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September 27, 1989 - Image 4

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4

OPINION
Page 4 Wednesday, September 27, 1989 TheMichigan Daily

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan
420 Maynard St.
a Vol. C, No. 15 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.
Camp David Revisited

In Praise of

Socialism

:I
a

IN 1979, Menachem Begin and Anwar
Sadat signed a peace treaty ending over
thirty years of war between Israel and
Egypt. Heralded around the world as
the first step toward a solution of the
Middle East crisis, it effectively re-
moved the international spotlight from
Israel's brutal occupation of the West
Bank and Gaza - and the Palestinians
residing there. Though the Camp David
accords contained numerous provisions
cOnceming the future of the Palestinian
people, the Palestinians themselves
were not included in the negotiations.
Now, in 1989, history seems des-
tined to repeat itself. This week,
Secretary of State Baker will get to-
gether in New York with the foreign
nministers of Israel and Egypt to discuss
the Mubarek Plan -named after
Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarek -
which is intended to replace the now
completely discredited Shamir election
proposal. Once again, the Palestinians
around whose future the Mubarek Plan
revolves have not even been consulted
-- and are not invited to this week's
talks.
Ostensibly offering the Palestinians a
compromise, the Mubarek Plan actually
demands from them an almost total ca-
pitulation. Yes, it calls for Israeli set-
tlements - which have illegally swal-
lowed over 50 percent of West Bank
land and over 34 percent of the Gaza
strip - to cease, but only during the
two month period of the municipal
elections which are the Plan's center-
piece. No mention is made of halting.
such settlements permanently, let alone
compensating a people which con-
trolled 93 percent of the land in histori-
cal Palestine in 1947.

Yes, the plan offers elections. But
the Palestine Liberation Organization
(PLO) may not participate in these
elections, even though over 90 percent
of all Palestinians in the West Bank and
Gaza designate the PLO as their sole
legitimate representative. Furthermore,
the Plan only calls for the Israeli occu-
pation army to withdraw on the day of
elections, which flaunts the spirit of
U.N. Resolution 1514 laying out the
necessary preconditions for the process
of decolonization. During the entire
electoral period, this army - respon-
sible for killing over 700 Palestinians
and wounding 50,000 during the first
two years of the intifadah - will re-
main in the territories, retaining the
power to shoot and beat, censor and
close, repress and intimidate.
Yes, the plan mentions land for
peace. But this has always been the
Israeli Labor doves' vaguely formu-
lated way of doing nothing. It offers no
specifics and no borders - not
surprising behavior from a state which
refuses to define its own and
inexorably continues a practice of
invasion, occupation, and annexation.
In summation, the Mubarek Plan -
much like the Shamir Plan before it and
the Camp David accords before that -
is a whitewash. It buys Israel more
time, Egypt more U.S. aid, and the
Palestinian people more years beneath
Israel's cruel Iron Fist. It does not
represent a small step forward, but a
giant step backward, one which, like
Camp David before it, will serve no
purpose except to silence Palestinians'
cries for justice beneath the diplomatic
banalities of business as usual.

By Hans Koning
The following is reprinted from the
April,1989 issue of the Monthly
Review with the permission of the
Monthly Review Foundation.
The eulogies or maledictions mut-
tered these days as a farewell to social-
ism are delivered over an empty grave.
Socialism hasn't even had a chance yet.
To clear one hurdle, let me remind
those who need reminding that the
cruel indignities perpetrated in the name
of socialism come second to the same
indignities perpetrated for 200 years in
the name of capitalism. It has taken that
long, plus enormous and bloody labor
fights, plus two world wars, to instill
Western capitalism with some respect
for its own citizens - and that only in
the advanced and privileged democra-
cies (whose well-being now is still
founded on the iniquities of their
pasts).
Let us consider then the second and,
right now, more relevant flaw of so-
cialist endeavor: its inefficiency. At this
junction it has surely been shown that
the system of everyone for himself or
herself, with self-improvement and
profit as society's engine, works better
in delivering the goods. That does not
mean that it will go on working in the
future, though.
Our planet, with its limited resources
and elasticity, is being stripped as if

there were no tomorrow. If there is to
be a tomorrow, this must end, and not
even an avalanche of legislation within
our profit economy can take care of the
staggering changes in attitude this will
require.
If the argument that there's no future
for socialism, "You can't change hu-
man nature," is correct, it also proves
there is no future for humanity. In the
long run, we simply cannot afford

shown not in waving the flag, but in
being our brother's and sister's keeper,
in protecting nature, in service to the
common weal.
We have been conditioned to con-
sider statements such as these pious
claptrap. But what other choice is
there? The importance of owning
things has to be scaled down; it is ex-
hausting the planet. And those who fall
behind are engulfing themselves, and

'If the argument that there's no future for socialism, "You
can't change human nature," is correct, it also proves there is
no future for humanity.'

g

capitalism. Human nature has to
change, and some form of socialism
has to do the job. We cannot afford a
system where the acquisition of ever
more and better consumer goods is the
reason for working and, indeed, for
living.
The problem of the future will not be
forcing people to work, but, on the
contrary, to keep them fulfilled and
unalienated while there is no useful
work for them to do. We must find
new rationales (maybe consolations)
for our lives beyond those of acquisi-
tion and profit. They are to be found in
the fulfillment of feelings, of solidarity,

then all of us, in what they see as their
alternative, waves of drugs and crime.
Worldwide, capitalism is not only mak-
ing the rich richer and the poor poorer,:
it is also attacking the lives of those
rich now, for they are becoming pris-
oners in their own enclaves of posses-
sions. :.
The world is crying out for decentral-
ized societies where production and
communications must be under daily
and direct control of the people, be-
cause success cannot be measured any,
more in increase, in the meeting of pri-
vate purposes, but only in sharing and
conservation. And what better name is
there for such systems than socialism?

