Lunes con Lalo Delgado
The Chicano Movement: Some Not Too Objective Observations
Methods - Strategy
by Abelardo Delgado
Let us discuss methods and strategy openly, as we are accustomed to do with in our movement.
We hold no secrets from the dominant society and certainly not from one another.
The reason I use two different words for this chapter is because, at least in my mind, they are two different words. Looking about, we see that all of our lives are dominated by strong institutions with even the barrio and the campos here being considered an institution. La iglesia, la escuela, la familia, the police, the welfare system, the employment office, the credit bureau, the local, state, and federal government, the social security administration, the military and so on are but some of the mass institutions that govern our lives.
The movement is trying to do several things with these institutions from mild discredit to total elimination; they are trying to achieve partial to total control. We say that the goal, or one of the goals of the movement, is that institutional change. Institutional change whereby these institutions are more accessible to Chicanos and more responsive to the needs of the Chicano. They should be more effective in carrying out their own objectives. Methods to do this is “our thing,” and strategy within the movement to arrive at this method is another thing altogether.
In methods we now have a full file of information on how to deal with institutions --- we ridicule them, we confront them, we make demands on them, we boycott them, we picket them, and at times, we burn them down. Thus, a Chicano and the institution through the Movement, go a few rounds almost daily in different arenas.
As to strategy, we have learned that to confront, we must get busy and do our homework; research the enemy who controls the institutions: What did they promise to do? What are their strong and weak points? What is it that they respond to? Then we seek the injured or abused people at the hands of such institutions or they seek those of us who have been more successful in coping with them, and we speak, we educate, and we agitate. We admit this is not shame because Whites, while giving their word with negative connotation, indulge themselves in the most vicious form of agitation and distortion of truth. When we use the word “agitate,” we mean reminding ourselves that many screwing we have been dealt, and getting enough “huevos” to say enough.
There are millions of dollars and a million talents betting that much of the movement can, in fact, be financed by the government through O.E.O and H.E.W. And other related programs and that some good can come of playing the O.E.O. game. Much also exists to the contrary arguing that all the government programs do is retard any real progress for Chicanos.
There is no evident sign that Washington wishes to abolish poverty, or else it would launch a war against the causes of poverty, rather than on poverty itself. Don't tell me poverty comes about from a lack of education.
Whether we agree or not, some of us are involved in creating change and educating the community with poverty funds is considered very much a method, if no strategy. Time alone will prove us right or wrong.
The question of militancy must be entertained in discussing methods and strategy with in the Movement and, to that, all I can say is that while we can answer “yes” to the charge of being ill-educated, we must answer “no” to the charge of being stupid. Few advocate militancy associated with violence, but most of us advocate militancy in exposing our problems and demanding change, protection and self-defense at all costs.
Part IV Goals
from The Chicano Movement: Some Not Too Objective Observations by Abelardo B. Delgado, (Denver: Colorado Migrant Council, 1971), prepared by the Colorado Migrant Council. Published with permission from the Delgado Estate. (c) Abelardo Delgado 1971.