Monthly Archives: June 1973

1973.06.01: Sex Deleted (Red Tide)

Sex Deleted

Red Tide, Vol. 2, No. 6 [Issue #10]
Summer 1973

Sex Deleted
[By Michael Letwin]

On Thursday, May 10th, the [California] State Board of Education refused to adopt a new textbook for the 7th and 8th grades entitled “Human Sexuality[,]” without “further deletions from the book.” Some of the topics that the Board did not want to be discussed were sadism, masochism, impotency, frigidity, incest, and other topics. The Board also ordered the deletion of such facts as “59% of all women will have experienced sexual intercourse prior to marriage” and “Masturbation is a normal sexual activity.”

Among the deletions before the Board were sections at the end of each chapter in the book which dealt with “Facts and fallacies” about sex. One said “Men and women loose their sex drive after the age of 50 (Fallacy)”. Another said[,] “If a culture approves of uninhibited sexual response, then people are freer in their enjoyment of sex (Fact).”

This type of action is typical of the people who run our schools. On the one hand, they complain about the number of unwanted pregnancies and abortions. [A]nd on the ether hand, they refuse to carry on truthful education about sex in the schools. This lack of information leads to misinformed students and leads people to think of sex as something that is taboo and horrible. It is no wonder that people in this society have the sex hang-ups and complexes that they do.

One member of the Board, in justifying the deletions[,] said that there must be a section on “spiritual values[,]” and sexual conduct as “part of our religious and moral system. Perhaps the member had forgotten that there is a theoretical separation between church and state in this country. But like so many other theories, it appears that this one is not true.

It has become apparent that we will not have decent sex education[,] as well as any decent education[,] until students control the materials and topics in school. And when this happens, people will no longer be ashamed of their bodies or of sex.

Source: L.A. Times, May 11th, 1973

[Historical Note: The Red Tide was a revolutionary high school underground newspaper and youth organization that existed from 1971-1981. See: http://theredtide.wordpress.com/]

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1973.06.01: Challenging ASB Elections (Red Tide)

Challenging ASB Elections

Red Tide, Vol. 2, No. 6 [Issue #10]
Summer 1973

Challenging ASB Elections
[By Michael Letwin]

Nobody at University High School has ever run in the student body elections before, without the intention of winning or with the intention of using the occasion to carry on education.

Well, the precedent was set in May of this year when a group of students called the United Students for Democratic Education ran 11 people for various student body offices on a platform which included, among other things: Full democratic rights in the schools, joint control with teachers of the schools, an end to racism and sexism in the schools, and various other educational demands intended to get the students thinking about real issues, instead of who has a nice face or a pretty sounding name.

Hassled From the Start

But the slate was in trouble with the administration and its “Student Government” lackeys from the very start. The first thing that happened was that the teacher sponsor of the elections, backed by the Boys vice principal, attempted to deny room on the ballot to many of the USDE members[,] on the pretext that they had not returned their applications on time.

In reality, all USDE applications were in on time, but the advisor, using the “Student Government” commissioner of elections as a figurehead, did not want the USDE to be able to carry on a decent campaign, which was challenging the whole basis of student body elections, the impotency of “Student Government,” and which was attempting to deal with real issues.

So from the very beginning, the USDE was doomed to either drop the elections or to run over half of its members as write-ins. It chose the latter, but resolved itself to fight the issue.

However, even after the matter of late applications was discarded, new and more exciting obstacles stood in the way of the slate. This time it was that many members of the slate were not “qualified” to run for office. USDE thought that it was kind of strange that “Student Government” and the administration were deciding for students who is and who is not “qualified.”

So it was explained that in order to run for a “high ranking” office, one must have served in the “Student Government. Since “Student Government” neither has any power, nor does it serve any useful function except to fool the students into thinking that they have real power, it just didn’t make sense that you had to be in that, but rather that students should decide who is qualified to represent them, and that this can be decided by a simple majority vote of the students. Alas, everyone knows that students have no way of knowing whom they should vote for!

So USDE found out that in order to get on the ballot, you must obtain “equivalent service” from the “Student Senate.” Eventually, several members were granted this by the “Senate,” and several were not. Aside from the fact that the “Senate” should not have the right to determine for students who is “qualified” and who is not, the “Senate” made the most ludicrous kind of decisions.

