Mississippi Committeewoman Speaks About Democratic Split

Patricia M. Derian, Democratic National Committeewoman from Mississippi, told a Kennedy Institute seminar on Southern Politics that the battle between Loyalists and Regulars for control of the Mississippi Democratic party "is at a standstill."

The Regulars and Loyalists have been vying for recognition as the official Mississippi organization for three years. Derian said that the only contact between the two groups is "an occasional phone call."

Speaking to about 60 people in the Winthrop Junior Common Room, Derian characterized the Regulars as "a small number of men, white, middle-aged and impossible, who ran Mississippi politics until 1968."

Derian said that the Loyalist Democrats were formed in opposition to the Regulars "because blacks, women, and youth were excluded from Mississippi politics" and because "the Regulars have not endorsed a Democratic Presidential nominee since Roosevelt."

The National Democratic Party recognized the Loyalists as the official Mississippi democratic organization at the Convention in Chicago in 1968 and reaffirmed that decision in Miami in 1972.

Derian said that many Southerners feel angry that "eastern, liberal, commie, Harvard-educated politicians" have changed their whole way of life.

Derian said that Mississippi Attorney-General Joe Patterson, speaking about school integration, "pointed to a newspaper and said, 'I'll tell you what's the problem with America--you know why they call this paper The Crimson?'"