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igzi EPP:Az-L. c tomer T. 14i4P4 IM 417W Posy Cal Same Old Flock? And ’62 Begins “If You Had Any Initiative, You’d Go Out and Inherit a Department Store” AUSTIN The faithful Texas liberals are now organized as the Democratic Coalition. It seems to be their lot to come together, take a name, get pummeled in the daily press, eject an Observer reporter or two, disperse, and then gradually come back together again under another name. They do always come together again ; they are friends and know they are doing work that must be done. Democrats of Texas died as an organization, it is now clear, with the collapse of the walkout from the May convention last year in Austin. The liberals in caucus decided to walk out ; labor in caucus made no decision ; everything went to pieces in the confusion. The Democratic Coalition has no permanent officers, no rules, no membership, no fees. At each of its four meetings, temporary chairmen have been elected \(in order, Otto Mullinax, Albert Pena, Chris Dixie, Edgar Bersubstantial majority at the meetings, and labor seems to be, in a certain sense, in charge, but the old-line liberals are represented, too. They feel more secure, perhaps, than they did in D.O.T., because as Dixie put it at the fourth meeting in Austin two weeks back, nobody in the coalition is obligated to anyone else: “No decision is binding on any individual in the place.” They meet to cooperate on what they can. THE COALITION is now concerned with two subjects, poll taxes and candidates. Issues have been relegated to the concensus among them : they are liberals, they are against the sales tax, they are for Kennedy, they are for unions, they are for Negroes. I do not know how far they are prepared to go on issues like sit-ins and nuclehr war because they threw the reporters out when they discussed candidates and the issues candidates quiver and shake about. Generally, of course, they favor equal rights and oppose mass murder. I am required by my suspicions, however; to recall a quotation from Thoreau’s “Essay on Civil Disobedience” in the War Registers’ League peace calendar for 1962: “There are thousands who are in opinion opposed to slavery and to war, yet who in effect do nothing to put an end to them ; who, esteeming themselves children of Washington and Franklin, sit down with their hands in their pockets and say they know not what to do, and do nothing.” In any case, the liberals are very much in favor, of liberals paying poll taxes, and dull as this sounds, they are right to become annually exercised about it. As Rep. Franklin Spears, San Antonio, said, of course the poll tax is wrong, but it’s necessary to vote. “You’ve got to buy it in order to abolish it.” I am not quite sure I agree that “It’s the biggest bargain you can buy in any department store in the United States,” seeing as how the issues you get to vote on are not always the ones that matter much, but when one considers the renascence of the radical right in Texas, liberals who fail to qualify themselves to vote are going to sound slightly hollow when they start popping off about the Birchers. Brown, state labor president, that Texas labor’s Committee on Political Education has appropriated $2,000 for the poll tax drive to match the roughly $2,000 contributed to the Coalition from various areas of the state. This kind of money comes hard, but the Texas liberal movement has its share of unalloyed idealism. If it did not, as Spears said, the liberals would be having no luck at the polls, for the people eventually smell out phoney idealism ; they would not, especially after the 1960 convention, have come together again. Edgar Berlin went a little overboard, however, when he in effect compared poll tax workers with martyrs at the barricades. “It takes guts,” quoth Berlin, “to leave the TV in the middle of the program or the football game or the cold beer in the ice box and go out and coerce idiots into buying their poll taxes. It takes guts to get out and move a poll tax campaign.” Dedication, conviction, work, idealism, yes; but guts is another question. I N THE CLOSED session, the liberals had a free-for-all on the candidates. We gather labor is leaning toward Jim Turman for lieutenant governor instead of Don Yarborough. This passes our understanding. Yarborough got’ 700,000 votes against Ben Ramsey ; he has the best chance of anyone in the state to win the lieutenant governorship, if he seeks that office; and he is a liberal person. Turman has traded out on the sales tax ; why make book with him again? Doubtless the labor for Turman rumor is premature. We heard that Don Kennard was boosting Turman against Yarborough in the secret session, from which one might more reasonably conjecture that if Jim Wright runs for governor, he wants Turman running for lieutenant governor. There are years of the good fights and years of the deals. I do not like the way 1962 is beginning to feel. You pays your poll tax and you takes what choice you get. Which may not be much. Mayor Lewis Cutrer’s re-election as mayor of Houston by a narrow margin should demonstrate several things to him. Most obviously, he has not understood the kind of recognition the Negro community in Houston expects from the mayor. A Southerner, he has been patronizinghe has not perceived, from all the evidences around