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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Maury Maverick, October 27, 1975. Interview A-0323. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

The Chicano vote and labor organization in Texas politics

Maverick discusses the Chicano vote in Texas, arguing that he saw that constituency as generally supportive of liberal politicians. From there, Maverick segues into a discussion of the role of labor politics in Texas. Because the Pentagon was the major source of employment for San Antonio, workers tended to be more "conformist" in their politics. Maverick explains how this affected some of his legal work with one of the local unions.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Maury Maverick, October 27, 1975. Interview A-0323. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

Let me ask you a couple of questions about the the Chicano vote in San Antonio. I did a study of the black vote in Houston awhile back and the conclusion I reached there was that although there are various organizations and I guess one central black organization, that kind of helped with voter education and screening candidates and so forth, there is not any organization that can really get the black electorate in Houston to vote for a conservative candidate. I mean, there is certainly some organizational work that goes into getting the black vote out and getting them to vote for blacks or liberals, but it would be very difficult to get the black vote in Houston to go for say, John Connally, even if all of the leaders came out for him. What about the Chicanos in San Antonio? Can you say the same thing for them or are there machines of one sort or another who can pretty much engineer the Chicano bloc to vote for a liberal one time and a conservative the next?
They are pretty good about voting for the liberals. That's how I got elected to the legislature, because I would carry the West Side eight, nine, ten to one. On the whole, they were all right. The only question that I would have about them of an adverse nature, and it is true about Anglos and blacks and everybody, would be the Civil Service jobs of the people working for the Pentagon, the impact that the war-making processes have on our economy. They might have to be more conformist because of that, but so is everyone else.
So really, the situation here in San Antonio is kind of like the situation in Senator Henry Jackson's state in Washington, where issues that effect Boeing are really going to be crucial up there and it….
Yes. Organized labor here in San Antonio is very conservative on war-making issues. I remember that I had represented a certain local here in San Antonio for fifteen years and I began to represent conscientious objectors and they came in to see me and said, "We are not going to let a lawyer who represents yellow-bellies represent our union." I said, "Well, look, I've been with you guys for fifteen years. I've kept you out of trouble and ya'll have been good to me, I've made a little monthly retainer out of you. What the hell do you care if I represent yellow-bellies or not? It's your social and economic strata that is being murdered, not the people from Alamo Heights and Terrell Hills." They said, "Well, you are supposed to fight for your country and we don't want a lawyer for yellow-bellies." So, I lost that account and by God, that Pentagon just seeps into everything around here.
How strong is the labor movement in San Antonio? Is it a force to be reckoned with in politics?
It's not strong for two reasons. One, it's too conservative and for another reason, and it's a bad reason, they can bring up wetback Mexicans any time and break a strike when they want to. There can't be any labor here like Houston where you 've got some discipline in the ranks of labor, because they can go down and get some poor starving Mexican below the Rio Grande and bring him up. I have been gravitating to the Quakers in the last few years of my life and… this may be getting off the point, but the Quaker position is opposed to the farm workers and to organized labor, that those people in Mexico are human beings, too and that the artifical boundary line of the Rio Grande doesn't mean that they get any less hungry than anyone else. While that may hurt people up here, those people down there have to eat, too. It is an interesting, irrelevant point that I just made. It interested me that they would take that position.