Politics of Aztlan: The forging of a militant ethos among Mexican-Americans
AuthorGarcia, Ignacio Molina.
KeywordsMexican Americans -- Politics and government.
Mexican Americans -- Ethnic identity.
Mexican Americans -- Nationalism.
Committee ChairGarcia, Juan R.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis work is intended to provide a synthesis on the development of a political ethos among Mexican Americans during the decades of the 1960s to the 1970s. This political ethos was neither uniformed nor overwhelmingly acceptable, but it nonetheless formed the ideological nucleus of what came to be known as the Chicano Movement. And this author would contend that some of those ideological strains remain important today among Mexican American leaders. This ethos was undoubtedly nationalistic, but it also incorporated race and class as elements of the Mexican American experience. Chicanismo, as it came to be known, would be the unifying theme for diverse groups involved in a myriad of causes and activities. To understand the development of this ethos, it is necessary to understand the generations of Mexican Americans of the post-war years. Also important to understand are those events, organizations and particularly individuals who began to have an impact on the minds of many Mexican Americans who saw a need for change in the way they lived, thought, and in the way they participated in American society. There are at least four phases to the development of the Chicano philosophical strains that guided the movement. First, the Mexican American intellectuals, politicians, students, and others came to be believed that the liberal agenda which had been seen as the solver of the community's problems was simply morally corrupt. It was a failure. This rejection of the liberal agenda led to a searching for new solutions. These solutions would be oriented toward a philosophical separatism. Second, Mexican Americans saw a need to re-interpret the past as it related to their own history and that of the Anglos who lived nearby. New heroes arose, and the community discovered its legacy of struggle. Also, they discarded the stereotypes of the lazy, passive, feebleminded Mexican American. Third, Mexican American activists, intellectuals and artists affirmed a rediscovered pride in their ethnicity and class status. Many found similarities between themselves and African Americans in their struggle for equality; others saw the similarities with Third World liberation movements of peasants and oppressed workers; and others simply saw themselves continue the Mexican Revolution of 1910 and the Chicano uprisings of the early 20th century. Finally, this philosophy was perpetuated through the individual and collective struggles of the organizations that promoted it as they met resistance or faced external attacks.