Ron Platt, former chairman of the defunct Texas Liberal Democrats Lamar Tech in Beaumont, is working with Matt Reese & Associates of Washington in a New York county executive campaign. Reese is a former West Virginia pol who engineered the 1960 primary victory, a crucial one, in that state for John F. Kennedy. There are plans for the Reese organization to mount a voter registration campaign in Texas funded by liberal and labor money. Platt set up an unofficial Texas organization for Robert F. Kennedy following the late senator’s entry into the presidential campaign last year. However, the Kennedy organization refused to sanction the organization, and Platt shifted loyalties to Vice President Humphrey. A Texas Republican who helped engineer the Rebuilding Committee effort to lure liberal support for Paul Eggers, the GOP candidate for governor last year, is running a similar campaign in Virginia. Marvin Collins, former director of the state Republican Party and a partner in Collins-Knaggs Associates of Austin, a public relations firm, is active in the gubernatorial campaign of Linwood Holton. A moderate Republican, Holton is seeking and receiving support from liberal and labor groups in Virginia against moderate Democrat William Battle, whose candidacy is reminiscent of the John Connally campaign of 1962. Battle speaks broadly of better schools and “responsible” state government, but the Virginia AFL-CIO and the state’s largest Negro organization both endorsed Holton, who has vigorodsly sought their votes. Liberals in Virginia are disgruntled over Battle’s successful campaign against liberal Sen. Henry Howell in the Democratic runoff August 5. Battle is favored to win in November. There is some talk current in conservation circles these days that the same state water plan that was proposed in connection with an unsuccessful water bond issue last August is not to be abandoned or even modified to any considerable extent. Practically the same plan is to be proposed again in two years or so, according to reports now circulating among people interested in conservation. This would occur after a campaign waged through the news media to call attention to the state’s future water needs. Conservationists who took the lead in opposing the plan and the bonds therefor and were the decisive force in determining the outcome of the election had hoped that any new state plans proposed would be substantially different. They would wish, for example, more careful attention to ecological implications, more attention given such questions as the wisdom of transferring water from one river basin to another, and a more hard-eyed look at including West Texas in the plan to the extent the original plan called for. The Venceremos Brigade Austin Sugar cane is not a very romantic antagonist. It offers little of the dragon-like repugnancy of a Guardsman glowering across a row of bayonets or of Mayor Daley’s rotund militia. But sugar cane will be the obstacle-of-focus for 300 members of the American radical left, including a contingent from Texas, who will live and work in Cuba between November, 1969 and March, 1970. The Americans will make up a cane cutting unit to be called the Venceremos Brigade. “Venceremos” is a byword of the Cuban Revolution it means “we will win.” Victory in this case means the harvesting of some 80 million tons of cane in order that, in 1970, Cuba will market 10 million tons of processed sugar. That goal is approximately 30% above Cuba’s greatest productivity \(7.2 million tons in the goal “a pledge of honor for the revolution.” Its significance can, however, be understood only in the context of underdevelopment and a changing U.S. foreign policy. The writer holds a master’s degree in Latin American studies at the University of Texas at Austin. He was in Cuba last January as a representative of the radical left underground press for the observance of the tenth anniversary of the Cuban Revolution. He writes for the underground papers at Houston and Austin. 10 The Texas Observer The year 1970 is a key one for Cuba. It is projected as a watershed in the process of development. Massive capital investment in agricultural machinery and other hardware has depleted the supply of consumer goods almost to the point of Brian Murphy non-existence. The Cuban people have focused on the 10-million-ton harvest for almost five years. They already are working on the first stages of that huge harvest a harvest which would not normally begin until late fall. People are working and sacrificing toward the goal. But they are tired. And they need personally to enjoy more of the fruits of their labor. Logically, that means a reallocation of available capital toward consumer goods. But a revolution cannot slow down, or take backward steps. To succeed, it must surge on, swallowing its errors, and building upon its successes. And the Cuban Revolution is no exception. It cannot reallocate from an already sparse resource base. The only alternative is to enlarge massively the available supply of capital. The 10 million tons is intended to serve that function. It will generate the capital surplus needed for reinvestment in consumer goods. But it will do much more. The year 1970 will also mark the shift toward new agro-industry built around existing and developing agricultural products. Sugar cane may be utilized for a variety of secondary products from bagasse to alcohol and molasses; to date these have been only minimally exploited. New citrus fruits, already under cultivation, will feed new processing plants, while Cuba’s rapidly growing cattle industry will feed a variety of secondary processing and craft industries. Cuba made a very disastrous experiment in industrialization divorced from her agricultural base in the early 1960’s. Consequently the new industry will be closely tied to a diversified and developing agriculture. THE TRANSITIONAL nature of this period in the life of the Cuban Revolution has not, of course, been lost on U.S. national policy advisors. On August 17, the Houston Chronicle reported that presidential advisor Henry Kissinger had ordered four secret studies by the Rand Corporation, one of which the only `non-military’ one concerns the “feasibility of restoring political, economic, and cultural relations with Castro’s Cuba.” When I was in Cuba in January, the prospect of reopened economic ties between the two nations was already a real one yet one about which none of us had gotten much of an inkling here in the United States. In late March, John Plank wrote a cover article for the New York Times Magazine entitled “Circling Around Castro: Should We Change Our Policy?” Plank’s answer was an unequivocal yes. Now, Plank is not simply a liberal scholar posing a rhetorical question for academic advantage. He was
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