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February 01, 1985 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1985-02-01

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4

OPINION
Page 4 Friday, February 1, 1985 The Michigan Daily

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1IE AtI"dpgan tax1
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Protesters talk about jail

Vol. XCV, No. 101

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

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

N PROFESSIONAL sports, when a
team keeps losing, even though it
may be the players who are at fault,
the manager or coach is the one who
gets fired. In politics the tradition is
the same. Consequently, it is Charles
Manatt who will be replaced by a new
party chairman by the end of this
week.
Excluding Jimmy Carter's narrow
victory over Gerald Ford in the 1976
election (one which featured a battle
between party reputations more than a
contest between individual can-
didates), the Democratic Party has
faced three disastrous landslide
defeats in a row.
The Democrats in the past decade
and a half have been maimed by the
very purposes on which they have
chosen to exist. In 1972, at a time of
great political tension and activism in
this country, the party was captured by
George McGovern, who appealed to
those interested enough to attend con-
ventions or work at the lower levels of
the campaign process in order to
achieve their goals.
As a result, those who put the party
together chose a staunch liberal who
did not represent the views of all those
who called themselves Democrats.
In the 1984 election, the very
existence of a labeled faction in the
Democratic party, Jesse Jackson's
Rainbow Coalition, was evidence that
the whole was going to suffer badly for
failing to sufficiently unify its parts.
The problem seems to be
paradoxical. Can a party which is
comprised purely of various minorities
unite long enough and thickly enough
to win a presidential election? Of cour-
se it can, provided that party can find a

man, a personality, who can not only
understand and work with all the
elements of the party competently, but
who can rally people, appeal, and cater
to their emotions. Somebody like
Ronald Reagan.
For nearly one half an hour one day
last July, Mario Cuomo managed not
only to unite all factions of the
Democratic Party, but to exude
charisma and personality.
Cuomo, however, is not the only
Democrat in the party with the ability
to do this. Essentially, the Democrats
have taken a beating for their inability
to find one man rather than their
inability to unite as a whole.
The Republicans are not so in-
vulnerable either. Although a wing of
their party has been captured by the
fundamentalists, certain respected
and powerful Republicans see through
this conservative fanaticism and
refuse to cater to fundamentalist's
whims.
When a new party chairman is
chosen his first priorities should be to
search for all personalities they need
and to create an organization that
unifies - rather then fragments - un-
der pressure. The Republican fortress
is not so strong as it seems. In fact, it
has built its strength through its
charismatic leaders, and single
celebrities alone are not powerful
enough to keep the majority of the
American population, which is ac-
tually a conglomeration of minorities,
from obtaining its political goals. The
only issue is whether the new party
chairman will be able to work quickly
enough - because more youths are
joining the college Republicans every
day.

By Jonathan Ellis
Since early December, about once a week, I
have been driving to Corunna, Michigan. It
takes less than an hour-and-a-half on the
highways, but I've tired of that route so I take
the smaller road going up.
Through towns like Byron, Argentine, and
Durand, the drive is over two hours, but the
farmhouses and the fields, the small stores
where roads cross, begin to make me feel at
home in Michigan, though I have already
been in Ann Arbor fifteen years.
Corunna is the site of the Shiawassee Coun-
ty Jail, past the courthouse with its clock-
faced dome, less than a block from the
Cavalier Bar where I warm myself. On the
outside, the jail looks more like a public
library, a one-story white brick building, but
inside it's very much a prison.
Two University students-Ken Jannot and
Brian Larkin - are in jail in Corunna and
today is their fifty-seventh day behind bars.
All day, each day, they sit, lie down or pace
around in their four-man cell, maybe fifteen
feet by fifteen.
There is no exercise space these days in the
Shiawassee County Jail, so Brian and Ken
don't leave their cell, except once a week
when they are allowed to walk down the hall
and see two visitors each for thirty minutes.
One wall of the cell has a steel door with a
slot where food is pushed through. The op-
posite wall is all open bars on a corridor
where the deputies patrol. Flourescent lights
come on at 7 a.m. and go off at 11 p.m. There
is never any sunlight or fresh air.
If they weren't still in jail this month, Ken
would be a second semester junior here and
Brian would be taking graduate courses.
They would be walking around campus with
the rest of us.
Instead, they are imprisoned because of
what happened in early December last year
in another small Michigan town, Walled
Lake. It focused on the cruise missile engines
being made there.
A cruise missile could be aimed from Den-
ver, travel 1800 miles, and stand a good chan-
ce of directly hitting the Graduate Library
with a nuclear warhead. Such missiles are
only twenty feet long, two feet in diameter,
and could be hidden in a basement.
The range, accuracy, and radar invisibility
of the cruise missile is made possible by two
special components: its superior guidance
systems, and its very quiet and efficient
engine. Cruise missile engines are manufac-
tured about fifty miles northeast of Ann Ar-
bor, in Walled Lake, at the Williams Inter-
national Company.
Since August of 1983, there have been
ninety-three arrests at Williams Inter-
national. Ken and Brian were in a group of 13
people who attempted to block the Williams
driveway as the seven a.m. shift drove to the
gates.
In an attempt to keep the protestors from
"blocking ingress and egress," Williams has
obtained an injunction from the Oakland
County Circuit Court. In addition to counts of
trespass, violators of the injunction can also
be charged with contempt of court.
Most of those arrested before Brian and
Ken's group served 25 to 30 days in jail. Some
have also been charged with "conspiracy to
tresspass," a felony which carries a penalty
of up to one year in jail. Thus far, no jury has
Ellis works at Canterbury House. Part
two of the interview will appear
tomorrow.

