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January 22, 1991 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1991-01-22

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Page 4--The Michigan Daily-Tuesday, January 22, 1991
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.

Armageddon at home
Gulf war should not overshadow domestic crisis

_Viewpoint
CC
Equal housmg protecionntenSe
Equa houi~ngprotcti~n no ensred

WHILE AMERICANS' ATTENTION IS
understandably focused on the war
abroad, the prospect of thousands of
deaths in the Middle East provides no
excuse for ignoring the catastrophe
confronting the nation's cities. As
bombs begin raining down on this
country's poor in the Middle East -
Where they carry the heaviest burden of
the fighting - budget bombs are dec-
itnating their communities and their
futures here at home.
. Even as the U.S. economy enters its
worst downturn since the 1930s, gov-
ernment spending priorities and social
inequalities are making a mockery of
Bush's cant about the "American way
of life."
Twenty-nine of the nation's largest
50 cities face huge budget deficits in
the next two years. But rather than in-
troducing progressive income taxes,
cancelling tax abatements for develop-.
rs, and reducing tax exemptions for
elite not-for-profit institutions, munici-
pal goverments throughout the country
are cutting social services, eliminating
jobs, and introducing regressive taxes
on consumer items. Fearful of alienat-
ing the rich who control all levels of
American government, U.S. mayors
are declaring war on the poor instead.
In Washington - where new
mayor Sharon Pratt Dixon must grap-
ple with a $200 million deficit this year
,- the D.C. City Council has cut the
school budget by 10 percent and funds
for the homeless by 45 percent. In
Philadelphia, which could be bankrupt
by February, Mayor Wilson Goode is
,gtappling with the crisis by breaking
municipal contracts and halving the
city's fund for the homeless -- even as
the downtown developers who moved
in during the 1980s continue to enjoy
upwardof $50 million in yearly tax
abatements.
But nowhere are matters worse -
and proposed solutions more unfair -
than in New York City. Thirteen years
after New York emerged from near
bankruptcy, Mayor David Dinkins is
wrestling with a whopping $2.6 billion
dollar deficit. And, much like Mayor
Ed Koch before him, Dinkins' solution
to this crisis is to soak the poor while
beefing up the police force so-they re-
main quiet.
Though Dinkins portrays himself as
a progressive, 16 of the 17 members of
his Council of Economic Advisors are
members of the city's financial elite.
Though Dinkins claims to be a cham-
pion of the poor, one of his first acts as

mayor was to carry on with Koch's
shameful campaign to eliminate the
homeless from the now gentrified
Tompkins Square Park.
Though Dinkins calls himself a
friend of labor, he announced last week
that he was laying off 25,000 city
workers while hiring 3,600 new police
officers. And though Dinkins bills
himself as an "education mayor," his
largest cuts - to the tune of almost a
half billion dollars - will come from
the city's education department.
None of these choices - in New
York or elsewhere - are inevitable.
They are, rather, the consequence of a
vicious corporate logic which places
profit before people and business be-
fore the communities that business
purportedly serves.
Fighting such logic requires a vision
and courage that neither Dinkins nor
his colleagues in other major American
cities seem to possess. It requires tax-
ing the 40 percent of New York prop-
erties which are tax exempt; there is no
reason that Columbia University -
which earned more last year than most
of the Fortune 500 companies in New
York - should not pay taxes. It means
taxing business services - which
could generate $1 billion in New York
alone - rather than consumer necessi-
ties such as food and clothing.
Fighting such logic also means im-
plementing a much more progressive
tax structure. The Economic Policy
Institute has recently demonstrated that
municipal tax structures are even more
regressive than the severely unfair fed-
eral tax structures instituted by Reagan
and Bush. New York is no exception.
Finally, fighting such logic means
ending tax abatements to real estate de-
velopers, which cost New York $500
million annually. The trickle-down ar-
guments used to justify such abate-
ments in the first place have proven in-
herently faulty. We can not afford such
killings, unless we are willing to sacri-
fice not only our cities, but any possi-
bility that we might someday build a
truly just society.
Hence we are faced with the same
choice today that Dr. Martin Luther
King, Jr. spelled out for us a quarter
century ago. We can change our prior-
ties and invest in our people. Or, con-
versely, we can commit political and
moral suicide as America's poor
march to their death abroad while fac-
ing an equally cataclysmic Armaged-
don at home.

