the wife of the drive leader, involved in a personal feud, went down to the Negro school and whipped the teacher with a stick; Perez agreed to persuade the judge not to send her to prison if the drive was stopped. After that, nothing much happened in Plaquemines about getting civil rights until the federal registrars set up their desks in the back of the Borus’ post office and invited the Negroes in. Connoisseurs of the political ;tirade were not disappointed. Perez was furious. He went on television and urged unregistered whites to sign up “to avoid the curse of a second Reconstruction”and out of the bog they came, once ending the day with eight times as many whites registered as Negroes. But the lines of communication between Perez and the poor white folks are not nearly as good as between the civil rights leaders and their underground partisans, and among new registrants Negroes are expected eventually to come out ahead. Registering under federal protection and voting under the sheriff’s protection are decidedly different things in Plaquemines, but the Negroes are a hardy lot and they insist that they will vote. If they do, it could mean eventually that the man who was credited with blocking the impeachment of Huey Long in the legislature and with masterminding Earl Long’s early victories will have come to the end of a phenomenal reign. It has been a reign marked by some unusual accomplishments at the ballot box as when one of Plaquemines’ wards cast 913 votes, one more than all the residents, counting Negroes and children. Not that these votes have gone to bad men ; Russell Long, Senate whip, admitted that his 3,100-to-121 victory in Plaquemines in 1948 was a gift from Perez. AS THEY COME INTO THEIR OWN now, the Negroes not only of Plaquemines but of the entire South can set about learning the techniques of power from those who have had it longest. Perez may prove to be one of their greatest teachers if they will only listen. “Politics,” the old man told a Port Sulphur high school civics class not long ago, “is the sinful game of fooling people.” What he didn’t tell them, but what the new Negro voters will soon discover, is that it’s no more sinful to play than to watch. fl Zeroing in on Neighboring Arkansas Faubusism as a Way of Life Little Rock, Ark. For the first time since he became the acknowledged dictator of Arkansas politics, Orval Faubus is confronted with organized opposition in a non-campaign year. The anti-Faubus organization is called “Democrats for Arkansas” and is headed by a doctor, a Negro dentist, a professor, and a lawyerall political amateurs. It has no more than 1,000 ‘membersthat’s the circulation of its newsletter \(edited by there would be little reason to anticipate any real impact from the group but for the fact that spontaneous disenchantment was bringing similar groups into being, unbeknownst to each other, in three other cities of Arkansas about the same time. An effort is being made to unify these opposition splinters. Even with unity, their task of reforming the Democratic Party of Arkansas has no comparison for difficulty, not even in Alabama, where Gov. George Wallace, who very plainly learned a number of tricks from studying Faubus’ early career, has so demolished the Democratic Party that such loyalists as Sen. John Sparkman no longer o p e r a t e as though there is any hope for reformation. Right after the 1964 election, Sparkman said he intended to make the party over “with or without Wallace,” but in recent months he has publicly reneged on that. Dr. H. D. Luck, chairman of “Democrats for Arkansas,” said in its statement of purpose that the regular Democratic Party of Arkansas has ceased to exist and has become “a personality cult and a private club” from which “the young, the idealists, the thoughtful, and the minorities, feeling rejected and disillusioned by an apparently alien philosophy, are defecting in especially large numbers.” The response from the in-group was typical. Leon B. Catlett of Little Rock, a 20 The Texas Observer Robert Sherrill Faubus man and chairman of the state Democratic Party, said the new group was composed of “stooges for Winthrop Rockefeller,” the Republican gubernatorial candidate last year. Asked if he knew of any definite link between Dr. Luck and Rockefeller, Catlett said, “Well, they’re both from New York and they’re both finding fault with the Democratic Party.” THE PERSONALITY CULT aspect of Arkansas politics is, of course, not unique to that state. When Sen. Olin Johnston died recently, the Democratic Party of South Carolina died with him, at least temporarily. But the strength of the Faubus cult does make the Arkansas situation unique. Having been elected to six termsa record matched only by the late Governor Hunt of ArizonaFaubus has been around long enough to have appointed every member of every important state board and commission. These boards and commissions about 125 of themare empowered to hire about 20,000 people and spend nearly a quarter billion dollars a year. In Arkansas, which still rivals Mississippi as the poorest state in the nation, the vote-seducing potential in such a disbursement of funds is evident, and Faubus makes no effort to hide the fact that he is using money to this end. Very faithfully each campaign he writes a letter to the state’s 80,000 welfare recipientsalthough, of course, the welfare rolls are supposed to be secret and there is a law against using them for political purposes. As with most other states, especially in the South, the biggest potential boondoggle is in the highway funds. Arkansas had been victimized by road politics for so long that in 1952 it passed a law staggering the road commissioners’ terms in an ef fort to keep any governor from controlling the disbursement. That reform died as of Faubus’ third election, after which he appointed the majority member, and for several years now he has controlled the board entirely. Other Faubus-controlled boards regulate utility rates, insurance rates, investment companies, trucking tariffs, liquor store licensing, and the university system. As former Governor Sid McMath, a liberal, said, “There are a lot of people who would like to run against Faubus, but they can’t get any money for the campaign.” The banks won’t back an opponent. Something over $40* million in state funds is spread among f r i en dl y banks without charging interest. This year the legislature gave the banking board power to charge interest on these deposits, but it left the amount of interest up to the Faubus-controlled board, and so far nothing has been heard from it. Just how much state money is put to use by the banks is unknown because State Treasurer Mrs. Nancy J. Hall won’t make her records public. The Republican Party has been trying to pry the information out of her with a lawsuit. Attorney General Bruce Bennett scorned the lawsuit as “political.” Republicans readily admitted this and asked what that had to do with keeping the information secret. In his 1962 campaign against Faubus, McMath charged\(and was never contraarkana had had $2 million of state money on deposit for the previous year and that the bank was closely tied to the Arkansas Louisiana Gas Company, which is headed by Witt Stephens, well known as the bankroller of Faubus’ political career for the past ten years. It used to be that when the Arkansas Power and Light Company spoke through the colorful Hamilton Moses, every important politician in the state was supposed to be galvanized into action. But the corn
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