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of labor in the Valley. The activities of the Texas Rangers were actually not as damaging to organizing La Huelga as was the failure to stop the “green carders” or the destruction wrought by the Hurricane. But the Rangers intimidated many workers and diverted the union’s attention from the fields and boycott to the courts during the harvest. None of the more than 100 cases arising out of the arrests made by the Rangers has yet come to trial. The tremendous cost of the bail and of lawyers has financially exhausted the union and its backers. An injunction still stands, prohibiting all picketing or strike activity against La Casita Farms, the main target of the strike. Upstate supporters, advise against further action which might involve more arrests and the need for more bail money until a few test cases can be brought to trial, and, hopefully, the laws and injunctions overturned. This means all picketing in Starr county has been halted. The liberal lawyers in charge of the cases tell us not to be impatient, that they have other cases to handle, that the question of constitutionality of these laws may not be settled “for years.” And so we wait. There is some boycott activity to aid our brother strikers in California. Dedicated people in El Paso, Corpus Christi, San Antonio, Austin, and Dallas Fort Worth continue to make the effort. The union is working on voter registration and community organizing, centered especially around what are regarded as scandals involving the Starr county political machine. Largely because of the union’s willingness to stand up and fight, other people in Starr county, business and professional people, are beginning to speak out against the corruption and mismanagement. They are still hesitant to be “allies” of the union, but since we are fighting the same enemy, we will work together. BUT THE STRIKE is no longer flashy, is less of a cause celebre. Farm workers are no longer being herded into . jails. There is no more blood. No flags and mass pickets. And so the Loney has stopped coming in. The United Farm Workers Organizing Committee was very hard hit by the Ford Motor Co. strike, because the United Auto Workers, finding themselves under great financial pressure, cut off the substantial contribution that they were giving the union. As the United Farmworkers’ budget shrank, the union reluctantly advised strikers to take jobs, in gas stations, restaurants, out of Starr county. The California leadership of the union still looks on the Texas strike as a kind of unwanted child. \( Since I am not an official spokesman for the union, I feel free to comment on the farm union’s good reason, that the meagre resources of the union should be channeled into more productive areas of organizing, \(i.e. Cali8 The Texas Observer for 20 years, as an excuse for not organizing any farm workers. “The time was not ripe; the people were not ready; it was too difficult and too expensive; the money could be better used to organize factories; to organize in New York and Chicago and Seattle.” These same arguments are now being used as an excuse for not organizing farm workers or, really, anybody else in Texas. The Texas strike was to be supported by Texans. And as Texas liberals and Texas labor have begun to lose interest, the union in California has been simply unable to pick up the tab. Just as the dwindling support from Texas liberals and labor has influenced the cutback in the organizing ‘drive of the union, so, too, have liberals and the other unions in Texas influenced the character of the strike, from the earliest days of June, 1966. From almost the first days of the strike, certain politicians and other “leaders” in the state labor movement and in the churches and the liberal movement used the farm workers for publicity, fund raising, and for their own private projects. The strike began with a truly radical, even revolutionary program, calling for a drastic and basic change in the relationship of the farm workers to ‘their employers, the total destruction of racism, and an end to the political and economic exploitation of the chicanos in South Texas. Texas liberals blunted this dynamic thrust and shifted emphasis to a safe “liberal” goal, a state $1.25 minimum wage. Politicians jockeyed for the Mexican-American vote by praising the farm workers or criticizing the Rangers. Leaders in the churches gave public blessings but privately called a halt to clerical participation in the movement. Everyone got into the final act, the grand finale, when the US Senate subcommittee on migratory labor came to the Valley. Everyone polished up his liberal credentials and made his pitch with oratorical flourishes for the TV cameras. Then the footlights dimmed; exit, stage right. Such criticism is not meant to detract from the really courageous and heroic job that many of these supporters did in informing the public of the situation in the Valley and in trying to help us change the situation that faces the Texas campesino. The farmworkers and the union are very grateful for the tremendous generosity exhibited by many, many Texans; liberals, Christians, working men, and many individual unions and locals have led in an outpouring of support. The struggle could not have lasted at all had it not been for this beautiful display of concern. But so long as the federal government refuses to act on the problem of alien scabs, so long as the federal government refuses to give farm workers the same rights as other workers, especially protection of the National Labor Relations Act, then farm workers must depend on local and state-level help, especially from outside the government, to break the vicious system in which they are trapped. UFWOC, the State AFL-CIO, the Catholic Church, the Texas Council of Churches, and all the Texas liberals and radicals, students and workers and members of La Raza who rallied to the cause during the days of excitement must re-dedicate themselves to continuing this struggle until South Texas has been radically changed. The farm workers are still willing to make the sacrifices, to go to jail if necessary. They, like most of the poor in Texas, are ready and eager to organize, and with proper leadership and support, they can organize. There are alternatives \(voter registration, voting, community orLa Huelga’s direct confrontation with the power structure, which failed. But they are less exciting. They will involve long-range commitments and many months of quiet and seemingly unrewarding work. THE PROBLEMS of the farm workers are the same this year as they were in 1966. Where the strike improved things somewhat, the hurricane has set things back. Little has changed in the basic patterns of poverty in Texas, except that now, in many hearts, there is hope where before there was resignation. So when liberals latch on to issues such as parimutuel betting and liquor by the drink and “No 4th Term,” it seems like a cruel joke, a charade, when hundreds of thousands of people are under-fed or starving, when thousands of children are growing up illiterate, when disease is widespread and unattended. They are letting the reactionaries turn next year’s elections into one more meaningless contest if they make these the issues. Likewise the minimum wage is only scratching the surface of the problem, only a crumb tossed to a people hungry for Justice. We need the all-out commitment of liberals, in food and money and support, to carry on the struggle in the Valley, regardless of what happens in the political arena, And we need a real crusade, not self-serving lip service, from liberal politicians and state labor leaders, to bring the real issues facing Texas before the people; issues such as the grinding poverty of most Mexican-Americans, most Negroes, and many Anglos in this state; the problems of racism and segregation and discrimination in schools, jobs, housing; the problems of totally inadequate education for the poor, and especially for the Spanish-speaking child; the problems of disease, of malnutrition, of inadequate housing; the disgusting spectacle of tax exemption for the rich and regressive taxes on the poor. And of course we can no longer turn our backs on the Vietnam war, which “solves” unemployment by making cannon fodder of kids who can’t afford to go to college. If liberals turn their backs on these issues, or suggest that they are problems the federal government must solve and that the state government can’t handle. then it really does not make much difference to the poor whether a liberal or a Republican or a Connally is elected. And the impatience that Black Americans are beginning to show with the lack of progress in realizing the “Great Society” may begin spreading to the barrios, too. 0