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an autonomous division, and the way you develop leadership is by
letting the leader go off and learn from his or her mistakes. I think in
retrospect it's racist. I think there was a form of racism. Also, the fact
is that what certainly is racist is to make her the only good talented
and gifted black. Everybody else is dirt, she's the only one that's good.
Was that the attitude that you had?
Well, Davis criticized everybody else but never criticized her.
That's what, in essence, is it. Now, in our permitting and not tackling
Davis on it, is that we concurred. This requires a much more serious
analysis with more people, but I would want to put that down.
Do you think that was in any way a lack of democracy in the union
that allowed it to happen?
Well, explain how would a more democratic situation have
I don't know exactly. My thought is that it shouldn't be the
responsibility or the prerogative of the incumbent leader to single out
the successor. There must be a more democratic process by which the
successor actually rises up. That, of course, may be an abstract ideal.
See, I think that's an abstract ideal. Let me say this. A labor
union is an institution like any other institution, because it operates
where the leaders spend full time in it, and the members are -- it's a
part time job for them. They have less interest and concern, and
there's a tendency to leave it to the leaders. The other thing is that in
the way we ran the union, the union was always in a state of siege. It
was always a “we” and “they” situation. Anytime people raised
questions it was, “You're doing the work of the boss.” Anytime people
raised opposition, “You're playing in to the boss' hands.”
Inside the union.
Inside the union. “That's what management wants. If there's
anything we must do, we must be united.” That sounds good and that
sounds right. That's good when everybody's together. But for example
in the late 1960s, with the growth of the student movement and the
SDS kind of interest in democracy, and it was beginning to be reflected
in the guild. People were coming -- you know, those with ideas that
were prevalent. We would beat them down fast because they might
have a tendency to undermine and attack the leadership. They tended
to be that kind of thing. We used to have battles in the guild on that
kind of thing, where these radical groups would come in and start
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