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But Gramm can do that in such an ugly fashion that it becomes a positive to me.” Instead of worrying about Gramm, Hightower prefers to look at the positive results from his connection to the Jackson campaign. He says the intensity of support from both the black and Mexican American community has gone beyond his expections. “Blacks are pushing within the Democratic Party and have been for some time, as have Mexican Americans, [saying] ‘We keep getting asked to support you, but you don’t support us. . . . And I made a breakthrough in that. It’s the first of its kind.” The argument that he would have gotten the minority vote anyway doesn’t go far enough, he says. By his calculation, the intensity of support in the minority community will bring a heavier turnout. In his view, “That’s going to make the difference.” The endorsement of Jackson challenged Jewish Democrats to move beyond a onedimensional analysis of American politics. Here was a guy who had worked to build trade and technology ties with Israel in his capacity as state agriculture commissioner and yet he stands with Jesse Jackson. Is he now a friend of Israel, or a foe? At the same time, the endorsement challenged the Democratic Party’s Unwritten Rule of Realistic Politics that says black voters are welcome in the Party but will be expected to participate on the terms of the white leadership. They are not to advance their own leaders and their own terms, because that would not be in the best interests of the Party. Hightower’s stand may hasten the day when it is no longer so. And something else significant came from the event. In these days when politicians are concocted by marketing experts and coached by incessant poll-watchers, Hightower did something rare: he looked inside himself and made his own decision. And, in some circles at least, he has met a hero’s welcome. Hightower tells of a Senatorial District convention he attended in the Oak Cliff area of Dallas March 19. Jackson had carried the district by about 70 percent and the convention’s 1500 delegates gave Hightower a rousing reception. “It was just an astounding reaction,” Hightower says. “I don’t have words for it. It was the kind of thing that does not come your way much.” Clearly, in such moments he has had no regrets. And in such moments we are reminded of how rare real political courage has become. D.D. I T’S CLEAR that Commissioner High. tower has decided that if he’s going to make the run for higher office he’s going to do it his way. And if he is going to run as a populist politician instead of a conventional liberal he is going to stake his future on the existence of a great body of people who will recognize and support a politician who stands apart from the others by his concern for average working people. What moved Hightower about the Jackson campaign is that it is rallying “the ignored majority.” Jackson, he said at his endorsement rally, is getting his message across “to those millions of workaday Americans who are out there. People making, say, less than $25,000 a year who feel that politics and their own government has abandoned them and who have been wandering off, maybe to the Republican Party, but more likely out of politics entirely. In my view these people are the true core of the Democratic Party. And ultimately they must be the base of a real political majority that will allow Democrats not only to win again consistently in national elections, but to be able to govern.” Of course no potential Democratic coalition is quite that seamless, as we can see from the ethnic and racial divisions that have bubbled up to the surface in both the 1984 and 1988 Presidential campaigns. Jackson’s dream of finding “common ground” among whites and blacks, Jews and Gentiles, Southerners and Northerners, is noble enough, but there are some who will not find common ground so easily. Not this year. Not with this candidate. Still, for Jim Hightower to have remained neutral on the Jackson question out of concern for Jewish sensibilities would only have been to shrink from a difficult challenge. And nothing would have been gained by shrinking. The black and Jewish tensions would still exist, maybe further below the surface. instead, Hightower opted to try to bridge the gap rather than honoring the divisions others are insisting upon. As he often reminds his audiences, he believes there is no progress without struggle. BY AMYJOHNSON THE OUTDATED structures of women’s organizations are crippling the feminist movement, ac cording to Eleanor Smeal, past present of the National Organization for Women. Smeal spoke to a seminar at the National Conference on Women and the Law in Austin March 11. As the seminar began, she sat at the table studying the crowd while representatives of Radical Women, a socialist feminist organization, and the American Association of University Women, spoke about the virtues of their groups. But Smeal wasn’t there to speak about laurels; she came with a more provocative message. At first, she wasn’t what I expected. She talked quietly, recalling her days in the League of Women Voters, “an outlet for housewives that are interested in political issues and reality, especially for the prior decades.” She looked tired, haggard. But when she began to launch her critique, her voice grew stronger and more intense, her analysis more insightful. I began to see the kind of drive that makes her currently the prime mover behind the Fund for a Feminist Majority. Here is a summary of what she said: “The organization structures that we are dealing with in many ways are dated. They Amy Johnson writes regularly for the Observer on feminist topics. were organized for different times. And many of them are premised on the fact that women were not employed in the marketplace at that time,” she said. Smeal said groups that started out as exclusively women’s groups, such as the League of Women Voters, the American Association of University Women, the business and professional women’s groups, and the various church women’s groups are all patterned after each other. “If you look at the by-laws of these groups, they’re very similar, and I think there’s a reason for that,” she said. “I really think that when the [one] group was formed, they went and got the by-laws of the other group. . . . The original people of each of these groups did that which was familiar to them. “The structures of the women’s groups of the United States were based on a model developed in the late 1800s and early 1900s of the first wave of suffragettes. And I believe somebody was there who was out to screw us. . . . I really firmly believe that in one of those rooms somewhere at the turn of the century was some guy who they turned to because he was a lawyer and he knew how to do this, you know, file bylaws, and he put in there things that made us weaker.” Smeal outlined the features of organizational by-laws that she says are “crippling the feminist movement.” “One, somewhere in those things is noncompetitive elections. . . . Most groups STIRRING THE WATERS A Blast From Eleanor Smeal 4 APRIL 8, 1988