Plan Espiritual de Aztlán

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The Plan Espiritual de Aztlán (English: "Spiritual Plan of Aztlán") was a pro-indigenist manifesto advocating Chicano nationalism and self-determination for Mexican Americans. It was adopted by the First National Chicano Liberation Youth Conference, a March 1969 convention hosted by Rodolfo Gonzales's Crusade for Justice in Denver, Colorado.[1]

Background[2][edit]

The Chicano Movement was one of many movements of the late 1960s and 1970s, like the Black nationalism movement of the United States or the Black Consciousness Movement of South Africa, in which people of color in white-ruled societies adopted the ideas of nationalist liberation movements that had successfully overthrown colonial regimes in Africa and Asia.

In a territory of the Mexican Cession where Mexican American history was often neglected in education, and where discrimination against and segregation of Mexican Americans was common, the idea of a program of decolonization had special resonance for young Mexican American activists, who called themselves "Chicanos" as a mark of pride. The reconfiguration of the mythic idea of Aztlán was an important part of this movement, and El Plan Espiritual de Aztlán was an extension of that idea. The document was written by the poet and activist, Alurista.[1]

Community Control[edit]

One of the demands that was communicated in El Plan was that of control over Chicano communities by the Chicano people. This is a common demand for social justice movements, the first on the ten point program created by the Black Panther Party states, “We want freedom. We want power to determine the destiny of our Black Community”. It is clear that social justice movements that advocate for communities of color see the need for representation regarding the present and future of said communities. In El Plan, it is stated that, “Our struggle then must be for the control of our barrios, campos, pueblos, lands, our economy, our culture, and our political life”[2] This want for control over Chicano communities includes the need for representation in higher education, referring to El Plan De Santa Barbara.

Political Nationalism[edit]

When El Plan de Aztlan was introduced, there was also a strong initiative for the creation of Chicano Nationalism within communities, dubbed 'Raza Nationalism'. This was in response to the notion that there is a rejection of traditional Democratic and Republican political parties. El Plan states how nationalism is the key to organization transcends all religious, political, class, and economic factions or boundaries. Nationalism is the common denominator that all members of La Raza can agree upon.[2] The concept of Chicano Nationalism was created to be seen as a way to advert from what was conceptualized as oppressive systems of democracy. It created a political middle ground for the Chicano movement and community. This also relates to the Raza Unida Party, a political party that was centered around Chicano Nationalism which leaned toward democratic values.

Organizational Goals[edit]

This list of Organizational goals is pulled directly from the El Plan de Aztlan document[2] itself.

"1. UNITY in the thinking of our people concerning the barrios, the pueblo, the campo, the land, the poor, the middle class, the professional-all committed to the liberation of La Raza.

2. ECONOMY: economic control of our lives and our communities can only come about by driving the exploiter out of our communities, our pueblos, and our lands and by controlling and developing our own talents, sweat, and resources. Cultural background and values which ignore materialism and embrace humanism will contribute to the act of cooperative buying and the distribution of resources and production to sustain an economic base for healthy growth and development Lands rightfully ours will be fought for and defended. Land and realty ownership will be acquired by the community for the people's welfare. Economic ties of responsibility must be secured by nationalism and the Chicano defense units.

3. EDUCATION must be relative to our people, i.e., history, culture, bilingual education, contributions, etc. Community control of our schools, our teachers, our administrators, our counselors, and our programs.

4. INSTITUTIONS shall serve our people by providing the service necessary for a full life and their welfare on the basis of restitution, not handouts or beggar's crumbs. Restitution for past economic slavery, political exploitation, ethnic and cultural psychological destruction and denial of civil and human rights. Institutions in our community which do not serve the people have no place in the community. The institutions belong to the people.

5. SELF-DEFENSE of the community must rely on the combined strength of the people. The front line defense will come from the barrios, the campos, the pueblos, and the ranchitos. Their involvement as protectors of their people will be given respect and dignity. They in turn offer their responsibility and their lives for their people. Those who place themselves in the front ranks for their people do so out of love and carnalismo. Those institutions which are fattened by our brothers to provide employment and political pork barrels for the gringo will do so only as acts of liberation and for La Causa. For the very young there will no longer be acts of juvenile delinquency, but revolutionary acts.

6. CULTURAL values of our people strengthen our identity and the moral backbone of the movement. Our culture unites and educates the family of La Raza towards liberation with one heart and one mind. We must insure that our writers, poets, musicians, and artists produce literature and art that is appealing to our people and relates to our revolutionary culture. Our cultural values of life, family, and home will serve as a powerful weapon to defeat the gringo dollar value system and encourage the process of love and brotherhood.

7. POLITICAL LIBERATION can only come through independent action on our part, since the two-party system is the same animal with two heads that feed from the same trough. Where we are a majority, we will control; where we are a minority, we will represent a pressure group; nationally, we will represent one party: La Familia de La Raza!"

Origin and adoption[edit]

During the conference, a young poet named Alurista, born in Mexico but raised in San Diego, took the stage. To a captivated audience, he read the words,

In the spirit of a new people that is conscious not only of its proud historical heritage but also of the brutal "gringo" invasion of our territories, we, the Chicano inhabitants and civilizers of the northern land of Aztlan from whence came our forefathers, reclaiming the land of their birth and consecrating the determination of our people of the sun, declare that the call of our blood is our power, our responsibility, and our inevitable destiny.

The poem, El Plan Espiritual de Aztlán, became the title of the manifesto, and the poem became its preamble. Alurista went on to become the "poet laureate of Aztlán".

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Acuna, Rodolfo F. (2011). The Making of Chicana/o Studies: In the Trenches of Academe. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press. p. 44. ISBN 9780813550701. 
  2. ^ a b c d National Chicano Youth Liberation Conference (1969). El Plan de Atzlan. Denver, Colorado. 

External links[edit]