For example, Karen Pomer, USDE member attempting to run for Girls League President, was denied permission to run on the ballot, even though she had been voted this right by the Girls League Cabinet, and that she had done more for women at Uni than anyone in Girls League by organizing this year’s Women’s Week. Soon after, the “General Assembly” of the “Student Government” voted not to give “equivalent service” at all because they didn’t like the “wording” of the proposal.

On the 22nd, 23rd and 24th, the USDE campaigned, putting its emphasis on discussing their platform with students and discussing how “Student Government” did not really mean anything.

It was in this way that the slate differed from any other candidate. While everyone else was campaigning on the grounds that they were funnier than anyone else, or that they would do the best things in “Student Government,” the USDE was explaining that no matter how good one’s intentions are, no significant change can be made through an organization that has no power, which is controlled by the administration and which forces the members in it into the role of being junior cops or administrators.

This is something that[,] apparently, many people at Uni understood, for out of 3200 students, only 700 (tops) voted. People figured why waste their time when it doesn’t mean anything? They were right.

The day of the elections came on the 24th, and the USDE slate won one office, that of Girls League Vice President (Gail Mautner), who was a write-in. Two others were in the runoffs for ASB President and Senate President. On Friday, both of the USDE candidates for these offices lost, both by a margin of about 100.

Not surprisingly, these figures were hard to find out, for the administration is not making it known who received how many votes, for which there is not any logical explanation except that it did not want the write-ins or other members of the USDE slate to be able to gauge their support.

This was important for USDE to know, for the point of running was to see how many people would vote for its platform, which was hard enough as many were write-ins. In fact, since the ballots are not public information, there is no way of knowing who really won.

In fact, one USDE candidate said that he heard the commissioner of elections talking with one member of the administration how they were going to keep the USDE write-ins from taking office if elected. The administrator said: “Are any of those dingbats winning?” She replied, “Yes, two of them are and one of them won.” He said, “We’ll have to stop them somehow.”

Lessons To Be Learned

What are the lessons to be learned from the first campaign of its kind at Uni Hi? Well, it is apparent that students are not willing to waste their time in meaningless elections in which their choice will be of no consequence.

It is also apparent that the administration — using “Student Government” as its figurehead — will do what it can to insure the defeat of candidates who challenge the basic school structure (it is rumored that Gail Mautner will not be allowed to take office, though she won by popular vote). And it is also clear that the job of true education through any means possible, including student body elections, is still at a very low point.

It also must be understood by students at all schools that we cannot look to “Student Government” or to elections as the answer to our demands and problems, but we must rather organize independently to force concessions out of the power structure, for this is the only method of securing real power.

[Historical Note: The Red Tide was a revolutionary high school underground newspaper and youth organization that existed from 1971-1981. See: http://theredtide.wordpress.com/]

 

1973.06.01: Watergate: Same Song and Dance (Red Tide)

[Historical Note: The Red Tide was a revolutionary high school underground newspaper and youth organization that existed from 1971-1981. See: http://theredtide.wordpress.com/]

Red Tide, Vol. 2, No. 6 [Issue #10]
Summer 1973

Watergate: Same Song and Dance
[By Michael Letwin]

The Watergate affair is undoubtedly one of the most revealing occasions of the methods used in ruling this country. The list of illegal actions that the Government has taken in its rule is growing daily.

One of the really good effects that this has (along with such exposes as IT&T’s involvement in Chile) is that the American people are beginning more and more to believe that the Government, be it Democratic or Republican, resort to tactics which it consistently denies employing.

It has become obvious to all that the Government is not a neutral instrument of “good”, but rather that it serves very distinct interests, both of the people in office, and of the corporations that they represent.

MUCH HYPOCRISY

Many Democrats and Republicans both are calling for the resignation or impeachment of Nixon, for it is apparent that he was not ignorant of the Watergate incident. Many McGovern-­type Democrats are saying “We told you so”, etc.

However much of this liberal outcry against Watergate is hypocritical. No one in the major political parties made noise about illegal acts against people who challenged the Government’s actions in the past.

