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October 17, 1988 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1988-10-17

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0.age 4
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Monday, October 17, 1988

The Michigan Daily

Indispensible POWs


420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Vol. IC, No.28

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.
Think Before Acting
the Runyon decision is not a coinci-
THE SUPREME COURT is currently dence. It was their nod of approval.
reconsidering Runyon v. McCrary, the Apparently, Congress did not view the
1976 landmark decision allowing mi- Runyon decision as judicial activism.
norities to sue for private acts of racial The most striking aspect of this case
discrimination. Should the Court over- is that no party asked for the re-consid-
rule this decision, private companies, eration. The Court raised the question
private schools and private clubs could over Runyon v. McCrary on its own
legally discriminate against minorities. because of the case of Patterson v.
Although a decision has not yet been McLean, currently before the court.
issued, it is unlikely that the Court will Another message that the public re-
overrule tne Runyon precedent. Justice ceives from the Court's decision to re-
Antonin Scalia responded to the oral consider one of its own precedents is
arguments in favor of overruling the that other civil rights precedents may
$ decision with, "If that's all you also be questioned. The present Court
have...I'm afraid it's nothing." could conceivably wipe out all of the
A favorable decision, however, will decisions of previous Supreme Courts.
not cancel out the psychological effect. This is a frightening prospect, con-
the reconsideration could have on mi- sidering that the Supreme Court con-
norities. The message minorities re- sists of a handful of judges, not elected
iceive with such a reconsideration is that by the people but rather hand-picked by
they are in danger of losing one of their the President. This destroys the check
rights - the right to fight private racial inherent in the slow-changing nature of
discrimination. a system based on precedent.
The Court may not be trying to pro- Whatever the Court's reasons, the
mote racism. The Court may only be effect is a slap in the face to minorities.
flexing its conservative muscles by try- The public gets the message that the
ing to reduce government involvement highest court in the land approves of
in the private sector. racial discrimination as long as the dis-
It may also be trying to make a criminator is not a government em-
statement against judicial activism. ployee.
However, Congress passed a law al- Whether the ill effects were intended
lowing plaintiffs to recover attorneys' is not the question. The question is
fees from defendants in lawsuits based why the greatest legal minds in the land
on the Civil Rights Act of 1866. The forgot to follow the simple rule of
fact that this was passed shortly after thinking before they acted.
Alternative institio
Co t tntgon
TONIGHT IS THE OPENING of the that the University rewards and en-
s laBkrNlo MneaCne o courages. This is possible through the
: Ela BkerNelsn Mndea Ceterforresources available through the Center.
:Anti-Racist Education. The Center, a The resources range a wide spectrum
project of the United Coalition Against - from published materials, videos
Racism, will bridge the gap between and audio cassettes, to workshops, na-
anti-racist activism and academic work tional and regional conferences led by
on race, racism, and social change.
UCAR has responded to racist in- speakers from across the country. The
C R cassnde o m- Center also organizes teams of speakers
cidents on campus and in the commu- estohdwrkhsincass
nity as they have occurred - with sit- ers to hold workshops in classes,
ins, building blockades, demonstra- dorms, chchestand community en-
tions and rallies. These actions are an ters on different aspects of racism,
extremely important part of the effort of cultural diversity, and positive social
0combatting racism; however change.
pomition ga thnracistmoee As W.E.B. DuBois argued over a
confrontations are not thehalf century ago, a pivotal political is-
:position of the anti-racist movement. P
It is also necessary to build alter- sue of the 20th century is one of race
native centers of education, to combat and color. In both domestic and foreign
the institutionally racist, male, eu- policy, racism emerges as a central
rocentric structure and philosophy of popular ideology justifying an eco-
academic institutions. These centers nomic violence upon Black, Latino,
can serve as a forum in which anti- Asian and Native American communi-
racist activists, community members, ties at home -- and an aggressive pol-
students and faculty can discuss and icy of militarism and intervention
reformulate the strategies of the anti- abroad. Class and gender discrimina-
racist movement, and the priorities of tion are also integral parts of this popu-
the communities. lar ideology.
The Baker-Mandela Center provides The anti-racist movement is one
such a forum. The Center is a place for which includes pro-active action and
people of color, and anti-racist scholars education. In order to end the system
within the University interested in pro- of institutional racism we must not only
gressive research aqd scholarship to actively protest but also form altema-
come together. Another purpose of the tive institutions to serve as models for
Center is to pay a debt to communities the type of institutions we would like to
that made it possible for students and see installed in our society.
scholars of color to occupy the spaces All people who want to become a
now available in academic institutions part of the movement to end the
because of their struggles to change the abroad are invited tothef color here and
abrad re nvtedto heopening of the
system. Baker-Mandela Center tonight in East
By encouraging scholarship which is Engineering, Room 3. For more infor-
relevant and accessible to as wide an mation about the programs and re-
audience as possible, the Center is sucsaalbetruhteBkr
structured to counter the elitism e- sources available through the Baker-
C tt, mltkn l 936 1809O

bedded in the kind of intellectual work '.,OCicalJV-I UY.
Fre7edom of choice
N EW STUDENTS WHO arrive at begins for students who want to avoid
University housing each fall are often these environments.
placed in disturbing positions In addition to roomate choice, the bill
concerning the habits of a total has two other provisions. The first
stranger: their roomate. Some students requires state colleges and universities
want and need the ability to make to make substance abuse programs
choices about habits of potential available to all students and employees.
roomates to make dorm life as easy a Secondly it requires the presentation of
transition to college life as possible. educational programs about substance
Some students don't want their abuse at new-student orientation.
roomate to be a smoker, a drinker, The bill is important for those
and/or a drug-user. students who may be recovering

