Mi Raza Primero! (My People First!): Nationalism, Identity, and Insurgency in the Chicano Movement in Los Angeles, 1966-1978

Mi Raza Primero! (My People First!): Nationalism, Identity, and Insurgency in the Chicano Movement in Los Angeles, 1966-1978

Mi Raza Primero! (My People First!): Nationalism, Identity, and Insurgency in the Chicano Movement in Los Angeles, 1966-1978

Mi Raza Primero! (My People First!): Nationalism, Identity, and Insurgency in the Chicano Movement in Los Angeles, 1966-1978

Synopsis

"Chavez provides a fresh and thoughtful analysis of a critical period of ethnic political experimentation. "!Mi Raza Primero! offers much food for thought for readers interested in the Chicano movement--and for anyone seeking to understand the increasing complexity of ethnic politics in the current moment."--David G. Gutierrez, author of "Walls and Mirrors: Mexican Americans, Mexican Immigrants, and the Politics of Ethnicity

Excerpt

Where did it go? Can we say we know? Those times of revolution. Our time of revolution.

Los Lobos, “Revolution”

More than thirty years after it began, the phenomenon known as the Chicano Movement remains an enigma in U. S. history. Was it a “revolution, ” as Los Lobos tell us, or was it more in line with the reformist activism pursued by the so-called Mexican-American generation? When compared to the Cuban Revolution, the African liberation struggles, student uprisings in France, Mexico and Czechoslovakia, and the Black Power movement, the Chicano insurgency pales. Rather than simply probing its revolutionary or reformist attributes, this study is guided by Frederick Jameson's suggestion to “situate the emergence of … new 'collective identities' or 'subjects of history' in the historical situation which made the emergence possible. ”

The roots of the Chicano movement, indeed of all Mexican-American political and social experience can be found in the nineteenth century. Mexican Americans are a product of the U. S. –Mexico War of 1846–48. One of the key outcomes of that conflict was the granting of American citizenship to the residents of the ceded Mexican lands. Yet, as David G. Gutiérrez has argued in Walls and Mirrors: Mexican Americans, Mexican Immigrants, and the Politics of Ethnicity, this moment of inclusion created . . .

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