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September 17, 1987 - Image 4

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Page 4

Thursday, September 17, 1987

The Michigan Doily

h Sitb aniai1
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Remembering massacres

Vol. XCVIII, No. 6

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Unsigned editorials represent a majority of the Daily's Editorial Board. All other
cartoons, signed articles, and letters do not necessarily represent the opinion
of the Daily.

Dashing hopes for peace

LAST WEEK President Reagan
dealt a severe blow to hopes for
peace by rescinding his original
endorsement of a Central American
peace plan and calling for increased
aid to the contras. The plan, crafted
by Costa Rican President Arias and
signed by the five presidents of
;Central America represents the only
significant attempt to negotiate
peace in the region by the parties
that are directly affected - namely
the countries that comprise Central
Reagan justified this latest incon-
sistancy by stating that the Arias
plan would allow the Sandinistas to
"still be in charge as they want to
be" - an admission that his true
aim is the ultimate overthrow of the
Nicaraguan government.
In addition to rejecting the
agreed-upon plan, Reagan also
added new conditions for an end to
U.S. aid to the contra guerillas -
free elections in Nicaragua, a free
press, freedom of opponents of the
Nicaraguan government to organize
politically, abolition of the secret
police and removal of foreign
advisers. It is noteworthy that these
last two conditions go beyond the
peace plan Reagan proposed just
last month with House Speaker Jim
Wright, D-Tex. The conditions
stated by the administration demon-
strate Reagan's double standard in
foreign policy. The call for free
elections ignores the Nicaraguan
election of 1984 which the Sandi-
nistas won handily, and when
compared with other "elections" in

Central America was remarkably
fair. The demand for a free press
and organized political opposition is
only meant to apply to Nicaragua -
a state under attack by externally
supplied insurgents, while South
Africa - a country wracked by
internal uprisings - the rigid press
censorship and routine imprison-
ment of political opponents, goes
untouched by Reagan policy.
What is abundantly clear is that
the administration does not intend to
permit a negotiated settlement. By
withdrawing U.S. support, Reagan
undermines the very efforts of
Central Americans themselves to
deal with their own problems in a
constructive manner, and demon-
strates his earlier approval to be a
mere lip-service in the wake of the
surprise Central American agree-
The United States could exert
considerable influence in Central
America for peace via negotiations,
if Washington only had the desire to
do so. However, this latest flipflop
demonstrates again Reagan's de-
termination to seek an externally
imposed military solution to a
regional problem. It signals an end
to the administration's facade of
diplomacy and reveals that the
temptation to intervene has lost
none of its attractiveness. It is a sad
day in America when the Rambo/
cowboy mentality prevails 'over
logic and reason. For many living
in Central America, it will be more
than sad - it will be fatal.

By Tim Huet
This is the second of a two-part
The memory of the matanza pervades
the collective consciousness of El
Salvador's people. In particular, people
remember what happened to those who
cooperated in elections only to have
electoral rolls become execution lists.
Salvadoran skepticism about the efficacy
of elections was nurtured by decades of
fraud perpetuated in the changing of guard
between different representatives of the
military and oligarchy .
Nevertheless, many retained hope for
change through the ballot box. In 1972,
opposition parties including the
Communists and Christian Democrats,
came together as UNO to run a unified
slate of candidates. On the UNO ticket,
Christian Democrat Napoleon Duarte and
Social Democrat Guillermo Ungo run as
presidential and vice-presidential candi-
dates, respectively.
In a blatant case of fraud, even after a
UNO victory was announced, the
military's candidate was declared the
winner. In an echo of 1932, the
government's willingness to accept the
election results was dependent upon who
won. Also reminiscent of 1932, dissident
factions were unwilling to accept the
negation of democracy, and the dissident
sector of the military rebelled. Colonel
Benjamin Mejia and his followers arrested
the reigning dictator, Sanchez Hernsndez.
Following the coup, Duarte joined the
rebels and urged the people to support
them. The people, however, perhaps
remembering the matanza too well, did not
heed the call.
The rebellion was crushed by loyalist
troops. Duarte went into exile. The left-
wing of his party, finally convinced that
change in El Salvador could only be
brought about through revolutionary
means, split off and formed the People's
Revolutionary Army (ERP). The ERP
became El Salvador's second revolu-
tionary army (the Popular Liberation
Forces formed when a split occurred in the
Communist Party in 1970). The
Communist Party itself didn't take up
arms until 1979.
The Communist Party again participated
in elections under the UNO coalition in
1977. The elections were again stolen. In
protest, 50,000 UNO supporters occupied
the Plaza de Libertad in San Salvador for
five consecutive days. On the fifth day,
February 28, the military closed off the
square and fired into the crowd, killing
more than 200 people.
The People's Leagues - February 28th
(PL-28), a diverse coalition of workers,
farmers, and students, formed in response
Tim .duet is an Opinion staff writer.