One must only remember what happened to the Black Panther Party recently, or of the workers movement of the last century to recognize the illegal government frame-ups and massacres that are as much a part of the U.S. political system as Nixon is of Watergate.

The liberals were quiet then, just as quiet as their opponents, the Republicans. What the liberals and even some conservatives now object to is the fact that these methods are being used against one of the two ruling class parties, the Democrats.

ALL CORRUPT

But many voters are more sophisticated about Watergate than the politicians would like. According to a Gallup poll of May 5th, nearly 2/3 believe that the Nixon administration is no more corrupt than the administrations of Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy or Johnson.

Many people have said that Watergate and the Nixon administration are breaking down “traditional American democratic values”. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Nixon administration is doing a fine job of carrying on the lies, deceit and anti-democratic measures that every administration before it has done.

What is exposed is Nixon’s farce of “law and order”, which he himself has violated. This contradiction is ample evidence of the bankruptcy of a system of law order that operates for the rich instead of the working many.

Perhaps from now on, many more people will not be fooled by false propaganda from either party as to the cleanliness of its laundry, for both are using a broken washing machine.

1973.06.01: City Elections Offer No Solution (Red Tide)

City Elections No Solution

Red Tide, Vol. II, No. 6 (Issue #10)
Summer 1973

City Elections Offer No Solution
[By Michael Letwin]

Well, as we all know, on May 29th, Tom Bradley won the office of Mayor, while beating the incumbent of 12 years, Sam Yorty. But again, just as much as in the presidential elections[,] we do not feel that this election will make very much difference in what happens in L.A. Both contesting candidates for mayor, Bradley and Yorty, had bad positions on the issues that we feel are important, for both men have many of the same interests.

Yorty (as we know from 12 years of experience) has been ineffective in solving the problems of L.A. There is more unemployment, smog, cars and freeways, not to mention police (and all of the other things that make life worth living) now, then there was when he first came into office.

He is not interested in securing jobs for the thousands of unemployed workers in L.A. He has not made efforts to place strong restrictions on industry in the area. He is not interested in replacing L.A.’s huge network or freeways and poisonous cars with free, fast land healthy rapid transit, and generally, instead of trying to get to the causes of L.A.’s other problems, he hires more police and builds more freeways. In addition to all of this, is the not-so-subtle racism that he has historically used against his opponent, Bradley.

On the other band, there is Bradley, now elected mayor. Ex-cop, black man up from the ranks, trying harder than hell to prove that he’s not a militant.

He too, as we shall see in the next few years, does not have the real answers to L.A. ‘s problems. In his efforts to outdo Yorty’s conservatism, he concentrated on “Law and-Order, and his support for the police (who exist primarily to protect the property and lives of the rich).

Bradley’s position on gang violence does not get to the bottom and cause of the situation. His solution, sending more troops into black and Chicano schools, will only lead to more repression in those communities. He does not understand that the cause lies in unemployment, and the generally rotten conditions in the poor communities.

He too does not have the solutions to the other above-mentioned problems.

The reason for this lack of alternatives is simple. Both of these men receive much of their support from the rich capitalists of L.A.[,] who are in so many cases the cause of the problems. Both candidates are part of the system [that] exists for profit, and therefore we cannot expect them to see that economic and political system as the cause of our problems, which it most definitely is. Evidently, many voters felt that the choice would not mean much[,] as only 45% of all eligible voters took part in the elections.

BOARD OF EDUCATION

There were some other offices involved in the elections, but perhaps the one that meant the most, next to mayor, was the Board of Education. These are the people who have the say over our “education.”

Here too, we are faced with bleak choices all around. The two incumbents, Newman and Ferraro, both defeated their challengers, Arnett Hartsfield and Diane Watson.

Newman and Ferraro have both been staunch opponents of students’ rights. They have opposed freedom of distribution on campus of materials. Ferraro voted not to allow Jane Fonda to speak on L.A. school campuses, thereby opposing our right to hear speakers of our choice. Neither have solutions to the school violence problem. They both are bastions of the “old guard,” and are doing their best to keep the schools free of “unsafe and dangerous” ideas.

On the other hand, there [were] the two defeated candidates, Hartsfield and Watson. These liberal candidates, both black, failed to put forward good policies on education, or solutions to the present problems.

