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of the summer tourist season be getting tough and having policemen put delegates in jail. Also, businessmen seem to be anxious to prevent any kind of confrontation and are adopting the attitude of “We won’t make an issue over the tax; we’ll pay it ourselves. They are spending handy sums of money and will all be gone in another week.” A crew-cut salesman in his fifties pauses beside the doorman of the Plaza hotel, looks in at the students sitting around in the lobby, and then says to the doorman: “Well, you haven’t got much longer to put up with these people.” “Seven more days,” the doorman says, his hands calmly behind him. “Seven more days!” the salesman says; “Jesus Christ a-mighty.” SATURDAY, August 23 At noon NSA students enter the downtown Oasis restaurant one of a chain of such restaurants owned by former Mayor Fred Hervey and after being served refuse to pay the sales tax. For about 15 minutes the students, led by David Ifshin, student body president at Syracuse, stand in front of the cashier’s counter and present their argument. The Mexican-American woman cashier, who has evidently been told by the Oasis management not to make an issue over the tax, soon becomes rattled by Ifshin’s legalistic arguments and then is gradually overwhelmed. \(It is a revealing little scene: the bearded, fast-talking Ifshin, in behalf of the Mexican-Americans of South El Paso, whom he has not talked to or even seen, is unmercifully harassing the Mexican-American woman standing a foot away. She is obviously on the ropes, caught between the rhetorical skill of the stranger and the demands of her job. For a moment it seems to be a case of sheer intellectual arrogance unleashed against a flesh-and-blood human in behalf of abstract humanity: it is an instance in which one person of obviously greater verbal superiority can toy with the feelings of another person and do so in the name of Ifshkin: I won’t pay the tax. Cashier: Okay sir, don’t pay the tax. Ifshkin: What? Do you mean to tell me you don’t intend to collect the tax from me? That means you are breaking the law. The constitution requires that all taxes shall be levied equitably. To allow me not to pay but to collect the tax from other citizens or to pay it yourself is unjust. Call the police. I want to tell them you are breaking the law by not collecting the tax. Cashier: Okay, sir, please pay the tax. Ifshkin: No. I will not. The tax is used to perpetuate injustice. As the students continue to stand in front of the cashier’s counter, a thin old man in a khaki baseball cap gets up from his booth and, clutching his food check tightly, pushes his way through the students to the cash register. “You ain’t runnin’ me, you sons of bitches,” the little man says in his quavery voice. “I’m a 6 The Texas Observer veteran of two world wars; I got sons and grandsons all over the Pacific … If you don’t think I’ll fight you, you’re all crazy.” The students look at him with disinterest; he could be a small, brown-capped robot, mouthing a tape-recorded message, for all they care. He does not mean anything to them at all; he is extraneous. The small old man leaves the restaurant, pushing an empty wheel chair which he had left outside the door. The police are finally called by the management. They come, the three of them, one smoking a pipe and apparently trying to project an attitude of fatherly calm and reasonableness to the students. Ifshin restates the students’ position, the policemen listen, but then they ask Ifshin to pay or not pay but in any case to leave they are blocking customer access to the counter. The students remain. Squad cars are called, and seven of the students are taken off to jail, their fists clinched victoriously out of the squad car windows. The suddenness of the arrests catches many of the students in the hotels off guard for they had almost given up on generating an honest-to-God confrontation in this hot, curious border city but the word soon spreads and they pour out to the sidewalk in front of the Oasis, ready to go wherever it is that they are to end up going. For they are students, and the cops have finally busted some of their number, and it is time to do something. But what? For half an hour they mill about, trying to decide. “Let’s all go inside that two-bit cafe and sit there until they haul all our asses to jail!” Cheers follow. “Let’s march to the mayor’s office!” Cheers follow. “Let’s just don’t talk revolution; now’s the chance to do something … It means taking a risk if we ever want to accomplish anything.” “We’ve been bullshitting for five days. Now’s the time to move.” By turns young men try their hand at providing just the right words and the right tone of voice and the right sense of outrage to move the crowd all at once in a single direction. Each fails. There is no leader among them capable of sending the mass of them to do a mass-thing. “Do you just want to stand here? I heard that the Oasis is run by a man who contributes heavily to the John Birch Society. Let’s go in there and sit down and show ’em we’re behind the chi-cay-noes.” \(He is from the South and mispronounces A voice: “But where are the chicanos? The students look around, searching for anyone who might look like a young Mexican-American. “They ought to be the ones to say what to do now.” He calls louder: “Are there any chicanos here?” Another voice: “And where is South El Paso? I’ve been in town three days and I still don’t know where it is.” Still another: “I want to see 20 chicanos go into that Oasis, not us. We shouldn’t be the ones to do it.” A slight voice makes itself heard: Cecilia Dominguez, a UTEP student, is trying to talk. “You see, there aren’t many chicanos in the movement yet,” she says. “It’s barely started for us. The chicanos are 15 years behind the blacks … We need you to come in and show us; then we can do it ourselves.” More milling, more shouts, more indecision all in the 100-plus temperature of August noon. Finally the students agree that the best thing to do is go to the Cortez and talk the situation over. They jam into the Cortez mezzanine and begin to analyze, discuss, react. “You don’t just go into a place and lead a work you can’t finish . . . We come in for ten days, whip things up, and then leave .. Who knows, maybe we’re setting things back for the Mexican-Americans who live here.” “Yeah! We got to clean up our own house first!” A chicano “You went and pulled this thing off without consulting us. We know this town; you don’t.” Another chicano, Tony Salazar of UCLA: “You Anglos are so used to leading that you don’t even know what it means to follow . . . You have violated our policy of chicano self-determination and if you expect us to put our asses on the line you are full of shit.” There are scattered cheers from a group of Mexican-Americans at the side of the room. Cecilia Dominguez tries to speak: “These guys [the militant chicanos] have a white hang-up. . . .” Immediate chicano boos. “I don’t, and I’m willing” “You have a white mentality!” Salazar comes back. “Uncle Tom, Uncle Tom!” The group argues, listens, argues some more. Bob Powell tells the crowd that the latest information he has is that the seven who were taken to jail will probably be charged with loitering. MONDAY, August 22 The seven NSA members arrested Saturday are tried this morning on the charges of disorderly conduct rather than loitering, as they had been previously charged and are found guilty. They are given $200 suspended fines. The Third World Commission is pulling out of NSA to form an association of their own called the National Association director of the commission, says at a press conference that NABS could better meet the needs of .the black students and that “racist students control NSA. We can no longer be a part of a racist organization.” \(A point not mentioned by Miss Patton: that some black delegates were not aware before coming to El Paso that they would