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October 03, 1990 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1990-10-03

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Page 4 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, October 3, 1990
EDITED AND MANAGED BY STUDENTS
AT THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
420 Maynard Street
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109

,,. ,

NOAH FINKEL
Editor in Chief

DAVID SCHWARTZ
Opinion Editor

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.
Reunification

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Swift process ignores the
TODAY, LESS THAN A YEAR AFTER
the Berlin Wall came down, the two
Germanys will be united for the first
time in 45 years. West German Chan-
cellor Helmut Kohl has pointed to this
day as "the birth of a free Germany."
But amidst all the media's hoopla
proclaiming an end to history, the vic-
tory of capitalism, and the triumph of
the West, those celebrating the birth of
a new world should pause and reflect
on the meaning of the old one. For
Kohl's vaunted freedom will not ex-
tend to everyone - and to the suppos-
edly liberated East Germans least of all.
The reunification process has pro-
ceeded too quickly and with too little
thought for the East German people to
make a free and unimpeded decision
about their future.
EN.
Through the inspiring demonstra-
tions that swept East Germany last au-
tumn, the East Germai people hoped to
regain the right to determine the shape
of their own lives and their own des-
tiny after the long nightmares of
Nazism and Stalinism. But despite
Western impressions to the contrary,
East Germans' quest for democracy
was not a quest for capitalism.
During the demonstrations that pre-
cipitated the opening of the Wall Nov.
9, only two of the more than 7,000
placards in Leipzig and Berlin called
for a "social market economy"; not one
called for reunification. The rest -
with slogans such as "the left against
those on top" and "instead of co-man-
agement, self-management" - re-
flected the overwhelmingly working-
class demonstrators' desire for a form
of socialism that was democratic and
not bureaucratic, responsible and ac-
countable to the people rather than a
totalitarian force that terrorized them.
.East Germans, clearly did not want
to give up the guaranteed employment,
low rents, progressive reproductive
rights laws, social services - includ-
ing free education, healthcare, creche
services, and legal aid - that they had
long enjoyed. What they wanted in-
stead was the right to manage the pro-
duction and distribution of these ser-
vces themselves.
Reunification, as East German
feminist Ina Merkel rightly observed,
"would be to the detriment of the East
German population; because West
Germany is not ready to pay enough to
compensate for the social inequalities."
U..
Ready or not, Chancellor Kohl was
determined to have reunification - and
as quickly as possible. In the months
following November, the West
German political parties poured mil-
lipns of Deutschmarks into their strug-
gjing East German sister parties' cof-
f rs. Kohl's Christian Democratic party
atone hired 4,000 full-time staffers in
Est Germany.
'The demoralized East Germans
cTUld neither match these expenditures
nor avoid the message accompanying
tlem: do things our way and accept the
free market, or confront a complete
economic strangulation and face disas-
ter. Like most hostages, the East
qerman people "chose" to live.
In the following months, East
Germans' prospects for controlling
their own future became increasingly il-
lusive. In May, their leaders were
flown to Bonn in a West German air
force jet after being given a mere 18
hours to sign an economic pact ceding

direction of their entire economy to the
West German finance minister. In July,
Kohl presided over the two Germany's
economic union by promising that
"iobody will be in a worse situation
than before."

wishes of East Germans
Just three months later, more than
900,000 East Germans - almost one-
sixth of the entire work force - had
"officially" lost their jobs; this figure
includes neither the hidden unemploy-
ment covered by the redefinition of
erstwhile women workers rediscover-
ing their "natural" vocation as mothers
and housekeepers, nor the elimination
from the statistics of everyone who is
too intimidated or resigned to sign on at
the unemployment offices as looking
for work.
Massive strikes involving up to half
a million workers in chemicals, engi-
neering, printing, the public sector, and
among farmers have protested these
measures - all to no avail and with lit-
tle media coverage. Even the most op-
timistic estimates forecast 3-4 million
Germans being unemployed by the end
of the year.
East German women have watched
the two governments sign over their
considerably progressive abortion
rights. All German women will now be
subject to the West German penal code,
article 218 of which only allows abor-
tions in situations where the woman is
defined by a doctor as under "distress."
Only 13.3 percent of all the abortions
performed in West Germany are done
legally - the second lowest figure in
northern Europe.
Salaries in East Germany are half of
what they are in West Germany, even
though the end of state subsidies has
meant that prices in the East are signifi-
cantly higher than in the West. The
price of medicines and medical subsi-
dies - along with retirement benefits
and aid to the elderly - has been
slashed dramatically. The "petty cash"
fund Kohl promised for such subsidies
has evaporated.
East Germans' political rights are
being assaulted along with their eco-
nomic ones. The Party of Democratic
Socialism had its funds impounded by
the state for supposed "irregularities"
after they won a hefty 30 percent of the
municipal election vote in East Berlin
and other towns. Nothing has been
said about the massive fund transfers
from the now defunct East German
Communist party (SED) to Kohl's
Christian Democrats.
U..
Given this context, is it any wonder
that so many East Germans are upset
about reunification? Or that New
Forum, the citizens' movement which
spearheaded the popular revolution last
November, will hold a requiem rather
than a celebration today in Gethesmane
Church, one of the birthplaces of the
East German protests?
Does one really have to ask why
Protestant churches throughout East
Germany - themselves so active last
autumn - have refused a request from
the government to ring their bells today
in commemoration of reunification?
One can only answer these ques-
tions by understanding that the freedom
Chancellor Kohl ushers in today is
freedom for only a select few. It is a
freedom to exploit a people who are
waking up to the meaning of democ-
racy West German style.
This is not the democracy East
Germans fought for so heroically - a
fact we would do well to remember as
we traverse the space from last
November's utopian moment to to-
day's hostile takeover of a people
whose oppression has not ended, but
rather taken on a more subtle form.

Tomorrow: New freedoms in Eastern
Europe have brought with them open-
ness, which has revealed attitudes of
hatred and bigotry throughout Europe.

tin

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On politics and life at the University

By Jonathan Chait
The greatest thing about Ann Arbor is.
that it can provide students with a wide
range of enlightened and educated political
ideas from representatives of the entire
range of the political spectrum, some of
whom don't even foam at the mouth.
Last weekend, on the Diag, a man
spoke against the deployment of U.S.
troops to Saudi Arabia, fearing that his
son would be drafted, a broad oversimplifi-
cation which ignored several delicate con-
siderations, such as: There is no draft.
The Army now attempts to recruit
teenage males through television commer-
cials which use slogans like: "We do more
before 8:00 than most people do all day."
This commercial was actually designed by
Russian Communists who know full well
that teenage males have absolutely no de-
sire to wake up at the crack of dawn, espe-
cially for the purpose of being ordered to
perform extremely difficult and pointless
tasks such as crawling eight miles through
a swamp and converting it into a radar
base, for God only knows what reason.
Nevertheless, these commercials repre-
sent an advance over the days before the
draft was halted, when recruiting adver-
Chait is a first-year LSA student.

tisements tended to stress benefits such as
not being thrown in jail.
All details aside, the gist of this man's
message was that American troops would
not be on the other side of the globe fac-
ing the threat of poison gas attack by a
ruthless genocidal dictator if marijuana
was legal. No, he was not suggesting that
President Bush would have called a press
conference following Iraq's invasion of
Kuwait to announce, "Dude, the invasion
thing is, like, totally uncool, but let's
chill out with the army deal. Gotta be pru-
dent, man."
No, this man explained that American
troops are in Saudi Arabia to defend oil
which we don't need because our cars
could be fueled just as well by marijuana.
Yes sir. And there was a substantial crowd
of onlookers who were saying, "Yes, by
God, he's right!"
But even when the activists are sup-
porting good causes, they have a way of
making it seem kind of looney. Take the
controversy over the University's decision
to deputize a campus police force. MSA
President Jennifer Van Valey rightfully de-
nounced the administration for sneakily
making this decision during the summer
term when nobody was around to protest,

shortly before she approved a $1,000 grant
to send two members of the Palestine Sol-
idarity Committee to the West Bank and
Gaza Strip, when most of the MSA dele-
gates weren't around to protest.
The two students returned to report, to
the great surprise of everyone, that Israel
is still the modern equivalent of Nazi
Germany, just as they suspected.
So anyway, some students staged a
protest of the deputization of campus secu-
rity, but got confused about what they
were protesting and ended up spending
most of their time insulting Deane Baker,
who no doubt masterminded the entire
scheme while spending his summer vaca-
tion clubbing baby seals. (We could make
things a lot easier for them by getting
Deane Baker to run for Prime Minister of
Israel, where he could send the Israeli army
over here to police the campus.)
The effect of these protests on the cam-
pus's small, paranoid right wing, of
course, is that they would now probably
support arming the cops with short-range
nuclear weapons. Personally, I don't think
that deputizing a University police force
will make the campus any safer. Then
again, we wouldn't have this problem if
marijuana was legal.

Don't blindly accept
the world status quo
To the Daily:
The viewpoint by Manuel Olave
("Conservatives shouldn't despair,"
9/27/90) displays an attitude that is quite
frightening to hear from any student in a
university of higher education. While
most of his editorial deals with campus
election issues, it reflects a callousness
and blind adherence to the status quo so
common among our generation in its ref-
erences to general philosophies towards
political activity.
Conservatives certainly should get in-
volved; however, the rhetoric and irational
name calling that Olave invokes is typical
of status auo reactionary behavior. His
name-calling of liberal/radical students -
"a sign of how obnoxious a few recalci-
trant idiots" - is a demonstration of the
emotional appeals conservatives have had
to rely upon to muster the support of the
United States.
A rise in i itional conservatism has
been obvious over the last 12 years.
Thankfully, the damage done by the
"Reagan Revolution" - to schools, urban
centers, the national debt, and the erosion
of national infrastructure in general (with a
huge recession imminent) - is beginning
to be noticed by the general public.
Recent opinion polls give Jimmy
Carter a higher approval rating than Rea-
gan. In light of this conservative thrust,
however, it is all the more imperative forg
students to remain outspoken critics of the
information we hear and read; students are,
all around the world, the voices that insist
that the truth be heard and that hold gov-
ernments accountable for their actions.
Many students today do: ot question at
all what their government tells them, for-
getting the lessons of the Vietnam War
and the Nixon administration. Students
must continue to speak out for reform.
Support of disarmament, resistance of
,mnnhhia andi rorim and md ,mantQ

Tau Gamma Nu responds to EQ allegations

To the Daily:
We, the brothers of Tau Gamma Nu,
would like to respond to the article appear-
ing Sept. 28, 1990, concerning an incident
that took place in East Quad. Supposedly
on Wednesday night of that week a group
of men ran through the halls of the dorm
acting in a destructive manner.
According to the article, the men yelled
"Tau Gamma Nu" repeatedly as they van-
dalized the building. The article went on to
quote a member of our house who denied
the incident.
Despite this, the East Quad building di-
rector demanded that the president and
members of our house provide an immedi-
ate explanation. Furthermore, a student
stated that we should be held accountable
for our infringement upon his or her rights
and those of homosexual women.
We found this article absolutely outra-
geous and morally reprehensible. Our
To make a difference,
don't give' U' money
To the Daily:
Everyone has been commenting on the
need to protest against the University po-
lice force. The question is, why should the
administration care? They get your money
whether you like the police force or not.
Whether you like Deane Baker or not.
In fact, they get your money, period.
If we want to stop the cops, we've got
to stop giving them our money. Move out

house did not hand out bids on Wednesday
night. The reporter who came to our house
and talked to our president was told this
but chose to ignore it.
The writers of the article failed to print
this response, but rather concentrated on
portraying us as being guilty of the inci-
dent. We feel this is an infringement of
our rights. We were not in the residence
hall at the time, and it is wrong that we
should have to prove our innocence.
For whatever reason, another group of
men chose to portray themselves as mem-
bers of our organization while displaying
inappropriate behavior. We are disap-
pointed that this would happen and we
hope these men come forward and identify
themselves. Whether this happens or not,
our fraternity played absolutely no part in
this incident and regret we have been un-
fairly associated with it.
The brothers of Tau Gamma Nu
of dorms so they don't get room and board
money. Disenroll so they don't get tuition
money. Stop going to football games so
they don't get ticket money.
Because money, for them, is the bot-
tom line.
What's that you say? Those things are
too much fun, too convenient, or just too
important to give up?
Congratulations. You've just figured
out why the regents don't care what you
say.v
Jason Larke
First-year LSA student

0.
03

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GE4~L4Y ~4/1~ 1 .A I ...

'N & B is a great strip'
To the Daily:
Nuts and Bolts is a great comic strip. I
can understand what Lumus feels like.
Keep up the great work.
Jason Wenglikowski
LSA sophomore

reads "I @x*!! hate bicyclists."
Now that's humor. It could become a
series; next he could rape a jogger, then
bash a gay, and wrap it up by gunning
down a dozen or so women in the Engi-
neering Building.
Have I missed some subtle point? An
explanation or apology is warranted.

:.

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