A comprehensive study of an ethnic political movement
La Raza Unida Party
A Chicano Challenge to the U.S. Two-Party Dictatorship
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Over the years, third parties have arisen sporadically to challenge the hegemony of the United States' two major political parties. But not until the emergence of the Raza Unida Party (RUP) in 1970 did an ethnic group organize to fight for political control at the country's ballot boxes. This book, by noted Chicano movement theorist Armando Navarro, is the most comprehensive study of the party ever put together.
La Raza Unida Party traces the party from its beginnings in 1970 to its demise in 1981the events, leaders, ideology, structure, strategy and tactics, successes and problems, and electoral campaigns that marked its trajectory. The book covers political organizing in California, Texas, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and the Midwest, as well as RUP's national and international politics and its party profile. In addition, it suggests options for future political action. Based on 161 interviews, access to numerous documents, letters, minutes, diaries, and position papers, as well as such published sources as contemporary newspaper and magazine accounts and campaign literature, the study is enriched by Professor Navarro's accounts of his own experiences as one of the organizers of the RUP in California.
La Raza Unida Party represents the culmination of the story of Chicano militancy that Professor Navarro has related in his earlier books. It goes beyond mere history-telling to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of ethnic-identity political parties and the perils of challenging the two-party dictatorship that characterizes U.S. electoral politics.
"This superbly researched study of La Raza Unida Party clearly demonstrates how and why the idealistic Chicano generation rejected 'politics as usual' to help their raza. In recounting the story of one of the most significant American political alternatives in the twentieth century, Narvarro succeeds in the difficult task of blending passion with objectivity."
"Armando Navarro's work provides us with the definitive study of La Raza Unida Party. His impressive and comprehensive historical analysis of this important American third party combines the insights of the participant observer with the research methodologies and theoretical context of the trained scholar."
Read a review from The Journal of American Ethnic History, Winter 2002, written by Mary Pardo (pdf).