Arnett Hartsfield[,] for instance, said when speaking on one high school campus, that he is not for students having the right to hear anyone on campus without administration interference. He does not support uncensored material on campus. On top of this, he has said that he does not support the right of students to have open and informative birth control and abortion information centers on campus, nor does he give unqualified support to teachers right to strike.

All of this didn’t easily distinguish him from his opponent, Ferraro. In fact when asked what he considered the major differences between himself and Ferraro to be, he replied that it was primarily a matter of “differing personalities.”

Diane Watson, for the most part, has basically many of the same positions as does Arnett Hartsfield above, perhaps with the exception that she has a slightly better position on the right of teachers to strike.

And as always[,] the teachers and students have no control over what is happening in the schools, even though it is they who have to live in them.

But even after all the facts are in, we are often criticized for being “negative” or “angry” about things. To this we must say that yes, we are negative about the way that this society is run, and we are angry about the same things. We are negative and angry about the fact that we are taught lies in school, that a few people in this country are rich and powerful, while most people are poor and powerless[,] that people we know are in jail and that the capitalist system which exists in this country is the cause of all of these things.

We are asked, “what is your alternative[?]” We must reply that the real changes will only happen when the basic structure of this society is changed, that until workers, who have produced this society[,] are in control, our problems will not be solved. Until that time, we will not be saddled with the false choices that we are offered in elections or anywhere else.

[Historical Note: The Red Tide was a revolutionary high school underground newspaper and youth organization that existed from 1971-1981. See: http://theredtide.wordpress.com/]

1973.06.01: U.S. Keeps Bombing Cambodia (Red Tide)

Red Tide, Vol. 2, No. 6 [Issue #10]
June 1973

U.S. Keeps Bombing Cambodia
[By Michael Letwin]

According to the New York Times of May 11, the U.S. is spending between $7 million and $10 million a day on the current bombing of Cambodia. Yes, despite all of Nixon’s lip service about the war in Southeast Asia being over, the Times wrote that U.S. planes average about 250 sorties a day:

“Although most are tactical strikes by fighters, nearly 60 a day are the vast raids by B-52’s — nearly always in groups of three — which would make a total of about 1,700 a month. According to military informants, that is more B-52 raids than were flown in all of Indochina in 1971, the last year for which statistics are available.”

It also seems that Nixon is not done in South Vietnam. On May 12 and 13, the South Vietnamese Provisional Government charged that the U.S. is bombing PRG controlled territory.

Meanwhile, the Senate Foreign Relations Comm. released the information that the U.S. is financing some 20,000 Thai mercenaries fighting in Laos. The State Dept. acknowledged that the cost to U.S. taxpayers of this secret army is more than $100 million a year. The Nixon administration had previously lied about this force, claiming that they were volunteers.

The stories of continued U.S. involvement go on and on, yet the U.S. is supposedly out of the War. It is apparent that the continued U.S. support of these reactionary regimes in S.E. Asia is intended, as it always was, to secure an economic foothold in the area, and has nothing to do with “democracy” or “freedom”.

1973.06.01: Movie Review: STATE OF SIEGE (Red Tide)

[Historical Note: The Red Tide was a revolutionary high school underground newspaper and youth organization that existed from 1971-1981. See: http://theredtide.wordpress.com/]

Red Tide, Vol. II, No. 6 (Issue #10)
Summer 1973

Movie Review: State of Siege
[By Michael Letwin]

STATE OF SIEGE is the true story of one of the major actions of the Uruguay-based secret revolutionary organization — the “Tupamaros”.

The movie goes through the period when the Tups took hostage a major political representative of the U.S. in Latin America (whose real name Dan Mitrione was replaced in the film by “Michael Santore”), a man who was instrumental in the training and operation of many a dictatorship’s police forces in such countries as Brazil, Dominican Republic, etc. Because the film concerned this topic, its showing was canceled in Washington D.C., where it was scheduled to open at the JFK Center for the Performing Arts.

U.S. SUBTLETY

Although many of us do not realize it, U.S. involvement in Latin America is at an extremely high point, due to the hugh amount of natural resources, cheap labor and markets that exist there. Many of the more open and obvious methods of colonization of Latin America have been replaced by more subtle methods such as the use of AID, a U.S. organization which is supposed to be improving Latin American industry and the lives of the people. It is this organization that Santore is attached to.

