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

By Ernesto Chávez | Go to book overview

4
“The Voice of the Chicano People”
La Raza Unida Party

Alarmed by the violence of the Chicano Moratorium and other demonstrations, many local activists returned to the formula pioneered by the Mexican American Political Association (MAPA): to work for reform peacefully and within the political system. They chose, however, a party of their own, since neither the Republicans nor the Democrats had effectively responded to their needs. The vehicle they found most attractive was La Raza Unida Party (LRUP), created in Texas in the early 1960s. “I … began to look at La Raza Unida Party, ” recalled Richard Martínez, a former member of the Congress of Mexican American Unity, “and the idea [of La Raza Unida Party] struck me because of the need to build as opposed to just have these 'golpes' [actions]” and “because I had seen people killed. ” 1

La Raza Unida Party did not call for a unified plan of action by Chicanos in those states (primarily Texas, Colorado, and California) where it emerged. Rather, its agenda varied from place to place, with the only common feature among party chapters being a commitment to vote Chicanos into office. Specific programs and goals reflected the experience of local communities. In Los Angeles, the party mirrored a fragmented Chicano community held together by a desire to gain greater political power.

The roots of La Raza Unida can be found in Crystal City, Texas. In

-80-

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

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents *
  • Illustrations xi
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • Introduction - Those Times of Revolution 1
  • 1 - Los Angeles's Ethnic Mexican Community in the 1950s and Early 1960s 9
  • 2 - The Brown Berets 42
  • 3 - The Chicano Moratorium Committee 61
  • 4 - La Raza Unida Party 80
  • 5 - The Centro De Acción Social Autónomo (Casa) 98
  • Afterword - Why Are We Not Marching like in the '70s? 117
  • Notes 121
  • Bibliography 149
  • Index 159
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