The Facts Behind the Myths
Fox News, the GOP, and MEChA
Ralph de Unamuno
?The historic mission of M.E.Ch.A. involves an educational plan of action that builds an educational ladder for the advancement of our people.? ? MEChA Philosophy Papers.
Published on LatinoLA: September 4, 2003
Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante has come under fire recently for his past membership in MEChA. I think that it safe to say the GOP, its radio frequency: AM Hate-talk radio, and the Republican Party?s AM-ification of TV: Fox News are not afraid of MEChA, but rather the possibility of a Latino governor in California. It seems that the right-wing cannot pass up an opportunity to bash La Raza when it has an opportunity to do so at a mational level. And with the recall election, all eyes are on California.
It is fortunate and much appreciated that many politicians and community leaders have come forward in defense of MEChA. Interestingly enough, many have not renounced their membership or experience with the organization. This solidarity has gone across all racial lines because, contrary to rumor, MEChA chapters work in coalition with peoples of all colors, religious backgrounds, sexual orientations, and classes. MEChA?s critics, the right-wing, push forth recall elections, block Black voters from voting in Florida, bomb Iraqis, justifying invasion using false information, and create racially divisive measures like Prop. 187, Prop. 209, Prop 227, Prop 21 & 22, and Prop 54.
Who then are the racists?
As a MEChA alumni and as a former advisor to a University MEChA chapter, it has become painfully clear that many people in the Chicana/o, Latina/o community and others do not know what MEChA stands for or believes in. In fact, many believe that MEChA has been trapped in amber since the 1970?s.
I have provided here a breakdown of the myths being perpetrated by the right-wing and Fox News, which are unfortunately being picked up without review by most other news organizations. A few things must be noted about the sources of Fox News? information in regards to MEChA. The first news organization to cover Bustamante?s MEChA ties was the Fox News network. Fox News cut and pasted a tirade from the anti-Mexican Sherman Oaks, CA-based nativist group Voices of Citizens Together (VCT) website. You?ve may have noticed that Fox News? reports are completely unsourced. All other news organizations ran with Fox?s story.
Haven?t the media learned anything from the New York Times and Jayson Blair?
Myth #1: MEChA?s motto is: ??Por La Raza Todo, Fuera de La Raza Nada!?
Fact: MEChA?s motto is: ?La Union Hace La Fuerza.?
Myth #2: MEChA is a racist organization because its constitution is ?El Plan de Aztlan? and its sole aims are to implement the goals printed in El Plan de Aztlan.
Facts: MEChA has a formal constitution; ?El Plan de Aztlan? is a document that was written before MEChA was established. MEChA?s founding document is El Plan de Santa Barbara, not El Plan de Aztlan.
El Plan de Aztlan is an historical document of the Chicano movement. As such MEChA would not renounce the collective history of our peoples Civil Rights struggle by denouncing what is inarguably the true history of the southwest. The facts are that the southwest was invaded upon by Anglos under the white supremacist banner of ?Manifest Destiny? in 1836 and 1846. The invasion was so brutal that Irish-American soldiers deserted in droves and formed the St. Patrick?s brigade and fought against U.S. forces in defense of the Mexican peasantry (anyone ever wonder why there are so many redheads in Northern Mexico?). In fact, the red stripe on the pants of the dress blues of the US Marine Corps. symbolizes the blood of the Mexican peasantry that was spilled by US aggression, to always remind the Corp of what it did to the Mexican civilian population in 1846- 48. People?s ideologies may change, but we would not denounce El Plan de Aztlan, just like many in the African- American community would not denounce the legacy of the Black Panthers or Malcolm X in the current African-American struggles for Human and Civil rights in the U.S. today.
Myth #3: MEChA?s goals are to give the southwest back to Mexico.
Facts: MEChA is just as critical of Mexico?s politicies as they are of the United States. Mechistas are quite aware that it takes two to tango, and that it is as a result of Mexican and U.S. economic policies that many Mechistas of Mexican descent are in the U.S. MEChA is a supporter of the EZLN, thus we are quite aware that racism and class warfare are as rampant in Mexico as they are in the US.
MEChA believes that ?the term Chicano is grounded in a philosophy, not a nationality. Chicanismo does not exclude anyone, rather it includes those who acknowledge and work toward the betterment of La Raza.?
Thus, MEChA is not a Mexican or Mexican-American organization. In 1999, MEChA changed its philosophy and declared itself to be part of the intercontinental Indigenous Struggle of the Americas. Thus, we are internationalist in scope, and stand in solidarity and support the aboriginal rights of all the indigenous peoples of the Americas and we no longer recognize the borders of any colonial nation-state.
Myth #4: MEChA wants to create a separate nation-state only for Chicanos.
Facts: MEChA refers to the liberation of Aztlan as the liberation of our people from oppressions and ignorance -- a spiritual liberation. And unless you've lived under a rock for the last 15 years, you should make a note of this: The southwest is already Chicana/o-Latina/o! Regardless, MEChA does not believe in nation-state borders: ?We didn?t cross the borders, the borders crossed us!?
Myth #5: MEChA is a violent organization.
Facts: MEChA is a non-violent organization; this is the legacy of the late, great Cesar Chavez that MEChA has internalized. MEChA?s official philosophy states it is a non-violent organization. In fact, MEChA believes it must ?combat all forms of oppression, and manifestations as experienced through racism, sexism, and homophobia, both inside and outside of our Movement, in order to better develop a more meaningful educational plan of action (refer to Goals and Objectives). Advocating an educational revolution, we recognize that our bullets are our books and our victories are an increase in Chicana/Chicano graduates committed to our people's progress. ?
Myth #6: MEChA is affiliated with The Voz de Aztlan website.
Fact: MEChAs all over California have denounced The Voz de Azltan for its rabid homophobia.
Myth #7: MEChA is a radical & militant organization.
Fact: If you think that getting Chicana/os and Latina/os to graduate from High School and obtain advanced degrees at colleges and Universities is a radical idea or that standing up for immigrants rights, and resisting the racists, sexist, homophobic, and class warfare perpetrated by reactionary forces in society is a militant course of action? well this myth may in fact be true!
Ralph de Unamuno:
Ralph de Unamuno is a grad student at UCLA and is waiting for the day that Fox News will be declared a 24 hour a day Republican infomercial.