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September 10, 1983 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1983-09-10

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I

OPINION

Page 4

Saturday, September 10, 1983

The Michigan Daily

he fichia n Baily
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan
420 Maynard St.
Vol. XCIV - No. 3 Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Boord

Wasserman

Brave New
BRACE YOUSELF, the computer
age has hit the University full force
this fall. It seems like CRISP and MTS ,
mated and their offspring are taking a
byte out of campus.
Congratulations, have a cigar, and
meet GEAC, CAEN, and Validine, the
newest members of the University's
microchip menagerie.
GEAC, presently only a precocious
infant, is organizing the University's
five largest libraries. But when full-
grown, it will touch the rest of the
campus's shelves and card catalogs.
CAEN, the College of Engineering's
new computer, is currently the runt of
the litter. But with $100 meals from
each engineering student each term,.it
is sure to sprint past MTS as the
college's primary computer system.
And for those of you who thought you
were safe from all of this in the campus
dorms, there's Validine, the latest in
space-age meal-card technology.
What other horrors will the English
majors of tomorrow encounter?
Perhaps the obscene chants of
"Bullshit" during football games will
be computer synchronized so that
several drunken fools aren't always
five seconds late.
Or maybe frisbee traffic over the

University
diag will be monitored by air traffic
control radar atop Mason Hall in order
to protect preachers and protesters
from the 165 gram projectiles.
Will Ann Arbor be compared with
Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World,"
or worse yet, Walt Disney World's EP-
COT center?
No, probably not. Those computer
systems will likely accomplish exactly
what they are supposed to. Sure,
CAEN will probably break down some
night before you have an assignment
due. And yes, you will probably hear
how GEAC mistakenly credited your
friend with 167 overdue books.
But for all the criticism those plastic
terminals will no doubt get, they will
probably make student life easier in
the long run. Lines will be shorter, hold
credits will be erased faster after
paying them, and homework for
engineers will be less of a chore.
The registration computer, CRISP,
was one of the first of it's kind in the
nation. It receives its share of
criticism, but you don't hear anyone
asking to go back to the chaos of
registration day when it was held in
Waterman gymnasium.
Campus computers may take their
knocks, but in the end students will be
glad they are around.

«.../
.
.-
/I

Football fun with Bo's boys

ANTICIPATION IS running high
right about now. The excitement
is at a fevered pitch and hope, never-
ending hope, is guitihh t im'l4A ff
millions of Michigah xsawaiting
today's kickoff of the 1983 college foot-
ball season.
It's time for the Go Blue spirit in all
'of us to surface as we descend
upon Michigan Stadium to sing another
chorus of "The Victors."
For a few hours today, while Bo's
boys rack up another win on the way to
another Rose Bowl trip, Wolverine
fans can forget about life. We can
forget that many of the "students"
playing their hearts out for the 105,000
screaming faithful are no more studen-
ts than Coach Bo is immortal.
We can forget trying to figure out
what Athletic Director Don Canham
means when he says ticket scalping

doesn't happen here as we walk past
the "salespeople" in front of the Union.
We can forget about the latest efforts
to rid the stddiium of alcohol as we add-
liquid that resehmleI water to the hot"
apple cider bought on the way toward
the gates.
And we can forget about the group of
friends who'll be sitting in our seats.
Instead, think of how happy toilet
paper makers are whenever the Maize
and Blue scores. Or figure out how the
numbers on the seats seem to get
closer every year.
Saturday afternoons in the fall in
Ann Arbor are for having fun, loving
and hating Bo (often at the same
time),and tailgates. It's a time to enjoy
the surroundings, win or lose.
But it sure is a lot more fun when
Michigan fans can sing "the Victors"
with a little extra conviction.

The third anniversary of the
strike in the Lenin shipyard in
Gdansk, Poland, marks not only
the beginning of the "self-
limiting revolution" in Poland,
but also the final death throes of
its official communist ideology.
The first sign of something new
in August 1980 came when the
mutinous workers refused to be
impressed by changes in the
government and by the hatchet
job done on the most unpopular
party officials. As Bogdan Lis,
the strike's officer and current
underground leader in Gdansk,
told me then: "We are not in--
terested in replacing a few can-
dles in the candelabra. We don't
(,pyra~ boutthe whole can-
delabra."
My editor at Warsaw's
Kultura, a weekly magazine,
almost fainted when .told by a
young reporter who had just
returned from Gdansk: "That
party of your's is a dead dog
now." It sounded like a
blasphemy in Warsaw, but in
Gdansk it already was a common
statement. And soon such an
opinion would shock no one in
Poland.
DISCUSSIONS about the
viability of the Communist Party
had been going on for a long time.
People would state that they were
wholeheartedly in favor of
socialism, but then they would
give detailed accounts of how bad
things were going in the factory,
office, institute, or town. They
usually concluded with a simple
shrug or moved on to another
topic. What could they do
anyway? Those at the helm were
bums. Communism, as such, was
a nice idea, but somehow difficult
to fine-tune in practical life.
But beginning in 1981 the tone
and substance of such discussions
changed. People wondered how
long the regime would last and
what were the best ways to
bypass it. They would refer to
"the Reds" or "they," instead of
"party;" "this system" instead
of "socialism."
The taboo against open
ideological treason was gone. The
question that literally all can-
didates running for election to
Solidarity's ruling body had to
answer during the union's first
Congress in the fall of 1981 was:
"Have you ever been a Com-
munist Party member and, if so,
when did you quit?"
NOW, THREE years after that
historic strike and 19 months af-
ter the imposition of martial law
by General Jaruzelski, the
regime he rules has strength, but
it lacks the legitimacy that
ideology used to provide.
Ideological faith is indispen-
sable to communist rule. One
needs an ideology if one wants a
small, arbitrarily selected group
to decide how many black shoes