However, far from building the country for its people, he is active in training the police in the latest torture methods to be used on leftists, militant trade unionists, students or anyone who dares to question the existing order. His interest in the situation is maintaining a government and system favorable to the U.S. businesses and concerns that the U.S. represents.

He is kidnapped because of his part in this torture and exploitation of Uruguay. The other reason being that the Tupamaros need a hostage to exchange for political prisoners in the regime’s jails.

Interestingly, Uruguay was once known as the “cradle of Latin American democracy”. It was called the Switzerland of Latin America­ — whatever that means. However, as soon as beef (the country’s leading export) prices started to soar, conditions deteriorated for Uruguayan workers and peasants, and the U.S. corporation puppets started using more openly brutal fascistic methods in an attempt to stifle the growing rebellion.

The movie, however, does not deal with the cop in a naive simple “bad guy” kind of way. Instead, it attempts to explain the mentality of a person who, on the pretext of defending democracy, is in fact a major obstacle to the achievement of that goal, using tactics that make the Gestapo look good.

REVEALING INTERROGATIONS

Throughout the film, various Tupamaros interrogate Santore in their secret headquarters about his involvement in and with the governments that he worked for. The dialogue between the captive and his captors is quite revealing in understanding the politics, motives and goals of the two sides involved.

First Santore takes the old “I knew nothing” routine concerning his work with the police of the various dictatorships. Denying that he would know someone — until confronted with a picture of himself and the person in question together, arguing that his job did not concern politics, he was only doing his job, that order must be maintained under any and every kind of political and social system; all of this eventually leading down to the basic differences. Basic differences being, of course, over what kind of order and for which economic class that order exists.

Santore could not understand that in his job, being a policeman, he was most definitely choosing sides and considering politics. For since the U.S. and the regimes that it upholds and supports are run in the interests of a small capitalist class which is making profits by exploiting the labor of millions of workers all over the world, he must chose whether or not this mind of system is acceptable or not. He chooses that it is, and therefore serves that system.

Finally, he ceases to deny the things that happen as a result of his work, and begins to defend torture, murder and robbery in the name of “democracy”.

Also valuable, in addition to the ideological material of the film, was the understanding one got of the dedication that the Tupamaros have to building a decent society. Since raised for the opposite reason in this society, to make it as individuals, to preserve the status quo, it is hard for us to understand this kind of devotion to more than just ourselves.

And again as in one of Costa Gravos’ other major films, the BATTLE OF ALGIERS, the filming, acting and overall reality was quite well done, especially by Yves Montand, who played Michael Santore. It also seems that a film like this, which exposes so many U.S. ploys, would be more believable in the context of Watergate.

However, one can see the futility of a group such as the Tupamaros, which has only public sympathy instead of involved support. It is cut off from the working masses, and in such a situation it is impossible either to carry out a revolution or to survive.

Yet the film did not deal with this important fact. Instead, it appears that the Tupamaros are the only group attempting to make revolution in Uruguay, while in fact, it is the mass working class movement which will ultimately bring the downfall of U.S. imperialism and capitalism as an economic, social and political system.

1973.06.01: Convocation: Another Farce (Red Tide)

Convocation

Red Tide, Vol. 2, No. 6 [Issue #10]
Summer 1973

Convocation: Another Farce
[By Michael Letwin]

Ever since the “convocation” was held at University High a few weeks ago, “student government” leaders, administrators and teachers at Uni have been contemplating the reason for the lack of success and attendance at the sessions

The “purpose” of the convocation was[,] theoretically, to allow students’ grievances and suggestions to be heard. However there was only a turnout of about 26% of the students. For weeks ahead of time, the event had been advertised as the place where you could have a voice in changing the school. Yet almost no one turned out to talk. Instead, hundreds of students sat on the Women’s Field. (They were offered this alternative to leave school.)

Of course the reason that students did not show up in large numbers was [an] indication that they knew that whatever they said would be compiled, filed, and probably denied by the administration, especially if it was a suggestion of any magnitude. Most students knew that there was no reason to waste their time in discussions that would lead nowhere.

