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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 human-kind 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. 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. SINCE 1954 Publisher: Ronnie Dugger Editor: Louis Dubose Associate Editor: James Cullen Production: Peter Szymczak, Diana Paciocco. Copy Editor: Roxanne Bogucka Editorial Interns: Todd Basch, Carmen Garcia, Kim Young. Contributing Writers: Bill Adler, Betty Brink, Warren Burnett, Brett Campbell, Peter Cassidy, Jo Clifton, Carol Countryman, Terry FitzPatrick, James Harrington, Bill Helmer, Jim Hightower, Ellen Hosmer, Molly Ivins, Steven Kellman, Michael King, Deborah Lutterbeck, Tom McClellan, Bryce Milligan, Debbie Nathan, James McCarty Yeager. Editorial Advisory Board: David Anderson, Austin; Frances Barton, Austin; Elroy Bode, El Paso; Chandler Davidson, Houston; Dave Denison, Cambridge, Mass; Bob Eckhardt, Austin; Sissy Farenthold, Houston; Ruperto Garcia, Austin; John Kenneth Galbraith, Cambridge, Mass.; Lawrence Goodwyn, Durham, N.C.; George Hendrick, Urbana, Ill.; Molly Ivins, Austin; Larry L. King, Washington, D.C.; Maury Maverick, Jr., San Antonio; Willie Morris, Jackson, Miss.; Kaye Northcott, Fort Worth; James Presley, Texarkana; Schwartz, Galveston; Fred Schmidt, Fredericksburg. Poetry Consultant: Thomas B. Whitbread Contributing Photographers: Bill Albrecht, Vic Hinterlang, Alan Pogue. Contributing Artists: Michael Alexander, Eric Avery, Tom Ballenger, Richard Bartholomew, Jeff Danziger, Beth Epstein, Valerie Fowler, Dan Hubig, Pat Johnson, Kevin Kreneck, Michael Krone, Carlos Lowry, Gary Oliver, Ben Sargent, Dan Thibodeau, Gail Woods, Matt Wuerker. Managing Publisher: Cliff Olofson Subscription Manager: Stefan Wanstrom Executive Assistant: Gail Woods Special Projects Director: Bill Simmons Development Consultant: Frances Barton SUBSCRIPTIONS: One year $32, two years $59, three years $84. Full-time students $18 per year. Back issues $3 prepaid. Airmail, foreign, group, and bulk rates on request. Microfilm editions available from University Microfilms Intl., 300 N. Zeeb Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Any current subscriber yho finds the price a burden should say so at renewal time; no one need forgo reading the Observer simply because of the cost. INDEXES: The Texas Observer is indexed in Access: The Supplementary Index to Periodicals; Texas . index and, for the years 1954 through 198 1,The Texas Observer index. copyrighted, 0 1992, is published biweekly except for a three-week interval 477-0746. Second-class postage paid at Austin, Texas. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to THE TEXAS OBSERVER, 307 West 7th Street, Austin, Texas 78701. Central-Americanization of Mexico The “Zapatista Uprising” in and around San . Cristobal may come to be regarded as a major turning point in modern Mexican history. The conventional wisdom that Mexican society’s tolerance of inequality, corruption and the like can continue into the foreseeable future appears headed for significant change. Those who were eyewitnesses to the violence and upheaval that accompanied the end of the Porfirio Diaz era are for the most part no longer around, and public willingness to accept almost anything to avoid a repetition of those traumatic times seems to be going by the board. It is easily possible that the problems of the Central Americas may move north, now that the “social contract” seems to have come apart at the seams in Chiapas. Concerning Guatemala, I am a number of years out of touch; however, I cannot fully agree with Messrs. Campbell and Rivera \(See “Remember Guatemala,” TO that the military is the force that runs the country. My observance, in the early to mid-1970s, was that the economic elite has historically co-opted the military as its asset to help maintain the status quo; so long as the military “behaves” itself, officers can count on a modest share of benefits. Should a populist religious fanatic like General Rios Montt get too far out of line, he can certainly count on the limb that he has gone out on being sawn off behind him. I fully agree with Father Andres Giron’s assessment, as reported in the article, that neither the guerrillas nor the establishment greatly desire an end to the continuing violence in Guatemala because such a development would.deprive each of a reason for being. I would not relish seeing this sort of thing spread north throughout Mexico. . Richard R. McTaggart Keep Internet Free I was pleased to see Jim Hightower take on the dark side of the “Information Superhighway” \(“Send the Bosses to Mexico,” pecially about the current mergermania which is largely a fight to see who can control the media oligopoly of the next century. At the same time, there’s some real gold among the glitter of the “National Information Infrastructure.” The lucky millions who are already plugged into the prototype information superhighway known as the Internet are participating in a flowering of free speech which may be unprecedented in human history. Step onto a digital soapbox and you can be heard by more people than if you had the announcer’s mike at the Astrodome. What’s more, as the saying goes, “On the Internet no one knows you’re a dog” title, class, gender, skin color and disability matter far less in cyberspace than in real life. It’s common in digital academia to see the lowliest freshman debate the mightiest professor on equal terms. One of the key issues here is whether the Information Superhighway under construction will retain the free-flowing traditions of the current Internet, both in terms of policy and in terms of hardware. Will it offer the free speech of the public square or the unfree speech of the private mall? When there is a Mississippi of information flowing into your living room, will the pipe flowing back upstream be big enough for you to make your own substantial contribution to the flow, or will it be a capillary just big enough to slip your credit card number through? In the latter case, .expect the National Information Infrastructure to amount to little more than an online merger of Blockbuster and the Land’s End catalog food for “mouse potatoes” indeed. One more clarification of Hightower’s column is in order: You don’t have to call Washington to plug in with the digital activists concerned with these issues. At least two groups are active right here in Texas: EFF-Austin \(512-465-7871, [email protected] Houston \(713-661-1561, [email protected] Prentiss Riddle, Houston In Memorium A note to remark the passing of Jerry Jamieson, AIDS pioneer, editor and founder of Ad Vivendum Bene, the Tylerbased newsletter dedicated to HIV and AIDS issues \(See “Bubba’s Got AIDS,” TO Jamieson worked for the poor because, as he said, “I don’t want to go to hell.” Praise the splendid articulation of his spirit. Jamieson called us to scratch. If we needed an answer to the question What can one person do? well, Jamieson would have us answer, like Carlyle, do what is at hand. Oh, those clear blue eyes from and on somewhere else, his zeal and his death too make us lament the loss of reticence, of mild speech, of calm irony, of double vision which allows us to see where visions are. Now he rides the boat for the other shore. Abreast a darker passage. All peace. Mike Murphy, Tyler DIALOGUE 2 APRIL 8, 1994