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September 19, 2001 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2001-09-19

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, September 19, 2001

OP/ED

Gbe lA+iigun :zd1l

420 MAYNARD STREET
ANN ARBOR, MI 48109
daily.letters@umich.edu

EDITED AND MANAGED BY
STUDENTS AT THE
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
SINCE 1890

GEOFFREY GAGNON
Editor in Chief
MICHAEL GRASS
NICHOLAS WOOMER
Editorial Page Editors

Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the majority of the Daily's
editorial board. All other articles, letters and cartoons do not
necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.

NOTABLE
QUOTABLE
If the Americans go
to war, I pity those boys. I
pity their mothers and
sisters and brothers. It will
be 10 times worse than
Vietnam. Vietnam will be
a picnic by comparison.
Here they will get it in the
teeth. Oh, they will get it
good."
- Former Soviet colonel and
Afghanistan veteran Yuri Shamanov in
yesterday's London Evening Standard.

01
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4

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Thoughts on building an indusive peace movement
NICK WOOMERBAC I'O TH WOOM

4

traitor wrote this
column - that's
what a lot of
Americans would say any-
way. Others might just call
me a naive jerk.
Why? Because I
oppose, unequivocally, the
massive military response
to the Sept. 11 tragedy the
Bush administration is trying to sell to this
country.
One would think that, in the wake of all the
death the nation endured last week, it would be
hard to convince U.S. citizens that much more
blood - foreign and American - ought to be
shed. Fortunately for the war hawks and defense
contractors, an utterly complacent corporate
media has worked tirelessly to render absurd
any suggestion that we should think twice
before we restart the killing machine.
Instead, the public is bombarded with stories
of retail stores selling out of American flags, of
previously apathetic youth now invigorated with
patriotism, and spontaneous eruptions of "God
Bless America." Certainly, all these "patriots"
are not necessarily militant nationalists - for
many, the United States' diversity alone is
enough to evoke a deep love for this country.
But the venom spewed last week by opinion-
makers like Jerry "The ACLU Did It" Falwell
and Ann "Kill Their Leaders and Convert Them
to Christianity" Coulter is proof that, at least for
the post-Sept. 11 jingoist right, "patriotism" has
become a synonym for "bloodlust."
Once again, the United States needs a
strong, broad-based anti-war movement to bring
everyone back to their senses. And in my esti-
mation, the students at the renowned, large pub-

lic universities in Berkeley, Madison and Ann
Arbor are the best hope to initiate a process that
will ultimately produce such a movement.
These three cities are historically predisposed
towards fostering political dissent and probably
have the largest concentrations of progressives
who are particularly skeptical of the American
propaganda machine. Already in Ann Arbor,
some students and community members are
organizing against our government's seemingly
immanent war. As they plot their strategies, I
respectfully submit a few thoughts on how to
best proceed:
It is imperative that when the anti-war
movement speaks, its message reverberates
around the country, and the only way to do this
is to get noticed by the national media. Given
Ann Arbor's unique place in the history of stu-
dent activism, anti-war activists here are particu-
larly fortunate in that they can play up the
Vietnam-era nostalgia factor for reporters. But
nostalgia will only take a cause so far - the key
to building any sustainable grass-roots move-
ment is to get as many people as possible out to
demonstrations, marches and rallies - and the
only way to do that is to narrow the message so
that the movement is as inclusive as possible.
The biggest challenge for any progressive
movement is to stay on-message. The left, being
composed of people with an acute appreciation
of the complex interrelationships between seem-
ingly separate forces, is prone to split itself into
factions that each support specific political
agendas. We can't do that.
But that is what we're doing. At a Monday
night coordinating meeting for tomorrow's anti-
war rally on the Diag, the discussion meandered
around. "What should be the precise wording of
the rally's plank against racial scapegoating?"

