Page 11


troversial, painful. They are intending to make a difference. A COMMUNICATION 4 Coming upon again, by chance, the opening paragraph of my “Confessions of a White Liberal” in Black, White, and Gray is what I should like to say here as the year begins, if you will pardon me for quoting myself. Ten thousand people starve to death every day in the world. One Hiroshima every ten days. A hollow-eyed young child, passing away. After his time down and out in Paris and London, George Orwell said that he did not know what should be done to help the poor, but he did know enough never again to enjoy a meal at a smart restaurant. That this was a beginning. What can a man’s conscience do with that reproach, “Ten thousand people starve to death every day,” a reproach that, once felt and accepted, never relents, and goes on existing when we are not thinking about it, just as, once we have seen and sensed them doing it, we know that the waves of the Pacific continue to caress and assail the long western coast when we are not seeing them? The quantity of the world’s injustice makes conscience reel, bottoms it in the dark reality, the preventable personal pain, that ideals and pieties do not assuage. One knows of the multitudes of people who have resolved to try to be good people, who have dedicated their lives, in greater or lesser part, ‘to trying to humanize social injustitutions \( I typed it this way in the first draft, and will not personally can. To do what one can: there is the most exonerating thought one can force up, out of one’s own equivocal and pleasure-loving being, against the oppression of ten thousand people starving today and tonight, and the other multiform reproaches from the darkling realms of exploitation, thoughtlessness, maledictions, status, and power. And even this thought, Do what you can, flutters unsteadily in the bedeviled illuminations of conscience like a resolution firmly adopted New Year’s Eve and betrayed by New Year’s Night. R. D. Next Issue Will Be Published Jan. 20 Due to the holidays this issue is coming out three weeks after the previous one. To permit inclusion of a report on the opening session of the 60th legislature, including the governor’s address, in the next issue, it will, also, be published after a three-weeks interval, Jan. 20, 1967. After that the Usual fortnightly schedule will be resumed. 1=1 12 The Texas Observer While not doubting the good will of Fred Pfeifer in his Dec. 9 article, “Starr County: To Lose a Strike, But Nurture an Awakening,” I do find some serious problems with his interpretation of the situation which reveals an overlooking of some of the important factors involved. I find his interpretation of the nature of the strike support to be over-simplified and his economic suggestions to be, frankly, naive. Since the first meeting of the Council of Valley Workers Assistance Committees of Texas, in September of this year, there has been no question that the group is supporting the strike. A twofold purpose was explicitly stated to support La Huelga and guide passage of a state minimum wage bill. The only question has been one of priorities, yet it seems to be a demonstrable fact that the unifying impact of the Thanksgiving Caravan has achieved a consensus on the part of the group that the strike demands’ immediate attention. \( I’d like to point out that Walter Katz and David Ortiz organized a Houston group to join the Christmas Caravan for La Huelga, which seems to indicate that Mr. Pfeifer was more interested in creating generalized categories to support his view than he was in doing a well-rethe aims of the committees to mobilize support for meaningful minimum wage legislation; rather, it is a realistic appraisal of the nature of ‘the support engendered by the Labor Day Rally. Strikes, unfortunately, tend to be an unpopular cause in Texas, but liberals have always been willing to rally around a cry of “minimum wage.” It is ridiculous to propose that the farm workers should strike any farm except one which has a concentration of economic power. Strange it would be for a picket line to appear at the entrance of a small farm that is itself struggling for existence, except to demonstrate to the small farmer the common plight shared by all the poor of the Valley and the need for an organizational vehicle to articulate their grievances. Though his next-to-the-last paragraph was somewhat unintelligible, obviously Mr. Pfeifer doesn’t understand some of the very important reasons for organizing a farm workers’ union. There is little reason to expect union activities to blossom among shippers’ employees since they already enjoy a higher economic level and more job security and are therefore less susceptible to organizing than farm workers, who fall short in both cases. But laying these considerations aside, I think no one would ignore the vital necessity for a militant organization of farm workers. The farm worker, besides fighting for a decent wage, has many other battles racial discrimination, inadequate schooling \(cf. “He Is Handicapped If We Take Away His Language” by Ramon Garces, Dec. 9, local political dictator and evidently indifferent state and national governments. The American “Personal Initiative” dream very often, especially for a minority group, is attained only through group initiative and economic pressures. Quite possibly, the banker Mr. Pfeifer referred to realized some of these broader implications, and because bankers in South Texas are not entirely unaware of the existence of growers’ money, he hoped to divert interest from the strike by proposing a plan which wouldn’t accomplish the deeper objectives of the strike. I think it very significant that a South Texas banker would bother to voice a suggestion of this type at all, and wonder why, when the problem is very old, he has waited until this time to speak. Nothing but carelessness could have produced a title which so absolutely stated an opinion. It is destructive to declare an entire movement defeated on the basis -of a very cursory evaluation of the situation. \(Note: the title was not written by I think few people will disagree that La Huelga is the most significant movement in Texas at this time. It has many problems, but most significant movements in Texas do. It has awakeneda need for social action more dramatically than has ever been done before. Even more important, here is the opportunity for activist rhetoric to be channeled into an area of specific program. FRANCES BARTON, 714 West 221/2, Austin, Tex.. \(Miss Barton, a University of Texas student, is an active worker with the Austin Valley Workers Assistance Fifty Subscriptions An Observer subscriber has just entered three-year subscriptions for fifty libraries. “I first saw a copy of the Observer in the Beaumont Public Library in 1961,” he wrote to us. “The paper analyzed the approaching senatorial election and correctly predicted the victory of John Tower. I was much impressed with that understanding of Texas politics. I have continued to be impressed with your paper’s reporting of the workings of the state legislature, among other subjects.” “From time to time, my local library has changed, as I have moved from city to city, and occasionally I found that the Texas Observer is not one of the library’s periodicals. This situation I correct.” At one such library, that of a junior college, a permanent pigeon-hole was reserved for the Observer when the library was spruced up last spring. The subscriber who is giving these subscriptions prefers that his name not be published. 0