral to invest
in companies that don't adhere to the Sullivan
Principles, the administration would be able to
claim that they too have see the light by
divesting from Carnation, Dunn and Brad-
street, IDraft, and Trane.
FOR THOSE who claim that state law for-
bids Shapiro's administration from continued
investment in companies operating in South
Africa, divestments from the companies men-
tioned would add substance to the ad-
ministration's claim that opposition to state
law is not based on opposition to the underlying
moralsentiment of the law but on genuine con-
stitutional issues. After all, by divesting from
those companies which don't uphold the
Sullivan Principles, the administration is
giving demonstrative evidence of a sincere
desire "to adopt policies to end apartheid
peacefully." Garbage.
Let us suppose that all 40 of the companies
the University has investments in are in full
compliance with the Sullivan Principles. So
what? These companies would still be suppor-
ters of apartheid: Any corporation operating

/;
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wages and status of employment of black
workers to be commensurate with their white
counterparts,, costs would increase and profits
would fall. Not many companies operate on the
principles of suicide finance. As J.P. Morgan
once stated, "Any company that pays any of its
workers more than the minimum it can get
away with is cheating its stockholders."
EVEN AT their best then, the Sullivan Prin-
ciples are irrelevant. They do not address the
central question of power, nor do they make
realistic assumptions about the nature of
business in a capitalist society. Obviously they
were designed only for purposes of internal
consumption, i.e. they are a public relations
device for American corporations which have
been pressured to justify their existence in
South Africa.
There are also several issues to be examined
in the South African conflict. Is nonviolent
change possible? The African National
Congress, a liberation movement which has
been in existence about 90 years, seems to have
answered this question with an unambiguous
no; and rightfully so. How often has it been that
a powerful few has voluntarily relinquished
power to allow it to be shared by all?
Southern slaveholders didn't voluntarily free
their slaves. It took a civil war. Powerful lan-
downers didn't voluntarily open the political
process to peons in Mexico. That development
only began with the revolution of 1910.
THE SOUTH African situation is even more
difficult than any of the aforementioned
struggles. The Mexican peons and the African
Americans after the civil war, were recognized
citizens of their respective countries.
But non-citizens have no legal, moral, or
political right to power in an alien country. The
Sullivan Principals can do absolutely nothing
to reverse this process of decitizenization.

In light of these facts, I ask the following
questions:
" Can the same government which had mem-
bers of its leadership interned during World
War II for being Nazi sympathizers be tran-
sformed non-violently?
" Can the same government that gunned
down 13-15 year old children in the student
uprisings in Soweto during the mid '70s be tran-
sformed nonviolently?
. Can the same government which con-
tinuously tries to destabilize all of its neighbors
be transformed nonviolently?
Given the realities of the South African, non-
violent resistance can't be a viable means of
achieving power by blacks. The process of
socialization and acculturation of Afrikaaner
society forbids sustained use of any non-
violent option. There can be no plea bargaining
with racists.
As a full believer in Pan-Africanism - the
idea that the African diaspora exists as one - I
am greatly angered at the Shapiro ad-
ministration's lack of sensitivity in handling
the issue of divestment and failure to under-
stand how deeply it affects many African-
Americans.
I believe (and I think that many other blacks
would agree as well) that the administration's
- and America's - attitude towards African
affairs is only a reflection of its attitude towar-
ds blacks in general.
Thus, the entire issue of divestment can be
viewed by blacks on this campus as a clear in-
dicator of the degree to which Shapiro's ad-.
ministration is realistically willing to deal with,
any issue of concern to blacks.
Mason is a graduate student in economics. s -

within South Africa has to obey the laws of the
land as laid down by the Afrikaaners. These!
laws, indeed their entire culture, are based on
the assumption that whites (i.e. Afrikaaners)
have the God-given authority to rule forever
without sharing power with anyone.
THE REAL issue in South Africa is not
whether blacks and whites can go to the same
bathrooms, swim in the same pool, or stroll in
the same parks. The real issue is the tran-
sference of power. No company which aides
blacks in gaining a greater share of power in
South Africa will be long tolerated by the
Afrikaaners. As Frederick Douglass once
stated, "There is no progress without

struggle.... Power never concedes anything
without a demand. It never has, it never will."
It is neither the general nature, desire, nore
business of American businesses in South
Africa to struggle for social progress; nor is it
the business of business to become political ad-
vocates of the oppressed. No demands, no
struggle, no change. It is only the business of
business to maximize profits - subject to the
constraints of the environment in which they
operate. Moreover if these constraints aren't.
profits below what they deem normal, there is
no incentive to advocate change.
Additionally there are other realities to be
considered. If businesses really upgraded the

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Stewart

7' .

