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March 12, 1983 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1983-03-12

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Page 4

Saturday, March 12, 1983

The Michigan Dail-

&W IIithtigau Ial
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan


of communiE

more imagination than fact


Vol. XCIII, No. 126

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial BoardI
Big Brother and the FBI

By Vladimir Solovyov

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y f4

S SCHOLARS are huddling at the
University for a conference on
George Orwell's 1984, the Senate is
scheduling hearings on new Federal
Bureau of Investigation rules that
would bring the specter of Big Brother
all that much closer.
Attorney General William French
Smith issued weakened guidelines for
FBI surveillance of groups who sup-
posedly advocate political and social
change through use of violence. Smith
seems intent upon returning the nation
to days when the FBI abused its
powers to infiltrate and spy on
Americans in feminist, civil rights, an-
,i-war, and socialist groups.
When such abuses were exposed in
the mid-'70s, strict rules were issued to
:purtail such activities and bring the
federal agents back under the law and
the Constitution. But the new rules
would again unleash a politically
motivated FBI on unpopular political
-The guidelines would allow the FBI
to launch a full-scale investigation if a
group's mere statements advocate

"criminal activity." The discretion, of
course, if left up to law-enforcement
officials, and the distinction between
political dissent and criminality could
easily be lost along with the First
Amendment rights of free speech and
peaceable assemblage.
What individuals and groups would
have then, are rights that could sum-
marily be swept away in a misguided
FBI witch hunt for domestic subver-
sives. And tactics used for such in-
vestigations wouldn't be far from the
truncheons and telescreens of Orwell's
While nonconsensual wiretaps and
bugs could only be used under laws
already in existence, the scope of
group and activities which they could
be used against would be greatly
broadened, as would searches and
seizures. Can "reasonable" break-ins
be far behind?
The new guidelines, despite wide
conservative support, are heading
law enforcement in the wrong direc-
tion. The nation should be moving
away from 1984, not toward it.

Exactly 100 years this month Karl Marx
died, leaving behind him a prophecy which
was to haunt the West for generations: that
the "specter" of communism confronted all
of Europe.
If one accepts at face value the assertions of
the Reagan administration, that specter
today haunts America's own hemisphere. But
is it actually the same ghost? Or is it, in ef-
fect, a specter of a specter, born in part of the
unbridled and arbitrary imagination of
Americans, rather than of actual facts?
THE FIRST realnspecter, which in
the past century frightened
Europe with a gravedigger's spade meant to
bury capitalism alive, ended its day in the
boundless expanses of Russia. Over its gave a
more skillful gravedigger, Joseph Stalin,
erected the tombstone of a national-
chauvinist empire.
As for the contemporary Eurocommunist
specter, it is more a namesake than a true
relative of Marx's specter. It has given up
haunting and settled down, peaceably taking
its place in parliaments, and in France, even
in the government. In Europe they have
discovered that the best way to tame a spec-
ter is to domesticate it and give it the status of
a living human being, along with the other
members of a pluralistic society.
The situation is different in America.
where the specter has been reanimated in its
most improbable sinister aspect and declared
responsible for all of the world's problems,
from the pacifist movement in Western
Europe to social instability in Central
America. It allegedly threatens to overwh-
elm those countries like so many dominoes
and ultimately to menace the holy-of-holies of
world democracy, the W hite House, which
stays awake all night to do battle against the
invisible ghost.
THE SPECTER of communism arose out of
fear, and fears have a most regretable at-
tribute: They may be realized. I for one, very
much fear that the specter of communism
now being invoked jointly by the White House,
the State Department and U.N. Ambassador
Jeanne Kirkpatrick will one day materialize
and indeed challenge the Western
Hemisphere with its presence.


AP Photo
President Reagan points to the specter of communism in Central America.

