Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - March 10, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta
ioturdoy, Mortt, 10, THI irrHMIDGl Book reviews Union's big business dwarfs goal Fall and Rise of Jimmy by Walter Sheridan (Saturday Review Press, distributed by Ruthless determination, and some help from gangsters ele- vated James Riddle Hoffa to a position of unbridled dictator- ship over the largest labor union in the United States. Kuthless determination, some help from gangsters, and from Richard Nixon, has helped him to retain his sway over the In- ternational Brother hood of Teajnsters, despite a 13-year sentence on charges of jury tampering, and conspiracy to defraud his own union's pen- sion fund. On Dec. Jimmy Hoffa walked out ol a federal peril- tentiary in Pennsylvania a free man, after President Nixon had signed au executive grant of clemency. After the national parole board had rejected Hof- fa's plea for release on three separate occasions. The story of Hofta's reign over the teamsters reads like some fantastic crime comic, re- plete with deals between judges and Mafioso, links between U.S. congressmen and the syndicate, murder, extortion The book, written by a form- er investigator with the attor- ney-general's department, and a some-time aide of tho late Robert Kennedy, is a heavily- detailed account of Hoffa's ac- tions as a teamster union leader over the past 20 years. The only criticism that can be made of the book, unless one is an unquestioning Hoffa sup- porter, is that it may contain too many details, hampering the readibility of the account. Hoffa's relationship with the teamsters began in 1937 when he led a strike against the Kroger Company in Detroit. After the successful strike, Hoffa and several others re- ceived a direct charter from the American Federation of Labor and formed a local union. The following year (1932 they moved into the Teamsters Un- ion, and Hoffa was soon in con- trol of local 293, the largest teamsters local in Detroit. Union organizing in the thir- ties was a pretty dirty busi- ness, and companies often re- sponded to organizing attempts with violence, and unions re- sponded the only way they could. Jurisdictional battles be- tween unions were also hotly contested. Hoffa decided early in the game that he would al- ways have more muscle than tha other guy. ''He obtained his own racke- the book says. "Some ot his business agents, like Her- ,man Kierdorf and his nephew, Krank Kierdorf, were recruited right out of prison. Many of the others had criminal rec- ords." "But real muscle that everyone understood and feared was the mob the Detroit Pur- ple Gang and the Mafia. Hoffa formed working relationships with As Hoffa's power in the union increased, so did Ms opportuni- ties tor cementing his contacts with the mob. In the late for- ties unions began to establish health and welfare funds. "To Jimmy Hoffa, these potentially enormous sums of money rep- resented additional tools of Sheridan says. Monies from the health and welfare funds, and the pension fund, which was established in (lie fifties, would be loaned out by Hoffa and his associates to finance hotels and other high- risk design- ed to increase the power and profits of Hoffa and his coterie. The most publicized misuse of union funds came in the Sun Valley case, for which -Hoffa was eventually imprisoned. A former teamster official, Hcuiy Lower, decided that real estate development was more profitable than milking union members. With Hoffa's help, he estab- lished Sun Valley Inc., which developed residential lots In Florida, and which was mar- keted by Holfa as "the team- sters''model city of tomorrow." The original funds for project came as a loan from the union, and union funds were used as backing for loans re- ceived by Lower. Hoffa and a friend and fellow teamster official had an option to buy 45 per cent of Sun Valley Inc. In addition to the fact that Hoffa stood to make consider- able profit from this develop- ment, many of the lots were under water. Sheridan's account of mob connections and corruption goes on at great detail, but the most distinguishing element in the book is Hoffa's almost total disregard for the welfare of the teamster rank and file. Hoffa negotiated sweetheart contracts with many companies, either in return for favors or as a bargaining technique de- signed to sfiw discard in em- ployer ranks. One of Hoffa's gangiter friends who was elevated to a position in teamster official- dom owned a company which was not exactly noted for its enlightened labor policy. Alter the man sold the firm, he re- ceived a kickback to ensure that the company would remain unorganized. Of course, there will be