".
Communist
ideology dies
in Poland
By Marius, Ziomecki
great hopes as young Stalinists years of official "progress,""
dreamed of constructing a new, Poland was devastated 'and
fair world with a share of hap- helplessly in debt.
piness for everybody. But
something went wrong; reality THE UNION'S language itself
fell short of the beautiful visions, was a blow to the deceptions of
It is difficult to discredit ideas in ideology: clear, precise, to the
which one has invested so much, point. It encouraged Poles to
In a sense I am grateful to Jaruzelski
that he forced me to get out of that
shit.'
- a former editor
of the communist
magazine Kultura

practically all workers and party
rank-and-file, returned their
membership cards. Some burned
them in public. The small party
cell at the magazine Kultura,
where I worked, dissolved on
Dec. 14, 1981, one day after the
coup. The executive editor,. who
now drives a cab in Warsaw, was
jubilant: "In a sense I am
grateful to Jaruzelski that he for-
ced me to get out of that shit."
NOW THERE isa new stage in
Poland's postwar history: the
post-ideology period.
It is traumatic to lose one's
illusions. But knowing the grim
truth is more promising for the
future. Intellectual ferment is as
intense as ever.-A people once
reduced to passive resignation or
hatred think, discuss, and argue
politics. -They are bitter, even
resentful, but they work on,'
positive programs, building
political parties, planning tactics
for today and goals" for tomorrow.
Poles freed themselves from
the worst possible oppression -
the one that captured their min-
ds. They see things differently
now.

Thus, Jaruzelski cannot use
ideology to cement his power; he
can only rule by force. But before
retreating to the use of naked for-
ce - which could jeopardize
prospects for peaceful coexisten-
ce with Western banks - Eastern
bloc rulers always use one, last-
ditch argument: geopolitics.

E

ENDER AP! THE WHOLE TROUBLE BEGAN
WHEN THEY GOT THE VOTE
c~O0 Q
1
--o-

so people tended to blame not the
concept, but the way in which it
was, carried out. Even the elite
indirectly accused itself of in-
competence, thus deflecting the
challenge to the system itself.
The concept of incompetence
saved ideology for a long time,
but it could not save it forever.
Solidarity started with con-
cessions to ideology. "We are not
questioning the ideas of
socialism," I heard Lech Walesa
say in the Gdansk shipyard
during the negotiations in August
1980. I think he was quite sincere.
But Solidarity was an earthquake
which ultimately rocked and
destroyed the very foundation of
socialism.
Its deadliest weapon was in-
formation. The press quickly
freed itself from the leash and
showered the public for 16 mon-
ths with shocking facts about the
condition of the country. After 35

think and speak straight in
public. Government and party of-
ficials had to stick to their ob-
fuscating jargon, while Solidarity
Weekly explained that the very
word "socialism" was too im-
precise to be used in meaningful
communication.
Solidarity proposed a package
of reforms aimed at improving
the effectiveness of the economy
and social institutions. But the
reforms were rejected by the
system, and the rejection
discredited the theory of incom-
petence. The basic premise of
socialism proved to be incom-
patible with the values that even
the party's rank-and-file claimed
to pursue.
In the fall of 1981 Walesa was
openly talking about "fighting
this system." But what
technically killed ideology was
Jaruzelski's military coup. Hun-
dreds of thousands of people,

Jaruzelski keeps reminding
Poles on which side of the Iron
Curtain they live. In the short run
the argument is successful, for
Poles show considerable
restraint. But it is also creating a
consensus that what works nicely
for the world powers and helps
preserve global peace is deman-
ding too much sacrifice from
Poles.
This consensus, which is the
most immediate result of the
disappearance of ideology in
Poland, may have very far-
reaching consequences for all of
Europe. For similar signals of
the weakening power of ideology
are coming from all "socialist"
countries with a frequency that
must be alarming to the Kremlin.
Ziomecki is a Polish jour-
nalist living in exile in the
United States. He wrote this
article for the Pacific News
Service.

... . .. .. ... :.

I

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