The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 94, July 1990 - April, 1991 Page: 625
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This book is an insightful, intensive, and interesting report on the
origin, development, and demise of the "party of the united people."
Most of the book consists of detailed reports of the party's personalities
and their activities over the period from the party's founding in 1969
through its apex in the early 1970os and its eventual demise in the late
197os. The social interactions and political maneuverings of that de-
cade's politics are clearly and vividly brought to focus through the au-
thor's personal and intimate knowledge of the subject and his straight-
forward reportorial style.
Not only was author Garcia personally involved in party activities,
but he also has thoroughly researched and referenced his account. His
citations include many first-person interviews and recollections plus
many contemporary writings, which include newspaper accounts, the
personal papers of some of the key players, and widely scattered and
occasionally published movement publications as well as the usual more
scholarly sources. In addition to the citations, which average almost
fifty per chapter, a comprehensive bibliography is appended.
After a brief introductory review of the political history of Mexican
Americans, the author expertly guides the reader through the interac-
tion of personalities and events that led to the organization of the Mexi-
can American Youth Organization (MAYO) in Texas in the mid-196os;
its evolution into the Raza Unida Party in the late 196os; the party's
greatest electoral success, again primarily in Texas in the early 197os;
and its disintegration in the late 197os. The story of LRUP is concluded
with a very brief and somewhat underdeveloped retrospective. The di-
lemmas and difficulties that LRUP as an organization, as well as its
members, faced are also clearly defined, for example, the intense de-
bates and conflicts over whether the party should be nationalist or
international, rural or urban, ideological or pragmatic, national or re-
gional. Conflicts over these points, as well as conflicting personal agen-
das, and the constraints of the larger societal environment dissipated
away the life of the party. Nevertheless, its brief existence had a major
impact on the Mexican American community and, to a lesser extent,
the larger political system. Gains through the party included the elec-
tion of numerous Mexican American officials throughout the South-
west; the end of much of the political discrimination and oppression of
Chicanos; forcing an unresponsive political system to take notice and,
in some cases, even make much-needed reforms; and finally, perhaps
most importantly, a mobilization of institutionalized pride in the Mexi-
can American culture.
The story of the party is told in such an insightful, interesting, and
richly detailed manner that one wishes for more historical and political
context, more analysis, more interpretation. The author does realize
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 94, July 1990 - April, 1991, periodical, 1991; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101214/m1/703/: accessed November 15, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.