"Why aren't we discussing the origins of the
impending war in the context of U.S. foreign
policy?" "What should we say about preserving
civil liberties?" These are all important issues
that are worthy of discussion in themselves, but
they are also tangential to what ought to be the
primary focus of an anti-war movement -
stopping the U.S. government from starting a
military conflict that will only result in the
destruction of even more innocent human
beings. Integrating any peripheral issues into a
call for peace and reason only makes an already
difficult public relations job even harder.
A surefire way to alienate people who other-
wise support peace (and allow media spinsters
to distort the fundamental message) is to draft
up some sort of multi-plank agenda - no mat-
ter how basic those planks seem to be. One of
the most notable things about last Tuesday's
vigil on the Diag was that it brought together
students who would otherwise have nothing to
do with each other: Students who stand with
Israel and students who want to free Palestine,
socialists and libertarians, atheists and religious
fundamentalists. Only a movement with a sin-
gular, uncompromising plank - stop the imma-
nent war - will be maximally effective at
bringing people into the anti-war movement.
The war hawks have already had one week
to urge Americans to "put aside their differ-
ences" and whip-up popular support for a war
that promises to produce death on a massive
scale and make the world a more dangerous
place. A new peace movement will have to take
the nationalist "unity" rhetoric to heart to pre-
vent even more horror.

4

I

Nick Woomer can be reached via
e-mail at nwoomer@umich.edu.

V LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

V

ANALYSIS

4

Daily is not prudent,
it is cowardly
TO THE DAILY:
I am writing in response to yesterday's edi-
torial "War"
In the editorial, the Daily writes "It
becomes clear when listening to our mili-
tary personnel speak that the United States
is not interested in justice, it is interested in
revenge."
The Daily went on to say, "The nation
has been attacked. We have been injured,
we have been assaulted, we have been hurt.
But we have not been pushed into war -
we are pushing ourselves into war."
This is close to being the most ridicu-
lous statement I have ever heard.
Is America just inventing this heinous
act, or did it really happen? The death toll
is approaching 6,000, and I believe this is a
serious underestimation.
So as a government what should we do?
I hear your criticisms of what we have
done, but what are you suggesting?
Oh I see, "before launching a devastating
attack that will lead to further civilian casual-
ties, the nation as a whole needs to seriously
consider the motives of its actions."
It has been one whole week since this
event. What does the Daily suppose the
leaders of the free world are doing if not
considering the consequences of their
actions?
Now does that mean we don't act? I
think we are being patient and deliberate
by asking the countries harboring these
criminals to turn them over, but if they
don't, do we simply say "oh well, we
tried?"
We did not become a great nation by
burying our heads in the sand and hoping
the bad people would go away. The free-
doms that you enjoy, like publishing this
naive opinion, were not given to us, we
fought to ensure them.
It becomes clear to me that the last verse of
the National Anthem refers to two groups. For
the land of the free (that's you) and the home of
the brave (that's the rest of us).
ORLANDO FEATHERSTONE
Department oPublic Safety officer

LETTERS POLICY
MTe Michipati Dail welcome,, 1tteri from all of'
irs readers. Lette fro U eniverty students, faculty,
tap and administrator, will be giv n pority over
other tLetmers mst include the writer's 'name,
phon& run-her and schbol year or Uri veity afilia'
tion. TiheDailywill not pint> ny rtu that cannot
he veriied. Ad homtcmm attacks wil not be tolerat,
ed
Letters should be kept to ,jproximately 300
words. The Michigan Daily reserves the right t
edit for kength, clarity and accwacy'. Loner
",Vi('wpoius" m ht arranged With an editor.
Lerrers will be un ccordmg to order recE ivd
and the amount of space av ailable.
Lettersh uld be sent over e-mail (no anach-
mnenrs plealse) to udatl} eter+@urich']at or oniled
to rhe Dily at 420 M ynard S. Editor can be"
reached via e-mail at editpaYe edirrrszumi edu.j
Lett s e-mailed to rhe Daily will be given priori-
iy over those dropped off in person or sent via the
U.S. Postal Service,
Opponents must
provide options
TO THE DAILY:
There are many who have and, in the
days ahead, will criticize and oppose the
United States government's proposed mili-
tary actions.
True, the right to criticize is one of our
most cherished freedoms. But with it
comes also a deep responsibility.
The government does not have the luxury of
merely criticizing other people's ideas - it
must choose a course of action, even non-
action. Those who disagree with the govern-
ment have an equal responsibility to propose
specific alternative actions, so that all of us can
weigh and choose which course is better.
It is not enough to say the government is
going the wrong way. Critics must spell out
what specific course of action they would
choose instead. The offering of alternative con-
crete courses of action, and not mere protest, is
what differentiates political discourse and true
political action from simple grandstanding.
JEFFERY HUo
Medical school

