Members of a panel discussion on political organization, which included George Cabot Lodge '50, disagreed last night on whether techniques used in Panama could be effectively applied to Puerto Rican groups in Boston.
The discussion was sponsored by Students for Puerto Rican Barrio, a PBH group which is trying to help Boston's Puerto Rican community by organizing the residents for economic and political power through rent strikes and tutorial programs.
In the main speech Lodge said, "Many Latin American communities need revolution, radical structure change," but that the "revolution" which took place in the small rural community where he worked to establish a school of management was the formation of 34 cooperative groups led by natives of the community.
These groups have established a credit union and are now making major economic reforms in their community, he added.
Three of the panelists -- two organizers of the PBH group and a past co-chairman of SDS -- discussed Lodge's "criteria' 'in relation to their work in this country.
However, Edward C. Banfield, Henry Lee Shattuck of Urban Government, attacked the "whole conceptual scheme of translating the Panama situation to Boston. "You don't have to be a left-wing nursemaid," he told his fellow-panelists. He classified the Barrio Group's work as "a fashionable game for certain Harvard students to play." Even Lodge's work warranted his saying that "maybe the Panamanians should be left to figure out their own political destiny."
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