state project without interest-free money, in preference to a federal project with interest-free money. The point simply was buried in silence. WHAT REASON, then, is there for a state rather than a federal water project? The main reason is swept under the rug. It is this: federal reclamation law controls monopoly and speculation by limiting water deliveries to 160 acres per individual private landowner. Associate Justice Tom Clark, speaking for the U.S. Supreme Court in 1958, stated the purpose of the 160-acre law clearly: “That benefits may be distributed in accordance with the greatest good to the greatest number of individuals. The limitation insures that this enormous expenditure will not go in disproportionate share to a few individuals with large landholdings. Moreover, it prevents the use of the federal reclamation service for speculative purposes.” Large landholders wish to escape this limitation. As far back as May 13, 1944, Business Week put its finger on the real reason why giant landowners ultimately might resort to the device of a state water project in California. “If the big landowners in the valley lose out in this . . . fight [to exempt Central Valley Project from the excess lands, or 160-acre provision] ,” it said, “they have several other proposals to accomplish their end. One of them . . . said to have originated among the big landowners of Fresno County, is for the state Want Reprints? The Observer is considering making available bulk quantities of a special reprint of Paul S. Taylor’s article in this issue, comparing the California and Texas water plans. If interested in acquiring a copy, or copies, of the article before the voters of the state consider, Aug. 5, issuance of $3.5 billion worth of bonds to finance the Texas plan, please let the Observer know immediately. We need to make our plans shortly as to the reprint, particularly the number of copies that should be printed. Please contact the business staff at 504 West 24th, Austin 78705, or telephone Area 512, 477-0746. of California to take over the Central Valley Project, paying the entire bill. This . . . would side-step the 160-acre limitation.” The meaning of the Supreme Court’s phrase “a few individuals with large landholdings,” can be clothed with statistics. Government figures have shown 34 landholders owning three-quarters of a million acres in the southern and western San Joaquin Valley, lying largely in the path of the state water project. An estimate of the financial subsidy given to these landholders, along with the public water, can be placed at $1,000 an acre. Naturally a corporate landowner of 79,000 acres resists a ceiling on public subsidy of $160,000, and would prefer one of $79 million, or no ceiling at all. Besides, giant landholders want the incremental land values that the coming of water will add. Secretary of the Interior Harold L. Ickes made this reason for a state water project crystal clear. “It is,” he said, “the age-old battle over who is to cash in on the unearned increment in land values created by a public investment. . . . Their principal objective is to avoid . . . the long-established reclamation policy of the Congress which provides for the distribution of the benefits of great irrigation projects among the many and which prevents speculation in lands by the few.” Are the motives behind the Texas state water project and bond issue perhaps the same as those behind the California state water project? Ferment on the New Left The First Time Is Tragedy; The Second Time, Farce Recent months have been trying ones for members of the Students for a Democratic Society, as for other persons who consider themselves part of the New Left movement in the United States. The recent national SDS convention at Chicago was a climax to the ideological struggles on the radical left of this nation. Perhaps the convention marked the end of SDS as an influential force on the nation’s New Left that remains to be seen. Regardless, a significant segment of New Left people are deeply troubled at the developments in SDS and on the radical left generally. The Observer here presents the thoughts of two movement leaders, who have been taking stock anew since the SDS meeting in Chicago last month. Mr. Calvert was formerly the national secretary of SDS. He has lived in Austin for more than a year. He is regarded as one of the leading theoreticians among the young radical leftists. He and his wife, Carol, are presently doing writing for a book on radical left thought that will be released in a few months. Mr. Pittman, also an Austin resident, was active in SDS affairs for a number of years, most recently at the University of Texas at Austin. Austin After a decade of valiant and pragmatic striving to create a radicalism relevant to America, the New Left held its last major gathering of the 1960s in the Chicago Coliseum in the midst of an ideological orgy of doctrinaire, sectarian, and factionalist disintegration. I did not attend as I had not attended national SDS meetings for the last year because I had long before become convinced that SDS was Greg Calvert failing to meet the challenge and hope of radical organizing and socialist possibility in this country. Strange tragedy. The new movement of the 1960s with its emphasis on grassroots organizing, its ideals of participatory democracy, and models of parallel institutions, its refusal to accept ideological formulations which were not grounded in concrete political experience, ended with one of the bitterest faction fights in the history of socialist movements and all the major factions adhered to one version or another of Leninist-Stalinist-Maoist rhetoric. Clearly, something had gone awry. But how and why did it happen? These were not evil people who had set out to revive Stalinist politics in the American left. Many of them were young people whom I had known and worked with at one time or another hopeful, life-loving young people who wanted a new society of freedom and had been willing to give up everything except deeper, more human relationships in order to achieve what they longed for. When my wife walked into the Coliseum on the first day, the Progressive Labor Party-Student Worker Alliance faction was chanting at the top of their voices “FIGHT SELF, SERVE THE PEOPLE.” The responses of their opponents \(or was it MAO-TSE-TUNG!” with equal fervor. Our 12-year-old companion who was accompanying her said, “It sounded just like a , wrestling match.” The final split of the organization between the Maoist PLP and their opponents, also Maoists, has left the New Left with two SDS’s. The so-called “regulars” walked out and elected a set of officers, although they were in a minority in the convention; July 18, 1969 3
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