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The Plan Espiritual de Aztlán (English: "Spiritual Plan of Aztlán") is a 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.

Contents

Background

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 an area of the United States that had been purchased from Mexico by the United States after the Mexican-American War, where Mexican American history was 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.

Origin and adoption

During the conference, a young poet named Alurista, born in Mexico but raised in San Diego, took the stage. To a captive 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".

Criticism

El Plan Espiritual de Aztlán contains several controversial statements which have led some commentators to criticize MEChA, a Chicano student group that sprang from the Chicano Movement, as a racist and separatist organization. However, MEChA is not an organization that takes the same stance across-the-board on issues and statements in its founding documents. After all, El Plan de Santa Bárbara is in fact the true founding document of the group. El Plan Espiritual de Aztlán and El Plan de Santa Bárbara are manifestos that should be taken in historical context.

See also

References

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Source material

Up to date as of January 22, 2010

From Wikisource

El Plan Espiritual de Aztlán
the First National Chicano Youth Liberation Conference


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 Aztlán 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.

We are free and sovereign to determine those tasks which are justly called for by our house, our land, the sweat of our brows, and by our hearts. Aztlán belongs to those who plant the seeds, water the fields, and gather the crops and not to the foreign Europeans. We do not recognize capricious frontiers on the bronze continent

Brotherhood unites us, and love for our brothers makes us a people whose time has come and who struggles against the foreigner "gabacho" who exploits our riches and destroys our culture. With our heart in our hands and our hands in the soil, we declare the independence of our mestizo nation. We are a bronze people with a bronze culture. Before the world, before all of North America, before all our brothers in the bronze continent, we are a nation, we are a union of free pueblos, we are Aztlán.

Por La Raza todo. Fuera de La Raza nada.

Program

El Plan Espiritual de Aztlán sets the theme that the Chicanos (La Raza de Bronze) must use their nationalism as the key or common denominator for mass mobilization and organization. Once we are committed to the idea and philosophy of El Plan de Aztlán, we can only conclude that social, economic, cultural, and political independence is the only road to total liberation from oppression, exploitation, and racism. Our struggle then must be for the control of our barrios, campos, pueblos, lands, our economy, our culture, and our political life. El Plan commits all levels of Chicano society — the barrio, the campo, the ranchero, the writer, the teacher, the worker, the professional — to La Causa.

Nationalism Nationalism as 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.

Organizational Goals

  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 indepen-dent 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!

Action

  1. Awareness and distribution of El Plan Espiritual de Aztlán. Presented at every meeting, demonstration, confrontation, courthouse, institution, administration, church, school, tree, building, car, and every place of human existence.
  2. September 16, on the birthdate of Mexican Independence, a national walk-out by all Chicanos of all colleges and schools to be sustained until the complete revision of the educational system: its policy makers, administration, its curriculum, and its personnel to meet the needs of our community.
  3. Self-Defense against the occupying forces of the oppressors at every school, every available man, woman, and child.
  4. Community nationalization and organization of all Chicanos: El Plan Espiritual de Aztlán.
  5. Economic program to drive the exploiter out of our community and a welding together of our people's combined resources to control their own production through cooperative effort.
  6. Creation of an independent local, regional, and national political party.

A nation autonomous and free - culturally, socially, economically, and politically- will make its own decisions on the usage of our lands, the taxation of our goods, the utilization of our bodies for war, the determination of justice (reward and punishment), and the profit of our sweat.

El Plan de Aztlán is the plan of liberation!


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