Globalization fails to make the money go round

Increased inequality wi
By JAMES K. GALBRAITH
A dam Smith, the patron saint of free
markets, had a clear-eyed analysis of
inequality. "Servants, laborers and
workmen of different kinds," he wrote,
"make up the far greater part of every politi-
cal society. But what improves the circum-
stances of the greater part can never be
regarded as an inconveniency to the whole."
What a contrast with the dominant view
in our time! Today the leading economists
tell us that real wages must be cut, to com-
pete with those whose wages are lower
still. They say that minimum wage laws,
and trade unions, cost jobs. They say that
my own country, the United States, is a
model of flexible labor markets - of full
employment achieved by accepting pover-
ty. They teach that a global order of priva-
tization, deregulation, free trade and open
capital markets - the Washington Con-
sensus - will produce great new gains for
all the world's population.
In Europe, the modern wisdom holds
that high unemployment owes to a legacy
of socialism, social democracy and the
welfare state. Yet if you examine European
countries one by one, you discover that
those with the strongest egalitarian tradi-
tions (think Norway and Denmark), also
enjoy the lowest unemployment. And it is
in those countries who most recently left
fascism behind (think Spain), where unem-
ployment has been highest.
There is no general case, in Europe or
elsewhere, of countries achieving sustained
new prosperity by cutting real wages or
accepting increased poverty for parts of their
population. Despite great efforts, the econo-
mists have failed to show that minimum
wage laws or unions cost jobs. And the Unit-
ed States, a country with strong public pen-
sions, 90 percent public school enrollment,
vast public (as well as private) health and
university sectors, many municipal enterpris-
es and extensive regulation - and where the
minimum wage rose as pay inequalities and
poverty and unemployment all fell in the late
1990s - is no model for the Washington

destabilize global economy

4

cation and land tenure. But then, the argu-
ment goes, markets should be allowed to
determine pay, and if the final result is
more unequal, so be it. Another viewpoint
holds that inequalities per se foster growth,
perhaps because saving requires accumula-
tion, and this is something that can be
entrusted only to the rich.
But, don't the economists know about
all this by now? Unfortunately the most
widely used measurements of inequality -
published in 1996 by the World Bank -
have only confused the issues. The num-
bers are often implausible - showing
Indonesia more equal than Australia, just
for instance. And the coverage is so limit-
ed that one cannot gauge developments
through time. Amazingly, you cannot even
say for sure, from these measures, that
worldwide inequality has risen in the past
twenty years. But does anyone seriously
doubt it?
To fill the gap, a small group called the
University of Texas Inequality Project now
offers systematic, nearly annual measures
of inequality in industrial pay for over 150
countries, going back to the early 1960s.
With a narrow focus on pay - measured
accurately and consistently through time

Second, in broad terms Kuznets was
right: inequality usually does decline as
total incomes grow; high inequalities are
more prevalent in poor countries than in
rich. Part of the problem in the world
economy has been a slowdown in average
growth; the upcoming world slump will
almost surely make pay inequalities worse.
(There is no support in our measures for
either variant of the "modern view.")
Third, the global trend in inequality
was stable in the 1960s, slightly downward
in the 1970s, and up sharply after 1981 and
ever since. What accounts for this? Tech-
nology? Trade? We think not. Rather, the
timing points mainly at the quasi-violent
financial regime change of the early 1980s:
rising real interest rates, debt crisis, and
the triumph of private global finance. In
many ways the pattern resembles what we
find in individual countries (such as
Chile), following a coup d'6tat.
And so to policy. Above all, we think it
clear that the financial order of the past
twenty-eight years cannot deliver sustain-
able economic development worldwide.
We therefore think it necessary to rebuild
an architecture of financial stabilization
and control - similar to the old Bretton

6

Coxrrectiorn- Vestperdav' editorial I misidenti fi ed the title of Secretarv of State Col in Powell.

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