By Ivette Perfecto
A prisoner of war, from an international
viewpoint, is any combatant or reserve
who falls into the enemy's hands either
through surrender or by capture in any
place or circumstance of war. There exists
a large body of international law dealing
with the rights and fair treatment of POWs
since the Geneva Convention of 1899.
The United States is supposedly not
presently at war. And yet U.S. prisons are
presently holding POWs.
In 1980, 11 Puerto Rican independence
activists were arrested in Evanston, Illi-
nois and were accused of being members
of the Armed Forces of the Puerto Rican
National Liberation (FALN). Armed at the
time of their capture, the 11
independentistas immediately declared
themselves POWs and demanded recogni-
tion as such based on the Geneva
Convention and 1970 United Nations
Resolution 2621.
The dictates of the Geneva Convention
(of which the United States is a signatory)

that Puerto Rico is an internal matter of
the United States, and the U.N. thus has
no jurisdiction.
The charges against those arrested in
Evanston was "seditious conspiracy." The
charge of sedition (the stirring up of
rebellion against the government) has a
long history of use in this country as a
weapon against political dissidence.
The charge has its origins in the Alien
and Sedition Act of 1798 and was used by
the U.S. government to silence its oppo-
nents who were sympathetic to the French
Revolution. A law so obviously used for
the purpose of suppressing dissent fo-
mented a great deal of popular resentment;
the government was finally forced to par-
don all those convicted or charges under
this law.
Over the next one hundred years, the
federal sedition laws were not enforced.
However, state sedition laws were imple-
mented to deal with runaway slaves. The
present seditious conspiracy laws came

essence, the U.S. government has declared
that the struggle for Puerto Ricati
independence is an act of sedition which
carries a 20-year sentence.
One of the POWs is Alejandrina Torres.
Torres was very active in the Puerto Rican
community in Chicago and became an ac-
tive member of the committee to free
Puerto Rican POWs. In 1983, she wds
physically removed by FBI agents from
her workplace and charged with seditious
Since her arrest, Torres has been physi-
cally and psychologically tortured. Kept in
isolation, she suffered a heart attack and
was denied treatment from a heart special-


'In essence, the U.S. government has declared that the strug-
gle for Puerto Rican independence is an act of sedition which
carries a 20-year sentence.'

declares that those combatants who declare
themselves POWs must be recognized as
such. The 1970 U.N. resolution, approved
by the General Assembly, further states
that all combatants who struggle for inde-
pendence and self-determination of a colo-
nized people must be considered as POWs
from the moment of their capture.
Significantly, this resolution also reaf-
firms the right of any occupied or colo-
nized nation to utilize whatever actions are
necessary to obtain independence - in-
cluding armed struggle and military resis-
Nevertheless, the United States has ig-
nored and continues to ignore these inter-
national norms, even those to which it is
a signatory. It continues its actions in
violation of international law, claiming

into being early in this century and were
used against anti-imperialists - especially
the International Workers of the World
(the "Wobblie") when they opposed U.S.
involvement in World War I.
Significantly, no one after 1937 has
ever been charged with seditious conspir-
acy except members of the Puerto Rican
independence movement: first the
nationalists in the 1930s and then those in
the 1950s and now the revolutionaries
captured in Evanston. Formally speaking,
the charges of seditious conspiracy imply
"agreement among two or more to oppose
the authority of the U.S. government by
force." In other words, seditious conspir-
acy is a crime of thought.
No actual illegal act is necessary to
charge someone with this offence. In

Torres was transferred to the infamous
Lexington Control Unit in Kentucky.
There she was placed on 24 hour
surveillance, confined to a small, always-
lit cell. She was denied access to religions
services or visits by family members.
Strip searches by male guards were
converted into rapes.
Unfortunately, the experiences of Torrec
are repeated many-fold in other prisons
across the United States. Thirteen inde-
pendentistas are serving sentence from 35
years to life for various federal charges that
include seditious conspiracy. And these arO
but a few of the Puerto Rican men and
women of conscience who have thy
courage to risk everything for their lives'
and for the freedom of their people. 4
The lyrics of a song composed by Sil-}
vio Rodriguez capture the spirit of the
Puerto Rican POWs: There are men and
women who struggle for a day and are.
good./There are others who struggle for a
year and are better./There are those who'
struggle many years and they are very
good./But there are some who struggle all
their lives. These are the indispensably
Ivette Perfecto is a doctoral candidate in
the School of Natural Resources and &
member of the Puerto Rican Solidarity

