Get ‘Em While They’re Hot! that he and other boycott leaders kept from the supporters news of the proposal for a parental meeting. After the boycott won, La Raza took over the Crystal City schools and halved the high school dropout rate. The reader may ponder questions of ends and means, but Gutierrez doesn’t. Zavala County’s Raza organizers tirelessly worked to turn out sympathetic voters, block by block, family by family. They especially made use of absentee ballots. Gutierrez points out that “voter turnout among la raza was the highest in the state.” Opponents accused the Party of gross violations of electoral law, and at several points in his recounting, Gutierrez \(as if to admits to minor violations. The reader is left with the impression that Raza may have been guilty of more significant trespasses, and that in any case, its firebrands cared little for how the game was played. After his election as county judge in 1974, Gutierrez dropped by the headquarters of the county road crew, which he says employed some seventy-five men. He told the road superintendent that when he took office, he planned to replace him and most of his crew with Raza stalwarts. Enraged, the superintendent ordered Gutierrez to leave the premises, an order that seems to me within the superintendent’s legal au thority. But Gutierrez did not leave, he says, because Raza officeholders already occupied the police chief and sheriff’s posts. He felt immune from arrest. When he and Raza were fully in the saddle like politicians from pre-civil-service days they made a clean sweep of the payrolls, replacing about 80 percent of the county’s employees. “…Most Anglos, if left to their own conscience will act as a decent human being,” Gutierrez writes \(confusing subhe continues, “most Anglos work with and for other Anglos in an institutional culture that demands team cooperation and is hierarchical. They will do as they must, to preserve the system, at all costs to themselves and others.” He’s right, of course, though leftists and liberals may disagree on specifics. In 1972, when liberal Democrat Sissy Farenthold was defeated in the Democratic gubernatorial primary, she endorsed, not Raza’s candidate, Ramsey Mufliz, but Dolph Briscoe, who opposed practically everything that the state’s Mexican Americans wanted to accomplish. Her decision tarnished the progressive reputation of the Democratic Party in Texas nearly as much as Lyndon Johnson’s war in Vietnam. In contrast, the heroic force of the era was La Raza, because the party broadened the ethnic base of officialdom. In the years since La Raza put overt Anglo chauvinists on the run, the political establishment has made room for servants of all ethnicities, and Mexican-American leaders have shown that they, too, “will do as they must, to preserve the system, at all costs to themselves and others.” Even Gutierrez \(today an attorney in Dallas and those who have tried to enter its ranks, among other ways, as a Democratic candidate in the 1992 U.S. Senate primary. Like most of us aging radicals, he is now a rebel inside the establishment’s house an irritant, more than a leader. The Making of a Chicano Militant is mistitled. It should have been called The Making of a Chicano Impenitent. Dick J. Reavis is a Texas journalist. He notes that December 9, 1999, is the thirtieth anniversary of the school walkout in Crystal City, the mother event of Raza Unida. PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS. Join the Texas Civil Rights Project $25 a year. Volunteers needed. 2212 E. MLK, Austin, TX 78702. for more information. REVOLTED BY EXECUTIONS? Join the Amnesty International Campaign Against the Death Penalty. Buttons: $2 each 3 for $5 7 for $10 Be-In-Buttons P.O. Box 35593, Houston, TX 77235 TM GET THE STATE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS ON-LINE Tough, inve s tigative reporting; the wit and good sense of Molly Ivins and Jim Hightower; Political Intelligence; insightful cultural analysis; and much more. Check out Molly Ivins’ special subscription offer, too! http://texasobserver.org Subscribe on-line or call The Texas Observer at 800-939-6620 DECEMBER 10, 1999 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 29
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