Re flections Austin The Observer received calls last week from Texas students at a number of Eastern colleges who said they intend to return home for, a summer and fall of political activity. The sentiment among these students is that the situation in the United States has reached crisis proportions, and that it is time for citizens to abandon business as usual and devote their time to bringing about political change. Their major concerns are getting the United States out of Southeast Asia, countering the nation’s drift toward facism, and initiating the massive efforts it will take to save the world from ecological disaster. Many Eastern schools have suspended classes for the spring, and some are scheduling fall vacations to allow students to campaign for anti-war candidates in their home states. It was my unpleasant duty to tell Texas students who called from these schools that there are no anti-war candidates to support here. With the defeat of Senator Yarborough, Cong. Bob Eckhardt of Houston will soon be the state’s only lawmaker in Washington willing to represent the hundreds of thousands of Texans who oppose President Nixon’s war policy. Eckhardt is running unopposed. DESPITE THE bleakness of the fall electoral slate, most of the students seemed inclined to come home anyway, and I encouraged them to do so. Mary 20 The Texas Observer CLASSIFIED BOOKPLATES. Free catalog. Many beautiful designs. Special designing too. Address: BOOKPLATES, P.O. Box 28-I, Yellow Springs, Ohio 45387. ANNE’S TYPING SERVICE \(Marjorie Anne Binding, Mailing, Public Notary. Twenty years experience. Call .442-7008 or 442-0170, Austin. Kelly, a Radcliffe student from Houston, said she and others from Radcliffe and Harvard plan to open a store-front headquarters in Houston. If there are no candidates to support, she said they will man booths in shopping centers in an attempt to get Houstonians to write their congressmen in support of cutting off funds for the war. Others might help liberal state senatorial candidates, such as James Wallace in Houston and Don Kennard in Fort Worth, who are in Democratic runoffs next month. There probably will be a write-in campaign for a liberal U.S. senator, and that movement probably could use some volunteers. Two Observer contributing editors, Gary Cartwright and Bud Shrake, will be enlisting volunteers for a People’s Lobby, which they hope will be able to keep a close watch on state legislators. The next regular legislative session is not until January, 1971, but Shrake and Cartwright plan to start organizing this summer. They, like many of us, are anxious to put the tremendous amount of frustrated energy seething in this nation to work for political change. I can imagine the reaction of some of the state’s political pros to these latest amateur crusades. They will scoff at the young idealists returning to Texas to vanquish political ogres with the pure heat of their moral fervor. Well let them scoff. If the majority of citizens who comprehend the seriousness of our plight are young, then it will have to be a children’s crusade. But I hope that they will be able to communicate their sense of crisis to the state’s more complacent elders. I’D LIKE TO address the rest of this column to the students from both Texan and Eastern schools who are considering becoming political organizers for the summer. This sort of work is not for the impatient or the easy to anger. A few weeks of knocking on the doors of middle America may motivate some people to burn the nearest bank. Ellen Solomon was one of the UT students who devoted a day to talking with Austin citizens after the recent peace march. She and three friends went to a lower, middle class section of Austin on a Sunday. For the occasion, she dressed up in a white suit, a white dotted Swiss blouse, hose and high heels, and even put a red, white, and blue ribbon in her hair. “I didn’t want to antagonize people by my looks, since I alienated them just by opening my mouth,” she said. She would say, “I’m from the university, and I would like to talk to you about the reason we were marching last week, because the only effective way to change things is not by marching but by lobbying your congressmen.” She had a list of Austin representatives and their addresses as well as two mimeographed sheets that explained the issued behind the student strike and march. “Well,” Miss Solomon said, “I got my fanny patted a couple of times, and I got a lot of doors slammed in my face. One man said he was against everything I was for. I asked him how he could be against my ideas, if he didn’t know what I was for. He answered that the golf match he. was watching was far more important than anything I could tell him.” Most reactions were not so strong. “Mainly the reaction was, ‘I’m busy Go. Away,’ ” Miss Solomon said. Miss Solomon said she was not encouraged by what she learned in one day of grass roots politicking, but she said she and her mother and brother will be knocking on doors in DallaS all summer. “If you can reach two out of every 100 persons you talk to, it’s still worthwhile,” she said. I worked with Greg Olds and Ronnie Dugger for two years here at the Observer. As far as I was able to discern during this period, Ronnie never attempted to editorially influence Greg or to exert pressure on him in any way. Ronnie says in his column this issue that he approved of the leftward movement of the Observer, of its coverage of activities outside the spectrum of electorate politics. I believe that he did and that he still does. I think that Greg felt an uneasy burden of responsibility to Ronnie because Ronnie owns the Observer. Ronnie may not have even been aware of Greg’s feelings. He certainly did nothing to engender them. Still, as publisher, Ronnie is liable for the Observer’s debts. So when the editor makes a decision that might affect the financial security of the journal \(We feared this might be the case when the Observer endorsed McCarthy over Humphrey in the 1968 general election. Such financial considerations also entered into Greg’s decision not to reproduce copies of the financial security in addition to the wellbeing of the Observer as an institution. For this reason, Greg’s idea that the Observer be cooperatively owned by its employees is a good one. It might help to liberate the next editor from a possible psychological burden of responsibility. however misconstrued, toward the publisher. K.N. IN DALLAS COUNTY THE PRIMARY ISN’T OVER YET! VOTE FOR BILL STEHR State Representative, Place 12 Endorsed By: Not Endorsed By: Labor Texas Consumers Assn. Daily Press The Lobby Teachers Prog. Voters League DCRG Joe Rich Democratic Runoff Sat. June 6
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