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and bureaucratic power that Richard Falk calls Reagan’s ventriloquists. In other words, Democratic success depends not upon a move to the right and the appeasement of corporate Democratic backers but on a frontal assault on the institutions of power on behalf of the institutionally powerless the workers, taxpayers, homeowners, as well as the unemployed and oppressed. REGISTERING DISBELIEF IN 1980, REAGAN, Carter, and Anderson received just over 4.5 million votes in Texas. This year Reagan, Mondale, and Lyndon LaRouche polled 5,389,155 votes in Texas 886,000 more votes than in the previous campaign. Reagan received over 90 percent of the increase. Voter registration was not supposed to work that way. In Erath County, Mondale received 900 fewer votes than Carter had while Reagan increased his vote count by 2,100. In Lubbock County, Mondale gained 61 votes while Reagan gained 10,500. In Travis County, Mondale had 19,000 more votes than Carter, but Reagan gained 52,000 votes. In Harris County, Mondale gained 58,600 votes, but Reagan added 119,000 votes. Look at Jefferson and Hidalgo counties, both carried by Mondale. In Jefferson County, Mondale polled a gain of 9,000 votes, but so did Reagan. In Hidalgo County, Mondale pulled in 9,500 more votes than Carter had, but Reagan also gained 9,500 votes over his 1980 total. What does this say about all the money and effort poured into voter registration drives? Based on previous experience, the Democrats hoped to gain two of every three votes registered through non-partisan efforts. It may be that for every three votes registered only the one Reagan advocate voted. There may not have been enough pull by the Democratic program to draw the two potential Democratic supporters to the polls. It may be that Republican money was, in the end, able to buy this territory as it had done with the election media campaign. Republican money poured into the state to back efforts to register what state Republican vice chair Diana Denman called “the right kind of people.” This year you could take people to register, but you could not make them vote. Mfundi Vundla, a program director of the Funding Exchange, said that foundation gave $50,000 to back voter registration efforts in order “to get people who are disenfranchised, for a variety of reasons, to get them to participate [in the electoral process].” Vundla feels a reaction to this effort may have been triggered in the American populace, kindled by racism and fears of a shift in power. “The ruling class doesn’t look too kindly,” he said, “to previously unintegrated elements taking part in the political process. That would change the rules of the game. In the long run, it [voter registration] is going to have repercussions.” By January of this year, voter registration may have seemed to be the only option available in the effort to defeat Ronald Reagan. It should not have been so. Voter registration alone is not empowerment. It does not educate people on issues. It does not motivate them to act. It does not, by itself, change the equations of power. Instead, registered voters are only presented with the power to affirm one of the two power bases already in place and deny the other. It is this freedom to choose not to act, to change, or to create from pre-determined options that 4 NOVEMBER 23, 1984 characterizes our society \(as in the 7-11 stores’ “freedom of That is all the political power allotted most individuals in this society the ability to choose between two candidates or two parties. All the liberal money flowing into voter registration campaigns was directed at an attempt to channel those hurt most by Reagan policies into electoral opposition to Reagan. A reason this did not work may be that this electoral action does not promise empowerment and traditionally has not meant empowerment. With few exceptions, political power in the Democratic and Republican parties has always been a trickle-down affair. The voter is at the bottom of the totem pole. Jesse Jackson complained several times that power in the Democratic party was not trickling down to his people. The two leading parties are not structured to hold their own leaders and candidates accountable to those below, and they are certainly not interested in changing the power equations by which this country operates. This year you could take people to register, but you could not make them vote. Part of the reason may have been their understanding that the major decisions in the process in which they are being asked to participate had been made and they were being asked to nod their assent. Voter registration may have been the only game in town this past year in the effort, through Mondale, to open up the public debate to alternative visions and real power shifts. But it is not our only option now. Voter registration is just one means to employ in seeking to change the power equations in this country. The Texas Interfaith Network’s local organizations, including San Antonio COPS, Fort Worth ACT, El Paso EPISO, Houston TMO, and Valley Interfaith, registered over 100,000 new voters this year. But that registration was not an end in itself. Rather, the ability of those organizations to round up large numbers of voters serves not to elect candidates but to hold officeholders accountable to their constituencies. It becomes another tool used by a local organization to increase its relative power within the structure controlling government. What is needed is a hard-work, organizing effort not around candidates or parties but around issues with support from the same money that went to voter registration. Reaganomics has wrought enough damage so that there are local repercussions to organize around in every community. In conjunction there should be a highly visible national committee formed to educate the press and public on the issues, to confront government officials on matters of policy \(especially if we are faced with a near-vacuum of Democratic Congressional opposition as in Caldicott, and Jesse Jackson, but its power, its concerns, and its future leaders would be generated from the blocs organized below. In future elections, parties and candidates would have to address the issues around which potential voters are drganized. The formerly disenfranchised would have a real stake in the action and would vote. An almost impossible task, but what other choice do we have? NO PASARAN 0 N OCTOBER 28, in the small Holy Redeemer Hall on San Antonio’s East Side, the East Side Alliance of the Texas Interfaith Network held its first convention. The convention participants were black, brown, and white. Mayor Henry Cisneros, a number of city council members, the assistant police chief, and several legislators were in attendance. Guest speaker Rev. D. L. Ellison of Fort Worth told the Alliance members that they must create their own leaders and