Politics and More Politics Texas Labor Seeks a Coalition Austin . The 1,000-odd delegates to the 21st state convention of the Texas AFL-CIO knew well in advance of their coming that federation President Harry Hubbard and Secretary-Treasurer Joe Gunn would be re-elected without opposition; there would be no intramural warfare. State and national politics, therefore, would engage most of the delegates’ attention. It might have been a convening of Texas COPE, complete with appearances by actual or putative candidates, fundraising, etc. all politics. Morning, July 23, second day of the, convention, “Yesterday,” said a 30-year veteran of labor’s ingathering of its’ clans, “yesterday almost made me puke.” The bitter judgment was a hyperbolic reaction to the first-day appearances of state Democratic office holders, their remarks, for the veteran and others predictably patronizing, predictably prudensmarmy. He had listened, a day earlier, to Austin Mayor Carole McClellan, Railroad Cmsr. Buddy Temple, Agriculture Cmsr. Reagan Brown, Lt. Gov. Bill Hobby, Land Cmsr. Bob Armstrong, Atty. Gen. Mark White, Comptroller Bob Bullock, Treasurer Warren Harding, all of these \(except, possibly, next year, either re-election or elevation \(White, though he dropped no hints, is understood to be anxious to run for gov”You hear Hobby?” asked the veteran. “He’s down here blowing smoke up our ass one day after he screwed us congressional redistricting. “Look. Hobby tells us Reagan’s budget is ‘cruel and inhumane.’ He tells us 20,000 Texas families will drop Stockman’s ‘safety net.’ One day after him and Brooks tried to give us another Republican congressman from Dallas to vote with Reagan and Stockman! Crap all crap. We ought to be standing up and hollering if you ain’t with us when you got the chance, then you’re against US. “Temple? timid Temple? He’s carrying water on both shoulders.” \(Temple had criticized Reagan policies, but had By Lyman Jones said also that Jimmy Carter’s loss was the conservatives and the moderates and the Moral Majority, whatever the hell that is. Defensive. We don’t need to be defensive. We’re in a war. You win wars with attacks. Not by-god apologies. “Only guy who attacked yesterday was Jim Hightower,” the former Observer editor and president of the Texas Consumer Association, perhaps a candidate for agriculture commissioner. “I wish Jim was running for governor.” Delegate reaction to first-day speakers lacked the veteran’s venom; their responses as audience were cool, merely polite, except for Hightower, who drew them cheering to their feet as he stepped onstage, even before his introduction. “They’re doin’ somethin’ ugly to us,” he said, “and we’re gonna hafta do somethin’ ugly to them. “Reagan’s gonna replace the New Deal with the Raw Deal. And we’re gonna hafta make’em stand on that record. “They say over in East Texas that the water ain’t never gonna clear up ’til the hogs are outa the creek. “The hogs are in the creek.” Enthusiastic delegate response came also for spokespersons for women, Latin-Americans, blacks and Catholics, underlining a portion of Hubbard’s remarks at the convention’s opening. “Texas labor,” Hubbard said, “has put aside petty differences and joined together to build a strong, progressive movement. We have joined with other organizations who have similar goals such as LULAC, the GI Forum, the NAACP, Mexican-American Democrats, the Coalition of Labor Union Women to work for progress in Texas. “We have attempted to be a catalyst for unity. Most would say that we have succeeded. . . . “Together, we are going to tell the Republican Administration that we still support Social Security which they oppose. “That we still support job safety laws which they oppose. . . . “That we still support clean air and water laws which they oppose. “And that we still support civil rights which they oppose. . . .” A Coalition? Promising fealty to the political coalition Hubbard envisioned were Alfredo C. Montoya, national executive director, Labor Council for Latin-American Advancement; Ruben Bonilla, past president and current general counsel for the League of Latin-American Citizens; A. C. Sutton, president, Texas National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and a member of the national NAACP board; Joyce Miller, president, national Coalition of Labor Union Women; and Monsignor George C. Higgins, social activist, writer, faculty member of Catholic University in Washington, D.C. Montoya told the convention that “narrow, ideological extremists of the Republican Party must be opposed” and that his organization believes the “Mexican-American vote is crucial to labor’s political aims. “There are 600,000 Mexicanistered.” It is vital to Democratic goals, Montoya said, that “the 1965 voting act be extended and that the Reagan ‘guest worker’ immigration policy be defeated.” Bonilla’s figures were higher: “There are 2.9 million Latin-Americans in Texas. That means one million votes for 1982.” Here he drew applause second only to Hightower’s. Mexican-Americans in Texas, said Bonilla, are going to make congressional support of extension of the 1965 voting rights act “a litmus test,” and they will match Democratic Party loyalty in the is turncoat of the year.” “Labor’s obituary,” said Monsignor Higgins, “was premature. We’re rather in a holding pattern. We must organize the unorganized farmworkers, retail workers, women. We must oppose the Administration’s immigration \(guest “What is now underway in this nation is evil politics.” THE TEXAS OBSERVER 3
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