to this massacre. On January 22, 1980,
the 48th anniversary of Farabundo Marti's
failed uprising, it coalesced with three
other popular organizations, to form the
Revolutionary Coordinator of the Masses.
The objective of this coalition was to
provide a unified front on which to push
for social change, primarily through
demonstrations and civil disobedience. To
celebrate their unification, the popular
organizations held a march with 200,000
people. Government troops fired upon the
marchers killing 67 and wounding more
than 200.
In November of 1980, the four major
revolutionary armies in El Salvador united
as the Farabundo Marti National
Liberation Front (FMLN). They soon
formed a coalition with popular organi-
zations and opposition political parties,
which had reorganized as the Democratic
Revolutionary Front (FDR). The FDR had
by this time decided that it was necessary
to ally itself with the armed liberation
movement, in order to accomplish social
change in El Salvador. This decision was
reached under a government that the United
States had hailed as the harbinger of
democracy's arrival to El Salvador.
On October 15, 1979, junior officers of
the armed forces staged a coup and
announced their intention of promoting
reform. Soon, however, they lost power to
senior, conservative members of the
newly-formed junta. When this became
apparent, two of the three civilian junta
members resigned along with most other
civilians in the government. One of the
junta members to resign was Guillermo
Ungo, who had the vice presidency stolen
from him in 1972. Seeing that the
military had no intent of relinquishing
power unless forced to do so, Uingo joined
the revolutionaries and soon became head
of the Revolutionary Democratic Front
(FDR). The vacancies in the junta were
filled by Christian Democrats, including
Ungo's former runningmate, N'apoleon
Meanwhile, paramilitary death squads
such as ORDEN, (directed by govern-
mental and military leadership) had been
operating within the country to assassinate
political opponents and union organizers.
When Mario Zamora, the Attorney
General, became a death squad casualty,
several Christian Democrats threatened to
resign if the murderers were not placed on
trial. Neither a trial nor an investigation
was forthcoming. Many Christian
Democrats left the government and the
party. "The Christian Democratic Party
should not participate in a regime which'
has unleashed the bloodiest repression ever
experienced by the Salvadorean people,"
read a joint statement by the resigning
officials. Napolean Duarte, Guillermo
Ungo's former runningmate, soon joined
the junta.
Duarte gave the junta the "respecta-

bility" it so badly needed to assure the
continuation of aid from the United States.
Duarte agreed to play this role on the
condition of a pledge from the military in
support of certain reforms, including land
reform. The initial moves to implement
this program revealed that in return for the
reforms, the military was given free reign
to repress the opposition.
A state of siege was declared the day
after the "land reform" was announced.
Just ten days after the state of siege was
decreed, Amnesty International issued a
report calling into question the rationale
surrounding the "land reform" program:
"The authorities stated that troops moved
into the rural areas to occupy plantations
intended for expropriation in the agrarian
reform. Local sources said, however, that
villages supporting opposition peasant
unions...were attacked by troops, and the
land seized was handed over to members of
government organizations, including
According to The New York Times,
death squads such as ORDEN, which were
supposedly disbanded by the junta, were
not only still intact but increasingly
active. The newspaper reported that the
reforms were "accompanied by a stepped-
up campaign against leftist labor and
peasant groups by army and paramilitary
units." This campaign took the form of
murdering union leaders, students, and
Increasingly, the re pression was pursued
to the exclusion of reform. Whole
segments of the land reform. plan were
abandoned or undercut in implementation.
Meanwhile, the military was bombing and
forcefully evacuating large areas of the
countryside. This strategy was intended to
deny the guerillas their base of popular
support by making guerilla strongholds
unlivable. Such terror tactics have resulted
in the displacement of one fourth of all
Salvadorans 62,000 casualties in the last
seven years.
It has also resulted in a situation that
resembles pre-matanza El Salvador. A
president (Napoleon Duarte) has assumed
power promising reform and, whether
willing or not, has proven unable to
deliver. Increased repression has followed.
However, there are important differences
between now and 1932.
Salvadorans have learned the lessons of
the matanza and other such incidents. They
have learned that when their governmental
leadership speaks of "trading bullets for
ballots," it means that when one puts
down one's gun to place a ballot, one will
receive a bullet in exchange. The name-
sakes of Farabundo Marti will not commit
that error again. The popular organizations
of El Salvador engaged in a long, forceful
struggle for justice in their homeland. It is
up to us in the United States to do our
part by working to end our government's
military support of this bloody regime.

