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July 30, 1982 - Image 6

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Michigan Daily, 1982-07-30

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Opinion

Page 6
The Michigan Daily
Vol. XCII, No. 51-S
Ninety-two Years of Editorial Freedom
Edited and managed by students
at the University of Michigan

Friday, July 30, 1982

The Michigan Daily

Fighting for civil rights

political ploy
PRESIDENT REAGAN'S endorsement of a
balanced budget amendment to the
Constitution while he presides over the largest
budget deficit in U.S. history, amounts to sheer
hypocrisy.
The balanced budget amendment is little
more than a political ploy for Congress mem-
bers and presidents wishing to impress the
public with "fiscal responsibility." But the
amendment itself has no teeth.
Ostensibly, the measure would require
Congress and the president to keep the federal
budget balanced or in surplus. In tough
economic times, however, Congress would be
forced to ignore it as tax receipts fall and
government expenses increase.
And, of course, balanced budgets at the
beginning of the year often turn out to be full of
red ink by the end. Reagani's own budget last
year, ran a deficit $40 million more than
originally expected.
No one individual can be blamed for the huge
deficits. But as president, Reagan has been a
significant contributor to our budgetary
problems. Uncontrolled social spending can no
longer be blamed for the government's red ink
record. A $44 billion dollar tax cut and the
largest peace time military buildup in U.S.
history are in themselves a major portion of the
current deficit.
The worst scenario will occur if the President
uses the amendment to further his conservative
political policies of drastically reducing social
programs while beefing up the military-all for
the cause of a balanced budget.
A balanced budget amendment will do
nothing to solve the nation's current budgetary_
problems. Instead it offers a political solution to
an economic problem.
.LANPS AD r
OFFSHORE IASES
-~.. ELECTION MAYBE
S Public Property =
pispos Aets

Famed civil rights attorney
William Kunstler was in Ann
Arbor recently to represent
black artist Jon Lockard in his
attempt to be reinstated into
the art fair. Lockard charged
the Ann Arbor Street Fair Inc.
with denial of due process and
racial discrimination.
Kunstler is noted for his
defense of the Chicago Seven
and various civil rights ac-
tivists. Daily staff writer Lou
Fintor spoke with Kunstler
about the Lockard case and

Daily: What makes the Lockard
case so important?
Kunstler: It is important only in
the sense that it's the perennial
struggle of black artists.
whatever stage of the entertain-
ment field they happen to be on,
to make a go of it in America. It's
the problem they have been suf-
fering from the beginning.
Daily: Do you think that civil
rights strides that were made in
the 60s are being eroded today?
Kunstler: Of course, that's hap-
pening all over the place. Blacks
and other Third World people
who made historic strides in the
60s to end the overt acts of
discrimination, now find them-
selves ina retrograde movement.
All of the great programs that
characterized the 60s and that
meant so much to change race
relations in this country, they are
all vanishing.
Daily: It seems that in the
Lockard case students were not
very active in his support. What
do you think of the general at-
titude among college students in
terms of social issues today?
Kunstler: If this had happened
when the U of M was in full
session, and there had been time
to organize around it with a
couple of real experienced
organizers, I think you could
have turned out thousands of
people. I think Jon raised a con-
sciousness in people. He raised a
serious issue, it got notice, and it
will raise some sort of impression
on people. People reach for cer-
tain ideals of their own through
art forms. That's why I think the
artist is so important in any
social program.
Daily: Do you think the judge's
decision (not to reinstate
Lockard into the fair) is in-
dicative of the legal system in our
country today?

Kunstler: Well, what's happened
is that the whole country has tur-
ned essentially to the right
because of fear. Fear was
generated about Russians, crime
in the streets and so on. These are
periodic situations that over-
whelm countries so that in order
to project yourself-and a lot of
goodand decent people believe in
this-you've got to violate the
civil rights and civil liberties of
some people. That's a terrible
thing for a country to get into
because when you carry it to ex-
tremes, you're in Nazi Germany.
Daily: What would you say was
your most difficult case?
Kunstier: There are so many.
This is by far not our most dif-
ficult case. I think it's one of the
more interesting I've had
because it involves a genuine
creative artist. Now, the black
artist is demanding recognition
and I think that Jon is part of that
vanguard - and a very impor-
tant part. People hear about it
(Lockard's case) and read about
it. Jon had the courage to do it
andtsomebody will benefit from
that.
Daily: How has your general
'focus or your perspective
changed since the days of the
Chicago Seven or since-Jaw
school?
Kunstler:When I went to do the
Chicago Seven case, I was just
then 50 years old. I believed
essentially that the law, while it
had its aberratonsrcould do a lot
of the social work that was
.needed-that it could remedy the
injustices. I now no longer
,think that's possible at all. I
think that all the law cando is
dramatize the situation, but that
the law is just part of the overall
system. I think now in essence,
that labor struggles are the root
and the heart of it. You've got
nearly 45 percent of all black men
.under 21 and over 16 unemployed,
hanging around street corners.
Daily: What do you think are the
major social issues facing society
today?
Kunstler: The major social issue
is this conflict that is going on
between those who say we need
more repressive measures and
those who are fighting to avoid
those repressive measures.
People in the United States are in
an absolute panic at this moment
in these moods of quiet
desperation that Karl. Marx
wrote about. That's why you have
a 101,000 capacity stadium out
there to watch 22 young men run
up and down a field because that
takes you out of the world. You
don't have to worry about nuclear
energy if you're sitting in
Michigan Stadium, watching
silliness. There is nothing wrong
with a good football game, but in
the end it's not serious - it solves
no problems in life.

Daily: Do you think .the mood has
changed in Ann Arbor as it has
all over the country?
Kunstler: Students are a
questionable commodity at this
moment. On the one hand they
can furnish the greatest reservoir
of troops in any social struggle.
They are intelligent and ar-
ticulate and they have mobility.
And they haven't been totally
wrecked by the society, the way
their parents have been. When
times are like they are now,
students quickly revert to
another area when they say, "I
don't want anything to interfere
with my degree. I want security.
Let somebody else raise up the
rallying cry. I want to sun myself
on the fraternity roof."

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KUNSTLER: Students provide
troops for social struggles.
Daily: Do you think the Chicago
Seven gave us Richard Nixon in-
stead of Hubert Humphrey as
president?
Kunstler: No, the Chicago Seven
weren't even indicted until after
Nixon had been elected. But I'm not
sure that it wasn't better to have
Nixon than Humphrey, because
in many ways, I consider Nixon
the best president we ever had.
He exposed the system. A Ken-
nedy is more dangerous because
a Kennedy does exactly the same
things as a Nixon. With Nixon,
you know who you are. I feel
safer with Reagan in many ways.
He exposes himself and his real
constituency in a way no liberal
president would.
I sense we're in a period of
great diversion. People are doing
everything they can to avoid the
real issues-the constant threat
of war, racial intolerance, and
the evils of capitalism.
History moves on and you just
hope that people wake up to the
fact that there is a real world and
that Mork and Mindy are pure
fantasy and should not be allowed
to divert people from that real
world.

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