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

5
“Un Pueblo Sin Fronteras”
The Centro de Acción Social Autónomo (CASA)

La Raza Unida Party's failure saw the mantle of Chicano champion in Los Angeles fall upon a workers' group, the Centro de Acción Social Autónomo–Hermandad General de Trabajadores (Center for Autonomous Social Action–General Brotherhood of Workers), commonly known as CASA. Originally founded in 1969 as a mutual-aid group, CASA soon broadened its mandate to include supporting workers' efforts to improve their wages and working conditions, as well as defending those whom it believed had been unjustly accused of crimes and imprisoned. 1 The latter efforts led to CASA's involvement with the Committee to Free Los Tres (CTFLT), a defense organization that sought to free three men accused of federal crimes but who were looked upon as community crusaders. Eventually, this association with the CTFLT would insure CASA's transformation into a radical voice for revolutionary change in America. 2

To CASA, the plight of Mexican Americans (and Mexican immigrants) as underpaid, powerless laborers living in blighted barrios was the result of oppressive U. S. capitalism. Improvements could come only through organizing and empowering workers. Though CASA members subscribed to a Marxist–Leninist philosophy and publicly disparaged Chicano nationalism, which they believed divided Mexican immigrants and Mexican Americans, CASA, like other Chicano movement groups,

-98-

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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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