August 25, 1972 5 presidential race. Some of the California La Raza members reportedly feel the same way. Swinging that convention to less militant, coalition politics will be no easy trick. Bernal, for one, thinks Muniz is catching on fast. “At first, I would have said Muniz is shallow. When I say that, I don’t mean in intelligence or such, he is very bright. But shallow on the issues, which I can understand because it took me so long to learn about Texas politics. But I talked to Ramsey two months ago and I talked to him again a week ago and the difference is amazing, how much he has learned. He is coming out of the cocoon of chicano politics and into the real world, into Texas politics. He is getting away from the kamikaze chicano group in La Raza but he must deal with them at the same time he is extending himself to other groups.” “Ramsey is not radical or extreme, just in line with the national Democratic Party. But Ramsey has made some mistakes. I told him, how can you expect Sissy to support you? How can you even ask her when you slammed her so? You didn’t slam anybody else, you didn’t slam Briscoe, you slammed Sissy, to lead the young chicanos out of her camp. I told him we thought he was being paid by Briscoe to do that. He said he did not get money from anyone and I think that is right. It was a mistake. But he is broadening.” Bernal thinks he’ll probably stay with the Democratic ticket this year but thinks La Raza is a useful and good idea on the local level in South Texas. IT IS ASSUMED by the smart political analysts that what Muniz is really after is 70,000 votes which will get La Raza a permanent place on the ballot. For public consumption, Muniz is in it to win and thinks he will win, period. In private, he has an off-the-record scenario that begins, “I can actually win this if . . .” The relations of La Raza and the McGovern campaign, currently in embryo, constitute a delicate minuet that is enormously funny, if you’ve enough detachment to laugh. The two camps are attempting to communicate by a series of signals as arcane and intricate and the winks, blushes, sighs and dropped handkerchiefs of an 18th-century courtship. The McGovern camp’s problem is whether or not it can afford to be seen in public with La Raza. La Raza’s problem is to convince the McGovern camp that it can’t afford not to be seen with La Raza. A pretty gavotte. If McGovern lends any support to La Raza, he will bring down the righteous wrath of Briscoe, Bentsen, On, et al, who aren’t actually supporting him worth diddly-squat anyway but who are, collective nose in air, condescending to lend him their Democratic names. On the could conceivably pick up an army of dedicated brown workers whose votes might well carry Texas for him if La Raza in fact commands an army, which point it is frantically trying to prove. Says Muniz bitterly, “There are Democrats for Wallace. There are Democrats for Nixon. Now all of a sudden they expect us to be so goddamn pure. We’re not asking them to join Raza Unida. We’re asking them to support me against two ultra-conservative candidates.” El crisis-o is apparently to come in September, when La Raza convenes in El Paso. Both Nixon and McGovern have been invited. La Raza leaders have declared, in effect, that no substitutes are acceptable. They expect Nixon to send “a puppet”: they are, in private, supremely cynical about Nixon’s recent attempts to woo chicanos \(that’s still Mexican in Republican “The closer to national election it gets, the whiter we get. Nixon’s got this new gimmick. They’re talking about a Mexican-American cabinet member. You got to remember that’ll be Nixon’s Mexican-American, not ours. They’ll put him up in Washington with a big cigar a fire on one end and a fool on the other. We’re talking beyond tokenism.” And they want to talk to George McGovern. Who thinks he can’t afford to talk to them. La Raza thinks it can offer McGovern a deal if the national Democrats will come up with the money for a chicano voter registration drive, La Raza will teach the new voters how to split a ticket. Texas McGovernites are pondering alternatives. Like, maybe there is an acceptable substitute suppose you send Cesar Chavez, who has endorsed McGovern, to the La Raza convention? Or suppose you try to finesse the party question and send Ted Kennedy down here to work the Valley? Or suppose you just assume the chicanos are too bright to vote for Nixon? But the point of La Raza is to convince the Democrats that they can’t afford to make that kind of assumption anymore. The rumor among establishment Democrats is that La Raza is getting funds from Texas Republicans. La Raza folk wish they were. Meanwhile, Ramsey Muniz is out stumping in Spanish and in English, from Laredo to Amarillo, screaming over and over, “We are talking to the people and the people know what they don’t have! They know they have holes in their streets and their shoes and their housing is substandard and they’re hungry and uneducated and unemployed. How was this created and who created it? The Republicans and the Democrats! And how can we change it? Not with the Republicans and the Democrats! “I’ve got nothing to lose and I’ll change it if it takes from now ’til I die. i YA BASTA I ” M.I. THE TEXAS OBSERVER IN THE CLASS ROOM AT NEW REDUCED PRICES! For orders of ten or more copies of each issue sent to a single address the cost for the semester is just $1.00 per student Classroom subscriptions will begin with the mid-September issue and extend into December. Seven fortnightly issues in all. To place your order, please indicate the number of students who will be subscribing, your needs regarding a free desk-copy, and the mailing address we should use. You may revise your order as the class rolls settle, at which time we will bill you. Extra bonus: Orders received by September 1st will be entered to begin with the issue being mailed that day . . . making a total of eight issues for the semester rather than seven. We also invite requests for sample copies of recent issues for your students to examine, without obligation, before deciding whether or not they wish to subscribe. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 600 WEST 7 AUSTIN 78701
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