those who loudly proclaim that if the teamster rank and file were so honest they should have re- moved Hoffa from his position but as Sheridan notes, this was easier said than done. Virgil Floyd, the leader of one of' foui- teamster locals, and head of local 179 in Joliette, Il- linois (who had just been con- victed of taking money from an employer was .visited one day by Hoffa and several other teamster officials. Barney Mat- ual, the president of the La- Salle local, was told by Hoffa that the four locals should merge into local 179, and that If they did not agree, they would be forced to do so. The member- ship of the four locals over- whelmingly refused to join the Jolfette local, although they did merge into one organization to oppose the demand. Soon after, Floyd and some of his hench- men came to LaSale to intimi- date employers under contract to the new local. The union then eiitempted to place the local in trustee- ship and an auditor was sent to look at the books, although they had been audited a year earlier. The auditor gave Matual a blank sheet of paper to sign, telling him the rest would be filled in later. Matual refused to be placed in trus- teeship, ami demanded a meet- ing with Dave Beck, who at that time was teamster presi- dent. When Matual walked Inlo a hotel for the meeting with Beck, he was greeted by Hoffa, who told him that "I get what I want." Beck told Matual that the local would be placed in trusteeship if it cost to Western grandeur "The American West1' by Larry Curry. (MacMillan Co. of Canada Ltd., 198 pages, No form of art rivals the beauty, realism or majesty of western art. The American West traces early western art, cre- ated by such renowned artiste as Catlin, Russell, Farny, Bier- stadt and Remington as well as numerous others. There are 113 black and white prints plus 10 colored ones in tho book and one only wishes that printing costs would have allowed all 133 to be reproduced in color. Each artist's career is touch- ed upon and a year-by- year, highlight by highlight thumbnail sketch is found at the end of the author's short 30 page Introduction. The misty grandeur of an Al- bert Biersladt scene, the post- card like quality of Henry Farny and the almflst abstract work of Walter Shirlaw make this book worth having. But it is the 13 Charles Russell prints combined with the works of Frederic Remington that make this book a treasure. Russell's Stolen Horses, The Plains Chief and The Scout are rivalled as the best in tho book only by Remington's Fight For The Waterrhole and The Breed. The West, as it truly was, untouched, magnificent, savage, lives on through the work of tlicse great artists. The book is a welcome addition to any li- brary but is a necessity on the she'ves of the library of a lover of Western art. Criticism of this book should be unheard. GARRY ALLISON Good and not-so-good "n New Canadian Stor- ks" edited hy David Helwig and Joan Harcourt (Oberon Press, J35 In 1971, Fourteen Stories High, a collection of short stor- ies written hy Canadians, was published. The success of Four- teen led to a second volume, "T2." This collection includes stor- ies by three of the previous year's contributors, Don Bail- ey, Nora Keeling and Andreas Schroeder, and stories by sev- eral writers who are better- known as poets, Margaret At- wood, Gi.il Fox. David McFad- deu. George McWhirter and John Newlove. The stories by the authors who were appearing for the second time were especially good. Don Bailey's "A Bauble for the story of a fellow who's just hitched out to Vancouver after going through a divorce with his wife is a story that's easy to read and essy to identify with. Nora Kceling's "The Year" is a reflection of her mother after her mother's death. Miss Keeling bumps from thought to thought and promptly shifts the reader off into his own re- flections. Schroeder's contribu- tion is the haunting tale of a man faced by a burning mill. Some of Ihe stories, however, aren't so hot. Abstract writing may be a great art, but unless the reader can grasp some meaning from it, the writer has communicated nothing. Some of these stories just left me confounded. The book is a sort of reflec- tion of Canada. It's a book that should be gobbled up quickly by a nation that is becoming very self-conscious. JUDI WALKER do so. Matual reported back to the membership, and they voted to reject the trusleeslu'p, at which time the international set up a rival local and began, raiding Matual's local. The membership then voted to dis- affiliate from tlie tenmsters and affiliate with the United Mine Workers. Matual then met with officials of the Star Union Brewery and ssked them to recognize the local's new affiliation and