THE TEXAS OBSERVER Page 6 January 31, 1955 On ‘Un-American’ Tags To the Editor: The ,House un-American Activities Committee has often been criticized for its concentration on the left, while ignoring the fascists of the extreme right. As if in delayed reaction to such complaints, the Committee .recently formally approved and issued a sharp condemnation of the numerous “merchants of hate” who are listed by name in a report on the “Neo-Fascist and Hate Groups” in the U.S.A…. The Committee’s report singled out for attention numerous groups, publications, and individuals, and in the words of the Committee, “these clearly subversive and unAmerican hate and fascist groupsare exploiters of racial and religious bigotry who are doing as great a violence to our national institutions as do those of the extreme left.” …. The Committee then listed a nmbyr of publications, individuals, and that the publications listed in the report are “the clearing houses for -the fascists and the hate propagandists throUghout this Nation.” Referring to these fascist and hate groups, the Committee noted that “their vicious and venomous lies are often clothed in seeming discussions of grave issues such as. the Communist emnace.” The Committee also made it quite clear that its report “conveys only the minutest portion of the total picture of such organizations, individuals, and publications in this Nation today.” The “discovery” of neo-fascism and the hate groups by the House Un-American Activities Committee is a welcome, if somewhat belated development. Most Americans are blissfully ignorant that ten years. after Hitler and Mussolini, such publications as the American Nationalist, the National Republic, and Common Sense are continuing to spew out their Venomous hatred and ignorance around the Nation, month after ‘month, and ABSOLUTELY NOTHING has been doneabout it. We are with the Committee 100 per cent ,in their efforts to oppose these activities to the public eye. As matters now stand, the U.S.A. has moved quite far away from theideal of free political expression.. To our mind, only a substantial threat to our free political institutions or a violation of the laws; could justify the prosecution of any political group under the Smith Act. This is true not only in the case of a group whose ideas and conduct are objectionable, but especially in such a case. Accepted a n d popular ideas should need no protection, for the unpopular and the hateful ideas put the American system to the test. The right-wing and extremist . as well as the left-wingshould be exposed and prosecuted. But in the absence of any clear and immediate danger to our national welfare, the Smith Act should not be invoked, for public opinion will deal with such groups, I hope, far more effectively than any action by any governmental agency. KENNETH A. CATHEY Houston Dallas Polio Fund Drive DALLAS, Jan. 17Dallas March of Dimes officials hope to have collected $350,000 byi the end of this month to help finance national programs to combat infantile paralysis. PREMIUM GAS 29 CENTS HOUSTON, Jan. 31 Premium gas sold by major oil firms in and around Houston has been increased from 28 and one-half to 29 cents. Increases in tank wagon costs are given as the reason. San Antonio Book Feud To Reach Climax in April SAN ANTONIO A newspaper editor and a corporation laWyer are leading’ the skirmishes in San Antonio this winter in preparation for the major battle in the spring, the City Council election. At stake will be the book-buying policies of the Public Library. The new Library Board h a s been screening books according to the politics of the author and instructing the library staff to buy extra copies of conservative magazines and display them prominently. If the people re-elect the present administration of Mayor Jack White, the Library Board, under chairman Leo Brewer, will take it as a mandate to continue present policies and, perhaps, to carry them further. San Antonio Express Editor M. M. Harris, former chairman of the Library Board, is leading a campaign to elect a new Council committed to an independent library staff. Stocky, sometimes taciturn Harris resigned from the Board when he heard that White was not going to re-appoint him. Harris told The Texas Observer: “The Library has fallen upon evil days because its administration is in the hands of persons who know nothing about library science and apparently care less. They are simply using the library to indulge and exercise their prejudices. “The effect on the morale of the staff must be deplorable. The many years that they have spent in perfecting their ability to judge the extent of the demand for and the quality of reading matter, both AUSTIN The University of North Carolina is conducting a field research project into “money in politics.” Alexander Heard, director of the study, was in Austin not long ago talking to various political sages about where money comes from for political campaigns. Heard is a quiet, direct sort of fellow with a sharply-honed mind. He is professor of political science at the University of North Carolina and a research professor at the Institute for Research in the Social Sciences there. The Institute has a grant from the Stern family for the study. which will be ready possibly by the end of the summer in 1956. In one week, Heard visited Austin, Houston, and Dallas, and sampled the political activities of Texas millionaires, labor unions, Democrats, Republicans, and so on. How complete a picture he could get in such a short time is a fair question, but he seemed to be asking good questions in one Austin conference incidentally attended by a reporter of this newspaper. He has three or four research assistants in Chapel. Hill and one research fellow. Intensive local studies are being conducted in other states. He is depending on two sources official records of contributions and expenditures \(clerk of the U.S. House, Secretary of States of vareration of related legal’ regulation problems; and interviews, \\which are being held on a nationwide scale in the presidential, senatorial, and congressional races. About 300 practical and active politicians are being talked to. Some of the areas he’s interested in: financing of campaigns and elections, financing of parties between elections, activities of lobbyists, initiative and referendum expenses, and “climate of opinion activities.” Heard wrote “A Two Party South?”, University of North Carolina Press, 1952, and assisted V. 0. Key in “Southern Politics,” Alfred from the study of reviews and in response to the many requests from the public, has largely been wrecked by the dictatorial and prejudicial attitude of the shortlived Board of Trustees, who have no such know-how and ability. “It is most distressing to the admirable group of San Antonio men and women who have given a generation or longer to building up a county-wide library to see San Antonio Public Library conditions made a subject of reproachful comment throughout the Nation by individuals and publications concerned with maintaining man’s right to knowledge and the free use thereof.” Leo Brewer, the man who succeeded Harris as chairman, raises questions about Harris’s editorial comments on library matters in which he has been