Page 2


AUSTIN Texans voted for Franklin Roosevelt four times and Harry Truman once, yet the liberals of Texas act like hang-dog outcasts most of the time. They have somehow fragmented into local and sometimes viciously competing pockets, and the Texas leaders in WashingtonSam Rayburn and Lyndon Johnsonhave done nothing to reduce the rivalries. They seem more interested in their own political security than in a virile liberalism in Texas. Although the Democratic Advisory Council has set about organizing the state for the 1956 elections, the tensions persist and threaten to disintegrate the liberals’ present surface harmony. The tribes fall into two clans the “word from Rayburn” clan and the clan that is willing to establish Texas leadership independent of Rayburn if necessary. The chief influence of the venerable Speaker in Texas politics has been to encourage an excess of caution, delay, and silence from the opposition that should be bold, active, and vocalproud of its basic majority with the people and impatient to re-gain control of Texas politics. Not since the late 1930’s has Texas had a liberal governor. Yet the people have voted Democratic in all the recent national elections except in 1952. Why this disparity between the national and Texas expressions of the will of the Texas voters? One reason is that the choice nationally was more cleancut, but another is that Texas liberals have never been well-organized, and the leaders in Washington would just as soon they lie low. The Cautious Corsicans. Corsicana is headquarters of the D. A. C. in Texas. Jim Sewell is Texas chairman, George Nokes his trusty adviser. D. A. C. is proceeding seriously with the task of organizing Texas, and Sewell laid down the law when Mrs. Hilda Weinert, proShivers national committeewoman, wanted him to consult with Shivercrat George Sandlin on Paul Butler’s June visit to Texas. , But to many liberals around the state, Corsicana is the stronghold of the “word from Rayburn” clan. The shadowy feeling persists that if the national committee is pulling a deal with Shivers, Sewell, D. B. Hardeman, et al, know about it or are responsible. The Corsicans are anti-Shivers, but Corsicana is the object of hostility from some liberal centers, and tpe Corsicans re. turn that hostility. The San Antonio pocket. Mrs. Kathleen Voigt, secretary of the D.A.C. and hard-working leader of the S. A. Democrats, presides informally over the organization there, which is not so explicitly liberal as it is loyalist. Interpretive THE TEXAS OBSERVER Page 3 May 30, 1955 San Antonio is an old-line town with plenty of conservatives there helping the Democrats. Mrs. Voigt is leery of anything frankly prolabor or pro-Negro. She does not believe in saying too much out loud against Governor Shivers at this stage. She is close to Rayburn and shares his feeling for caution. The Devastating Dames. These are the legions of dedicated Democrats banded together in the State Democratic Women’s Committee. The ladies have their special projects, and woe unto those who effuse less than they. They are backed up by a long record or hard work for Texas liberalism. They rather think men are best suited for fishing trips and foolish arguments. If they would only leave matters of state to the women! Minnie Fisher Cunningham is the leader, Lillian Collier the organizer of this group. The Littlefield League. Creekmore Fath and Fagan Dickson, with offices in the Littlefield Building in Austin, are synonyms for intrigue to the liberals around the rest of the state. Neophytes are warned against them as though they were the political equivalents of the street scamps in Nailes “who can take off your socks without touching your shoes.” “The Houston Radicals.” Mrs. R. D. Randolph, J. Edwin Smith, and Ed Ball are the leaders of the 6,500member Harris’ County Democrats, the best organized liberal bloc in Texas. Outspoken Roosevelt liberals, they act as informal leaders for the Galveston, Port Arthur, and Beaumont liberals. They are anxious to get on with the game and do not await the word frpm Rayburn gracefully. The East Texas Nightriders. Dr. Howard Bryant in Tyler was rebuffed by the D.A.C. as statewide organizing leader, but he is going ahead and organizing a lot of East Texas. Franklin Jones in Marshall, a claimant lawyer and a deft political sharpshooter, is a rallying point for the tough liberals of his region. These folks are proud of the Democratic majorities East Texas consistently returns and are in no mood for caution. The North Texans. There is very little caution, either, in the Demo FRANKLY SPEAKING Our Kitchen Minister Cometh THE PEOPLE REMEMBER Texas Liberals Argue, Act Like Outcasts MARSHALL My first thought on learning of sectional Democratic Advisory Council backing of a Tyler luncheon