Support Detroit teachers

the annual Michigan onslaught of
strikes this year. The Detroit teach-
ers' strike alone is keeping 181,000
students out of school and 12,780
teachers out of work. This extended
summer vacation comes from an
inability of the Detroit public school
board to offer a reasonable contract
to the Detroit Federation of Teach-
ers (DFT), the union representing
Detroit teachers.
In light of the fact that the City of
Detroit has a very high school tax
compared to the rest of the state,
and amongst the lowest paid
teachers, the Detroit school board
defies all logic by offering a wage
freeze for this school year, in a one
year contract. For the following
year, the school board tentatively
offers a 2 percent wage increase.
The teachers, on the other hand,
are demanding a 12-14 percent
wage increase in a two year contract
- something the, school board says
is out of the question. They. claim
the City of Detroit, with a $27
million deficit cannot afford it, and
turned over undecipherable book-
keeping records to supposedly
prove it.
An outside observer may be led to
believe that the City of Detroit is
trying to scare away its teachers.
Detroit public schools are notorious
for their violence and disciplinary
problems. Good teachers have few
enough incentives as it is to stay in
Detroit: the school hnrd's chean-

with more to offer, leaving behind
students who badly need them.
Another issue in.the contract talks
is one of class size. Detroit schools
allow comparatively large class-
room sizes while other districts
such as Southfield have fewer
students per class even though the
school taxes are several mills lower.
Detroit teachers are claiming they
cannot effectively teach several
classes of this size a day. The
Detroit school board, however,
thinks it is too expensive to effec-
tively teach the students (via smaller
classes) and refuses to consider it.
Though the school board is
complaining about a lack of funds,
it strangely does not seem to worry
about expenses incurred by its own
members. The school board has
spent about half a million dollars to
pay for personal chauffeurs. The
average pay of each chauffeur is
about $35,000 - $3,000 more than
what the average teacher in Detroit
is paid. The school board also spent
over $70,000 on 55 out-of-state
trips, denying the lavish budget it
gives itself to the teachers.
The Detroit teacher strike has the
potential to last a long time if the
school board continues its out-
rageous "offer" of a wage freeze.
Trying other means to force the
teachers to work, the board tried the
courts, but got no sympathy. Only
when they realize there is no
alternative but to deal with the
teachers' demands will an end to
.nuc etr.., - n a il n. i

Rent control campaign starts tonight

To the Daily:
Remember last March? Or
had it started already in
February? Every spring, an
earlier search for housing and
higher and higher rents
confront University students.
Last year, according to both
the city of Ann Arbor and the
University Housing Informa-
tion Office, rent increased an
averagesof 10 percent over the
previous year. Costs to land-
lords went up much less -
inflation was in the 4 percent
The public figures are not
out, yet, but 1988 rents are
higher than ever. How much
more are you paying than last
Besides higher rent, the low
vacancy rate means students
have fewer choices. T h e
central campus vacancy rate,
published by the University
Housing Information Office, is
always low. Last year it was
2.55 percent after an incredibly
low .79 percent in 1985.
Citywide, the vacancy rate was
3.19 percent last year. A
vacancy rate under 5 percent
means the market is not truly
competitive. The vacancy rate

campaign to enact a Rent
Stabilization Ordinance. Ann
Arbor Citizens for Fair Rents
includes permanent Ann Arbor
.residents and students, tenants
and homeowners, and anyone
who is concerned about the
continuing rent increases in our

city. We aim to place a rent
stabilization ordinance on the
April 1988 city ballot.
Students concerned with
rising rents should come to a
public meeting tonight,
Thursday September 17, at
7:30 pm in MSA Chambers,

3909 Michigan Union.
At this meeting we will
discuss the need for rent
stabilization, the ordinance and
how we can put it on the ballot
and pass it.
-Michael Appel
September 16

Socialist Labor Party: lobbying Congress
prolongs violence against workers

To the Daily:
In response to the moving
letter in the Daily's Sept. 11
issue (signed by Justin
Schwartz, et. al.) concerning
the U.S. Navy's attempt to run
down protesters with a train
that resulted in a cracked skull
and concerning the contra
murder of U.S. peace activists
Benjamin Linder in Nicaragua,
the mountain labored and
brought forth a mouse.
Every time this group and
others like it publicly wring
their hands in moral outrage
over whatever incident is
currently inciting them and
then suggest that we all write

and/or moral duplicity.
It is not merely useless: it
is dangerous diversion o f
people from the only solution
- socialist revolution - back
into begging the capitalist
class for reforms which it
grants on occasion but only to
defuse serious social unrest and
in the process tying its subject
working class wage slaves
more securely to the system
which exploits and cripples
them. Serving as the "official"
opposition on "left," it allows
the capitalists to continue their
bloody ways.
The solution, which must
come out of the total

naturally generates.
The liberals, pseudo-
socialists and other
opportunists profess to be
outraged, but are quite
unwilling to give up the
capitalist system which
engenders the horror and grief.
The few extra privileges, those
extra crumbs tossed from the
capitalist table, seem to salve a
lot conscience, but he late
Daniel DeLeon, America's
foremost Marxist, was correct
when he stated simply, "scratch
a liberal and you will find a
Incidentally, to those of you
who have or plan to see "Rosa
Luxemburg" at the Michigan
Theatre this week, she was a


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