Action Director Sam Brown yesterday urged ethnic organizations to form a "new majority coalition" for economic and political gains.
"What we need is a new majority coalition with a clearly articulated goal of building a more just and equitable society," Brown said at the opening session here of the second annual convention of the National Council of La Raza, a major Hispanic civil rights group.
"We need to build a new coalition of vision . . . for a more equitable distribution of wealth -- not only for Hispanics, but also for blacks and Anglos," said Brown, who heads the federal volunteer service program.
He said the nation came close to having a "new majority coalition" during the 1960s antiwar movement, of which he was a prominent leader. But adherence to "narrow partisan views" and lack of racial sensitivity thwarted the development of that would-be coalition, Brown said.
"We made a mistake," he said. "People were expected to embrace every aspect of the movement or they were rejected entirely . . . As a consequence, the movement became composed in its early years almost exclusively of young, long haired Anglos."
He said the same "narrow-mindedness" jeopardizes current social, political and civil rights movements.
"No strategy for the '80s will be successful unless it is majority-embracing, unless it provides enough Americans with the certainty that the programs we espouse are linked to the most deep-felt purposes of this nation -- justice, equality and freedom," Brown said.
"We must replace the politics of interest with a politics of values which calls for self-discipline, sacrifice for the common good, sharing, caring and the creation of coalitions of people who help themselves."
Through his remarks, Brown joined a growing chorus of black and Hispanic civil rights leaders who have been calling for an end to the fighting among blacks, browns and poor whites over the smallest portions of the nation's economic and political pie.
Last November, black and Hispanic representatives met here to form the Working Committee on the Concerns of Hispanics and Blacks. The commitee has had several meetings under the aegis of the National Urban Coalition, a nonprofit urban action group, and has identified several "mutual national policy objectives" in the areas of housing, jobs and education. But it has yet to produce any concrete plan of action to accomplish its goals.
Meanwhile, at national conventions this summer organizations such as the NAACP and the National Urban League were more concerned with constituent services than with coalition-building. According to the workshop schedule for its second annual convention, La Raza's concerns also will be constituent-oriented.