The “convocation” was another of those attempts at pacifying student complaints about lack of freedom and choice. The “student government” of course was instrumental in planning and practice of the sessions.

Two years ago, there was a similar attempt at this type of “convocation.” Attendance was mandatory and the students made a long list of things they wanted, such issues as smoking on campus [and] open campus. The administration answered by putting a long list of different reasons and rules as to why none of the changes could be made.

So we have a simple solution to the problem of the lack of attendance and interest in the convocations. Give the students the power to implement any and all of their majority decisions. Set up a real school government where teachers and students could democratically run the school. This simple right would solve the whole question of student apathy and interest. But as long as there are farces like that of the convocation, students will not wish to pretend that they in fact have none.

[Historical Note: The Red Tide was a revolutionary high school underground newspaper and youth organization that existed from 1971-1981. See: http://theredtide.wordpress.com/]

 

1973.06.01: Wounded Knee Struggle Will Continue (Red Tide)

Red Tide, Vol. II, No. 6 (Issue #10)
Summer 1973

Wounded Knee Struggle Will Continue
[By Michael Letwin]

After 71 days of secession and attempted existence as an independent nation, and after two Native Americans have been murdered by the U.S. government, the members of the nation of Wounded Knee surrendered their positions to a foreign nation, the U.S. Again, as in all chapters of the history of Native Americans, the “good guys” won (the white soldiers) and the “bad guys” lost (the Redskins). Moral: you can’t fight city hall. Or so the Government would have us think.

However the occupation of Wounded Knee, which ended on May 8th, was in a large number of ways a victory for the Native Americans. For the first time, the media and government has had to take seriously the demands and grievances of Native Americans and of the American Indian Movement (AIM).

But more important than that is the fact that the people of America got one of the first glimpses of the truth about Indian life and struggles. Of course, it was only a glimpse, as almost all reports tricklikng out of the area were based on the often untrue Government reports.

51% SUPPORT

Wounded Knee has come at a time when the Government and the capitalist class that it serves are cracking down on the struggles of workers, to vigorously break strikes, to cut down the already almost non­existent poverty and education programs, and when prices are high, wages are low when profits are soaring.

It is a widely recognized fact among Americans that the Indian population of this country has long been in poverty (e.g., many Indians at wounded Knee live on as little as $258 a year), and subjected to oppression, so that when the occupation of Wounded Knee first took place, the Harris Poll reported that 51% of the people that they interviewed supported the actions of the Indians at Wounded Knee.

The Indians were not the only ones to realize that the Government does not act on, and the media does not report on, the needs of people in this society, unless they are forced to, or unless a story is “newsworthy”; It was in this fact that lay the necessity of dramatic and militant actions at Wounded Knee, which so many newspapers called “untimely”, “tactless” and “unappetizing”.

PROBLEM UNSOLVED

So Wounded Knee is “over”. The U.S. Government, in its aggression against a nation, has murdered at least two people. The treaty signed at Wounded Knee on Sunday May 6th, does not solve the problems of Indian people.

It promises that the Government will “investigate” the treaty signed with the Lakota (Sioux) in 1868, which like all treaties signed with Native Americans was never observed by the U.S. The people who occupied Wounded Knee are to be held, prsoecuted, and probably jailed.

The Government hopes that the media and the country will soon forget about Wounded Knee because there are no longer Indians at Wounded Knee giving  dramatic poses to the media with their old .22s and shotguns, against tanks and M-16s. The issues of autonomy, poverty, and civil rights are not being dealt with.

For these reasons, it is important that all people concerned with the Indian struggle to stay informed about what happens to the people of Wounded Knee, to make sure that they are not railroaded into jail for the rest of their lives. For their struggle will continue, like all struggles for freedom, until it wins.

1973.06.01: Shorts & Briefs (Red Tide)

Shorts and Briefs

Red Tide, Vol. 2, No. 6 [Issue #10]
Summer 1973

SHORTS & BRIEFS
[By Michael Letwin]

Oxnard Student Wins Rights

Oxnard — Steven P. Berkowitz, a 17-year-old junior in an Oxnard High School, won a court order permitting him to run or Student Body President without submitting speeches or other materials to the administration for approval. Berkowitz was a candidate for Student Body President and claimed that the State Education Code did not allow for censorship. It is not clear at this time whether this decision will apply outside of Ventura County.
Source: L.A. Times

Shell Strike

On May 18th, Shell Oil workers in Houston voted to end their 114-day strike and to accept a Union resolution. Shell Oil Co. stood firmly in the way of many Union demands, yet the strike in Houston is temporarily over. (See page 10 for full article.)