for Democratic Chairman Paul Butler was to reach for the vitriol. The table decor, I thought of writing, should be a border of black nightshades. The centerpiece would be t h e gathering’s escutcheon: Crossed double crosses superimposed on the face of Janus, with a copperhead dormant at the base. Instead of “pin the tail on the donkey,” the game would be “stick the knife in the back of a loyalist,” except the victim rather than the participant would be blindfolded. Then I quickly recounted occurrences following the kitchen kiss and enjoyed a good thigh-slapping laugh. Here indeed was democracy in action. -Following the Kefauver dinner at Houston, the press reported that an announcement of Butler’s Texas tour had been there made. It had not, nor could it have likely been without heavier booing than that which followed the mention of his name. Democratically, members of the Democratic Advisory Council from the first, second, third and seventh senatorial districts were summoned to a May 12 meeting at Longview to determine if an invitation should be extended the kitchen minister to appear in East Texas. Those taking enough interest to come to the meeting voted against issuing the invitation. Within the week, Mrs. Kathleen Voigt was advised by letter from council member R. L. Whitehead that should Mr. Butler come to East Texas \(Tyler is in the seventh district and was reprebe sponsored by the Shivers people. Later, on May 24, a Washington report stated Mr. Butler would appear at a Tyler luncheon. Now who is sponsoring Mr. Butler at Tyler? You guessed it. The game to be played is Simon says wig-wag. Orders came down from Washington; some people are willing to ignore the May 12 meeting as well as the theory that democracy percolates up and does not trickle down. We who are in politics for good clean fun may stand on the side lines and wonder how ever that Dormouse got in the teapot at Tyler or do we need wonder? FRANKLIN JONES cra tic Organizing Committee of Dallas or the Fort Worth Democratic group, which recently elected one of Texas’s most liberal Congressmen, Jim Wright. H. R. Aldredge, Otto Mullinax, Oscar Mauzy in Dallas, Mrs. Margaret Carter, Don Allee in Fort Worth these are tough, determined liberals. In West Texas, conservatism is strong, and the geographical problem keeps the liberals in each town from getting together often enough to find out if they could work together. These various groups call each other radicals, reactionaries, and worse. There is little mutual confidence or sense of duty to the people whom they are supposed to be leading. Apart from a general revulsion from the slogans of the right, a general belief that the people should be served, and a desire that the Democrats win, the liberals, at present, have next to nothing in common. They have become so engrossed with party fights, conventions, election of officers, status with the national committee, and dead history, they have not bothered to formulate a program of progress for the Texas people they are supposed to love. You would think the brotherhood of idealism would be the best and simplest of all brotherhoods. It is not. The sad truth is, the liberals of Texas are either scared4 fractious, or congenitally indecisive. They fouled up in 1954 and they will \(This article concludes a series on the people of Zapata, Texas, and their relocation when their townsite had to be flooded under the Falcon ResBy WILFRED C. BAILEY Assistant Professor of Anthropologu University of Texas Loss of faith in the International Boundary and Water Commission has seriously interfered with negotiations at both the group and the individual level in the relocation of Zapata. People feel that the Boundary Commission is taking advantage of them. The intensity of feeling was expressed in a letter to the Laredo Times, which suggested that the initials I.B.&W.C. stood for “I Bully WoMen and Children.” Informants claimed that the flooding of Falcon and Lopeno in September, 1953, was deliberately planned to scare the people of Zapata into action. Deaths of several key men may have resulted in inadvertent breaking of verbal agreements as to the intentions of the Boundary Commission. Language has been a handicap. It has been necessary to prepare some of the official documents in both Spanish and English versions. Because of the low educational level of the majority of the residents of Zapata, many of the details have not been understood. The use of bilingual residents in the area as interpreters may only complicate and confuse the issue. An Anglo informant who had worked in the area warned the author against the use of local interpreters. He claimed that the only ones available were the better educated people from high-status families. Because of the emphasis on ability to