the request for the report.” The chancellor added he had not himself received any comment of a political kind on the matter. THE ALIANZA Federal de Mercedes first attracted general attention when some Anglo tourists, seeking to drive through a national forest in New Mexico, were blocked on the highway by a band of mexicanos, armed with .30-.30’s, and told they were trespassing. The band had occupied the forest on the theory that if the feds would just give it to them, a rough kind of compensation would be achieved for what they regard as Anglo thefts of Spanish-Americans’ lands before this century. The Alianza had a march to New Mexico’s capital. Reies Lopez Tijerina is the leader of the Alianza. On June 6, 1967, an armed band of Alianza people raided the Tierra Amarilla, N.M., courthouse, evidently with the purpose of freeing Alianza members in jail there. Violence occurred; three people were injured. Who initiated or caused the violence is still argued; the fact that the band from the Alianza were armed is not. Knowlton was one of the few Anglo members of the Alianza trusted enough to be conceivably a way of communicating with the subsequently hid-out members of the band, who became the objects of a statewide manhunt of anger and intensity. Knowlton is an assiduous advocate of the rights and welfare of the poor Span ish-Americans of New. Mexico. He has made speeches and published papers on this subject. He has studied land transfers in New Mexico, where the Spanish-Americans were ,organized in numerous small villages along the main river and tributaries, and has written that from 1854 to 1930, they “lost 2,000,000 acres of private landholdings, 1,700,000 acres of communal lands, 1,800,000 acres taken over by the state, and even more vast acreages lost to the federal government.” He has asserted in his academic papers and in his speeches that Anglos came in with their lawyers, the tax in money, strange laws about land titles, and commercial ways of proceeding and by means of tax sales, fraudulent land suits, and violence, took the natives’ land, scattered their sheep, and drove off their cattle. “Unable to hold their own against the Texas cattlemen,” Knowlton has written, the Spanish-Americans of New Mexico “were gradually forced off the plains” and “could only take refuge in a futile hate that has made the word Texan a hiss.” For the quite distinctive poverty problems of the Spanish-Americans of northern New Mexico and southern Colorado, Knowlton has proposed: Governmental handicraft boards to encourage the renewal of craft skills among the poor; State or federal marketing services for village products; The forming of village co-ops; And “a massive land purchase program” to restore range and crop land to villages that once owned. it. In effect Knowlton is an advocate of land reform in New Mexico in the same sense that it has been advocated, by Presidents Kennedy and Johnson as well as by reformers south of the United States, for Latin-America. The principal difference is that Knowlton’s proposals affect Americans. In this context it will be seen as potentially quite significant that Ransom has received a full record of Knowlton’s publications and has said of them that they “have been highly praised by sociologists,” thus lining up with Ray on this point. New Mexico officials and Alianza members were interested as, during the height of the manhunt for Tijerina, Knowlton was taken into the mountains and consulted with Tijerina. Knowlton has been quoted that he went at the request of New Mexico officials and with the consent of the U.T.E.P. administration. Under subpoena, Knowlton testified as a defense witness on Tijerina’s trial on other charges early last month. Ransom said that every point of the academic freedom rule of the state coordinating board on higher education and of the various national associations has been “very carefully observed.” As the Observer goes to press, no charges are known to have been lodged against Knowlton in the university system. R.D. A Report from Starr County Rio Grande City The Texas Observer has recently carried a number of articles on the role of labor and liberals in Texas politics and life. As a newcomer to Texas, working with the Mr.. Adair was born in New Jersey in 1942. He attended public schools in Virginia and California. He is a 1964 Phi Beta lege. He joined the farm workers’ union in 1965, shortly before the grape pickers’ strike broke out at Delano, Calif. He had been picking peaches and living in a labor camp that was being organized by the union and the migrant ministry of the California Council of Churches. In the fall of that year he began working for El Malcriado, the union’s publication in Calif ornia. Last year the Farm Worker Press, with Adair as an officer, was incorporated as an entity separate from the union. He came to Texas in April of this year and began a Texas version of El Malcriado, whose circulation is now about 3,000, of which 80% is in Hidalgo county, which adjoins Starr county. Mr. Adair lives in Rio Grande City. He stresses that he is not a member of the farm workers’ union and, since his corporation is independent of the union, he does not speak for its leaders. campesinos in the Valley, I have found the discussion very enlightening. The activity of these groups has an intimate relationship with the success or failure of the farm workers and their struggle for justice. The Starr county strike is in bad shape. Hopes were so high last spring, when boy Doug Adair cott committees were operating all over the state, when food and money were being collected, when the United Farm Workers Organizing Committee was forging its alliance with the Mexican workers of the Confederation de Trabajadores Mexicanos. But May and June proved a shattering experience for the union. International politics brought down the totally effective two-day picket line which the unions had established against the “green card workers” from Mexico, who were, in effect, strikebreakers. As the government looked the other way, “green carders” poured back across the border. American workers refused to leave the fields when it became apparent that there was an unlimited supply of “green carders” to take their place. The federal government has, so far, done little more than give empty promises and issue unenforced and unenforceable “regulations”this despite officials’ announcements that the “green carders” would no longer be permitted to work at farms where a labor dispute is in progress. The abuse of the green card system is the direct responsibility of Labor Secy. W. Willard Wirtz, the Labor Department, and the Immigration Service. Not only did these government agencies and officials turn their backs on the problems raised by commuting Mexican nationals, they approved the hiring of more than 8,000 braceros from Mexico for employment during the California tomato harvest this fall. The unlimited reserve of cheap, nonunion workers across the border make success in the Starr county fields almost impossible. And Hurricane Beulah pretty much destroyed the opportunity for a major drive in the citrus of the lower Valley this year; the entire fall vegetable crop was destroyed, and citrus suffered an estimated $50 million loss. There is a great scarcity of work and a huge surplus December 8, 1967 7
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