been willing to convict the protesters of con-
spiracy.
When it became clear that people were
willing to spend a month in jail to protest the
production of cruise missile engines,
Williams and the court took a new tack: civil
contempt. Individuals who were in civil con-
tempt could be held in jail indefinitely, until
such time as they followed the order of the
court.
On December 7,1984, Judge Francis Xavier
O'Brien of the Oakland County Circuit Court
ordered Ken Jannot, Brian Larkin and the 11
others to jail unless they promised not to lock
the Williams gate again. They were also given
the option of doing forced community service
eight hours a day seven days a week.
None of the 13 would make the promise
which the judge demanded. 12 went to jail,
and one chose community service which he is
still doing. Of the 12, seven have since been
freed pending their appeal of legality of using
civil contempt charges to punish them not for
something they did, but for something they
might do in the future.
Brian, Ken and three others have chosen
not to appeal (for reasons they explain in the
second part of this interview which will ap-
pear in tomorrow's Daily) and continue to
serve their indefinite sentences.
One of those three others is Dorothy Whit-
marsh, 37, a nurse who is now in the Oakland
County Jail. She is permitted to travel to her
job at University Hospital here in Ann Arbor
but must return to her cell in the jail each
night.
With Ken and Brian at Shiawassee are
Dean Abott, 18, who helps to run a Detroit
shelter for the homeless, and Carfon Foltz, 77,
a retired Methodist minister who has been in
jail before for similar acts of civil disobedien-
ce.
Ken Jannot is 20, grew up like many Univer-
sity students in the Detroit suburbs, and went
to University of Detroit high school. Brian
Larkin was raised in eastern Pennsylvania
and did undergraduate work at Georgetown
before coming here to graduate school. Brian
turned 25 in jail earlier this month.
Because I work for a campus ministry, I am
allowed in the jail outside of regular visiting
hours and have seen Ken and Brian regularly
these past fifty-seven days. Lately they look
exhausted but their spirits hold. I wish you
could see their faces, as I do thorough the
bars, but I am glad at least you can hear what
they said when I asked them these questions
last week.
Johnathan Ellis: When you were sitting in
classes last term, could you have imagined
yourself in jail this long?
Brian Larkin: I expected to be in for no
more than 40 days or so. The longest anyone
has been in before on this charge has been 36
days, and then they were released at the
request of Williams. So judging from that, I
didn't expect Williams would be this tough on
us.
E: Has your experience in jail been dif-
ferent than you imagined?
Ken Jannot: I didn't really imagine much of
anything. I really didn't know enough about
the intricacies of jail to have a clear picture.
E: How has your jail experience changed
you as the weeks have gone on?
J: There have definitely been different
stages during these seven weeks or more. I
think we're all kind of tired of this place. I go
back and forth between by great resolve to
stay in here and my great desire to get out.
When I get at my most insane in here, I start

