Conyers Deems Coalition of Poor Only Way to Achieve Full Equality
"If we are to achieve the dream of equal opportunity for all we must imagine a political coalition of all groups of disadvantaged Americans," declared Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) last night. Such a coalition, he elaborated, would include America's Negroes as its base, as well as migrant farmers, Mexican-Americans, Puerto Rican immigrants, the unemployed, unorganized, and the elderly.
This coalition, the two-term Negro Congressman from Detroit predicted, would be able to force the federal government--including the Congress -- to be more responsive to programs like rent supplements, model cities appropriations, and the Philip Randolph Institute's Freedom Budget.
No Third Party
Conyers, who has been touted as the nation's most promising young Negro politician, added that such a coalition would not be a third party because "that is not feasible at this time." Conyers did, however, emphasize that the war in Vietnam "is not relevant to our national interests and raises serious moral questions."
"There is a contradiction when many Negroes fight and die in a war for democracy 10,000 miles away when they've never lived as first-class Americans in a country committed to democracy," Conyers, one of 11 Congressmen who voted against war appropriations this year declared.
The 38-year old politician, in a manner akin to that of some of the more moderate members of the New Left, declared his impatience with the status quo of American politics calling for a "new and vital political force" to give the nation's disadvantaged some political leverage.
As the most glaring example, he cited the nation's Negroes -- "a huge minority which has never enjoyed any political independence." In addition, he pointed out that most of the leadership these groups may receive is usually devoted to fairly discrete goals -- ranging from civil rights to organizing the impoverished and underemployed.