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The KUT Longhorn Radio Network Presents: Mexican American Experience Collection

Audio recordings including interviews, music, and informational programs related to the Mexican American community and their concerns in the series "The Mexican American Experience" and "A esta hora conversamos" from the Longhorn Radio Network, 1976-1982.

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Chicano Politics
Program #

Alejandro Saenz
José Angel Gutiérrez
Feb 15, 1978

Chicano Politics

Dr. Jose Angel Gutierrez discusses the current state and future of La Raza Unida Party and Chicano politics. Gutierrez founded the party in 1970 in Crystal City, Texas. Since then the party has run candidates for several major local, state, and federal elections. Despite government harassment and sabotage, Gutierrez explains that they continue organizing around Chicano issues, and have successfully lobbied for a lower voting age and a bilingual ballot, among other issues. In Crystal City, and other cities where Mexican Americans are a majority, the party has made significant gains, including lowering the dropout-rate, increasing the number of students going to college, and organizing urban renewal programs.

Gutierrez explains that the Democratic and the Republican party both support the same economic and social structures that exclude Mexican Americans. He says that Chicanos need to be able to control their own affairs and strategy and he believes La Raza Unida provides that political space. He hopes that La Raza Unida will be able to move from local victories to regional ones. Moreover, they are working to form contacts with other minority groups, separatist groups and progressive organizations. Gutierrez also explains the party’s relations with the Mexican Government, which has provided scholarships and moral support for La Raza’s project. Gutierrez says that Chicanos need to take resources and services wherever they can get them, including from the federal government, with the understanding that those funds will increase the quality of life, but will not lead to community liberation. He also discusses the party’s relations with historically more conservative Mexican American organizations, such as LULAC and the GI Forum.


Center for Mexican American Studies | Department of History | The Benson Latin American Collection

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