CHICANO POWER: The Emergence of Mexican America by Tony Castro

CHICANO POWER: The Emergence of Mexican America

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In 1972 even the Nixon organization recognized the ferment among traditionally quiescent, Democratic Mexican-Americans and capitalized on their discontent with a surprisingly successful ""Chicano strategy,"" Dismayed as journalist Tony Castro is by Nixon's ability to trade largely token ""concessions"" for votes, he sees the GOP's triumph as only one of the more superficial aspects of the new direction in the Chicano movement -- a direction exemplified by the emergence of the electorally oriented Raza Unida party. For outsiders, Castro's map of the movement's internal dynamics will be most revealing in its view of the ""Chicano Moses,"" Cesar Chavez, whom younger activists reject as overcommitted to the national unions, the Democratic Party and his own saintly image. Similarly, the fiery Tijerina, once a symbol of militance for his courthouse raid, has emerged from prison preaching an embarrassingly conciliatory brand of ""brotherhood."" Castro himself hopes that La Raza Unida will gain leverage for Chicanos by practicing the balance of power politics, but the split between the party's national and Texas wings, led respectively by separatist, macho-tongued Corky Gonzales and the more fluid, new-style theoretician Jose Angel Gutierrez, leaves its future course in doubt. Although Castro's sympathies lie with his fellow Texan, Gutierrez, he takes pains to present all factions judiciously -- in fact he is sometimes so judicious that one longs for a touch of the bold Chicano style which he finds so sadly lacking in such highly visible leaders as Senator Montoya. Butressed by historical background, notes on current Southwest politics and biographical sketches of prominent Chicanos, this will be, however, an essential guide for the would-be saavy Anglo.

Pub Date: Aug. 29th, 1974
Publisher: Saturday Review Press/Dutton