-

Ic-

Vol. XCIII, No. 123

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

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

AFTER EXAMINING the Budget
Priorities Committee's recom-
mendation to cut the School of Art's
budget by 25 percent and reading the
subcommittee report that the recom-
mendation is based on, several major
flaws in the committee's proceedings
are readily apparent and very distur-
bing. The subcommittee report and the
final recommendation are full of un-
substantiated claims and point to the
need for change in the way the budget
committee functions.
The art school subcommittee report
praised various portions of the school
and its overall success within and out-
side the University community. The
report also criticized the overall
strength of the faculty and the school's
apparent lack of sufficient interaction
with the rest of the University. But
justification for these claims is vir-
tually nonexistent.
The documentation that would allow
everyone to make an informed
judgment on both the subcommittee
and full committee recommendations
is plainly msising. Why, for instance,
did the full committee override the
subcommittee's recommended 10 to 15
percent cut and call for a 25 percent cut
when the subcommittee said such a cut
was too steep?The full committee's two
and a quarter page statement did not
explain its decision. The committee
claims only to have a better overall
perspective on the University's full
A&ASCONTINUED CONTROL OF
WFATU7MW'NILMEA.
CES

budget outlook.
Furthermore, no information on the
proceedings is available other than the
insufficient reports and comments
from committee chairwoman Mary
Ann Swain. By agreement, no other
committee member is allowed to
comment until the reports are made
public. But even after the reports are
released, committee members let
Swain speak for them.
Suspicion of the committee's work
also is promoted because the entire
proceedings go on behind closed doors.
The one or two public hearings the
Unviersity administration holds after
the budget committee's recommen-
dation has been turned in do not give
the rest of the University much input
into the reallocation and redirection
process. No one except thercommittee
members themselves know for sure
what the real reasons are for the
suggested cuts.
No one will ever know whether these
suggestions are workable and prudent
unless the committee members open
their files, their meetings, and their
mouths to answer the questions, con-
cerns, and criticisms many in the
University have. The School of Art
budget report and recommendations
will be under examination only for a
short while longer. But unless the
Budget Priorities Committee changes
its procedures, suspicion of the entire
budget process will continue long after
the reviews are over.
1\E DEMORATS Sh/ T DECDNTROL
WLL EW 66EQ
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MIRRORl, MIRiBOR11

LETTERS TO THE DAILY:

PIR GIM members clarify position

To the Daily:
Recent articles and editorials
in The Michigan Daily have in-
dicated that some misunderstan-
ding exists regarding both
PIRGIM's current "positive
donation" system at CRISP and
our proposal for a voluntary
refusable and refundable fee
system. We wish to clarify
several aspects of the issue so
that the University community
can finally be correctly infor-
med.
When PIRGIM was founded on
this campus in 1972 with petitions
signed by 16,000 students (the
largest such drive in the history
of the University of Michigan),
they were demonstrating support
not only for the establishment of
the organization. In the petition,
students also instructed the
University to act as a collecting
agent for the monies they would
raise from assessing themselves
$1.50 per term to fund PIRGIM.
The University, however,

any kind. PIRGIM was a test
case, and the Regents
acknowledged that by
establishing criteria, at the
January, 1979, meeting, for the
collection of special fees (p. 182 of
the Regents' minutes), the basis
for which was the PIRGIM
petition drive. Presently, a
student group that is recognized
by MSA, is non-partisan and non-
profit, and demonstrates an
educational benefit to students
may attempt to gain funding by
presenting a petition signed by
the majority of students.
The origins of PIRGIM's
position on the SVF is not an issue
of large proportions. The real
issue is : Do we, as students, still
feel that a student-directed
resource, such as PIRGIM, is
worth voluntarily assessing our-
selves a $2.00 fee each term?
The present donation system
drains a lot of PIRGIM time and
energy, but we accept this con-
dition if it serves to inform people

conscientious minority is respon-
sible for funding a resource ser-
ving the majority.
If our public schools were sup-
ported only by those citizens
whose children were enrolled,
our educational system would
suffer a continuous, unpredic-
table cycle of collapse and
rejuvenation. Most assuredly,
this situation would not be caused
by disinterest or antipathy for
public education.
There exists a psychological
discrepancy between a
"donation" and a "tax," the ef-
fects of which are pronounced
and detrimental in the case of
PIRGIM's positive donation
system. Because we are com-
pelled to solicit these donations in
the harried and tense atmosphere
of CRISP, we cannot present our-
selves or be received effectively
enough to be fair to either the
students or to PIRGIM.
We have considered and recon-
sidered many alternate methods

PIRGIM are the first to admit
that it is not perfect.
We therefore recognize our
responsibility to inform and
educate students who will par-,1
ticipate in the funding procedure.
Our provision of refunds is the
symbol of that recognition,
because it is designed especially
to compensate for those students
who might inadvertantly assess
themselves the fee. We believe
that this and all other conditions
of the system make it as
equitable as possible.
We hope that ,tudents will
benefit from tnis inf'rmation is
they formulate opinions on the
issue involved. The PIRGIM of-
fice, at 4106 Michigan Union (662-
6597), is open to everyone who
cares to discuss his or her con-
cerns, ask questions, or join the
organization.
With any means of funding,
PIRGIM will strive to continue
functioning to the best of its'
ability, but the system we

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