New Board Rules 

It seems that every day the Board of Education is trying to put new things over on us. This time, it is a proposal from the Board’s legal advisor, Ron Epperson, to the Superintendent’s office, dated April 5th, concerning new rules about outside speakers coming on campus.

Again the Board is trying to limit our freedom of education. Rules such as “principal shall determine . . . the educational appropriateness of the subject to be presented” is a direct attack on our democratic rights. The Board knows that in such cases as when Jane Fonda spoke at University High on the war in Viet Nam, many students and teachers changed their opinions on the subject, and therefore began to question some of their history textbooks. Why should we only be allowed to hear what the Board considers to be proper?  It is high time that students be allowed to hear the people that we consider to be important, not just those who conform to the reactionary standards that the Board likes. This set of rules has not yet been passed, but it could be at any time. We must be ready to fight fur our rights when the time for this insulting rule comes up. Source: Board of Education
(See page 5 for text of rules)

Teamster Rank & File Supports Farm Workers Union

Although it is not widely known, many rank-and file Teamsters do not support the attempts of their “leadership” to crush the United Farm Workers Union. The “leadership” of the Teamsters, in conjunction with the growers, [is] interested in the destruction of UFW, because they want the extra dues that the farm workers would bring. They would not help the farm workers fight the growers, and on top of all of this, the farm workers by a vast majority have chosen to be represented by UFW.

Many Teamster locals, however, see this for what it is: blatant union busting, traditionally the job of the bosses, with the aid of the government. Many Teamsters do not want to do this job. Local #208 of L.A for instance is one. This is true, despite the media’s attempts to make the struggle look like just another jurisdictional battle.
Source: Picket Line

The strike continues, and the United Farm Workers Union will must probably need help this summer to win their strike. If you are interested in helping, please contact us.

Note From the Red Tide

Many of you may have wondered at the erraticness of the publication of the RED TIDE in recent months. We have been trying to come out monthly, and in many cases we have failed. We have put out 6 issues this school year instead of the intended nine. Reasons for this have been numerous. Again, our lack of coordination, the fact that many of our people have been working on Wounded Knee, and also because of the recent reorganization of the RED TIDE, which laid down more concretely what the RED TIDE stands for and what we believe in.

We decided to expand our operation to a citywide level as much as possible. We feel that the lack of information for students is such that this is necessary. We urge people at each and every school to send us letters, articles, etc., about your schools or whatever, to get in contact with us so that more people will work with and receive the paper.

This, of course, is the last issue of the year. We will be out again in September, hopefully with more people at more schools, and possibly (depending on how many ads and subscriptions we receive). The last issue was distributed at:

Jordan High
Morningside High
University High
Venice High
Verbum Dei High
Culver High
Fairfax High
Hamilton High
Hollywood High

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[Death of Alan Zweben]

On May 30th, we lost a good friend Alan Zweben, who died after a long battle with cancer. Alan was active in the National Lawyers Guild, where he helped expose the face of “justice,” and where he helped many people who were harassed by the police for their political activities. Before that, he was involved, among other things, with the Westwood Liberation Front, which was instrumental in initiating many high school people into politics. We feel especially sad, as his life could have been saved had this society put emphasis on finding cures to disease, and [on ending] human suffering, instead of ways of killing and exploiting people.

[Historical Note: The Red Tide was a revolutionary high school underground newspaper and youth organization that existed from 1971-1981. See: http://theredtide.wordpress.com/]

1973.06.01: History of an Unfree People: Daily Slavery (Red Tide)

Red Tide, Vol. II, No. VI [Issue #10]
Summer 1973

Black History Series No.6
History of an Unfree People
DAILY SLAVERY
[By Michael Letwin]

SLAVERY AND THE SOUTHERN ECONOMY

One of the most popular misconceptions of the U.S. history is the role that slavery played in the Southern economy. We are taught that there were slaves in the south because the southern aristocrats were “evil people”, while the Northern capitalists were against slavery because they were “good”.

