• Monthly
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $other
  • use PayPal

Spring Donation Drive

CounterPunch is a lifeboat piggybank-icon of sanity in today’s turbulent political seas. Please make a tax-deductible donation and help us continue to fight.
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

More Than Just Symbols: The Chicano Resistance Movement

The moment I first became aware of the Chicano movement for land and liberation was upon hearing about Reies Lopez Tijerina’s  takeover of a courthouse in rural New Mexico. This was in 1969 during a conversation with a Chicano GI. Soon afterwards, the movement led by Cesar Chavez to unionize the farmworkers was introduced to the US military in the form of a boycott of grapes from the California fields being organized. What this meant for military men and women was that boycott organizers worked to get the military to stop buying grapes in the military mess halls and selling them in their commissaries. My recollection is that the military refused to accept those terms but that the organizing around the boycott convinced many military members to boycott the product on their own. This scenario played out in a similar manner when lettuce was also added to the boycott list. Anyhow, back to my GI friend. It was this same GI who introduced me to the Chicano@ antiwar movement, specifically the 1969 August moratorium protests—an event that saw brutal police repression and the murder of a popular left-leaning Los Angeles television reporter named Ruben Salazar. (Hunter S. Thompson and his attorney, Oscar Zeta both wrote about these protests in the months that followed.)

These particular protests and personalities were but the tip of an iceberg when it came to the Chicano movement for land and rights. This fact becomes quite clear in the newly-released documentary film titled Symbols of Resistance: A Tribute to the Martyrs of the Chicano Movement. Produced via the San Francisco, CA.-based Freedom Archives, the film uses a conference organized by young and old activists to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the still unsolved murders of six Chicano activists who became known as Los Seis de Boulder (Boulder Six) that was held in Boulder, CO. in 2014 as its springboard. Besides honoring the fallen fighters for which the conference was held, the film provides the viewer with a concise history of the Chicano movement in the United States. It combines speakers, poets, and musicians filmed at the conference in 2014 with interviews of some of the principles.

Then there is the clincher: a wealth of historical imagery from various personal, public and other archives. It is this imagery that gives this important film substance. Indeed, it brings to life the stories of men and women who made up Los Seis de Boulder (six young people killed in a series of bombings), of Ricardo Falcon who was murdered by a right-wing racist from George Wallace’s white supremacist anti-immigrant American Independence Party, and the struggles of the foot soldiers in this movement across the US west.

In the commentary that accompanies the stories from the past, the viewer is reminded of today’s battle around Latin American immigrants and Chicano citizens; the vicious hatred of anti-immigrant/anti-Latino groups and the self-serving politicians who cater to that hate. They are also reminded of the broader history of the American West, beginning with its roots as indigenous land and then land claimed by the Spanish crown before Washington took it over. One interviewee reminds the viewer, that given this history it is the US border that is illegal, not the Mexican one. Another important aspect of this history is the political connection that developed between the more militant elements of the Chicano movement and the American Indian Movement, especially during the period of the 1973 Wounded Knee standoff between the US government and Native Americans.

This film is many things. It is a tribute to a time and a movement. It is a history of a people. It is a useful springboard for a discussion that remains as relevant today as the period it reflects upon and portrays. It is a memorial to those who fought and died in the name of liberation and justice. Perhaps most importantly, it is a reminder that struggles for justice demand determination and commitment, and sometimes even lives.

More articles by:

Ron Jacobs is the author of Daydream Sunset: Sixties Counterculture in the Seventies published by CounterPunch Books. His latest offering is a pamphlet titled Capitalism: Is the Problem.  He lives in Vermont. He can be reached at: ronj1955@gmail.com.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

Weekend Edition
May 17, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Melvin Goodman
Trump and the Middle East: a Long Record of Personal Failure
Joan Roelofs
“Get Your Endangered Species Off My Bombing Range!”
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Slouching Towards Tehran
Paul Street
It’s Even More Terrible Than You Thought
Rob Urie
Grabby Joe and the Problem of Environmental Decline
Ajamu Baraka
2020 Elections: It’s Militarism and the Military Budget Stupid!
Andrew Levine
Springtime for Biden and Democrats
Richard Moser
The Interlocking Crises: War and Climate Chaos
Ron Jacobs
Uncle Sam Needs Our Help Again?
Eric Draitser
Elizabeth Warren Was Smart to Tell FOX to Go to Hell
Peter Bolton
The Washington Post’s “Cartel of the Suns” Theory is the Latest Desperate Excuse for Why the Coup Attempt in Venezuela has Failed
Doug Johnson Hatlem
Analysis of Undecideds Suggests Biden’s Support May be Exaggerated
Peter Lackowski
Eyewitness in Venezuela: a 14-year Perspective
Karl Grossman
Can Jerry Nadler Take Down Trump?
Howie Hawkins
Does the Climate Movement Really Mean What It Says?
Gary Leupp
Bolton and the Road to the War He Wants
Jill Richardson
Climate Change was No Accident
Josh Hoxie
Debunking Myths About Wealth and Race
David Barsamian
Iran Notes
David Mattson
Social Carrying Capacity Politspeak Bamboozle
Christopher Brauchli
The Pompeo Smirk
Louis Proyect
Trotsky, Bukharin and the Eco-Modernists
Martha Burk
Will Burning at the Stake Come Next?
John W. Whitehead
The Deadly Perils of Traffic Stops in America
Binoy Kampmark
The Christchurch Pledge and a Regulated Internet
David Rosen
Florida’s Sex Wars: the Battle to Decriminalize Sex Work
Ralph Nader
Trump: Importing Dangerous Medicines and Food and Keeping Consumers in the Dark
Brett Haverstick
America’s Roadless Rules are Not Protecting Public Wildlands From Development
Alan Macleod
Purity Tests Can be a Good Thing
Binoy Kampmark
Modern Merchants of Death: the NSO Group, Spyware and Human Rights
Kim C. Domenico
Anarchism & Reconciliation, Part II
Peter LaVenia
Game of Thrones and the Truth About Class (Spoiler Warning)
Manuel E. Yepe
The Options Trump Puts on the Table
Renee Parsons
The Pompeo/Bolton Tag Team
David Swanson
Where Lyme Disease Came From and Why It Eludes Treatment
Cesar Chelala
Lowering Your Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Our Problems are Deeper than “Capitalism” (and “Socialism” Alone Can’t Solve Them)
Chris Zinda
Delegislating Wilderness
Robert Koehler
War’s Unanswered Questions
Robert P. Alvarez
Let Prison Inmates Vote
Barbara Nimri Aziz
A Novel We Can All Relate To
David Yearsley
Carmen’s Mother’s Day Lessons
Charles R. Larson
Review: Ziya Tong’s “The Reality Bubble”
Elliot Sperber
Pharaoh’s Dream
Elizabeth Keyes
Somewhere Beyond Corporate Media Yemenis Die
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail