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October 05, 1990 - Image 16

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1990-10-05
Note:
This is a tabloid page

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The bugle blew
too soon

We don't blow any bugles until the
war's over.
-Malcolm X
Last Spring South African
President F.W. de Klerk declared
that "the season of violence is
over." This was supposed to
mean that all that fighting over
rights was behind the country,
and that the rational process of
negotiation would supersede
violence on the road to equality.
So, Nelson Mandela was
released and the African National
Congress (ANc), which he leads,
was legalized. And the
negotiations began.
Then Mandela embarked on a
dramatic world tour,
simultaneously calling for the
continuation of economic
sanctions against South Africa and
praising de Klerk for his reforms.
The negotiations were (and are)
slow. The process is on a course
which would take years if it had
any chance of succeeding, which
it doesn't. De Klerk has promised
the whites that he will produce a
constitution which they can live
with, as long as that takes. And
the tide is gradually turning
against the international
sanctions.
In the meantime the ANC called
off its armed struggle against the
government, and roughly a
thousand people have died in
coordinated attacks against the
ANc and its supporters. There is
considerable evidence the killing
is being carried out by agents of

the government who may or may
not be acting against the wishes of
President de Klerk.
Violence perpetrated by the
Inkatha Movement - comprised
mostly of Zulus - has always
been more or less attributable to
the white government, which
created the
"tribal
homelands" or
bantustans
which gave rise
to the Inkatha
x and its
leadership as a
power. But this
latest string of
attacks goes
Cohen beyond that,
because there
are now reports
of white men in government
vehicles organizing the attacks
and transporting the Inkatha
hitmen to their targets.
White reactionaries are doing us
the service of clearly showing the
relationship between the
government and the Inkatha
attacks.
U..
When Mandela made his
historic speech at the United
Nations this summer, he went out
of his way to praise de Klerk and
the white government.
He said: "[W]e believe that
President de Klerk and his
colleagues in the leadership of the
ruling party are people of
integrity.:We are of the view that
they will abide by the decisions

at are arrived at in the coupe of
our discussions and negotiations."
This was separate from his
description of the threat imposed
on the peaceful process of change
by white "extremist" groups.
That distinction is unravelling
fast.
One of the benefits of the world
tour for the Arc was the further
solidification of the AC as the
voice of Black South Africa - the
party to negotiate with. All the
international support needed to
back that position up came at a
price - calling off the armed
struggle and praising de Klerk
and the "peace" process. Those
steps apparently flew in the face
of previous ANC positions, but, it
was figured, Ac supporters could
reconcile that contradiction when
they saw the benefits gained from
an enriched negotiation process.
Now, as the process is
interminably stalled and Ac
supporters are dying by the
hundreds, the ANC faces a
credibility crisis, if not an all-out
war. Several newspaper accounts
have quoted Ac supporters
demanding the resumption of the
armed struggle and the
distribution of weapons among
the townships. And Mandela has
threatened to answer their calls,
unless the government acts to
stop the violence.
Eu.
The Arc's approach to the split
among the white elite -between
the peace-loving negotiators and
the fascist extremists - fails to
recognize what is essentially a
common interest. De Klerk and
his faction may want negotiations
with the ANc, and they may even.
want a race-free system of voting
rights someday. But they only
want it after the preservation of
existing economic and social
structures can be guaranteed

through other meansoting'
alone will not improve conditions
for the oppressed people of South
Africa.
The "extremists," on the other
hand, won't even accept
negotiations, and they'll use
violence to stop the process if
they can. But the extremists and
the so-called moderates led by de
Klerk are joined by the interest
they share in a fractured and
disillusioned movement for Black
liberation. And the longer the
negotiations drag on without
producing tangible results, and
the longer anc supporters are
killed by the hundreds with no
effective response, the closer both
groups of whites get to their
common goal. It's no wonder the
government's so-called efforts to
stop the violence have been
without result.
Mandela was greeted with
incredible enthusiasm on his tour
of the United States. He was
heralded as the man who made a
peaceful transition to democracy
possible in South Africa, as well as
for his deliberate tone of
conciliation toward the white
government.
So when de Klerk came to wine
and dine with President Bush -
one of the biggest proponents of
ending sanctions and getting back
to business in South Africa -
where was the protest? There was
some, granted, but compared to
the outrage that would have
accompanied such a visit just a
year ago, it was negligible.
For that de Klerk has Mandela
to thank, but it was a public
relations service he didn't
deserve.

of the new residents were
uninformed about how the houses
function, resulting in difficulties
after the recession.
"During the recession the
leadership held on, but those who
moved in weren't as well-
equipped to take on those
leadership roles," Jones explains.
To resolve the problems, the
icc completely revamped the
entire structure. "We've changed
everything in the past five years,"
Jones says. "We've turned around
a lot of the houses."
"We've been buying a lot of
stuff since 1985," he continues.
Most recently, the icc purchased
a house at 704 Hill this spring,
which was dubbed Kagawa House
by icc members at their meeting
Sept. 27.
Based on current financial
estimates, Jones anticipates a
bright future for the icc. "My best
guess is that we will add maybe a
house or two in the next two
years." Based on the rate the icc
is paying off its mortgages, Jones
also foresees a major expansion of
the co-op system around the year
2000.
Despite the turnaround, the
ic's problems did not end in
1985. Today, two of the
predominant difficulties the co-op
system is confronting are minority
recruitment and the perception of
co-ops on campus.
Bill Woelkes, president of
Sojourner Truth House, feels the
two problems are related.
"One of our biggest problems
is our identity on campus... the
way we're perceived," he says,
adding that the vegetarian,
communal-living, liberal image
co-ops have may cause minority
students, especially those from
urban backgrounds, to shy away
from them. "We're not thinking
at their level."

e Iccc
recently
developed a
Minority Affairs
Committee to
deal with
minority
recruitment and
retention in the
system, but some
members are
questioning the
necessity for the
committee while
others are
skeptical about its
outcome.
"There are a
few minorities
living in the co-
op, but for me, it
(minority
recruitment) isn't
a big deal,
although it would be nice to have
more," Ed Veeser, a Stevens
House resident, says.
Jeff Kaufman, president of
Joint House, explains, "We don't
go out of our way and look (for
minorities)," because most co-op
members hear about the system
by word-of-mouth rather than
formal recruitment methods. This
year, according to icc statistics,
71.86 percent of icc members
learned about co-ops through
personal contact.
However, Kaufman adds, the
newly-formed committee is
"seriously looking into the issues"
regarding the reasons so few
minorities are co-op members.
They are also thinking of ways to
recruit more.
Angela Shelton, an IsA junior,
left the co-op system because of
difficulties she faced as a Black
woman. Shelton, the chair and
sole member of the Minority
Affairs Committee last year,
claims the icc has no commitment
to recruiting or retaining
minorities.
"Why is it that co-ops are low-
rent housing facilities and don't
have any minority members?"
Shelton asks. "I don't think they
have any interest in integrating
their community."
But some members feel
strongly about increasing the
number of minority members.
"The icc doesn't really go out
and recruit minorities like I think
they should," Ginny Wolter, a
Vail House resident, says, adding
that she is uncertain how
effective the Minority Affairs
Committee will be in the long-
run.
icc President Alexis Willingans
agrees there is a problem. "If
you're a minority on the campus,
you don't want to be a minority at
home," she says.

Willingans says the Minority
Affairs Committee is hoping to
set up workshops, increase their
recruitment methods and
establish a house mainly for
minorities.
It appears the co-op system
may be taking a first, but not
giant, step toward increasing the
ranks of its minority members,
although this step seems belated
on a campus which has preached
diversity for several years.
Recruitment problems extend
to the campus as a whole,
primarily because of the way co-
ops are perceived by students.
"I think it (the student body)

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has more of a granola, socialist, h
out-of-the-world view (of co- p
ops)," Vesser says. "The normal
perception is pretty whacked- p
out." 14
While each house has its own n
reputation, Vesser contends that
"most of us are pretty straight- h
laced," but residents are nI
"definitely, definitely more t
liberal than average." e
Woelkes feels some of the a
problems stem from some a
members' desire to maintain a
more radical image and attract the g
kind of students who lean toward i
a more liberal lifestyle. c
"The perception the campus 41

Hick, redneck, honky... and the shock of recognition

7

tE. q !. I Pt4 4

Thirty years ago, a known racist
running for high political office in
Louisiana would scarcely have
raised eyebrows- indeed, it
would have been expected.
Thirty years ago, Earl Long was
running for Governor of
Louisiana, invoking the name of
his dead brother, Huey Long, foe
of the rich, friend of the poor, and
one of the more corrupt
politicians ever to put foot to soil.
Huey Long's name is being
invoked once more, in David
Duke's campaign for U.S. Senate.
David Duke is painting himself as
a populist who is in touch with
peoples' concerns. He frequently

tells his audiences "I am only
saying in public what you talk
about in private." That may well
be the case, although people now
understand the destructive power
of language.
There is no denying that
progress has been made in the
South. Where politicians of
Duke's ilk were once the norm,
Duke's campaign is now being
treated as an aberration by the
ever-eager Eastern Establishment
press. Duke is appearing
frequently in the New York
Times, Washington Post and
newsweeklies, as some demented
racist demagogue who has

inexplicably re-captured the
minds of the decent (but let it be
said, not 100 percent intelligent)

in Louisiana on affirmative action
and minority hiring are similar to
the opinions of whites in the

people of the South.
David Duke has not
risen out of nowhere, nor
do I believe that only
Louisiana could have
produced such an ogre.
Recent surveys by the
University of New
Orleans, using questions
identical to those used by the
University of Michigan's Inter-
University consortium for
Political and Social Research in
their 1988 election polls, show
that the opinions of white voters

I TkoI

United States as a
whole.
The survey
continues "Could
a David Duke
happen in other
areas of the
country? Based
on the national

state, such as Arizona or
Mississippi.
Northerners have traditionally
laughed at Southerners, as hicks,
rednecks and peanut farmers, but
the South lives on, our national
doppelganger. Tempting as it is
to pass off the South as the racist
portion of the country, and to
point to the extremes that David
Duke represents, Duke is merely
at the forefront.
There are a number of
indicators which suggest that the
enfranchisement of ordinary
Americans may slip into reverse
this decade. President George
Bush has been greasing his best

.bi Mon.-S- 9ft 0P. , si

El

survey data on affirmative action
and basic beliefs, our answer is a
qualified yes." The qualification
means that David Duke would be
more likely to succeed in a
historically conservative or racist

, s a ys :1t " 8 pm.

0. T

WEEKEND October 5,1990

a

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