The south was a colonial economy. Its economy rested on exporting raw materials such as cotton, tobacco, rice, indigo, etc. the manufacturers in the Northern U.S. and England.

These products were to get to their destination primarily by ship and railroad, where it would be manufactured into the final product.

This kind of industry relies on labor rather than on machinery. — it is a labor intensive economy. Because wage-labor (or “free 1abor”) was both we expensive and too unpredictable, slavery was the most practical method of labor, in terms of the profits of white plantation owners.

The method of organization of the agricultural production in the south was the plantation. In the life of the southern plantation system, black slavery was above all else, a labor system. Popular treatment of slavery such as “GONE WITH THE WIND” stresses the house slaves, who in fact comprised a very small section of the slave work force.

In fact, the vast majority of slaves worked in the fields and secondarily in the cities, where they worked as skilled and unskilled laborers, domestics, on the railroads, docks, river boats, in mines, quarries, fisheries, textile mills, tobacco factories, and iron founderies.

DAY TO DAY SLAVERY

For slaves, the day’s toil began just before sunrise. The working day was shorter in the winter than in the summer, but chiefly because there was less day light, not because there was less to do. The master was hardly ever at a loss to find things for his slaves to do.

The tasks also differed according to the season of the year. The tasks of January were different than that of May, and slaves were forced to work at different jobs accordingly.  Slave owners developed numerous variations on two basic methods of managing their laborers: the “gang system” and the “task system”.

Under the first of these systems, which was the one most commonly used, field hands were divided into gangs commanded by drivers who were to work them at a brisk pace. The purpose of the gang system was to force every hand to continue his labor until all were discharged from the field in the evening.

Under the task system, each hand was given specific daily work assignments. She could then set her own pace and quit when her job was completed. The driver’s job was to inspect the work and to see that it was performed satisfactorily before the slaves left the field.

All slaves possible, worked. This, ironically, is an example of the incorrectness of the notion that women are not suited for work, as women (and children, as soon as they physically could) were put to work with the men, picking cotton, and planting crops.

THE SLAVE FAMILY

In Africa, blacks had been accustomed to a strictly regulated family life and a rigidly enforced moral code.

But in America, the disintegration of their social organization removed the traditional sanctions which had encouraged them to respect their own customs. In America, slaves were encouraged to live as white families, and to accept white standards of morality.

But it was only outwardly that the family life of the mass of Southern slaves resembled their masters. Inwardly, in many crucial ways, the domestic regimes af the slave cabin and the “big house”, was quite different.

The most obvious difference lay in the legal foundations upon which the slave family and the white family rested. In every state, white marriages were recognized as civil contracts which imposed obligations on both parties, and provided penalties for their violation.

Slave marriages had no such recognition in the slave codes. Instead, they were regulated by whatever rules the owners saw fit to make and enforce.

All slave marriages, of course, could be done only with the permission of the masters of the people involved. The same was true of divorce. And in general the members of the slave family had no say over their life.

Families were broken up at the whims of the master, for profit. Parents and children would often never see each other again. It was also here that the role of the strong black mother originated, as when a break in the family occurred, the children and family would usually stay with the mother.

“BLACK SAMBO” STEREOTYPES

Another popular stereotype of the slave era is the emphasis on the childlike, passive and content attitudes of slaves. This too is greatly untrue. One has only to look at the different types of resistance on the part of slaves, in the form of mass insurrection, sabotage, and self-mutilation to avoid work, to see that blacks, not unlike any other subjugated group of people, will not sit by and take their oppression passively.

Black slaves were very capable of thinking and acting for themselves, despite racist theories of the need for paternalism (parent­-like) of whites toward blacks.

The most important lesson for us to remember about slavery is the fact that it did not exist because of a southern sadists (although some may have been) got together and decided how they could be mean, but rather because it was part of an economic system which is run for profit.

SOURCES:
*SLAVERY IN THE CITIES, Wade.
*THE POLITICAL ECONOMY OF SLAVERY, Genovese.
*THE PECULIAR INSTITUTION, Stampp.