29 were damaged or destroyed.

In document Political movements : three case studies of protest (Page 195-198)

n o

IX CLD (July, 1964) 79, 84-85. IX CLD (July, 1964), iii.

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A delegation, sent to the national Democratic convention, pleaded its case for recognition before the Credentials Committee and before millions of television viewers. It told how Negroes were systematically denied the right to take part in the process of selecting delegates from precinct meetings to the state convention. Witnesses also told of the brutality and the terror they experienced while trying to register and vote. In an attempt to avoid a floor fight, the leaders of the delegation were offered a compromise which promised the seating of ah all-white

Mississippi delegation as well as two members from the Party. In addition to the seating provisions, the compromise provided that the call for the presidential nominating convention ini 968 was to include language that would insure non-discriminatory selection of delegates and a place for all

30

Democratic electors on the ballots of each state. However, a split developed within the Freedom Democratic Party and the compromise was rejected.

Legally, the Party did not have a fool-proof case. Its strength was moral and emotional, with the result that it could not be so easily brushed aside by the Credentials Committee. But behind the Party lay the threat of violence erupting on the Negro side:

There are many Negroes that feel they have been patient too long, and that the Justice Department is not doing anything about their grievances, and therefore they feel that they must take things into their own hands, and here you have the pc ssibllity of violence erupting from the Negro against the

white group.... all these harassments and frustrations [viz., the voting difficulties in 1964] are just at the

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NIT3 Aug. 26, 1964, p. 1. For demonstrations at Republican convention,

e x p lo s io n p o i n t f o r a l o t o f p e o p le 31

The s p l i t o v e r th e com prom ise r e v e a le d a d e e p e r s p l i t w ith i n th e c i v i l r i g h t s movement a s a w hole o v e r w h e th e r t h e p o l i t i c a l pow er b a s e s h o u ld b e a f f i l i a t e d w ith e i t h e r o f t h e two m a jo r p o l i t i c a l p a r t i e s . I t was n o t an ev en s p l i t b e c a u s e t h e m a jo r it y o f t h e l e a d e r s h i p a g re e d w ith R u s tin t h a t p o l i t i c a l a c t i o n had to be " w i th in th e D e m o c ra tic p a r t y w here

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o n ly th e m e a n in g fu l p rim a ry c o n t e s t s i n th e S o u th a r e f o u g h t . " R u s tin a rg u e d t h a t th e i s s u e s a w a it in g th e c i v i l r i g h t s movement w ent beyond s im p le q u e s t i o n s o f c i v i l r i g h t s ; o n ce l e g a l d i s c r i m i n a t i o n had b een a b o l i s h e d , th e movement had t o a d o p t new demands - f u l l em ploym ent, th e a b o l i t i o n o f s lu m s , th e r e c o n s t r u c t i o n o f th e e d u c a t i o n a l s y s te m , new d e f i n i t i o n s o f work and l e i s u r e . T hese dem and s,h e c o n t in u e d , c o u ld b e s t be a c h ie v e d by b o l s t e r i n g th e l i b e r a l f o r c e s w i t h i n t h e D em o cra tic P a r t y : "We m ust s e e to i t t h a t t h e r e o r g a n i z a t i o n o f th e 'c o n s e n s u s p a r t y 1 [ t h a t i s , th e m a jo r it y o f th e D e m o c ra tic P a r ty p lu s some l i b e r a l e le m e n ts i n th e R e p u b lic a n P a r ty ] p ro c e e d s a lo n g l i n e s w h ich w i l l make an e f f e c t i v e

33 v e h i c l e f o r s o c i a l r e c o n s t r u c t i o n . - . "

I n t e g r a t i n g lu n c h c o u n t e r s and o t h e r i n s t a n c e s o f n o n - v i o l e n t c o e r c io n w ere t a c t i c s t h a t c o u ld depend upon r e l a t i v e l y few i n d i v i d u a l s a c t i n g a l o n e . B ut th e new aim s o f th e movement demanded p o l i t i c a l a c t i o n t a c t i c s w h ic h , i n t u r n , depended upon o r g a n iz e d n u m b ers. The c i v i l r i g h t s m ovem ent,

Q u o tin g a s o u th e r n c i v i l r i g h t s w o rk e r i n W arren ,

op, o i t , 9

p . 6 3 . B ayard R u s tin , "From P r o t e s t to P o l i t i c s : The F u tu r e o f th e C i v i l R ig h ts M ovement",

Commentary

, XXXIX ( F e b r u a r y , 1 9 6 5 ) , 2 5 .

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Rustin continued, had to identify the forces which could help it achieve a "radical" solution of the existing political and economic issues. It

in

needed allies. It needed to join /a coalition with the country’s progres­ sive forces - the trade unions, the liberals, the religious groups. Then it needed to transform that coalition into the effective political majority. "The task of molding a political movement out of the March on Washington coalition is not simple, but no alternatives have been advanced. We need

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In document Political movements : three case studies of protest (Page 195-198)