place the causes of the two great blind spots of the war on povertythe Negro poor of the South and the Latin-American poor of the lower Southwest. Now that President Johnson has consolidated many of the objectives of domestic liberalism that occupied the post-war years, who is going to do the new thinking for what we need now? Shall Texans leave it to the Easterners or the Californians? Or are Texas liberals afraid to discuss big money in elections and the oil depletion allowance? Here at home, here in Texas, is where the liberals in and of Texas should unite and meet again to speak out to the country, to participate in the great personal and regional dialogues that must underlie the democratic process if it is not to be subverted by big money and the mass ‘media. But also, we have our own state to think of. Liberalism here has become almost a useless word-game, an empty cause. It was not a heartening thing to watch the 1965 Texas legislature, in the midst of what we are asked to believe is the basis of the Great Society, conducting itself more abominably than the sold-out legislatures in the cesspools of Texas history known as the Shivers era. What’s all this about? Herie many people have been making sacrifices and working and thinking for all this time, and we are back where we started. No, it is time for a fresh start, and a new set of working principles. THE LIBERALS OF TEXASperhaps called simply thatshould meet someplace pleasant in the fall for a weekend, break down into groups according to interests, and discuss the issues of the time nuclear war, Viet Nam, the democracymenacing concentration of economic power, bankers’ interest rates, the $2 minimum wage, American policy toward the poor of other countries, an end to discrimination against Negroes in East Texas, the need for economic justice as well as civil rights and formulate, in open debate, their own positions. Let each citizen be responsible to do his own reading and thinking and to choose his own ground. I propose two annual membership meetings because although they may be unwieldly, it is all the members of a group, not their officers, who matter. As for the spring meeting a little before the beginning of the spring campaigns, perhaps it would be well for such a group not to endorse candidates, but simply to hear them. Each individual would consider, for himself, their merits, and act freely. There would be none of this mind-crushing Group-Think which is one source of the declining importance of the individual. The politicians might feel easier, too; they couldcome before a large group of citizens and make their appeals without fear of being slammed in the dailies with hurtful symbols. Dues should be sufficient to finance the group’s administrative costs, period. Every 2 The TexasObserver penny spent should be thus limited, and publicly accounted for. Officers’ authority should be limited to administration, and perhaps to legislative or congressional testimony pursuant to the group’s principles. No one should be permitted to come as a member of any grouplabor, Negro, Latin, farmer, “independent liberal”but anyone who wishes to be welcome should be, and the only hat he should need is his own. To prevent the kind of labor pre-convention caucusing that in effect killed DOT in 1960, participating in binding caucuses should be grounds for expulsion from the group. In my opinion, anyone who puts any group or party ahead of his own principles as a matter of principle should not come; this should be a free group of free citizens resolved to act in their own names for what they themselves personally believe is true and right. What about the hard work of political organizationvoter registration, card indexes, mailings, turning out the voters? This must go on, but a state liberal organization should not carry it on, because the only way it can is by becoming a front for labor money, and this compromises its at last more necessary function, speaking truth to power. The abundance of local organizations in the cities will continue to do this work, just as they in fact do it now. What, fellow citizens, is there to lose? Senator Ralph Yarborough is secure in his important post for five and a half more years. President Johnson could certainly use some home-state liberalism in his foreign policy, and in domestic policy, too liberalism with cutting edges, independent of him, and thinking for itself. Governor Connally will be in for four