6

Perspectives:
Starting
By Philip Cohen

Young

Baby Adul in the&nMhe
----- -
BensonO1988. Reprinted by permission: TribuneMedia Services.
Cashing in on environmental awareness:

We were all about nine years old when
our Sunday school class had an end-of-the-
year party at one of the kids' house.
Somehow we got to talking about some-
thing all of us had heard about, but didn't
talk much about - Hitler.
So there we were, eating our milk and
cookies, and the teacher asked each of us if
we were alive during the War, and we
could kill Hitler, would we have done it
knowing we would ourselves be killed.
Nine years old, we went around the
room, and like a rite of passage, each of us
solemnly swore that we would have laid
down our lives to save our people.
Patriotism and nationalism are powerful
things, and their effects on children can be
both positive and negative. I was certainly
proud of what I viewed as my Jewish na-
tionality when, at the age of six, I refused
to say the pledge of allegiance because I
had a feeling we weren't talking about the
same God. But I was also confused and
lost. The teacher told me we were all
Americans, but I didn't buy it.
And when I realized that the nationalism
which had been such a strong part of my
conscience as a child was tied to an inter-
national political situation which had
somehow never been adequately discussed,
I was already old enough to be angry about
it.
Israel was a mythological place for us as
children - it was always brought up in
sort of abstract, biblical terms. I never un-
derstood how on the one hand we were
learning that we were the chosen people
for Israel, and that land would, always be
our home, and on the other that it had
only recently become a state. Hadn't it al-
ways been this way?
The confusion I suffered, in retrospect,
was quite understandable - Israel, for us,
didn't really have a history between the
Old Testament and the formation of the

modern state. What was it in between?
Nothing.
When I realized - almost too late to
change an ideology which had practically
become part of my body chemistry - that
there were people living in Israel all that
time, and that the state had been con-

'When I realized - almost too late to change an ideology
which had practically become part of my body chemistry -
that there were people living in Israel all that time, and that the'
state had been constructed upon the rubble of their broken
homes and villages, I was furious.'

identity I have always felt persists, as it
should, but the organization of the reli-
gion, the mechanisms of its practice, and
its apparently blind acceptance and support
of the nation of Israel, seem too far re-
moved from the values and moral support
I look to a religion to provide; I can find

structed upon the rubble of their broken
homes and villages, I was furious.
The supposed aim of all Arab people to
destroy our nation and our people was al-
ways just another piece of ancient, unques-
tionable history - the Philistines, the
Romans, the Spanish, all that. Of course
they wanted to destroy us - everyone al-
ways had. But the Old Testament was just
a story, and as a story it made sense that a
noble but impoverished people were al-
ways under attack and persecution as they
wandered desperately around. But as current
reality, the situation didn't translate; the
facts had to be left out or the story didn't
hold up. So left out they were.
Suddenly I felt like I needed a new
Central Processing Unit.
Then an interesting series of changes
began to take place. I started looking more
closely at the orthodox members of my
family, at the religious rites and practices
we had observed. I began to feel the same
distance between those practices and my
life that I felt between the Old Testament
and the history of Israel. Ultimately, I be-
gan to feel cheated and deceived.
Now, for all intents and purposes,
Judaism has lost me. The strong cultural

those expressed around me in less conflict-
ing media.
When I get right-wing Jewish propa-
ganda in the mail (something which has
only started happening since I started writ-
ing for the Daily), one of the recurring
themes is the loss - both potential and
real - of devoted Jews from the fold.
"Intermarriage" statistics are cited, and var-
ious reasons are suggested for the loss.
But nowhere have I seen mentioned the
simple fact that popular Judaism in the
United States has tied itself so directly and
so firmly to Israel that it is nearly impos-
sible to be a part of the religion without
supporting the state itself. And if the
morals we have learned as Jews in the
United States happen to contradict every-
thing we see the government of Israel now
perpetrating, we are left with a choice:
drop our morals or drop the expression of
our religion - that is, abandon the for-
mal, collective aspects of Judaism, and be-
come a statistic. This is the choice that I
and many others are painfully making.

Paper politics

RECYCLED PAPER is in vogue. In
response to Ann Arbor's growing con-
cem about global environmental issues,
and about the city's landfill reaching
capacity, several copy shops around
campus have begun to sell "post-in-
dustrial recycled paper."
The name sounds environmentally
responsible, but the well-intentioned
people who purchase this type of paper
are in no way helping to end the solid
waste crisis or saving valuable forest
resources. Instead, they may actually
be hurting the market for post-con-
sumer recycled products.
Post-consumer recycled products are
Made from the resources recovered
through curbside pickups or drop off
stations. These recovered resources
have been purchased, used and dis-
carded. They include flyers, newspa-
pers, office paper, old bottles, soup
cans and the like.

The practice of gathering trimmings
and scraps from the factory floors and
redissolving them in solution has been
used in paper mills for decades. But it
is only in the past few years that it has
been labelled "post-industrial recy-
cling."
Consumer awareness and the grow-
ing market for recycled paper products
has exceeded the current production
level of post-consumer recycled paper.
Indeed, some recycling collection sta-
tions cannot find adequate markets for
their collected materials. This situation
will not improve until paper mills
switch over to using recovered materi-
als rather than virgin timber and scraps
from their factory floors as the basis
for the paper they produce.
Products labelled "recycled" must
meet certain criteria for improving the
nrryrtmr+At, -. nnrn1wr ~l

Philip Cohen is an Associate Opinion
page editor.

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