Problems remain at EPA

Yet this development will only be ac-
celerated if the U.S. government continues to
support anti-popular, repressive regimes in
Central America, driving local advocates of
reform into the arms of Moscow. Thus, not so
long ago, the United States isolated Fidel
Castro and contributed a good deal toward his
adoption of the communist faith - although,
when he came to power he was virtually the
contradiction of Marxist-Leninist ideology.
In 1983, America is effecting a similar
metamorphosis with the Sandinistas of
Nicaragua and the Salvadoran rebels. Should
the trend continue, Washington will create not
one but many communist specters in neigh-
boring countries. The upshot, in fact, may be
the domino theory in action, but with the first
push against that fragile regional structure
coming from Washington.
TO PREVENT the transformation of the
Western Hemisphere into a classic haunted
house, the United States must halt such ar-

tificial cultivation of communist specters.
It is better to have the Salvadoran leftists in
a coalition government than in the
Salvadoran mountains.
It is better, by means of holding talks, to turn
the Sandinistas into Social Democrats-like
those now in power in Spain, France, and
Greece-than, by frightening and isolating
them, to make then into Soviet puppets.
It is even time to approach Fidel Castro, to
wean him away from Moscow, instead of
trying to overthrow him and install a new
Batista, thereby creating favorable con-
ditions for the emergence of another Fidels
It is better, in sum, to have tame specters
than wild ones, and in the process to shake a
self-defeating paranoia.
Solovyov, a Russian-born historian,
wrote this article for the Pacific News

NNE BURFORD'S resignation as
head of the Environmental Pro-
tection Agency may not signal the
beginning of a cleanup at the agency.
Instead it signals an effort by a Reagan
administration attempting to cut its
political losses before much more
harm is done. The cleanup at the agen-
cy can only begin when the president
stops circumventing the laws and
either enforces them or tries to change
The whole mess, dubbed
'Sewergate" by some, could have
been avoided if the Reagan ad-
ministration were not so bent on in-
sisting its policies are correct whether
or not the laws of this nation say the
same. Reagan and his inner circle
have gotten themselves into hot water
before by trying to get around existing
laws instead of trying to change them.
'This time the water boiled over
because the people involved - Bur-
ford, Rita Lavelle, and others - may
have gone beyond just being
distasteful a la James Watt, and com-
mitted illegal acts.
As such, the problems at the agency
will not go away now that many of
those apparently guilty of at least

being overzealous in their execution of
Reagan policy. These people were
merely "team players," carrying out
the administration line.
The congressional investigation
should not end now that the "bad ap-
ples" have been picked from the tree.
Quite to the contrary, the in-
vestigations can now apparently
proceed without further interruption
since Reagan has also turned over all
the documents the various committees
The president can't put off all the
people complaining about the affair as
'environmental extremists." He
should appoint someone willing to
execute the laws governing the agen-
cy, not figure out ways to get around
Congress also needs to be careful
that another Anne Burford is not con-
firmed as head of the agency. In
demanding a nominee who is willing to
serve the people - not the president -
Congress can also signal the president
that he needs to change his posture on
the environment and lean a little fur-
ther away from big business toward
cleaning up the big toxic mess big
business has left behind.

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Dialogue on state budget inhibited

To the Daily:
We are all tired to tussling with
the question of PIRGIM's right-
or-privilege to use the University
as a fundraising devise, but
reading Wednesday's Daily casts
some new light on this
"educational" group's nature.
PIRGIM claims to be "non-
partisan" (as stated by the letter
on the editorial page by two
PIRGIM members). But the ar-
ticle concerning the pitch for

needs really are, or how this sub-'
stantial tax increase will affect
the Michigan economy - and I do
not count those in the legislature
or in the executive among those
in the know.
The state budget is in disarray,
which is probably the ony thing
we do know. But Lansing has
failed to make the hard choices.
They have failed to address the
real problems of directionless
growth in state government and

sell the tax increase in the guise
of a discussion of the State's all-
too-real fiscal crisis, one wonders
about their non-partisanship.
This is not to say that PIRGIM
is a Democratic front-group
anymore than are efforts to
remove PIRGIM's fund-raising
privilege a Republican con-

spiracy - clearly neither is true.
But when PIRGIM inhibits real 4
dialogue on Michigan's problems
by advocating a cover-up tax
measure as it did Wednesday
night, one wonders whose in-
terests PIRGIM is trying to ser-
ve. -Martin B. Tatuch
March 9


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