Plan de Santa Barbara

The Plan de Santa Barabara emerged in 1970 with the key idea that the universities should serve the interests of hte Chicano community. It soon became the "rallying point for establishing scores of academic department and programs wihtin California universities" 18. It too was very influential in the Chicano Movement.



For all peoples, as with individuals, the time comes when they must reckon with their history. For the Chicano the present is a time of renaissance, of renacimiento. Our people and our community, el barrio and la colonia, are expressing a new consciousness a! nd a new resolve. Recognizing the historical tasks confronting our people and fully aware of the cost of human progress, we pledge our will to move. We will move forward toward our destiny as a people. We will move against those forces which has denied us freedom of expression and human dignity. Throughout history the quest for cultural expression and freedom has taken the form of a struggle. Our struggle tempered by the lessons of the American past, is an historical reality.

For decades Mexican people in the United States struggled to realize the "American Dream." And some--a few--have. But the cost, the ultimate cost of assimilation, required turning away from el barrio and la colonia. In the meantime, due to the racist structure of this society, to our essentially different life style, and to the socioeconomic functions assigned to our community by Anglo-American society--as suppliers of cheap labor and dumping ground for the small-time ca! pitalist entrepreneur--the barrio and colonia remained exploited, impo verished, and marginal.

As a result, the self-determination of our community is now the only acceptable mandate for social and political action; it is the essence of Chicano commitment. Culturally, the word Chicano, in the past a pejorative and class-bound adjective, has now become the root idea of a new cultural identity for our people. It also reveals a growing solidarity and the development of a common social praxis. The widespread use of the term Chicano today signals a rebirth of pride and confidence. Chicanismo simply embodies an ancient truth: that a person is never closer to his/her true self as when he/she is close to his/her community.

Chicanismo draws its faith and strength from two main sources: from the struggle of our people and from an objective analysis of our community's strategic needs. We recognize that without a strategic use of education, an education that places value on what we value, we will not realize our ! destiny. Chicanos recognize the central importance of institutions of higher learning to modern progress, in this case, to the development of our community. But we go further: we believe that higher education must contribute to the information of a complete person who truly values life and freedom.

The destiny of our people will be fulfilled. To that end, we pledge our efforts and take as our credo what Jose Vasconcelos once said at time of crisis and hope: "At this moment we do not come to work for the university, but to demand that the university work for our people."

Political Action

For the Movement, political action essentially means influencing the decision-making process of those institutions, which affect Chicanos, the university, community organizations, and non-community institutions. Political action encompasses the elements, which function in a progression: political consciousness, polit! ical mobilization, and tactics.

Commitment to th e struggle for Chicano liberation is the operative definition of the ideology here. Chicanismo involves a crucial distinction in political consciousness between a Mexican-American (or Hispanic) and a Chicano mentality. The Mexican-American (or Hispanic) is a person who lacks self-respect and pride in one's ethnic and cultural background. Thus, the Chicano acts with confidence and with a range of alternatives in the political world. He is capable of developing an effective ideology through action.

Mexican-Americans (or Hispanics) must be viewed as potential Chicanos. Chicanismo is flexible enough to relate to the varying levels of consciousness within La Raza. Regional variations must always be kept in mind as well as the different levels of development, composition, maturity, achievement, and experience in political action. Cultural nationalism is a means of total Chicano liberation.

Campus Organizing: Notes on MEChA

MEChA is a first step to tying the student groups throughout the Southwest into a vibrant and responsive network of activists who will respond as a unit to oppression and racism and will work in harmony when initiating and carrying out campaigns of liberation for our people.

As of present, wherever one travels throughout the Southwest, one finds that there are different levels of awareness on different campuses. The student movement is to a large degree a political movement and as such must not elicit from our people the negative responses that we have experienced so often in the past in relation to politics, and often with good reason. To this end, then we must re-define politics for our people to be a means of liberation. The political sophistication of our Raza must be raised so that they do not fall prey to apologists and vendidos whose whole interest is their personal career or fortune. In addition, the student movement is more than a poli! tical movement, it is cultural and social as well. The spirit of MEChA must be one of "hermandad" and cultural awareness. The ethic of profit and competition, of greed and intolerance, with the Anglo society offers must be replaced by our ancestral communalism and love for beauty and justice. MEChA must bring to the mind of every young Chicano that the liberation of his people from prejudice and oppression is in his hands and this responsibility is greater than personal achievement and more meaningful than degrees, especially if they are earned at the expense of his identity and cultural integrity.

MEChA, then, is more than a name; it is a spirit of unity, of brotherhood, and a resolve to undertake a struggle for liberation in society where justice is but a word. MEChA is a means to an end.

Function of MEChA--To the Student

To socialize and politicize Chicano students on their particular campus to the ideals of the movement. It is important that every Chicano student o! n campus be made to feel that he has a place on the campus and that he/she has a feeling of familia with his/her Chicano brothers and sisters. Therefore, the organization in its flurry of activities and projects must not forget or overlook the human factor of friendship, understanding, trust, etc. As well as stimulating hermandad, this approach can also be looked at in more pragmatic terms. If enough trust, friendship, and understanding are generated, then the loyalty and support can be relied upon when a crisis faces the group or community. This attitude must not merely provide a social club atmosphere but the strengths, weaknesses, and talents of each member should be known so that they may be utilized to the greatest advantage. Know one another. Part of the reason that the student will come to the organization is in search of self-fulfillment. Give that individual the opportunity to show what he/she can do. Although the Movement stresses collective behavior, it is import! ant that the individual be recognized and given credit for his/her eff orts. When people who work in close association know one another well, it is more conducive to self-criticism and re-evaluation, and this every MEChA person must be willing to submit to. Periodic self-criticism often eliminates static cycles of unproductive behavior. It is an opportunity for fresh approaches to old problems to be surfaced and aired; it gives new leadership a chance to emerge; and must be recognized as a vital part of MEChA. MEChA can be considered a training ground for leadership, and as such no one member or group of members should dominate the leadership positions for long periods of time. This tends to take care of itself considering the transitory nature of students.

