The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003

Class and Consensus

because of a commonly accepted social program as defined by normative
values, practices, and beliefs that overshadowed any potential for the
development of any type of deeply divisive class consciousness.
If LULAC, nationally, was dominated by the middle class, why was that
not reflected in Council 4319? One important reason was the lack of
alternatives for local Mexican Americans. By the mid-197os the
American Citizens' Social Club was in decline. The Mexican American
Chamber of Commerce had a different function than did LULAC or
ACSC. Thus, rather than start from scratch, local individuals who sought
to become active in helping the Mexican American community turned
to LULAC because it was a nationally recognized organization that had
more than fifty years of experience.
Despite a cross-class cooperative spirit and a practice of relative gen-
der equity, despite a dedicated core of members that acted as the dri-
ving force behind the council, and despite the continued need for local
activism, LULAC Council 4319 experienced a 33 percent decline in
membership from 1980 to 1985.48 This decline in membership was not
an isolated event, rather, it was part and parcel of a lengthy decline with-
in the ranks of LULAC nationally and locally. Since the 196os LULAC
had come to depend less on grassroots support for sustenance and
increasingly on corporate and government sponsorship. Additionally,
throughout the 198os an emergent political conservatism drove a wedge
between members at the national level.49
These internal problems caused members of Victoria LULAC
Council 4319 to question their affiliation with an organization that
appeared unable to sustain itself, both in terms of economic solvency
and political consistency. While LULAC, at the local and national lev-
els, proclaimed a dedication to remaining above partisan politics, the
reality was that the political ideologies of the two major parties were
expressed in LULAC's national internal politics. The goals of the
Republican and Democratic parties were very distinct in terms of their
perceived abilities to relate to Mexican American concerns. As a result
of this kind of institutional turmoil at the national level, Council 4319
decided not to renew its charter in 199o.50 But the demise of both
Victoria LULAC councils did not mean the end of Mexican American
organization in Victoria. By the time Council 4319 had been created,
another Mexican American organization, which proved to be more
48 "Sixth Annual Memorial Scholarship and Awards Banquet," 1987 program; "Fifth Annual
Memorial Scholarship and Awards Banquet," 1986, both from Lupe and Lupita Hernandez per-
sonal papers.
49 Marquez, LULAC, 11, 95-100.
50 Lupe and Lupita Hernandez to Quiroz, Jan. 25, 1996, interview.

2002

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101223/. Accessed April 19, 2015.