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"Mexicanos Need to Control Their Own Destiny"
Digital History ID 3707


Date:1970

Document: For years, the Chicano farmworker has made up the majority of the population in the South Texas counties. But he goes trucking across the country on his summer vacation…and so he’s never there to vote….

We were…starved for any kind of meaningful participation in decision making, policy making and leadership positions. For a long time we have not been satisfied with the type of leadership that has been picked for us….

[The established political parties- have transformed this leadership into a kind of broker, a real estate guy who deals in the number of votes or precincts he can deliver or the geographical areas he can control. And he is a tape recorder—he puts out what the party says….

You’ve got a median educational level among mexicanos in Zavala County of 2.3 grades. In La Salle it’s just a little worse—about 1.5 grades.

The median family income in La Salle is $1,574 a year. In Zavala it’s about $1,754. The ratio of doctors, the number of newspapers, the health, housing, hunger, malnutrition, illiteracy, poverty, lack of political representation—all these thigns put together spell one word: colonialism. You’ve got a handful of gringos controlling the lives of muchos mexicanos….

In 1960 there were 26 Texas counties in which Chicanos were a majority, yet not one of those counties was in the control of Chicanos….

Our actions have made “La Raza Unida” more than just a slogan…. We began organizing and moving in to counter-attack every time the gringo tried to put pressure on the mexicano. Boycott his store. Point the finger at him. Expose him for the animal that he is. Bring in the newspapers and photographers and the tape recorders….

Source: Jose Angel Guitierrez, The Militant, June 19, 1970

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