By Jen Rubin

The right to appeal a court decision
is an integral part of our legal system,
which guarantees that no citizen can be
deprived of their basic rights without
due process. But due process was
nowhere to be seen on Jan. 10 in
Washtenaw County Court. That after-
noon, the tenants in 116 W. William -
which has been squatted since last
March - tried to appeal their forcible
eviction from the house. They didn't
succeed.
The eviction itself - precipitated by
Ann Arbor's decision to demolish the
house and thereby make room for a $9
million parking structure - is unjust for
a variety of reasons.
In the initial hearing on the matter,
Judge Pieter Thomassen ruled that the
woman living at 116 W. William must
post a bond of $1,691 and pay $1,117 in
monthly rent to' an escrow account if she
wanted to appeal. At the Jan. 10 hear-

ing, Judge Morris amended this deci-
sion, waiving the appeal bond and set-
ting the monthly rent figure at $800.
. But both figures are significantly
higher than the woman's stated income.
No person living on a low income can
possibly pay such an amount, as both
Thomassen and Morris certainly real-
ized. In effect, they made it impossible
for her to obtain due process within the
court system, thereby demonstrating the
courts' hostility toward low-income peo-
ple.

such as food and housing. Both judges
compounded this injustice, signalling
that the law does not serve them either.
As a result, the woman living at 116 W.
William will be stripped of her basic
right to a home.
The Homeless Action Committee
(HAC) does not recognize a court deci-
sion which denies the right to appeal.
Therefore, HAC also does not recognize
this eviction as legitimate. When the
city deputy removes the inhabitants of
116 W. William, we plan to go back

Poor people in this country are continually deprived
of fundamental rights such as food and housing.

9 ;

The Jan. 10 decision deprived a per-
son of her fundamental rights. Though
the Fourteenth Amendment to the Con-
stitution guarantees everyone equal pro-
tection under the law, the courts' deci-
sion to place a price tag on exercising
this right strips "equal protection" of its
meaning.
Poor people in this country are con-
tinually deprived of fundamental rights

into the house.
When recourse is denied in the
courts, it must be seized on the streets.
It is with this in mind that we urge you
to help rectify a fundamental injustice.
Join us in defending every citizen's ba-
sic rights to those fundamental tenets of.
life, liberty, and the pursuit of happi-
ness.

Rubin, a Rackham student, is a member of
Homeless Action Committee.

Dr. King's
By Forrest Green 111

true dream has been forgotten

This week, the University of Michi-
gan will offer its student population a
number of activities to partake in, yet
our celebration of Martin Luther King
Jr.'s dream will actually be quite point-
less and vain. Unfortunately, while so
many of us exalt King's memory as the
one irrefutable answer to every question
of racial equality, in truth we are not
true to his dream.
While the University is certainly far
from a monolith, and we all should be
thankful to those that struggled, sacri-
ficed and died for this reality, we still
cannot afford to be complacent.

ine the effects of a racist culture that
benefits them almost exclusively. These
students are no more at fault for this un-
fortunate agitation of racial tensions
than the non-white students being alien-
ated for it. The true problem lies at the
actual source of a need for a diversity
requirement, here or anywhere else in
America.
The true problem is institutionalized
white supremacy, here at the University
and almost every institution of higher
learning in America - a lie that no one
wants to confront. The University will
spend exorbitant sums of money at-
tempting to glaze over the ugly effects

The true problem is institutionalized white supremacy,
here at the University and almost every institution of