talk well and status differences, the tendency was either to talk down to the people or to talk over their heads. The extent to which the Spanishspeaking lawyers fell into this pattern is not known, but a rather general dislike of them was present. Across the river, the Mexican The Majority To the Editor: …. What is the nature and purpose of our national Democratic convention, and what kind of delegates should participate in this convention in 1956? .. The delegates who participate in this great national convention must be men who have faith in the majority and are willing to bow to the decisions of the majority. .Any delegate or group of delegates that goes to our national convention declaring that, if certain planks are inserted in our platform or certain men are nominated by our convention, they will walk out, are not decent Democrats or Republicans. They have no respect for civilization and progress. M. D. WARREN Neuville foul up in 1956 unless they admit they believe what they believe and start fighting for it. The people remember Roosevelt and do not see his spirit here. RD Government has built a model town, Nuevo Guerrero, to replace the old town of Guerrero. The new town has been provided with schools, a hospital, government buildings, a n d other facilities. Eight types of homes and three types of commercial buildings were built. Home owners and merchants from the old town were assigned to new quarters on the basis of the size of their original holdings. This actual replacement of buildings is constantly pointed to as the plan that should have been developed on the American side. Bitterness has been increased because the Mexican Government, which is usually considered by the people of Zapata to do relatively little for the people, has, in this case, done more than the United States. As one resident said, “We used to say that Mexico was a hell of a place to live.” Similarly, the people of Zapata have been interested in developments in other areas. Some men have read a Spanish translation of and think that there should be a comparable plan of regional development in Zapata County. They have also learned of cases where dams were not built because of protests of the local residents. They find it difficult to understand the generosity of the United States in helping to relieve suffering in many parts of the world while, at the same time, it is not giving similar compassionate consideration to a situation it created here at home. Old Zapata did not disappear under the waters of the lake until the flood of June and July, 1954. A survey of new Zapata in September, 1954, revealed that the town contained a total of 609 buildings. Of these, 488 were old buildings from the old town. New Zapata contained 273 or 30.9 percent fewer buildings from the old town. New Zapata contained 273 or 30.9 percent fewer buildings than the old town. The new town had a much more modern-looking appearance than the old town. The new buildings were of modern design, and many of the old buildings have been painted or rebuilt. Informants observed that the people exhibited more pride in their new homes than they did in old Zapata. In spite of the plan to move all of A Stinker To the Editor: It’s refreshing to read the unvarnished truth. I wish we `tad more papers like your fine publication. What the people wouldn’t do if they knew the truth? Especially under the Capitol dome. This veterans’ land scandal business is a stinker. STANLEY CAUFIELD Corpus Christi Feathered Cap To the Editor: This subscriber wants to congratulate you on the quality of The Texas Observer. Your hound-dog approach to the news pleases me enormously. You bring honest eyes and good sharp thinking to Texas journalism, and already the citizens of the state are in your debt for the most forthright and pungent reporting of the facts in Texas which can be subscribed to. The Observer is, in fact, a hound dog with a feather in his cap! KATE G. HANKE Madrid, Spain TOWN BY THE RIVERIII Varying Degrees of US Generosity the families in the Falcon Reservoir . area into new Zapata and the vote accepting such a plan, few families who were not previously residents of Zapata moved to the government-planned community. The people from Lopeno, Falcon, Uribeno, and Ramirreno are developing new villages on the highway. Only ten families from Lopeno moved to Zapata, and some of them claim they will return to Lopeno as soon as the new site is developed:. All lack the adequate water and sanitation facilities that are being supplied in Zapata. The Central’ ; Power and Light Company has provided electricity?. Residents of the isolated ranches along the river are building their new homes on the highway. The central axis of settlement has shifted from the river to the highway. Even the move to the highway