him, that them days are gone forever. In the first go-round, Cutrer lost the Negro precincts to the demagoging Louie Welch, 11,812 to 2,652. In the runoff, Cutrer lost these same Negro precincts by the amazing margin of 24,051 to 2,712, or nine to one. He had to fight back from a starting deficit of 21,000 net. Welch was willing to demagogue the issue of police brutality. He promised to fire the chief of police and to hire a Negro assistant for every white top-dog in the police department. Welch was first put forward by the far right-wing in Houston characterized by the sagacious Gould Beech as “the hard-core nut conservatives.” He parleyed this kind of support and Negro disillusion with Cutrer into a formidable vote. CUTRER won because the increased vote in the white precincts offset the increases in the Negro precincts. But what kind of victory is it for Houston ? The Negroes, generally speaking, feel defeated ; the whites who would go to the polls in blocs to vote against Negro bloc voting have had their appetites whetted with victory. Is this the kind of atmosphere in which Houston will be able to emulate Atlanta and Birmingham with its own rational, peiceful solution of the issues of discrimination? Mayor Cutrer faces a difficult term. We venture to say that he must not merely treat Negroes as equals, but really believe they are equals. Although the police brutality issue was, we gather, exaggerated, the large Negro community in Houston has every right to insist that the mayor be militant against any such brutality. The Mayor’s largest task will be to lead Houston into the select company of Southern cities which have started across the bridge toward real integration because their leaders have simply concluded that this is the sane and decent and necessary thing to do. R.D. SAN ANTONIO If Texas Republicans don’t come up with leadership more eloquent than that found in San Antonio, they’ve had it. Dibrell, Goode and Catto are three ambitious politicians, and that’s about all ‘they are : ambitious. If being a Republican has a special significance for them, it is hard to discover. They have no special plan to push, no special program to sell, no special ideals to build on. They admit as much. If they hadn’t tarred themselves to look like Republican blacksheep, one would swear they were just more of the same flock following the old Ramsey. The only apparent difference between them and any three top conservative Democrats is that the latter are in, and Dibrell, Goode, and Catto aren’t. Henry Catto Jr., an insuranceman, was rather appealing in his modest ignorance four or five months ago when he first announced his candidacy for Marshall Bell’s seat. He said he didn’t know much about the issues, but that he sure would learn something about them. Well, we went back to see him this Week and found him no better posted on the liberal-conservative issues but now instead of modestly ignorant he is smugly ignorant and far less flexibleappalled when his political foes call him a John Bircher, but eager to define anybody more liberal than Lyndon Johnson \(his own Greenwich fringe.” He said he didn’t know what he would have done if he had got in office, but he figured his basic obligation to society was to be elected. “It’s like Lyndon says,” he said, “a politician’s first duty is to be elected.” If this is typical of the expansive, imaginative, idealistic thinking the “new” Republican party of Texas has to offer, the liberals might as well stop dreaming of a day when that party will lure away the most troublesome conservative Democrats, who, after all, are the most troublesome because they at least have sense enough not to trade a hollow but winning fellowship for a hollow but losing one. DIBRELL, Goode and Catto all admit that the public image of the Republican party is cold and sterile, and that the party would give anything to demolish that image. They could, with just a little imagination, do it so easily. Humanitarian issues neglected by the Democrats are lying about everywhere, just waiting to be stolen by the Texas Republicans. Catto complains because he can’t get the Latin American vote. Did he ever think about becoming a really eloquent champion of the migrant labor bills? The Democrats obviously don’t give a rap about the measures not one of which was even voted .on, much less passed, by both houses of the last legislature. One bill asked that the vehicles that carry migrant laborers be operated according to strict safety regulations. If safety isn’t anti-GOP let the Republicans snatch it up as their own cause. Another bill seeks health regulations of the migrant labor camps. Is health anti-Republican? Why then don’t they make the measure their measure? But Catto admitted that he didn’t even know what was in the migrant labor bills. This is the man who wanted to come to the legislature and reform the sluggish conservatives. If there is one issue the Texas Democrats have been compromised on, it is segregation. On this they are comatose. Have the Texas Republicans following the lead of the national Republican partystepped in and taken advantage? No. As Goode put it, “We are probably as divided on that as the Democrats are.” If the Republicans haven’t anything to offer that the conservative Democrats don’t already offer, they could ‘be honest about it, admit it publicly, and stop playing patsy. B.S.