honor the contract signed when the local was still with the team- fiters. The vice-president of the company, John Clinch, refused and a strike was called. The rival teamsters local then began busing scabs through the picket line and eventually Clinch signed a contract with the teamsters, even though the brewery workers did not belong to that union, It was later revealed that Clinch had been paid by the teamsters international to represent some dissidents in Matual's local, When this sor- did tale was related to the Mc- Cleltan senate committee on racketeering, Senator Frank Post security Church remarked: "This indicates how very difficult It is for the rank and file to deal with those in command of the teamsters international. "So often we hear. It said, "why don't those working peo- ple rise up and throw the ras- cals Well, that is much easier said than done. I think this story exemplifies that fact very Senator Church said. Jimmy Hoffa and his ilk illus- trate what is wrong with unions today not that they negoti- ate inflationary contracts, for they don't do that, but that they are gigantic, monolithic, buear- cratic organizations which do not allow their membership a real voice in decision-making. Unions today have lost their militancy arid social vision which at one time made them vehicles for social change. Give a man a year and A sinecure and lie is liable to for- get that he is representing a guy who makes a year and is being ground down by a meaningless job over which he has no control. WARREN CARAGATA. Photo by Elwood Ferguson Slavery, racism, power "Abolition of Slavery In Brazil" by Robert Brent Ton- lin (lUcClelland and Stewart, 304 pages, A most curious phenomenon about human outrage is that whenever it is guided towards a more acceptable path, schol- ars move in and show a satisfying solution decades later a solu- im that wasn't in t'aeir mental range at the actual lime. Brazil was I he only country in the world to uphold degrading human servitude until 1383. It had, as many countries before, (o abolish sla- very in the wake of terrorism and threatening anarchy. Tlie time had long passed where slaves were considered econo- mical and a declining world market for slave-produced com- modities v.ouWn'l justify Ihcir huge numbers; neither would the argument of their social or political importance. While tha cily slave cou'd in- crease his savings to eventually buy his freedom, the plantation slave, uneducated, poor and liv- ing in constant fear of punish- ment, remained a slave. Ha was neither aware of his power, nor of his numerous sympa- thizers mainly composed of jealous non-slave holders and philanthropic individuals. While the government intro- duced some half-hearted leg- islation to abolish slavery grad- ually, too many loopholes made them meaningless end more an obstacle than a help on the road towards emancipation. A law to free children born lo slaves at age 21 was seen by many as a means to extend slavery far into the future. Time gaining innovations by tha aristocracy, conjured a new breed of abolitionist who, al- though moderate at first, developed into more radical ad- vocates of emancipation. Frequent government change and unsatisfactory laws made abolitionists look beyond legal- ity to achieve their form of jus- tice. Noteworthy and strange was the indifference of the church, which felt bound lo slave and slavocrat. The argu- ment of the slaveholders not to perpetuate but to merely ex- tend the existence of slavery until a time of suitable replace- ment was met with fierce at- tacks by their adversaries. 'Jlie try; ''Brazil is coffee and coffee is the fell on deaf ears. Assimilation didn't seem the right answer cither. Laws aimed to make slavery more humane allowed abolitionists more freedom for radical ideas. Violent retalia- tion from slaveholders was Ihe result, Finally the question of abolition or anarchy arose abolition winning the upper hand. aftermath showed many fears to be without foundation. Progressive planters' economy boomed while hard core slavc- crats' fortunes declined quick- ly. Regret tably, liberation wasn't followed by adequate legislation to benefit ex-slaves. Their former owners refused to The Voice Of One -By. DR. FRANK S. MORLEY The confused, contemporary Christian average American has been describ- ed as "a Hamlet in a which is unfair to Hamlet since he is a very well educated man, which the aver- age American is not and his education be- comes worse every year. He reads less and watches television more, although there are signs that young people are becoming too lethargic for this exe.