more years if Incorporating the State Observer and the East Texas Democrat, which in turn incorporated the State Week and Austin ForumAdvocate. We will serve no group or party but will hew hard to the truth as we find it and the right as we see it. We are dedicated to the whole truth, to human values above all interests, to the rights of man as the foundation of democracy; we will take orders from none but our own conscience, and never will we overlook or misrepresent the truth to serve the interests of the powerful or cater to the ignoble in the human spirit. Editor and General Manager, Ronnie Dugger. Partner, Mrs. R. D. Randolph. Business Manager, Sarah Payne. Contributing Editors, Elroy Bode, Bill Brammer, Larry Goodwyn, Franklin Jones, Lyman Jones, Larry L. King, Georgia Earnest Klipple, Willie Morris, James Presley, Charles Ramsdell, Roger Shattuck, Dan Strawn, Tom Sutherland, Charles Alan Wright. Staff Artist, Charles Erickson. Contributing Photographer, Russell Lee. Subscription Representatives: Austin, Mrs. Helen C. Spear, 2615 Pecos, HO 5-1805; Dallas, Mrs. Cordye Hall, 5835 Ellsworth, TA 1-1205; El Paso, Mrs. Jeanette Harris, 5158 Garry Owen Rd., LO 5-3448; Houston, Mrs. Shirley Jay, 10306 Cliffwood Dr., PA . 3-8682; Lubbock, Doris Blaisdell, 2515 24th St.; Midland, Eva Dennis, 4306 Douglas, OX 4-2825; Odessa, Enid Turner, 1706 Glenwood, EM 6-2269; Rio Grande Valley, Mrs. Jack Butler, 601 Houston, McAllen, MU 6-5675; something doesn’t happen. Ideas coming from a lively liberal Texas group would certainly be taken note of in Washington and in thoughtful minds’ all over the country, and they would also affect, and give backbone to, the off-again, on-again, offagain Texas delegation in Washington and the legislature in Austin. Democracy has become too much like mere power in high places; Group-Think has gone too far. We may as well start something again at the grass roots of Texas, where there is still freedom. R.D. he 1lLury t ato We commend Governor Connally for vetoing the bankers’ 17% interest bill. This veto deserves unqualified approval. This was the worst single bill the 1965 legislature passed, and Connally prevented it from becoming law. On the other hand, the 140 members of the legislature who voted for the bankers’ usury bill must be held accountable by the voters. To be sure our readers know who voted how, we publish the House and Senate record votes in this issue. Certainly this is not the only subject by which legislators should be judged, but it is one of the most relevant ones, and the few good legislators who voted for 17.5% for bankers have plenty of explaining to do. Keep in mind, the legislature that passed this bill is the same one that Connally had the temerity to say had the best record in this century. El San Antonio, Mrs. Mae B. Tuggle, 531 Elmhurst, TA 6-3583; Tyler, Mrs. Erik Thomsen, 3332 Lynwood, LY 4-4862; Cambridge, Mass., Victor Emanuel, 33 Aberdeen Ave., Apt. 3A. The editor has exclusive control over the editorial policies and contents of the’ Observer. None of the other people who are associated with the enterprise shares this responsibility with him. Writers are responsible for their own work, but not for anything they have not themselves written, and in publishing them the editor does not necessarily imply that he agrees with them, because this is a journal of free voices. The Observer publishes articles, essays, and creative work of the shorter forms having to do in various ways with this area. The pay depends; at present is is token. Unsolicited manuscripts must be accompanied by return postage. Unsigned articles are the editor’s. The Observer is published by Texas Observer Co., Ltd., biweekly from Austin, Texas. Entered as second-class matter April 26, 1937, at the Post Office at Austin, Texas, under the Act of March 3, 1879. Second class postage paid at Austin, Texas. Delivered postage prepaid $5.00 a year; two years, $9.50; three years, $13.00. Foreign rates on request. Single copies 25c; prices for ten or more for students, or bulk orders, on request. Editorial and Business Offices: The Texas Observer, 504 West 24th St., Austin 5, Texas. Telephone GR 7-0746. Change of Address: Please give old and new address and allow three weeks. THE TEXAS OBSERVER @ Texas Observer Co., Ltd. 1965 A Journal of Free Voices 59th YEAR ESTABLISHED 1906 A Window to the South Vol. 57, No. 13 740 July 9, 1965
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