"Chicano writers from El Paso are the most progressive, open-minded, far-reaching, and inclusive writers of them all."

Octavio Romano

Monday, February 07, 2011

Lunes con Lalo: Some Not Too Objective Observations on The Movement and the Drug Cult

Painting by Emmanuel Martinez of Abelardo and Dolores Delgado

Lunes con Lalo Delgado
from The Chicano Movement: Some Not Too Objective Observations

The Movement – Drug Cult – Crime

by Abelardo "Lalo" Delgado
The decoys for real movement involvement are many, and the abuses in the name of the Chicano Movement, many more. Mistaking liberation with freedom to abuse is not peculiar of us Chicanos only. All other ongoing movements have their share of phonies and pseudo-involved, semi-committed plagiarists. 

Among us, then, are some who think that being Chicanos, declaring ourselves free, will absolve us from any social responsibilities. The contrary is true. By being Chicanos, and by being in the movement, more obligations must be shouldered. 

We do not with to go back to the old pachuco battles in which we unleashed our frustrations of living under the dominance of an Anglo culture where we wished to remain intact in our own world by blowing pot, sniffing glue, hitting the needle, popping pildoras (pills), or organizing gangs to knife one another.

We are still, however, doing these things to a letter degree, but trying to do them in the name of the Chicano Movement just won't go. We do not disclaim those Chicanos; for one of the characteristics of the movement is trying to embrace all Chicanos, but efforts are being made, and must continue, to get these Chicanos away from dope and crime, and to join the movement.

Some rationale is even given to shoplifting in relation to the movement. We say we are not shoplifting, but “liberating.” While this may sink with some of us, it gives a wrong impression of the movement and accomplishes what I call losing ourselves in the quest, so that when we find what we are looking for, we have lost ourselves. 

It is, however, simple to understand that those bent on crime, who do their thing for mere “kicks” or with little purpose, would do better to risk their lives for something more meaningful.

When another rationale is explained for using drugs, I cannot help bu show how square I really must be in, failing to see it their way. They claim that because Indian tribes used drugs to get a high in their spiritual rites, we, the direct descendants of those tribes, can go ahead and do likewise. If the rationale applies, then we are kind of phony, for we fail to want to emulate many of the other men-things the Indians did. 

It isn't that I'm launching an anti-dope movement and using this chapter to preach it, but I have seen much in my thirty-nine years that tell me that those choosing to serve the drug cult serve very little else. A hooked guy is not good to the movement, for his every action is directed in keeping his vicio (habit) well supplied, and he would not hesitate putting movement matters second or betraying his carnales.

The movement calls for priest-like dedication, in which even families must take a second place. It is that serious, and one can do very little else. The question of grass I one that has me puzzled, and I cannot offer a suggestion on something I am not sure about myself. I know many movement people who use the weed, and are neither dependent on it nor interrupted in their quest for justice. The pot question is being presently scientifically debated as being injurious or leading to hard stuff, and the only hang-up is the legal one. 

I may say this, “if you are in the movement and can afford to take time out to fight a 'bust' for grass, pay the fine, or discredit the movement in the eyes of the jefitos, then, it is green light for you.” Most of us know that the vast majority of Chicanos are prudish when it comes to this and take no second looks; but go on to condemn blindly even good “Grifos.”

A revolutionary act, as many would like to claim their petty crimes are, is something well thought out and noble and involves a risky sacrifice for La Causa. Few, if any, crimes committed by Chicanos fall into this category. 

The Chicano Movement, when you take a good look at what it really is, is not a very attractive thing. The movement calls for sacrifice even beyond that which most of us are already enduring. It calls for creativeness and not merely emulating others; it calls for hard work and for catching very little resting pauses here and there. It is not like the army, a two-year stretch, but a lifetime commitment.

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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, all right reserved. This may not be republished with out the permission of the Delgado estate.

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