-cise. The Chris- tian today is faced with an indifferent, sometimes hostile youth, a barbarian, dirty, pomoraphic youth, without manners or morals, ignorant of the Christian faith, un- dedicated to high idealisms, sensual and ir- responsible. The contemporary Christian is confused by the world's faith in violence. Violence is of two kinds. Theve is a deliberate, sadistic desire to mutilate and cause pain, which you can see in over half the movies and books. "The heart's grown brutal from such fare." The dchumanization of o u r time has brought a casual altitude to human life, so that a scientist observes that "one of the greatest national assets of Chile, perhaps its greatest asset, Is its high death rate." Another observes that tie greatest tragedy China could suiter would be a decline in her death rate. Since turn of the century people have been killed in the United States by pri- vately owned guns and over are wounded annually. There is another kind of violence ap- proved by Marx and Mao as "the mid- wife to progress." It is with this kind of violence, committed in the name of justice and for humane reasons that the Christian has trouble. For example, Father Maillard, hire them as paid laborers and as immigrants were used as substitutes, slums mushroomed to house these people who never had anything and still noth- ing. The recognition cvf the Negro's cultural contribution to Brazili- an society would have to wait for some future date. Robert Brent Toplin, in his capacity as assistant history professor, presents a meticul- ously studied report which bridges the time from 1860 until emancipation in 1858. His pres- entation in different perspec- tives with much impartiality is refreshing. A good book for readers inter- ested in the history of slavery in Brazil in its stage, with its striking similarities arid un- usual differences to slavery in the United States. One can't help wondering why all the philosophy is necessary to justify an injustice that only can be cured one way through eradication. Man's in- ability lo cope with his own, sometimes sickening attitudes antl beliefs is on trial. Yester- day it was slavery, today it is racism, tomorow we might be ready to attribute it all to the love of power. I can't agree that man can learn entirely from history, when it is chiefly history that forces upon him solutions to his problems, while he is fully oc- cupied creating new obstae- clcs for himself, and future generations. HANS SCHAUFL director of a group of French Franciscans called Freres du Monde maintains that revolutionary violence is essential to ex- press Christian faith truly. "To love tho Third World is to love its revolution and to side with it, to be in hopefully as a non-violent participant, but "to refuse to take a gun Is to stand by while injustice does Its work and the poor die of hunger." On the other hand many Christians believe that violence breeds violence, that justice can never come out of hatred and com- munal savagery. The contemporary Christian faces one of his strongest challenges from humanism. As Morris Ginsberg says in "The Human- ist we no longer ask what is pleasing to God, but what is good for man. Dietrich also states that, whereas man used to say that lu's chief end was lo glorify God and to enjoy Him forever, now ha says that his chief end is to glorify human life and to enjoy it as long as it lasts. This is like saying that man should eat, drink, and be merry, but, wliile it is easy to eat end drink, to be merry Is beyond the ability of most modern men. Human- ism may have moral imperatives, but It has no enabling power. The Christian faith has been atrophied, however, by the pitiful piffle of liberal theology which has discarded not only mangificent truth of the Trinity, hut also faith in God. German theologians talk glib- ly of "process theology" and "theology ol theologies which are Insulting to the nature of deity and the intelligence of man, and which would not save a dog let alone a human soul. THE UNIVERSITY OF LETH8RIDGE APERTURE B. M. B1LG1N The native people and education Dr. B. M. Bilgin U an assistant pro- fessor with the University of Lethbridge's department of economics. He received his BSc in economics and statistics from the Middle East Technical University in 1962, his MA from the University of Minnesota in 1964, and his PhD in 1970, from the University of Durham, England. Dr. Bil- gin recently completed a research pro- ject and field study on the Socio-Econo- mic Problems and Prospects of the In- dian Communities in Southern Alberta. It is easy to produce statistics showing the extent of recent improvements made in the native societies in Canada. However, the impression one carries away from the Blood and Peigan Reserves is of a large segment of native people who are