Museum the New Llano Colony

J. Homer Clark


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The following letter was printed in the "Llano Colonist" dated February 15, 1936 after the 1935 May Day Revolution.

I think I might say of George T. Pickett what Mr. Pickett said of Wm. Burton, who was expelled from the colony while I was there a few years ago, but who couldn't be driven off because he was post-master. His contention was that his old friend "Bill" had long been a faithful member of the colony; that the years of steady grind amid hardships and opposition and struggles had so worn him down that his mind had become unbalanced and he begged him to take a year's vacation and go away for a change.

If that were true of Burton, it must be doubly true of Pickett. He has been manager of Llano Colony for about a dozen years. He took that job when their condition seemed utterly hopeless. They didn't have enough property to pay their debts; neighbors were hostile; there were dissensions within their own ranks -- a handful of discouraged people, living on starvation rations, with little to work with and ready to quit.

George's fighting spirit came to the surface. He rallied the group; and with the courage of desperation most of them -- or some at least -- decided to stick. A few of those are still sticking. But in Llano, the tendency among a great many is to "let George do it."

If anybody thinks it is an easy job to stand between a group of radicals and the capitalistic world, and to persuade that same capitalistic world to help support the radicals; to get a heterogeneous mass of people to work together and live on bare necessities; to handle the financial obligations of such an enterprise, starting at 'scratch'; to manage the work of from a hundred to five hundred people the personnel of which is continually changing, and many of them dissatisfied and not trying very hard; and at the same time to handle the contacts with the outside -- not to mention the real difficulties -- well he better not try it, that's all.

The strain is too great for one man to keep at it indefinitely. From the necessity to fight at the beginning developed the ability to fight and the habit of fighting, and possibly the enjoyment of fighting, the satisfaction of matching wits with those of others and overcoming all opposition. Pickett is credited with once saying, "When I go into a fight, I go in to win."

The fact that so many good cooperators have gone there but refused to stay because they could not work in harmony with Pickett shows that his tactics have not always been wise. The fact that they have made such slow progress shows a lack of efficiency, from some cause or other. And perhaps, we who refused to stay are partly to blame.

It would be a severe blow to the co-operative movement if Llano colony should fail. I do not believe it is going to fail. I believe that many that I could name, who are not longer in the colony, are as anxious as I to see that it succeeds, and that the opposition to Pickett is not directed at the colony, is not even actuated by any grudge against Pickett himself, but is a criticism of his methods, and a manifestation of an earnest wish for the great cause of co-operation.

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Sources: "Llano Colonist": February 15, 1936  


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