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September 05, 1986 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1986-09-05

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Page 5 -The Michigan Daily- Friday, September 5, 1986
Peaceful civil,

action leads to change

By Jonathan Ellis
Why would someone decide to break the
law, not for individual gain, but for reasons
of cpnscience? People weigh the decision to
commit "'civil disobedience" in the privacy
of their hearts, so I can only give you my
own reasons.
This summer I spent three days in the
Washtenaw County Jail for an act of protest
at congressman Carl Pursell's (R-2nd
district) Ann Arbor office. 118 of us were
arrested there last March in a peaceful, even
potite demonstration opposing congressman
Pusell's support for U.S. military aid to the
CdAtras in Nicaragua.
Such civil disobedience is one of the most
visible forms of political protest, and one
which can be misunderstood.
At its best, civil disobedience is not an
expression of physical force, but of moral
force. It does not claim that certain
individuals are above the law, or that they
should be able to disrupt any activity to
which they object.
Rather, civil disobedience asserts that
citizens have the right, and sometimes the-

obligation, to bring about their arrest only
when two specific conditions are present:
first, when the activity to which they object is,
in their belief, an especially serious wrong,
a grave injustice to individuals, or the most
dangerous threat to the community as a
whole; and second, when other channels
have been ineffective.
Does the civil disobedience which took
place at congressman Pursell's office meet
these criteria?
There are literally dozens and dozens of
people living right here in Ann Arbor who
have visited Nicaragua in the last several
years. They include ministers, pro -
fessionals, students, faculty, working
people of varied backgrounds- --and I have
met and talked with many of them. Two
common elements emerged as I listened to
their independent reports about Nicaragua.
First, given the real or only purported
flaws of the current Sandinista government
there, the vast majority of Nicaraguans
wholeheartedly support the Sandinistas. I
have heard people I know and respect come
back from Nicaragua month after month
and tell me that.
The Nicaraguans, they report, not only

tthank the Sandinistas for ousting the hated
Somosa regime, but also widely support tthe
policies of the Sandinistas since they took
The second element I heard from Ann
Arborites who went there to see for
themselves is that Nicaragua is hurting.
Innocent Nicaraguans are regularly killed
by the Contras, and the United States is
paying for the bullets. We, the U.S.
taxpayers, are paying for the bullets. U.S.
aid to the Contras is also forcing the
Nicaraguans to spend more than 50 percent
of their government budget on defense, in a
country which is struggling to provide even
basic services like health and education.
Our fellow Ann Arbor citizens who go to
Nicaragua do not come back only with
statistics. They bring back the names and
stories of families whose members have been
killed by the Contras our government
I heard those stories and I wrote to
congressman Pursell about his votes in
favor of Contra aid. I called his
Washington office and talked with his
legislative assistant. I joined otherss who
called on the congressman to at least meet

with us in person and hear the information
his Ann Arbor constituents had to give him
about Nicaragua.
Congressman Pursell repeatedly refused
to reconsider his position or even to talk
about it. So. I felt the usual means we have in
a democracy were not working and that the
situation was worsening.
The recent debate about a congressional
allocation of $100 million in aid to the
Contras has surfaced a harsh reality. If this
administration cannot work its will there
in other ways, President Reagan seems
prepared to invade Nicaragua if he thinks
the U.S. people will let him get away with it.
We have seen before how non-military aid
is followed by military aid, then by U.S.
advisors, then by logistical support and
bombing, and finally by U.S. troops. I
wanted to be arrested before more
Nicaraguans are killed and our soldiers
start coming back in body bags again.
I would not expect congressman Pursell to
base his votes on Contra aid solely on a
demonstration in his office. yet
congressman Pursell, and the Reagan
administration he supports, must know that
there are United States citizens who are

willing to go to jail now rather than wait to
protest an American war with Nicaragua.
For me, that is the message which the
tradition of civil disobedience, from
Thoreau to Gandhi, has sent over the
decades: we believe that the action our
government is taking is so wrong that it
will have to put us in jail to continue doing
My three day jail sentence was not long.
I have friends who have been in jail for
months on end, and some are there now,
because our government continues to build
weapons for a nuclear holocaust. Their civil
disobedience, and the courage of
Nicaraguan families whose stories I heard,
inspired me and still does.
Ellis has worked at the
University of Michigan and
Canterbury House and is now
with the Poseidon Foundation, a
non-denominational spiritual
center offering programs on
campus and in the community.


