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Democratic National Committeewoman BILLIE CARR REPORTS Hello Liberals! One of the biggest problems in a state the size of Texas is communication among reform-liberal, progressive, fair-minded Democrats. Inflation has hit postage, paper, printing. So, we have decided that the best, cheapest, quickest, way to “spread the word” is by running a newsletter in the Texas Observer as a paid, political advertisement. This is the first of what we hope will be many such dialogues. Challenge, Challenge Who Won the Challenge? The question I am asked most often is: Who won the challenge? Briefly, the answer is: we did. Actually, there were two challenges, one brought by the chicane community, represented by Senator Joe Bernal, and one brought by the Open Party-Progressive Caucuses, know as the “Carr Challenge.” These challenges were Affirmative Action Committee. had not were irregularities in the nominating procedure at the state convention The Fact Finding Committee of the Compliance Review Committee of the Democratic National Committee came to and find facts. The decision from this Committee was that the state party behaved poorly but that they “should go and sin no more.” The “Carr Challenge” decided to appeal the decision to the Compliance Review Committee in Washington and it was successful. Ours was the only challenge , to get any relief other than what the Fact Finding Committee had decided. The final ruling was that a committee composed of Joe Bernal, Calvin Guest and me would meet before the conference to decide which alternates would be moved up to replace delegates who could not attend. We elevated three alternates to delegates: Houston City Controller Leonel Castillo, Sarita Jiminez from San Antonio and State Representative Anthony Hall from Houston. All three of these delegates voted for every reform issue and provided leadership in their respective caucuses. On affirmative action the state is required to make many improvements. “Going to Kansas City …” The second question I am asked is: What happened in Kansas City? First, we won several important battles. One was to shift the burden of proof from groups bringing challenges to those groups being challenged. In other words, they have to prove that they were right instead of our having to prove that they were wrong. This was the big battle, the “test” of the conference. I wish that each of you could have been there to see how everyone stuck together and refused to be a rubber-stamp for Strauss’ pre-convention deals. The Black Caucus provided the initial momentum, with the 900-strong Women’s Caucus and the Chicano Caucus keeping things rollings. Next, eight International Unions joined in, walking out on the Barkan-Meany group. And finally ; the Governors decided to come along. Even Daley caved in, saying, “I recognize when power moves …” \(The eight unions were: UMW, UAW, AFSCME, CWA, IAM, Many people have asked me why “labor” or the Meany-Barkan group were mad. The reason was that Strauss had promised them before the conference that there would be no changes made in the charter, from anyone in the conference, not from them and not from us. Unfortunately, for Strauss, the delegates did not go along with this and did make several changes from the floor. Labor felt that they had been “sold out” by Strauss but they didn’t understand that Strauss did not have control over the situation. Other important points we won are: better affirmative program; representation \(caucuses need have only 15% of the delegates to a convention in order to be represented instead of the 20`A membership of the national committee to 350 to be elected fairly and by a an Education and Training Council to help candidates and organizers create a more Finance Council to keep track of money and assist state parties and Democratic Judicial Council to hear grievances instead of the multiple committees we’ve had in the agenda. We did fail to make mid-term conferences mandatory for the future. But I feel sure that the 1976 convention will exercise its option to hold a mid-term conference in 1978. There were some complaints from people that we did not get to discuss issues and that we did not get all our petitions signed and presented. I think these complaints are justified. Although Senator McGovern, in his speech, did bring up the major issues, the chair prevented any other discussion. I’m hopeful that now we have the rules out of the way we will be able to address ourselves to the issues in future conventions and conferences. “The child is the father Many people have said to me that we didn’t seem to win very many points at this conference. Of course, it’s always hard to see the small and important gains when you are in the middle of making them. Maybe we are moving more like the turtle than the hare, but I believe that in the long run we will win the race. Just remember that 20 years ago we had . Shivers and the Dixiecrats running things. In 1964 the Freedom Democrats from Mississippi made us all aware that it was hard for minorities to be a part of the nominating process of the Democratic on Kansas City Party. In 1968, we had the Chicago “Democratic Convention.” We got Richard Nixon. But we also had McCarthy and the “Children’s Campaign” … when the kids put down their signs, stopped protesting and tried to work within the “system.” And they found, as did Democrats all across the land, that the doors were closed to all but the privileged few. Out of the horrors of Chicago and the defeat of Hubert Humphrey, came the realization that the Democratic Party had to become truly democratic, truly open, truly of the people. Out of the debris came the McGovern-Frazier Guidelines and a representative group of Democrats at the Miami convention. The children were growing up but they had not given up. This time our candidate won the nomination, with no bloodshed, no lockouts, no riots. Many people blame the reform rules for the loss of the presidential election, but we know it isn’t true. In 1974, looking around the floor at the Kansas City Conference, I saw the faces of many of the children of 1968, taking their rightful places in the ranks of the Democratic Party. What were once the irregulars had become the “regulars,” what were once the outcasts are now the movers and shakers of the Democratic Party … some of them serving as state party chairpersons, county leaders, precinct leaders, members of Congress, yes even Senators, and most important, organizers. Those of you who say to me that you are disappointed or disgusted with ’68 and `72, I say to you that out of your efforts and your contributions came the charter of ’74. And who knows what will come in ’76? “Moving On” I have been talking with liberals around the country about the possibility of holding a spring conference to discuss issues and to investigate presidential candidates who represent our interests. I hope to be able to tell you more about that in the next newsletter. The Texas Democrats, led so effectively by Dan Dutko in 1974, will be holding a meeting in February of this year. Look for a notice about this meeting in future issues of the Observer. A closing note: if you would like to see these reports continue, please send money. Although this is a cheaper method of communication, it is still expensive. I would also like to hear from you, what you are doing, political news from your part of the state that needs to be passed on. Address correspondence to: Billie Carr, 2418 Travis, Suite 3, Houston, Texas 77006. Phone 713/528-2057. Checks may be made payable to the Billie Carr.Expense Fund, to the attention of Ed Cogburn, Trustee. \(All checks are written by Ed and a full financial statement is made to Happy New Year and Peace. Paid Pol. Adv. by Billie Carr Expense Fund, 2418 Travis, Houston, Texas.