La Raza Unida Party: A Chicano Challenge to the U.S. Two-party Dictatorship

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Temple University Press, Aug 28, 2000 - Political Science - 360 pages
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Over the years, third parties have arisen sporadically to challenge the hegemony of the United States' two major political parties. But not until the emergence† of the Raza Unida Party (RUP) in 1970 did an ethnic group organize to fight for political control at the country's ballot boxes. This book, by noted Chicano movement theorist Armando Navarro, is the most comprehensive study of the party ever put together.

La Raza Unida Party traces the party from its beginnings in 1970 to its demise in 1981 -- the events, leaders, ideology, structure, strategy and tactics, successes and problems, and electoral campaigns that marked its trajectory. The book covers political organizing in California, Texas, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and the Midwest, as well as RUP's national and international politics and its party profile. In addition, its suggests options for future political arena. Based on 161 interviews, access to numerous documents, letters, minutes, diaries, and position papers, as well as such published sources as contemporary newspaper and magazine accounts and campaign literature, the study is enriched by Professor Navarro's accounts of his own experiences as one of the organizers of the RUP in California.

La Raza Unida Party represents the culmination of the story of Chicano militancy that Professor Navarro has related in his earlier books. It goes beyond mere history-telling to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of ethnic-identity political parties and the perils of challenging the two-party dictatorship that characterizes U.S. electoral politics.
 

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Contents

Catalyst for Empowerment The Rise of RUP in Texas 1970
21
RUPs Expansion Statewide The Beginning of the End 19711974
41
Victim of the Politics of SelfDestruction The Decline of RUP in Texas 19751978
59
A Cadre Party of Ultranationalism The Rise and Fall of RUP in Colorado 19701976
80
The Cucamonga Experiment The Precursor of RUP in California 19681973
108
A Partido of Clashing Caciques and Ideologies The Rise of RUP in California 19711972
134
A Casualty of the Viva Yo Generation The Decline of RUP in California 19731981
156
A Vehicle for SelfDetermination The Rise and Fall of RUP in New Mexico 19711984
173
Instrument of Change and Service The Rise and Fall of RUP in Arizona 19711974
202
Pressure Group Service Provider or Partido? The Rise and Fall of RUP in the Midwest and Utah 19721976
219
Rationale for Expansion RUPs National and International Politics
231
Profile of a Chicano Partido The Unfinished Partido Experiment
261
Prospectus for a New Partido and Movement
283
Notes
301
Index
346
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Page 2 - Party is a body of men united for promoting by their joint endeavors the national interest upon some particular principle in which they are all agreed.
Page 11 - ... Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed ; That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or...
Page 5 - In general," writes William B. Hesseltine,2 " third parties have performed the function of calling attention to serious problems and pointing a way to their solution. They have stimulated — sometimes by frightening them — the lethargic or timid politicians of the major parties. They have advocated reforms which the older parties have adopted and enacted into law. And sometimes they have trained leaders for the major parties.
Page 2 - I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever in religion, in philosophy, in politics, or in anything else where I was capable of thinking for myself. Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent. If I could not go to heaven but with a party, I would not go there at all.
Page 9 - No America without democracy, no democracy without politics, no politics without parties, no parties without compromise and moderation.

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About the author (2000)

Armando Navarro is Professor and Chair of the Department of Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Riverside. He is the author of Mexican American Youth Organization: Avant-Garde of the Chicano Movement in Texas and The Cristal Experiment: A Chicano Struggle for Community Control.

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