Anti -war
For success, movement must stay broad-based

students will be denied the fair chance
to learn true respect for the so-called
"minorities."
Caucasians make up an estimated 8-
12 percent of the world's population.
One would think that students of color
would be accurately represented in the
books, studies, and curricula, and
quotes, -and images, of any school on
such a planet. Instead, in places where
whites are the majority, racial tensions
are and will continue to be exacerbated
by the reality of a diversified
(tokenized) student body being taught
white supremacist half-truths and lies.
And the actual truths of humanity being
ignored in this suffocating cage of en-
lightenment will continue to be dis-
carded to blow in the wind like so many
banned, torched pieces of literature.
Martin Luther King, Jr. struggled for
the upliftment of all humanity, not just
African Americans, hoping to change an
unfair system that deprived all Ameri-
cans of truth, justice, liberty, freedom
and happiness, to some extent or an-
other.
It is easy for us to love a man that is
dead, whose vision has faltered in his
passing. What is muchaharder to do is to
acknowledge that the systems of intol-
erance and white supremacy that he
struggled against persist to this very day.
The institutionalized racism that the
diversity requirement is shrugging aside
is the real foe that must be challenged,
- and destroyed. We would truly honor
King by struggling for this mysterious I
concept, truth.

higher learning in America
to confront.

- a lie that no one wants

W ITH THE OUTBREAK OF WAR
and the ensuing confusion among stu-
dents, the anti-war movement at the
University is dancing through a mine-
field as it attempts to hold together the
disparate communities against the war.
In this context, the movement's ongo-
ing effort to expand its base - as well
as its decision to hold off for now on a
student strike - are to be commended.
Some ultra-left groups with their
own notorious histories of hidden
agendas and sectarian politics -- such
as the Revolutionary Workers League
(RWL) - have pushed for a complete
and immediate boycott of University
activities. Recognizing that such an ac-
tion would alienate many students who
are against the war, but who do not
necessarily support foregoing classes,
the movement's leadership has decided
to shelve this nronosal - at least for

ment is not only broad-based, but dem-
ocratic as well.
This is not to say that the movement
should cease advocating a moratorium
on classes once such a move has sup-
port. A one-day moratorium, supple-
mented by alternative classes and
teach-ins concerning why this war is
wrong, could provide students with an
invaluable means of working through
the confusion and emotion that all of us
are currently feeling.
A one-day moratorium - which
refers to a short strike of fixed duration
- is more realistic than a potentially
divisive, long-term strike that would, at
the present time, command little sup-
port.
For the time being, a moratorium
would not only make a strong state-
ment against the war, but would also
tin en nmgrntivan, rather than ment ,ve,

The diversity requirement approved
by the LSA faculty on Oct. 8, 1990 is an
example of our need for complacency in
the face of injustice. As current students
were informed of the approved require-
ment of future students to take classes
focusing on racial and/or ethnic intoler-
ance and inequality, thescommon reac-
tion was often one of disdain and spite
- frequently, among whites.
This is understandable; after all,
white students should not be expected to
feel comfortable, being forced to exam-
Green, an LSA junior, is a record re-
viewer for the Daily Arts staff.

of its Eurocentric standards of intelli-
gence and truth, even in a tokenized
"melting pot" atmosphere, but it will
not question the actual inequalities that
make both the University, and America,
so alienating to those dark of complex-
ion.
Students starting their first year in
1991 will be forced to take classes un-
der the requirement's provisions, yet the
true concept of diversity will still elude
them. Non-white students as well as
white ones will continue to be force-fed
reading lists and trains of thought from a
distinctly Eurocentric perspective, de-
priving all of useful information. White
Were so gallantly streaming
Our men, so brave and strong
And the rocket's red glare
Lower their eyes
The bombs bursting in air
So no one can read fear
Gave proof through the night

International Anthem
To the Daily:
International Anthem
0 say can you see
I sit alone, wishing I was blind
By the dawn's early light
R... .h- rslnoA TV hnn m . t i...

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