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February 16, 1985 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1985-02-16

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4

OPINION
Page 4 Saturday, February 16, 1985 The Michigan Daily

e ue n Man
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Capt. John stuffs Consider

Vol. XCV, No. 114

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

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

South Africa's

sham

W ITH THE recent offer of con-
ditional release of South African
black leader Nelson Mandela, a subtle
change in policy by South Africa's
government toward the majority black
population has become noticeable. Die-
hard conservatives in the government
are beginning to question the
established racist policies, and South
African President P.W. Botha has
stated his wishes to consult with black
leaders on the course of politics for the
country.
Despite the seeming receptiveness of
Pretoria officials, , however, the
current trend toward greater
recognition of the problems and con-
cern of the black population should be
received with caution. South Africa is
a country founded on racist policies.
This current trend will not change that
fact. At best, it is a token effort
designed to stifle negative inter-
national opinion of the elitist gover-
nment. At worst, the current policy is
an attempt to further exploit the black
population by decreasing the
legitimacy of black rulers such as
Mandela.

Pessimism of the current trend of
Botha and other officials stems from
their willingness to take small steps,
but not to completely address the
problems of blacks. Traditionally, the
government has refused to recognize
the existance of a black majority.
When Botha told parliament that there
were millions of blacks settled in
''white'' South Africa-an accepted
fact-he was considered courageous.
How can Pretoria claim to have any
legitimate concern for blacks when it
is a monumental action to merely
suggest that the majority of blacks
exists?
Botha's pledge to discuss policy with
black leaders rings hollow also. That
pledge refers only to those leaders who
denounce the use of violence toward
their ends. The government's
definition of violence has yet to be
defined, but leaders such as Mandela,
who advocate violent revolution, are
clearly excluded.
South Africa's policy toward blacks
is too deeply defined by exploitation
and racism to be changed by a few
token gestures.

By AndrewBoyd
Daily and Consider editors believe the in-
sertion into the Consider issue on the U.S. war
against Nicaragua of a sheet expressing two
additional viewpoints changed the content
and "context" of Consider and thereby
violated its freedom of speech "Inconsiderate
addition," Daily, February 10). However, the
content of Consider was unaltered; the insert
was a separate sheet with its own title. The
insert merely provided more information and
more viewpoints. Consider was not censored
but, rather, did the censoring. Within eight
hours of the insertion Consider staffers had
confiscated both the sheets inserted in their
magazine and those left in public places. This
required visits to over 25 separate buildings.
If freedom of speech is the issue, then it was
Consider staffers, not Consider (Consider)
stuffers, who violated someone's freedom of
speech.
Consider not only narrows the range of
views presented on campus through its
destructive action but also through its very
format. This brings us to the issue of "con-
text." Yes, we changed the context of Con-
sider. This was the very purpose of the insert.
The insert presented views to the left and
right of the range ofviews Consider deems
acceptable or even acknowledges to exist.
The insert thus encirlced Consider's discourse
and displayed the narrowness of its views for
all to see. Moreover, the insert's views were
presented without any illusions of "objec-
tivity" or "equal balance". They were ex-
plicitly political and crafted for specific pur-
poses.
They were "extreme" because Nicaragaun,
reality is extreme. The struggle in Nicaragua
is between revolution and counter-revolution,
between national liberation and foreign oc-
cupation, not between the cost of another
Vietnam and the danger of Soviet-style food
distribution.
The format of Consider is partisan, biased,
and ideological yet claims to be none of these.
There are no magically value-free facts, no
objective viewpoint that is above or outside
the world it presents and no balance that is
not a particular kind of balance. By claiming
that there is, Consider makes its ideology,
surrenders responsibility and even mystifies
its own staff.
Consider presents two viewpoints "in con-
flict", weights them evenly and is content to
stop there. A space is created for controversy,
but it is a controlled space. Within this space
all viewpoints are made equal and thus strip-
ped of whatever value or force they once had.
Moral outrage ,and demands for power are
reduced to merely interesting ideas. We are
free to discuss but powerless to change.
Debate is still-born; it goes nowhere; it leads
to no action. Controlled controversy affirms
the status-quo rather than challenges it. In
fact, controlled controversy is the status-quo.
This is Consider's unacknowledged ideology.
It was necessary for the reader and the staff
to see the four viewpoints together in one
Boyd is also known as "Mr. Insert"
and "Captain John Early and Co.' "He is
a senior in LSA.

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4

4

Cut waste, not service

place and at one time. It was necessary to see
the Consider format in an altered and expan-
ded context in order to recognize its struc-
tural limits and glimpse its hidden ideology.
The act of insertion revealed the ideology of
Consider's format. The content of the insert
revealed the ideological limits of Consider's
content. The limits that bind Consider are the
limits of "Offical Reality". The limits within
which Big Government and Mass Media
agree to disagree. Official Reality is largely
unrecognized because it is rarely questioned
or threatened. When it is, the threat is quickly
silenced-witness what happened to the in-
sert.
Official Reality pounds into our heads the
following: The American Empire does not
exist. Marxism is tyranny. Revolution is
dangerous. America is incapable of,
systematic aggression, terrorism, or
propaganda. Democracy is identical with
"American-style" elections. U.S. "national
security" is morally privileged over
Nicaraguan national sovereignty and that of
Third World nations in general. This is Of-
ficial Reality. It sanctions murder, terror,
and plunder abroad and the erosion of per-
sonal freedom and civil security at home. If
you believe it, then you have bought it all. We
know something very different, and we will
take it to an audience however we can.
This is what Official Reality does allow us
to openly disagree about: exactly which
policy of aggression against Central America
has a cost-benefit ratio that best serves "U.S.
interests". Predictably, this was the basic
debate in the Consider issues. (We based our
insert on this long before we saw the issue it-
self.)
Consider (Consider) is not an attack on
specific people but _n the ideology of Con-
sider's form and content. Only by direct ac-
tion can the'invisible be seen and the uncon-
siderable be considered. A letter to the editor
would only locate our challenge within the

