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May 30, 1980 - Image 4

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1980-05-30

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Page 4-Friday, May 30,1980-The Michigan Daily

S. African squatters
defy homelands policy


Oscenizoty, zoning
and basic rights
T IHE ANN Arbor zoning ordinance that pro-
hibits the establishment of "adult" bookstores
within 700 feet of a residential area clearly violates
the first amendment of the United States Con-
Unfortunately, the courts are not likely to see the
issue so clearly. The Supreme Court has long con-
sidered "obscenity" exempt from the protection of
the first amendment, although just what "ob-
scenity" is and just why it does not fall under the
first amendment is something the Court has never
satisfactorily explained.
The wording of the first amendment is quite sim-
ple: "Congress shall make no law ... abridging
the freedom of speech or of the press.. .." Nowhere
in the bill of rights, nor anywhere else in the Con-
stitution, are there qualifications or exemptions to
the words "speech" and "press."
Communities have a perfectly legitimate interest
in regulating where certain establishments should
be built. They can rightfully prohibit commercial
establishments in certain areas, zone for density,
and regulate where establishments such as
highrises, schools, or freeways belong.
But a zoning ordinance that discriminates bet-
ween certain types of bookstores infringes upon a
basic freedom. When a city says some literature is
permissible and other literature is not, it is
inherently imposing censorship upon its residents.
The law has no place indulging in literary
Whose place is it to decide what falls beneath the
obscure term "obscenity?" Standards vary from
year to year, community to community, and in-
dividual to individual. Many works now considered
important literary pieces were once barred as ob-
The first amendment is absolute and to pretend
otherwise is dangerous. If the first amendment
does not protect obscene expression, and if ob-
scenity is undefinable, then it logically follows that
any form of expression could someday, somewhere
be labeled "obscene" and be open to prohibition
and censure. That occurence is exactly what the
founding fathers wished to avoid when they wrote
the words, "Congress shall make no law . . .''
Community members have angrily protested the
location of an adult book store on Fourth Ave. that
is violating the city's zoning ordinance. These
residents can picket the store, make their concerns
known to the store's patrons, and try every
peaceful means to effect an economic boycott of the
establishment. Just as the Constitution should
protect the right of the bookstore to locate where
any other bookstore may, so it protects the rights
of others to peacefully assemble and protest the
contents of the store's literature.
That's the beauty of the first amendment. It
ought to be an absolute guarantee protecting
everyone's right to express him or herself without

CAPE TOWN, South Africa-
Cape Town is the oldest and
arguably the most beautiful city
in South Africa, nestled in a stun-
ning setting of rugged mountains,
cliffs and the sea, rimmed with.
white beaches. But, to hundreds
of thousands of South Africans, it
is a poisoned paradise.
The white neighborhoods, im-
maculate and spacious, are
distinguished by eleborate gar-
dens reflecting the meticulous
care of black gardeners. The
townships in which blacks are
required by law to live, however,
are dismal, monotonous com-
munities-their dwellings over-
crowded at best. In any case,
they house only half the area's
black population. The housing
crisis facing Cape Town's blacks
is so severe that more than
400,000 people are in need of
adequate places to live.
MOST -OF THEM are now
among an estimated 250,000
"squatters" who live "in
homemade shacks of corrugated
sheet metal, forming illegal
camps with populations up to
The official response to these
communities has been straight-
forward and nearly uniform:
squatter camps are regularly
leveled by bulldozers. Women
and children are forcibly depor-
ted to the homelands, or they
scatter into the bush with their
belongings, where many
tenaciously gather to rebuild
their communities.
Permanent black communities
located near "white" cities are
considered a threat, and one of
the measures the government
has employed in attempting to
destablize and slow their growth
is restricting the availability of
family housing. Following an of-

By Adam Morgan
ficial policy decision in the late
Sixties, construction of black
family housing in white areas
dropped, increasing over-
crowding and lengthening the
waiting lists. In the Cape Town
area, a virtual moratorium on
construction of homes for blacks
began in 1966, and eased only
BUT THE JOBS are in the
"white" cities, and the use of
black labor is essential to the.
white economy. Thus, black men
are allowed into white areas, not
as permanent settlers, but as
migrant laborers with one year
contracts, required to live
without their families in dreary
single-sex hostels. They may
work for 40 fears in the same
area, renewing their contracts
every year, and still be con-
sidered "temporary sojourners"
while their wives are "super-
fluous appendages" who must
remain in the homelands.
The homelands, which com-
prise about 13 per cent of South
Africa's land area, are im-
poverished, tribal reservations
populated mostly by women and
children or the aged and infirm
left behind by able-bodied
More than one million families
are split by the migrant labor_
system, involving nearly a third
of South Africa's total black
population. In the Cape Penin-
sula, the situation is particularly
difficult for those of pure African
descent, for it is declared a
"Colored (mixed race) Preferen-
ce Area." Jobs and housing for
Africans are even scarcer than
elsewhere, and African families
experience tremendous strains..
"Our children never know their
fathers, and we as women take

the wrong way just because we
miss our husbands," observed
one African woman.
BUT IT IS not only emotional
preference that drives women to
the "white" cities where their
husbands work. There are -vir-
tually no jobs in the homelands.
African women and their
children are expected to support
themselves there on remittances
from their husbands, sums so
pitifully small that many simply
cannot survive. According to the
World Health Organization, one
half of 'black children in the
homelands will die before the age
of 5. The primary killers are
gastroenteritis and pneumonia
aggravated by malnutrition.
"You write a letter to your
husband," explained a woman
illegally residing in Cape Town,
"by the time it reaches him
either you or the child is sick. By
the time he writes back the child
is very sick, or has died. Then I
decided for myself that it is bet-
ter to stay with my husband.",
That these women of the squat-
ter camps are determined to stay
despite the consequences is
testimony to even worse con-
ditions in the homelands. "If they
demolish our shanties here at
Crossroads, I will remain here,
because I have no other place to
go," declared a Crossroads
resident. "I will stay here even if
I have to stay under a bush. I
have no intention of going back to
the country, because at home I
will be facing hardship and star-
Adam Morgan is a freelance
writer who recently visited
South Africa. He wrote this
article for Pacific News Service.




Painting ofplaza no prank,
To the Daily: want a plaza of their own, let suggest the renaming of the
The repainting of the sign in them pay for it out of their Center as the Student Power-
front of Peoples Plaza is NOT pockets. Theater.
a "prank begun last year," as While we're on the subject, Remember the Party Plat-
some historically ignorant it may also be time to remind form:
assistant night editor would you that the Power Center was "We paid for it-We painted
have it (Daily, May 28). only partially paid for by the it!"
The sign in question has gift of former Regent "Until the Blue Sun Burns
been repainted whenever it Power-half the funds came the Gray Winter of Apathy
has appeared-beginning in from (you guessed it) the Away!"
December, 1969 (Daily, Jan. general fund. It seems to us -Steve Nissen
10, 1970). We of the Blue Pan- only fair that all the philan- Imaginary Chairperson
ther Party proudly take thropists involved be honored Canadian Blue Panther
responsibility for this equally and we therefore Party May 28
courageous act of defiance. A
quick check of the record will,
show you that the plaza bet-
ween the new and old ad-
ministration buildings was
constructed at a cost of
something over $100,000 of
general fund money. Money
extorted from the student
body through outrageous
tuition charges should not go
to glorify those responsible fort:
the outrage.
If anyone is playing a The recently painted People s Plaza sign usually
"prank" here it's the Plant reads "Regents' Plaza.
,Department:,-I--the . ..g ,r

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