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t. ii I– II in Nil I I .1 II II TETx0BSERvER The Texas Obsener Publishing Co.. 1986 Vol. 78, No. 14 ‘101.0,11 cereuwoose July 11, 1986 Copyright 1986 by Texas Observer Publishing Company. All rights reserved. Material may not be reproduced without permission. PUBLISHER Ronnie Dugger EDITOR Geoffrey Rips ASSOCIATE EDITOR Dave Denison CALENDAR EDITOR Chula Sims LAYOUT AND DESIGN: Valerie Fowler EDITORIAL ASSISTANT: Kathleen Fitzgerald EDITORIAL INTERNS: David Gunter, Dee Hill POLITICAL INTELLIGENCE: Dana Loy EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD: Frances Barton, Austin; Elroy Bode, Kerrville; Chandler Davidson. Houston; Bob Eckhardt, Washington, D.C.; Sissy Farenthold, Houston; Ruperto Garcia, Austin: John Kenneth Galbraith, Cambridge, Mass.; Lawrence Goodwyn, Durham, N.C.; George Hendrick, Urbana, Ill.; Molly Ivins, Dallas; Larry L. King, Washington, D.C.; Maury Maverick, Jr., San Antonio; Willie Morris, Oxford, Miss.; Kaye Northcott, Austin; James Fred Schmidt, Tehachapi, Cal., Robert Sherrill, Tallahassee, Fla. CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Warren Burnett, Jo Clifton, Craig Clifford, Louis Dubose, John Henry Faulk, Ed Garcia, Bill Helmer, James Harrington, Jack Hopper, Amy Johnson, Michael King, Dana Loy, Rick Piltz, Gary Pomerantz, Susan Raleigh, John Schwartz, Michael Ventura, Lawrence Walsh. CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS: Alan Pogue, Russell Lee, Scott Van Osdol, Alicia Daniel. CONTRIBUTING ARTISTS: Mark Antonuccio, Eric Avery, Tom Ballenger, Jeff Danziger, Beth Epstein, Dan Hubig, Pat Johnson, Kevin Kreneck, Carlos Lowry, Miles Mathis, Joe McDermott, Ben Sargent, Dan Thibodeau. 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; tve 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. Writers are responsible for their own work, but not for anything they have not themselves written, and in publishing them we do not necessarily imply that we agree with them because this is a journal of free voices. Managing Publisher Cliff Olofson Subscription Manager Stefan Wanstrom Publishing Consultant Frances Barton Development Consultant Hanno T. Beck Editorial and Business Office The Texas Observer paid at Austin, Texas. Subscription rates, including 5 1/8ci; sales tax: one year $23, two years $42, three years $59. One year rate for full-time students, $15. Back issues S2 prepaid. Airmail, foreign, group. and bulk rates on request. Microfilm editions available from University Microfilms Intl.. 300 N. Zeeb Road, Ann Arbor. Michigan 48106. Copyright 1986 by Texas Observer Publishing Company. All rights reserved. Material may not be reproduced without permission. POSTMASTER: Send form 3579 to: 600 West 28th Street, #105. Austin, Texas 78705. 2 JULY 11, 1986 EDITORIAL The Failure of Patnin Politics WHEN THE Dallas Times-Herald took a straw poll of delegates to last month’s Democratic state convention, they found, to no one’s great surprise, that San Antonio Mayor Henry Cisneros and Agriculture Commissioner Jim Hightower were preferred as future Democratic gubernatorial nominees. There are a number of reasons for the poll results including Hightower’s oratorical popularity with these party activists and Cisneros’s recent nomination by Texas Monthly’s Paul Burka as the Democrat with the best shot at winning a future governorship. Such considerations take on unwarranted importance during the boosterism of a party convention. What should not be lost, however, among the more superficial arguments for Cisneros and Hightower is the fact that both these officeholders have been among the most successful in making economic development a cornerstone of their political careers. And why is this important? What the current Texas recession reveals is this state’s vulnerability. In many ways the relationship of Texas to the nation’s economy, and now to the transnational movers and shakers, has changed very little since our ‘ante-bellum period. Just as the South was once the When the prices of Texas commodities fall, the entire state suffers. That’s why the Populist analysis of the late 1800s still makes sense in this state. producer of raw commodities for Northeastern and European manufacture and investment, the Texas economy is still based largely on the raw commodities the state turns out. When the price of these commodities falls in world markets, the economy of the entire state suffers. That’s why the Populist analysis of the late 1800s still makes sense in this state. That is why the one period of real prosperity known in this state from World War II to the early 1980s can be attributed to the Populist-inspired state Railroad Commission, through which the price and availability of one of the state’s chief commodities, oil, was controlled to a certain extent by oil interests in the state. What Hightower and Cisneros have been doing is suggesting that we move our economy’s base from raw commodities into the use of these commodities, thereby providing more jobs, expanded markets for state products, and a greater degree of control over the markets for the commodities themselves. Hightower, in particular, has been concerned about the small producers and their ability to team with other producers to become the processors of their own goods, thereby keeping control of the real revenue-making enterprise. Cisneros seems to be less concerned about the economic empowerment of local producers and laborers and more concerned with enlarging the employment and investment base of his