Consider-controlled discourse. Controversy
would be contained; our challenge would only
reaffirm the ideology we seek to deny.
We have been called liars and compared
with Hitler and Stalin for the use of fictional
character Captain John Early. The Captain is
not in the phone-book. He is real. The factual
material in his statement is -drawn from local
metropolitan papers. The Captain does not
exist as a physic-l individual but as a world4
view with its associated desires.The Captain
represents real people in the CIA, NSA, the
Pentagon, and the White House who do not
speak openly of their views-yet secretly con-
trol policy. For these reasons the Captain was
able to rip the facade of "respectability" off
Reagan's policy in Central America more ef-
fectively than any left-wing or liberal critique
ever could. Often fictional characters sum up
a specific reality better than any "real" per-
son. Novelists have known this for centuries.
Consider and the Daily accuse us of bad tac-
tics and bad manners. "Good" tactics are
privilege of those who control the "proper
forms of expression and those who profit from
the socially acceptable limits of controversy.
"Good" manners are aluxury, if nothing else,
when the issue is mass suffering, social
revolution and a dirty war. It is our right to
use bad tactics and bad manners because
good tactics and good manners are
ideological labels designed to repress a
reality that falls outside the norms of "objec-
tive" journalism. {
"Bad tactics" and "bad manners" have
opened a democratic space within Consider.
Members of the University Community have
begun to question the publication's format.
Within this new context of public awareness,
we would like to consider Consider within its
own format. This requires something the
Consider editors have not yet demonstrated:
a willingness to consider their own ideology.
We shall see if they have the good faith and
"integrity" necessary for self-examination.

A RECENT CRACKDOWN on the.
general assistance welfare
program by the state Department of
Social Services will save Michigan
more than $1.2 million each month in
welfare payments, but threatens to aid
efforts by some legislators to cut the
extent of welfare services.
The study was the first concrete
review of individual cases within the
system in more than two years.
.Reviewshave been a part of the
system since its inception, but have
been ineffective since 1982 because of
funding cuts.
The state is entirely correct in
working to rid the welfare system of
wasteful and unnecessary payments.
The system is a large burden to the
state's taxpayers and the government
must work to keep the program's cost
as low as possible without diminishing
services to the needy.
But at the same time, an over-
emphasis on controlling waste could be
harmful to the system. Too often ac-
cusations of waste within the program
evolve into questions of the program's
right to exist.
There is currently pressure within
the state legislature to move toward a

reduction in welfare spending. Sen.
Robert Geakes (R.-Northville) is
calling for a review of the full system,
citing the waste as his basis.
Fortunately he seems to have little
support, but the notion is concerning.
A strong welfare system, capable of
fulfilling the basic needs of all the
state's unemployed and disabled, is a
goal that must be reaffirmed. Since
1939, with the passage of the Social
Welfare Act, Michigan has
acknowledged its responsibility "... to
provide general relief, hospitalization,
infirmary and medical care to poor or
unfortunate persons." Ideally these
people would be able to find em-
ployment and provide for themselves,
but in instances where they are unable
to do so, the state must be there to
assist them.
The state has fulfilled a fundamental
obligation by increasing the scrutiny of
individual welfare cases, but that
review must not be confused with an
attack upon the entire system. Gover-
nmental waste in any form should be
reduced, but the commitment to
providing for the state's needy cannot
be compromised.

Wasserman

IN E:CANNOT RELEASE
NELSON MAND)E1A
W - MOUT
CONDITIONS

A ?OTENI AL
PUBLIC ORDERQ

NG A$ 1'SKIV LY
P'DVCATERD

VOTING I,

Letters
Arsonist should consider human lives

To The Daily:
As residents of the seventh
floor of South Quad, we would like
to address the person(s) who
recently found it amusing to start
several trashcan fires in our
dorm. When you stop and think
about it, is it worth endangering
the lives of 1200 students for a few
laughs? In case you do not realize
just how dangerous it could have
been, consider the situation.
First, any fire in our dorm is
definitely a threat, since the fire
ladders do not reach the top two
floors.
Next, it took at least five
minutes to get outside, during
which time your prank could
have easily harmed many people,
especially the resident staff,
whose responsibilities put their
lives in even greater danger.

seriousness of this crime.
In the future, please reevaluate
your idea of a good time, and take

into account that human life
should not be treated with such
disrespect.

- Michelle Betz
Claudia Zanardell4
February 5

Too many missed a great event

To the Daily:
We write on behalf of many
people who suffered a loss of
enrichment, awareness and in-
spiration on January 27, the
evening of black activist Dick
Gregory's appearance at
Rackham Audito'rium.
This man's "performance"
was, and is, a "must see", that
was poorly advertised by the
Michigan Student Assembly -
the sponsor for "International
Cultures Weekend". A small
BLOOM COUNTY

flyer with Gregory's name at the
bottom was the only adver-
tisement for the occasion.
Dick Gregory made his audien-
ce laugh and cry, and experience
anger about social injustices.
Most importantly, this talented
speaker made his audience
aware of their responsibility for
the classism, racism, and
sexism, that are part of the
American social system. We
thank the organizers of Inter-
national Cultures Weekend for

arranging a rare and needed
event on this campus, but regret
that it did not receive the
publicity it deserved.
It is our hope that in the future
events such as this do not go ur4
noticed.
- Eloise Anagnost
Debbie Jurmu
Theo Lighi
Ellen Montagn
Jill Richard
Pam Shore
February 4
by Berke Breathed

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