entrap- ped in a vicious circle of poverty, and whose only access to the basic necessities of life is through the welfare system. The concept of 'Indian Reserve' today re- veals more than it hides. It means inac- to a wider range of human choice, lack of participation in a wider spectrum of Canadian society and subordi- nation of Indians to non-Indians. Over the years, the paternalistic provisions of Indian Acts (which were instituted to pro- tect and determine the destiny of a Native people) have inhibited the resourcefulness and initiative of the Indian populace, gen- erating poverty by dependence. More prob- lematic, however, is the fact that the caste- like separation and cultural isolation of Native people has discouraged the emer- gence of political organization, creative leadership or self-help programs which na- tives could have developed to improve their own circumstances. Today, behind the facade of that narcosis of reserve life, native people are moving through an exceptionally critical and deci- sive phase. Their population is increasing at a rate twice that of the general Cana- dian public. Furthermore, 50 pea- cent of all Indians are. under the age of 18, (56 per cent for the Blood) compared to 28 per cent for Canada as a whole. All the evi- dence suggests that in the near future na- tives will intensify tiieir ooeio-cultural and economic contacts with people outside the reserve, since reserve resoucces will no longer provide a decent livelihood. Natives are becoming exceedingly self-conscious of their persistent poverty, economic and so- cial destitution; this feeling is aggravated by their growing awareness of how other Canadians live. In response to the "revolution of rising expectations" among the native people, concerned leaders in Ottawa have intro- duced legislation to give the natives a stronger voice in the conduct of their own affairs which will lead to self-determina- tion on all reserves without interference or influence from the Federal government. However, while the emphasis is on native initiative and responsibility, the involved have for too long remained depen- dent. No native administrators or modern political leaders, have emerged to involve their people more meaningfully in the so- cial and economic affairs of native com- munities. In the face of all the obstacles, educa- tion may prove to be the most important and long-lasting investment of all for the native people. A broad range of educational programs will have direct and indirect benefits. Education offers long-range Im- pact on the nature, direction, asd quality of life in the Indian communities. What is needed Uien, Is investment In human capi- tal to promote better understanding ol the existing local socio-economic problems and their causes. This understanding will further facilitate the native people's diffu- sion of knowledge, innovation and profici- ency in the art of management of their own affairs. Educational efforts must go beyond at- tempts to give vocational training to Indi- ans. Insofar as natives become more self- governing; there Is a need for executive and administrative officials who are cap- able of making decisions to better their local conditions, Introduce socially needed improvements and give definition to the general objectives and aspirations of the native people. Care must therefore be taken to increase the number of natives who have administrative knowledge and ability and who can bring a whole range of politi- cal, social and economic knowledge to bear on the programs which the natives themselves feel are necessary for their own economic and social progress. Tile native people in Alberta, so far, have not received a fair share of public investment in advanced education. Education of native people is as much a form of investment and moro important than a bridge or industry that is built on the reserve. It is no less real because it cannot be photographed. Today, Indians' chief claim for education Is a moral one. The concern with their multiple ills Is primarily a concern so- cial justice: an affluent Canadian society which has also aspired to become a just society can no longer ignore the inherent poverty of its native people. Earnest inquiry By Dong Walker I am the recipient of a lot of inquiries regarding the current stage of my think- ing regarding the erection of a fence around cur property. Most of these inquiries are frivolous the inquirers care even less than I do about whether a fence ever materializes at our place. A while ago, I encountered a man whose fence query struck me as being made in earnest. The inquirer was Leth- bridge Fire Chief Wilf Russell, He knows that a fence is just another darn thing that burns.