In the United Farm Workers' (UFW) early years, the accountability to farm workers and supporters was real. They held resources without which the project could not go forward. Competitive accountability to the Teamsters kept UFW leaders on task, contesting the Teamsters' turf by organizing workers. But as the UFW freed itself of external competition and came to rely on resources generated internally by highly centralized means, such as direct mail, the failure to create structures that could sustain pluralism, encourage debate, and invite challenge proved to be a disaster. Control over resources at the top and the absence of any intermediate levels of political accountability—districts, locals, or regions—meant that potential challengers could never organize, build a base, or mount a real challenge to incumbents.
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