writing a lot-poetry, in my journal and all
sorts of letters.
L: I have done more and more thinking
about ways to live non-violently in my life, but
I've come to realize that I can't make any of
those decisions here in jail. Basically, I jus
have to experience this situation as best a
possible, experience the helplessness and
powerless ness of not knowing when we will
be released.
E: Why did you choose being arrested as a
means of protesting the nuclear arms race?
L: It's distinct from the work I had been
doing. For SANE, where I am the canvass
director in Ann Arbor, we work through the
system, lobbying in Congress and so on. That
work feels like an implicit acceptance of th
system which is building nuclear weapons
everyday.
J: I felt that only way we could bring about
real change in society is for people to get in-
volved directly. That means for me standing
in the driveway at Williams. Even though we
were only there for a few minutes, it was still
direct action, blocking the entrance into a
weapons plant. I wanted to say this was im-
portant enough to get arrested for. And it was
a demonstration of how far the defense com-
panies were willing to go to stop us. I also fel
like my arrest could pull more people into
protesting nuclear weapons production.
L: I saw the injunction against blockading
Williams as a law by which the Court is
protecting a corporation in its profitable
preparations for nuclear war and I can't
really comply with that any longer.
E: Why did you choose Williams Inter-
national?
J: It was there. I was feeling like I neede
to take some direct action to stop our head-
long plunge toward nuclear war.
L: It's near home. I think it's important to
act locally because of the impact it has on the
community - both for people who have not yet
awakened to the arms race and for people
already in the peace community.
I began working on disarmament four
years ago while on junior year abroad in
Scotland. I realized then the nature of U.S.
imperialism in Europe. The people of those
countries do not want the Cruise and Pershing
II missiles deployed. I believe the U.S. i
building first strike weapons to fight and win
a nuclear war. I can't be part of it. It's just in-
sane and it has gotten to the point where we
really need to stop the insanity. It's important
that people break compliance with the arms
race.
E: Do you see yourself as political
prisoners?
J: Definitely. I felt going into this that I
would be a political prisoner whether or not
we got indefinite sentences-since the inju
ction itself sent us to jail, for whatever time,
just because we are trying to stop nuclear
weapons production. I was very excited when
I heard that our lawyers had sent a brief t
Amnesty International headquarters asking
that they take our case as political prisoners.
These things take a long time and we haven't
heard anything yet as far as I know.
L: We are prisoners of conscience. The
lawyer for Williams International said at our
trial that they were not in court to punish us
for what we did, but to seek our cooperatio
with the court injunction. We are being hel
for our beliefs, just as people are under Latin
American dictatorships or even in the Soviet
Union, though our conditions may be less har-
sh.

Illegal tour

O ne of the advantages of having a
President over a king is that the
president is a representative of the
people. He can, in theory, com-
municate with the public as one of
them rather than as a blue-blooded
superior.
Armed in part with that belief and
with no small bit of chutzpa, Robert
Latta, a 45-year-old meter reader from
Denver, payed a private visit to the
White House on January 20. Following
behind the Marine band, he slipped
through the doors and began a tour of
the president's home. He was even-
tually arrested by secret service agen-
ts and charged with unlawful entry.
Latta's 15-minute odyssey is under-
standably illegal, and he should be
found guilty of the charges, but the in-
cident does raise a question : Why is
the president so inaccessible to the
people?
Inaccessibility to the president is
nothing new. Coopers and minutemen

were as unable to drop in on George
Washington in 1790 as substitute
teachers and meter readers are about
to stop by and chat with Ronald
Reagan today.
It also is obvious that inaccessibility
is a necessary price to ensure the
safety of the president. Nevertheless,
it moves him a step further from the
people; the people of whom he is a
part.
On a small scale, democracy affords
all of its constituents the opportunity to
meet face to face with its elected
leaders. However, as a democracy en-
compasses more and more people, it
becomes impossible to guarantee that
opportunity to everyone.
Robert Latta's venture into the
White House is a reminder that
democracy in the United States is not
perfect. He should be found guilty of
illegal entry, but the nation should take
a moment to consider the implications
of his, or any other citizen's, inability
to personally contact the president.

. I

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Letters
Engineering humanities story slanted

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To the Daily:
I feel compelled to write to you,
the Michigan Daily, to
congratulate you on your ex-
cellent article concerning the
discontinuation of the College of
Engineering Humanities Depar-
tment. Without doubt, the
aforementioned article was one
of the best examples of biased
and senseless journalism I have
encountered in quite some time.
Not only did your reporter
manage to interview, almost ex-
clusively, only those engineering
students dissatisfied with their
present humanities course, but
also succeeded in making there
appear to be a distinct difference

The Michigan Daily encourages input from our readers.
Letters should be typed, triple spaced, and sent to the Daily
Opinion Page, 420 Maynard, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109.

smaller number of openings for
freshmen.
I have no opinion on whether
the move to LS&A will be for the
better or the worse. Personally, I

enjoyed my 101 class and found
the ideas discussed in class to be
both relevant and interesting.
However, I am confident in the
typical engineering student's

ability to excel in LS&A's fresh-
men composition courses.
-Donna K. Lloyd
January 28

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