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CCF's free
To the Daily:
Last Tuesday evening, La-
GROC was celebrating an anti-
discrimination victory as MSA
voted 19-1 to withdraw
recognition of CCF, a Chris-
tian campus group who spon-
sored a diag concert by Mike
Deasy. Deasy, a Christian mu-
sician, performed a controver-
sial song, "God Hates Queer
and So Do I" on the diag on
September 27, 1988. Having
attended both the concert on the
diag and the MSA meeting, it
is my belief that this case is
not one of discrimination
against gays and lesbians. The
issue is rather one of freedom
of speech and whether or not
the opinions and beliefs of
Christians will be able to be
presented in a public forum.
MSA and LaGROC have
seemingly superseded the Con-
stitution by attempting to deny
free speech to CCF and its
members. At the MSA meet-
ing, a LaGROC spokesperson
and several MSA reps who
were not on the diag to hear the
song stated that the title of the
song was "God Hates Queers
and So Do I." They then
launched into a discourse ab-
horring hatred of homosexuals.
The premise for the discussion
was incorrect as the title of the
song referred to homosexuality
and not to homosexuals. As
Christians, we have the re-
sponsibility to speak out
against practices and lifestyles
that are sexually immoral and
transgress the laws of God. As
Americans, CCF and Mike
Deasy have the right to pub-

poor taste and the entire inci-
dent is regrettable. No one af-
filiated with CCF had any prior
knowledge of the song or its
lyrics. However, LaGROC's
attempt to:have:the voice of
CCF silenced on campus be-
cause they find CCF's view-
point objectionable is ludi-
crous. Remember the first
I look forward to seeing
MSA's kangaroo court decision
overturned on appeal when
FACTS are addressed reason-
ably and rationally.
-Mary Lynn Me94ord
UM Alumna,1984
October 13
Look at
violence in
its context
To the Daily:
Last Thursday, my friend,
Sandra Steingraber, was
knocked to the ground by one
of the many campus deputies,
security officers and Ann Arbor
police trying to "control" the
student protest of President
Duderstadt's inauguration.
From my position as a gradu-
ate student with a liberal hu-
manist bias toward life, Sandra
was exercising her right to free
speech, not hollering "Fire!"
into a crowded room. This act
of conscious protest did not
infringe on President Duder-
stadt's rights, but the irrespon-
sible way the protesters were
treated unquestionably infringed
on theirs in a most
dehumanizing way.
Aristotle named "intell-
igence, character, and good
will" as the attributes that pro-

let out their anger and confu-
sion by traveling in packs and
picking fights with knives. Do
young boys look at violence in
And while I'm worrying over
the credibility of our current
leadership, let me also worry
that we insult those who enter
our confines and do try to break
down barriers. I refer to Presi-
dent Duderstadt's introduction
to Toni Morrison's lecture last
Friday. As I recall, our leader
announced that the "highlight
of the week" would be the up-
coming Michigan-Michigan
State game. Perhaps our presi-
dent was absent from English
125 on the day that "assessing
your audience" was discussed? I
kept wondering how the
Pulitzer Prize-winning author,
waiting to speak, might com-
bat the knowledge that the
president of a major university
has publicly prioritized the
gridiron over the "Tanner Lec-
ture on Human Values." I was
mortified as I imagined her
thoughts at that moment.
-Ann M. Frank
October 11

on the question of medicaid
funded abortions, I am shocked
by some of her invalid claims:
She writes, "...we consider the
reality that there is no 100
percent effective means of birth
control!" This is an extremely
obvious error. Abstinence is
always effective - no matter
what. And it's available to
people of all incomes.
Ms. Henry also claims,
"...an ethical state provides ba-
sic health care to the poor."
agree. However, her misjudg-
ment shows as she tries to fit
abortion into this category.
Abortion is unlike an illness in
that one has little or no control
over preventing a serious il-
ness. Any woman can control
whether or nor she becomes
pregnant, aside from rape vice
tims - which happen to acr
count for less than half of *
percent of abortion cases. Ms.
Henry fails to acknowledge we
are not animals. We have con-
trol over our sexual actions.
Welfare should help low in:
come individuals with thing$
they have no control over.
Sexual negligence does not fit
into this category, and I refuse
to let my tax dollars pay for it
It's as simple as this: if yof
are not currently able to raise a
child, don't have sex, I under-
stand that not all people will
abide by this, and that's per-
fectly fine with me. But don't
make me pay for someone
else's lack of discipline. Preg-
nancy has never been an ill-
ness; yet today's sexual values
may be becoming one.
-Steve Morrow
October 13





Proposal A
To the Daily:
After reading the article by
Molly Henry "Vote No on
Proposal A," (Daily 10/10/88)

Daily Opinion Page letter policy
Due to the volume of mail, the Daily cannot print all the
iPttirc 'nA dn,,mne it rcip.Fic althrh an Pffnrt emace >


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