Lunes con Lalo
The Chicano Movement Some Not Too Objective Observations
The Movement – Politica
by Abelardo B. Delgado
The movement has, by now, a political base and platform. We start with the identification of our own goals as not being merely politics, but objectives. A means to exercise the needed community control and solicit genuine responses to our very basic needs can be offered in our own political party.
There is within the Chicano community a sort of hesitancy to accept the new party, La Raza Unida Party, because many Chicanos, in fact, were gaining some political input through the Democratic party in some posts and control, although limited, and by and large, tokenistic. You know what I am referring to: the City Councils of five or six managing to come up with a fifth or sixth candidate being a Chicano.
This has tended to confuse, irritate, and retract, rather than advance the Chicano community by the fact that we wind up explaining our problems to a Chicano who either knows them already firsthand, and would not do anything on our behalf but show himself up as an example of, “If you try hard you can do it. Look at me.”
Also, if he were an honest Chicano wishing to do something for us, he would soon find himself so incapable under the structure in which he operates that he either gives up and quits or sells out.
La Raza Unida came into the picture knowledgeable of these and other weaknesses in trying to participate in the two existing parties. Before La Raza Unida came into the picture, the Chicano, generally speaking, refrained from voting, sensing the futility of it all. While a few candidates touched on some pertinent issues now and then, the “wait and see” philosophy was adopted by most Chicano communities.
It would be foolish for me to indicate here that politics are not important and that La Raza Unida doesn't know this, and is only out to rabble rouse and look pretty for campaign pictures or practice speech delivery. We have shown we are sincere in getting into office and taking care of our needs.
Most candidates realize that the party cannot suggest to be interested in serving only the Chicano community and expect to win. The Blacks and Whites who are also economic and educational victims of the economical layer systems, must be protected, and the only party which can claim that, has to be La Raza Unida.
La Raza Unida is not dishonest in their efforts to nationalize and organize the Chicano communities first, nor are their efforts unAmerican because their interests are clearly to make American citizens of Mexican descent full participants in our American government process. If their clientele or following is our unique Raza with our unique differences, it is only at the chronic neglect of the other two parties that we are managing to be successful.
There is no denial that playing or advancing with our Chicano Movement in this direction is a very dangerous route. We have learned that to initiate any serious moves in this direction spells out an economic persecution for those who dare become candidates.
We are also aware that any major gains in having the party locally, state, or nationally recognized is a very serious threat to the Democratic party and that smart Republicans are even willing to financially push for our existence since it is a common fact that if the party gathers any strong following, it may be at the expense of the Democrats (since a large affiliation of Chicanos are enjoyed by them, presently).
I can see and must not fail to point that to millions of frustrated Chicanos, who have been greatly disillusioned by both parties and who regain some hope in La Raza Unida. A failure of La Raza Unida to be genuinely concerned them, would be fatal. This imposes a tremendous burden on all Raza Unida candidates because they have taken the stand that they are neither politicos or “mentirosos” and must show a new alternative.
Other parts of this series:
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 Family. Special thanks for Dolores Delgado. (c) Abelardo Delgado 1971.