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

AFTERWORD
“Why Are We Not Marching
Like in the '70s?”

Performance artist Luis Alfaro's video “Chicanismo” portrays a Chicano Studies professor, Salvador Rodríguez, as his people's self-professed savior. “If we're so retro, ” laments Rodríguez, “why are we not marching like in the '70s?” 1 This is a question that has been on the minds of many Mexican Americans since the demise of the Chicano movement in Los Angeles. The end of that dramatic era did not mean the death of ethnic Mexican reform efforts. Rather, the emphasis shifted, as it had on earlier occasions, to electoral politics. The present, in other words, is in harmony with the past's preeminent goal—Mexican-American empowerment— while acknowledging a variety of strategies to achieve that goal. As this study has demonstrated, the Chicano movement embraced a multiplicity of protest groups that differed sharply in their tactics and emphases during that eventful decade from the early 1960s into the 1970s.

Setting the pace in the 1950s and 1960s was MAPA (the Mexican American Political Association), which emphasized, like the present generation, working within the existing political system while also stressing ethnic solidarity and cultural nationalism in its pursuit of reform through electing Mexican Americans to public office. Dramatic success came in 1962, when Edward Roybal, who had earlier beaten the odds and won a seat on the Los Angeles City Council, became the first Mexican American elected to the U. S. Congress. That victory was unique, however, for other ethnic Mexican candidates encountered only defeat at the polls as a result 117

-117-

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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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