Still Confused -01111010.444.saa. Austin I very much regret that a transcript of the Observer-Rag conference of liberals and radicals is not available for excerpting in this issue. I’ll have the transcript in a few days more but I’m not sure whether I’ll consider it worth the space to publish it two weeks hence. Right now I do but things change rapidly in this job and in two weeks I may feel that use of our sorely-limited space not justified. Until I read the thing I won’t be sure what I think of the conference. Because of having to help run the affair and because so much was presented that I did not understand, I just don’t have very many firm conclusions about what transpired. Some things are definite in my mind, though. Mostly, a deep disappointment in the poor extent of participation by liberals. Almost none of what I regard as the leadership of the movement showed up. Three of the five panelists I had lined up cancelled late or didn’t show. I had made about 15 or 20 long distance phone calls trying to find panelists, so great was the reluctance of our leaders to participate. I’m not sure what this reticence of liberals has its roots in; I suspect it’s because liberals are terribly confused about their ideology right now and also because the radicals seem so sure of what they believe, are so well read on such matters, so able on their feet, and so frightfully militant. I don’t buy the argument that liberals didn’t participate in the conference because they don’t take the young most liberals do take radicals quite seriously but are uneasy with themselves because they don’t know how to respond to their challenge. Saul Friedman, who once distinguished 14 The Texas Observer MEETINGS THE THURSDAY CLUB of Dallas meets each the Downtown YMCA, 605 No. Ervay St., Dallas. Good discussion. You’re welcome. Informal, no dues. The TRAVIS COUNTY LIBERAL DEMOCRATS meet at the Spanish Village, 802 Red River, at 8 p.m. on the first Thursday. You’re invited. CENTRAL TEXAS ACLU luncheon meeting. 2nd Friday of every month. Scholz’. From noon. All ITEMS for this feature cost, for the first entry, 7c a word, and for each subsequent entry, 5c a word. We must receive them one week before the date of the issue in which they are to be published. the staff of the Houston. Chronicle before the purge there a couple of years ago, recently interviewed John Kenneth Galbraith for Knight Newspapers. In his story Friedman wrote this brief passage: “[Galbraith] is too civilized and rational for radicalism …. [I]t is his task to sustain liberalism in these times of radical temptation.” Radical temptation. Yes, that’s true, isn’t it? Don’t we liberals feel out of things these days? And I rather like the idea of helping sustain liberalism in trying times, the threat coming from left of us now rather than, as in the 1950’s, from the right. I say “threat” because it still seems to me a moderate stance left of center on the political spectrum is as necessary as on the right. If liberalism yields to the radical left I think the stability that a society worth living in does require would be seriously impaired. I’m no less confused than I was before the conference. Perhaps reading the transcript will help me some there; if so, I’ll, be inclined to publish parts of it later on. Right now I’m still a leftward-looking liberal, feeling the ground slipping from beneath my feet but unwilling to become a radical. I see revolution as unlikely, perhaps even undesirable. I want drastic change, yes. But I want to make my life count and I don’t see how I can do that with real effect in the radical movement, working for some vague sort of revolution, the resultant society and system of which would be of uncertain quality. I still think it makes some real difference who is governor and lieutenant governor of Texas. I fully realize that the lives of those in the ghettos and barrios are often supremely unaffected by the ebb and flow of the political process. And I agree with radicals that community organizing work \( that is, talking with people about their real problems and what might be social change. I see organizing as a real basic hope for more relevant politics, which, God knows, needs to be more relevant. But, still, I believe the mechanics for meaningful change are in existence today; I think the problem is that people don’t take enough interest in assigning political power to candidates who well represent their interests. I suppose these words will add to the despair of my colleague, Thorne Dreyer, the Rag editor, who writes on page 10 of what he sees as the profound lack of communication between radicals and liberals. I agree I don’t understand much but until I do understand the radical viewpoint I’m not going to consider holding that position. In short, I think the American system is basically OK, but needs to be worked with more dedication and more honesty and, thus, with more effect. I am still open-minded on this crucial and basic question and quite willing to have my mind changed. I expect to keep looking over the wall of liberalism at radicalism, as Thorne suggests, to find out what the hell those folks are up to. I suggest this is the best a liberal can do these days if he is unwilling to jump into radicalism. Specious It is specious to argue, as is being done these days in Texas and throughout the nation, that Robert Kennedy’s entering the presidential race will split the Democratic party. Most people I know who are supporting Kennedy or Eugene McCarthy weren’t about to vote for President Johnson anywayeven if that meant voting for Richard Nixon. Yes, some votes will be lost to Johnson if he meets the Kennedy-McCarthy challenge; there will be bitterness that would not have existed otherwise. But this talk of Kennedy splitting the party doesn’t make sense. As Sen. Ralph Yarborough said; the party and the nation were already split because of Vietnam and domestic unrest. I was rather amused at the growls of some of the Texas daily press, cursing Kennedy for his expediency, his opportunism, in jumping into the race after McCarthy had done well in New Hampshire. To hear such complaints from newspapers that have refused to utter ill of Johnson is ludicrous. LBJ, after all, has been known to be expedient and opportunistic now and then, though the newspapers hereabouts are unlikely ever to say so. $6.06 Or $6? Beginning this year the Observer has been required to pay Austin’s recentlyenacted city sales tax. For reasons that are too complicated to discuss here, and not of much interest anyway, we don’t have *to pay the state’s 2% sales tax. We have decided not to pass on the cost of the city sales tax; that is, we will not charge $6.06 instead of $6. We hope we can just absorb this expense though we are not comfortable about it, as the tax will, cost us $400 for this year, Perhaps you are gratifiedperhaps notto know that 1% of your subscription is going to help Austin meet its municipal problems. As for myself, I love this city, but hate the sales tax. Puzzling On page 13 of this issue is Hank Brown’s interesting letter commenting on the Observer’s account of the COPE-, Gladden situation. I don’t wish to belabor this matter; however, I must comment, , in view of the denials Hank makes, I understand even less well than I did why labor did not give Gladden its full support. If no deals were made and Gladden didn’t want Texas COPE’s money, then why not give him the moral support and public relations boost of endorsement? But let us move on to other matters. G.O.
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