involved. He reasons that since Harris was chairman of the Board for many years, he should have refrained from editorial comment on library matters instead ‘ of defending his point of view in the newspaper he edits. Harvard-educated Brewer is a stickler for words. The American Library Association has adopted a Library Bill of Rights which declares: “In no case ‘should any book cause of the race or nationality, or the political or religious views of the writer.” In this connection, Brewer was asked: “Does the basis of your selection of books for purchase include the political disposition of the book?” “Selection by whom?” he replied. Q. “By the Board.” A. “Well, that ‘disposition’ is another of those inexact words. Tenor” Knopf, 1949. He also co-edited with Donald S. Strong “Southern Primaries and Elections,” University of Alabama Press, 1950. State May Spend $1 Billion in 1960 AUSTIN Texas state government will spend one billion dollars a year by 1960 if the trends of the last ten years continue. The Institute of Public Affairs of the University of Texas says that the figure will reach $863 million a year by 1957. Urging a searching look at the entire taxing structure of the State, the Institute said that Texans must accept the fact that it will be virtually impossible to reduce or hold the line on present spending. The basic reason for the growth in state costs, said the Institute, is an increasing population which puts an increased demand on the state till. Texas has more students, more pensioners, more special school patients, more convicts, and many more miles of highways to be built. Total state spending has tripled in the last ten years. For the fiscal year ending August 31, 1954, total state costs were $706.1 million, while state income available for expenditure was $717 million. “Will the present revenue structure keep pace and provide the adcosts?” asks the Institute. Three possibilities are feasible, it is said: reduce the quantity and quality of state services; improve administrative, personnel, and fiscal procedures; or increase spending to fit demands within “reasonable” limits. The Institute predicts that there will be a deficit in the General Fund before the tax collections of the spring are made. Beginning September 1, 1955, “a similar deficit, but more severe in proportions,” will occur in the Fund. Q. “All right, let me rephrase the question: Does the basis of the Board’s selection of books for purchase include the political tenor of the book?” A. “My answer to that is No. We get at least one copy of any book. I don’t exclude any book for any reason.” Q. “Is the political tenor of a book a factor in how many copies are ordered?” A. “Well, obviously, that’s not a question to be answered.” * Asked whether authors a r e checked against indexes of various legislative un-American activities committees before their books were bought, Brewer said he did not know. Mrs. Roy Beitel, chairman of the book committee, later confirmed the practice. The library staff is under instructions not to order books by such authors. Brewer’s basic position on charges of censorship leveled at the board was stated in a speech to the San Antonio Optimist Club on December 21, 1954. He said: “You sometimes hear or see the word ‘censorship’ used in reference to the purchase of books for the public library. The word ‘censorship’ has no specific meaning and is therefore an improper word to describe the process of selecting a few books from a large number. Or you might say that the word `censorship in that connection never has the same meaning to any two persons. As I have already mentioned, we can buy only about five percent of the available books. …. If you want to say that one person does not select the same five percent that another person would select, then you should say so …. To try to inject the word ‘censorship’ in there just confuses whatever you are trying to say.” Brewer said that no Oft-wing books have been burned or marked or have had anything else done to them. “They are there for you to read if you want to.” At the same time, he said, the Board has acquired not many, but some, of 133 books recommended by the American Legion for reading about world communism , and placed in the Congressional Record on May 1, 1952, by Richard Nixon, then a senator. “Communists and their fellowtravelers are pretty smart cookies,” Brewer said. “They have clever ways of worming their books into the hands of the most innocent and patriotic people. Anyhow their books are there in our library, and we have balanced them by putting in some more books against communism; and as far as I am concerned that little matter is settled.” The issue, he said, “has been exaggerated out of all proportion to its importance.” “I doubt if more than one-tenth of one percent of our patrons ever read any of these books on either side,” he said. Opposing forces are now also squaring off on another issue audio-visual services. Several members have raised the question, what does the word, library, mean? They have tentatively concluded it does not mean making available to the community educational filth s, visual teaching aids, and records. The San Antonio Library has an excellent collection of classical records and maintains various other , audio-visual services. The audio-visual issue arose when Tanner Freeman, vice-hairman of the book committee, moved to rescind the Library’s endorseinent of educational television for San Antonio. Instead of adopting Freeman’s motion, the Board decided to investigate the audiovisnal services. Brewer said there would likely be open hearings on the abolition of these services, but none have been set. Three months remain before the various issues raised by the conduct of the present Library Board will be resolved by the people. RD On Executive Power To the Editor: I don’t believe a liberal democrat could endorse concentration of power …. especially not in the executive. Shivers is certainly off color when he fights national concentration; then in turn seeks a duplicate of the national manner of government. The vast discretionary powers of the Federal Government is permissible because it is not charged with the relation of the individual with the nation, but with groups of individuals. The State’s chief function is to keep the peace and protect the individual in the pursuit of his happiness. The national angle is that of state plus state; while the state angle is that of person plus person. If Shivers, as all executives under the democratic form of government, would turn loose legislation, except to recommend \(and nothing conducive to more effective administration of the law, and leave legislation wholly to the legislatures, he would find he now has ample power to enforce each, and every law … only a dictator, one hungry for power, could want more. S. W. ADAMS Lovelady, Texas Taxes Are Beneficial To the Editor: Your editorial “The People’s Hero” in The Texas Observer of January 17th adversely criticizes Governor Shivers’ tax program on the basis that would be paid by “The People.” While I would make no brief for Governor Shivers, I would disagree with your premise that only the wealthy \(individuals and corpora
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