Function of MEChA-Education

It is a fact that the Chicano has not often enough written his/her own history, his/her own anthropology, his/her own sociology, his/her own literature. He/she must do this if he is to survive as a cultural entity in thi! s melting pot society which seeks to dilute varied cultures into a gray upon gray pseudo-culture of technology and materialism. The Chicano student is doing most of the work in the establishment of study programs, centers, curriculum development, and entrance programs to get more Chicanos into college. This is good and must continue, but students must be careful not to be co-opted in their fervor for establishing relevance on the campus. Much of what is being offered by college systems and administrators is too little too late. MEChA must not compromise programs and curriculum which are essential for the total education of the Chicano for the sake of expediency. The students must not become so engrossed in programs and centers created along established academic guidelines that they forget the needs of the people which these institutions are meant to serve. To this end, Barrio input must always be given full and open hearing when designing these programs, when creating them,! and in running them. The jobs created by these projects must be fille d by competent Chicanos, not only the Chicano who has the traditional credentials required for the position, but one who has the credentials of the Raza. Too often in the past the dedicated pushed for a program only to have a vendido sharp-talker come in and take over and start working for his Anglo administrator. Therefore, students must demand a say in the recruitment and selection of all directors and assistant directors of student-initiated programs. To further insure strong if not complete control and direction and running of programs, all advisory and steering committees should have both student and community components as well as sympathetic Chicano faculty as members.

Tying the campus to the Barrio. The colleges and universities in the past have existed in an aura of omnipotence and infallibility. It is time that they be made responsible and responsive to the communities in which they are located or whose members they serve. As has already been ! mentioned, community members should serve on all programs related to Chicano interests. In addition to this, all attempts must be made to take the college and university to the Barrio, whether it be in form of classes giving college credit or community centers financed by the school for the use of community organizations and groups. Also, the Barrio must be brought to the campus, whether it be for special programs or ongoing services which the school provides for the people of the Barrio. The idea must be made clear to the people of the Barrio that they own the schools and the schools and all their resources are at their disposal. The student group must utilize the resources open to the school for the benefit of the Barrio at every opportunity. This can be done by hiring more Chicanos to work as academic and non-academic personnel on the campus; this often requires exposure of racist hiring practices now in operation in many colleges and universities. When functions, social! or otherwise, are held in the Barrio under the sponsorship of the col lege and university, moneys should be spent in the Barrio. This applies to hiring Chicano contractors to build on campus, etc. Many colleges and universities have publishing operations which could be forced to accept Barrio works for publication. Many other things could be considered in using the resources of the school to the Barrio. There are possibilities for using the physical plant and facilities not mentioned here, but this is an area which has great potential.

MEChA in the Barrio

Most colleges in the Southwest are located near or in the same town as a Barrio. Therefore, it is the responsibility of MEChA members to establish close working relationships with organizations in that Barrio. The MEChA people must be able to take the pulse of the Barrio and be able to respond to it. However, MEChA must be careful not to overstep its authority or duplicate the efforts of another organization already in the Barrio. MEChA must be able! to relate to all segments of the Barrio, from the middle-class assimilationists to the vatos locos.

Obviously, every Barrio has its particular needs, and MEChA people must determine with the help of those in the Barrio where they can be most effective. There are, however, some general areas which MEChA can involve itself. Some of these are:

(1) policing social and governmental agencies to make them more responsive in a humane and dignified way to the people of the Barrio

(2) carrying out research on the economic and credit policies of merchants in the Barrio and exposing fraudulent and exorbitant establishments

(3) speaking and communicating with junior high and other high school students, helping with projects, teaching them organizational techniques, supporting their actions

(4) spreading the message of the movement by any media available--this means speaking, ra! dio, television, local newspaper, underground papers, posters, art, th eaters; in short, spreading propaganda of the Movement

(5) exposing discrimination in hiring and renting practices and many other areas which the student because on his/her mobility, his/her articulation, and his/her vigor should take as his/her responsibility. It may mean at times having to work in conjunction with other organizations. If this is the case and the project is one begun by the other organization, realize that MEChA is there as a supporter and should accept the direction of the group involved. Do not let loyalty to an organization cloud responsibility to a greater force--La Causa.

Working in the Barrio is an honor, but is also a right because we come from these people, and as, mutual respect between the Barrio and the college group should be the rule. Understand at the same time, however, that there will initially be mistrust and often envy on the part of some in the Barrio for the college student. This mistrust must ! be broken down by a demonstration of affection for the Barrio and La Raza through hard work and dedication. If the approach is one of a dilettante or of a Peace Corps volunteer, the people will know it and act accordingly. If it is merely a cathartic experience to work among the unfortunate in the Barrio--Stay Out.

Of the community, for the community. Por la raza habla el espiritu.