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0 The Texas BSERVER PUBLISHER, RONNIE DUGGER The Texas Observer Publishing Co., 1979 Vol. 71, No. 17 September 7, 1979 Incorporating the State Observer and the East Texas Demo crat, which in turn incorporated the Austin Forum Advocate MANAGING EDITOR Linda Rocawich ASSOCIATE EDITOR Eric Hartman PRODUCTION MANAGER: Beth Epstein ASSISTANT EDITORS: Vicki Vaughan, Bob Sind.ermann Jr. STAFF ASSISTANTS: Lorraine Atherton, Jeannette Garrett, Donna Ng, Anne Norman, Martha Owen, Karen White, Harris Worcester CONTRIBUTORS: Thomas D. Bleich, Ave Bonar, Berke Breathed, Warren Burnett, Bob Clare, Jo Clifton, Bruce Cory, Keith Dannemiller, Jeff Danziger, Chandler Davidson, John Henry Faulk, David Guarino, Roy Hamric, Doug Harlan, Dan Heard, Jack Hopper, Dan Hubig, Molly Wins, Susan Lee, Tim Mahoney,Maury Maverick Jr., Kaye Northcott, Hans-Peter Otto, Alan Pogue, Lois Rankin, Ray Reece, Susan Reid, Laura Richardson, Andrew Saldaiia, Ben Sargent, John Spragens Jr., Sheila R. Taylor, Lawrence Walsh, Eje Wray, Ralph Yarborough A journal of free voices We will serve no group or party but will hew hard to the truth as we find it and the right as we see it. We are dedicated to the whole truth, to human values above all interests, to the rights of humankind as the foundation of democracy; we will take orders from none but our own conscience, and never will we overlook or misrepresent the truth to serve the interests of the powerful or cater to the ignoble in the human spirit. The editor has exclusive control over the editorial policies and contents of the Observer. None of the other people who are associated with the enterprise shares this responsibility with him. Writers are responsible for their own work, but not for anything they have not themselves written, and in publishing them the editor does not necessarily imply that he agrees with thetn because this is a journal of free voices. BUSINESS STAFF: Cliff Olofson, Joe Espinosa Jr. ADVERTISING SALES REPRESENTATIVE: Rhett Beard, The Texas Observer Editorial and Business Office 600 West 7th Street, Austin, Texas 78701 Publisher’s Address P.O. Box 6570, San Antonio, Texas 78209 Published by Texas Observer Publishing Co.. biweekly except for a three-week interval between issues twice a year, in January and July; 25 issues per year. Second-class postage paid at Austin. Texas. ISSN 0040-4519. years $40. Airmail, foreign. group, and bulk rates on request. Microfilmed by MCA, 1620 Hawkins Avenue, Box 10. Sanford. N.C. 27330 POSTMASTER: Send form 3579 to: 600 West 7th Street, Austin, Texas 78701. Observations Reveille San Antonio Albert Nib., now a municipal judge in San Antonio, has this memory. In 1968, just before Robert Kennedy went to Delano, California, to support the farmworkers, he had a group of supporters of his candidacy for president over to his house in Virginia. Blacks, browns, young people, white liberals, they were gathered in the dining room. He said: “We’re gonna put together a coalition which is the majority coalition: the senior citizens, the young people, the blacks and the browns, and progressive labor, and white liberals.” That is as good a specification of the old Roosevelt coalition, modernized, as I have seen. One may, thanks to the women’s movement, add women, and despite the politicians’ preferences, one may add gays; but basically that is the new arithmetic of victory for old American progressivism. Another bullet intervened, and then Nixon, Watergate, and the rest of the ’70s. But now, as dramatically as in the Shivers era, the Texas liberal movement has again hit bottomat the very moment the two-party state has arrived. The time has come for the elements of this statewide coalition to put themselves back together. Indeed, progressive coalitions should be strengthened or formed again in all the big and middle-sized cities. Alone, a group can win a hand, but not the game. “It’s a matter of arithmetic,” as Billie Carr of Houston, a member of the Democratic National Committee, says. “Realizing that no one can stand alone, but our group plus yours and this plus thatwe can win.” Consider what is at stake: citywide and countywide issues and elections; elections for the Congress; the seats on the Railroad Commission in 1980; the outcome of the presidential contest in Texas in 1980; the composition of the Legislature that will redistrict itself and the congressional seats from Texas; and in 1982 every statewide office, U.S. senator, governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general . . . . In the late 1950s and early ’60s, a progressive coalition worked in Texas. It was based mainly in Houston and San Antonio, but had extensions in many cities and areas. The movement was just emerging from racism, but it did emerge, simply by integrating all its meetings and functions. There was, true, paternalism of white toward black and brown and of male toward female, but with those limitations, the coalition worked. The movement was the main reason Ralph Yarborough was elected and re-elected to the U.S. Senate, it was one reason why Lyndon Johnson in 1957 turned liberal on civil rights, and it had many good effects in the Legislature and the Texas delegation in Washington. This was true even though the one-party state structurally handicapped progressives in Texas. Everyone knows how that for conservatives in the Democratic primary and then switched to the Republicans in the national elections. That basic problem has now dissolved: a Republican has the statehouse, and thanks to the Killer Bees and that governor’s decision not to try to revive the split primary, a two-party system will arrive in full force in May 1980. 2 SEPTEMBER 7, 1979