Baker's campaign is real

grassroots politics

I f
s ,

t '
U ,
I ,

To the Daily:
Good news to all returning
students! This semester will
be the last that Representative
Carl Pursell (R-2nd District)
represents, or fails to
represent, Ann Arbor and the
rest of the Second Con-
gressional District. Dean
Baker, together with
hundreds of Ann Arbor
activists, is challenging
Pursell forhis seat inthe
U.S.' House of Rep -
resentatives. They are part of
a broad based coalition that is
fed up with having a
Representative who is a
rubber stamp for the Reagan
While Pursell has voted for
the MX missile and to cut
school lunch programs,
Baker will reverse the
present trend of spending
more for a wasteful military
build-up than for social
s Baker believes in
the r ght to self-deter -
mination for the people of
Central America, whereas
Pursell has voted repeatedly
for aid to the terrorist Contras.

ment, and the Graduate
Employees Organization.
This campaign is a unique
grassroots organization that
depends on volunteers, not
money. We proved this when
we won the August primary
in which we were outspent
eight to one. Door to door
canvassing is a major part of

the campaign strategy. For
the general election we need
many more volunteers in
order to overcome Pursell
and elect a truly rep-
resentative congressperson.
Come down to our office on 211
N. Main (next to the
Heidelberg) and participate
in this historic campaign.

There is always work to be
done in the office. We have
campaign meetings every
Tuesday night at 8:00, and
everyone is welcome to
participate. On Sept. 7 from
3:00 to 6:00 we are having an
open house at the Democratic
Party Headquarters. There
will be a mass meeting for the

College Democrats on Sept.
11. (Look for posters for
This is no ordinary
campaign. If Bakerwins, all
of Congress will know that
Pursell's demise was a direct
result of his votes for aid to the
Contras. And if this can
happen in a district that was

considered to be a Republican
stronghold, it will be the end
to Reagan's war on Central
America and an end to the
rest of his belligerent foreign
--Billy J. Gladstone
--Diana Markel

Co-op living is both rewarding and inexpensive

To the Daily:
As school begins and
"moving in" resumes, we
are reminded of those
dreaded landlord problems. .
. last minute rent increases,
unkept promises of house
repairs, and landlords who
are impossible to reach, etc.
More than 500 University
students live in cooperative
The Intercooperative
Council (ICC) is a housing
corporation that owns 17 "co-
ops." Unlike dorms and
apartmentsdwhich arercon-
trolled by landlords or the
University, co-ops are owned
and run by the members who

live in them. Students decide
everything from what color
the house will be painted (one
is purple!) to what type of
meals will be served.
Because each member does
four to five hours of work
each week, and because no
profiteering landlords are
involved, co-ops are con-
siderably less expensive and
more fun than other housing
As Rush approaches, new
students especially feel the
need to "belong" somewhere.
The ICC promotes a system of
housing that is based on
human worth as opposed to
other housing systems in
which prospective members
are judged on monetary
worth, social standing, or

how many goldfish they can
swallow. We emphasize
cooperation not only as a
means to low cost quality
housing but also as a way to
self-empowerment, economic
democracy, and as a way of
Last year the ICC purchased
three new homes and a
building we are turning into
an education center. We'll
be organizing workshops,
teach-ins and other programs
for ICC members. Any

groups interested in pre-
senting community issues or
the like should contact the -
ICC office (662-4414). Also,
interested persons who are
enthusiastic about living
cooperatively should inquire
about our fall openings.



--Shawn A. Wistrom
ICC Vice President s
September 3

Letters to the Daily should be typed, triple-
spaced, and singed by the individual authors.
Names will bewithheld only in unusual circum-
stances. Letters may be edited for clarity. gram-
mar, and spelling.

As education increasingly
becomes a privilege of the
wealthy, Baker wants to
protect student loans, as
opposed to Pursell who has
voted to cut funding for those
who depend on student loans.
Dean Baker is well
*qualified for the job. He has
been active in community
and national issues for many
years. He is a doctoral
candidate in Economics at
the University. ' He has also
been involved in the Latin
American Solidarity Com-
mittee, Free South Africa
Coordinating Committee,
Rackham Student Govern-


Join in a holiday tradition:
Sing with the University Musical Society's
CHORAL UNION in its annual r
performances of Handel's MESSIAH,
December 5, 6, & 7.
For an audition appointment, call the
University Musical Society office in
the Burton Tower, 764-2538, 9:00-4:30

And they're both repre-
sented by the insignia you wear
as a member of the Army Nurse
Corps. The caduceus on the left
means you're part of a health care
system in which educational and
career advancement are the rule,
not the exception. The gold bar
on the right means you command respect as an Army officer. If you're
earning a BSN, write: Army Nurse Opportunities, PO. Box 7713,
Clifton, NJ 07015. Or call toll free 1-800-USA-ARMY


Beginning through
Doctorate from U of M.
20 Years Experience.
Near Central Campus.


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