The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003 Page: 34
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34 Southwestern Historical Quarterly July
middle class of Victoria. In San Antonio there also existed a class of ricos,
wealthy immigrants from the Mexican Revolution, who sought to main-
tain not just leadership within the Mexican American community, but to
use that position of leadership to sustain a strong sense of Mexican patri-
otism. Thus in San Antonio, according to Garcia, the emergence of a
Mexican American middle class was paralleled by a struggle, not only for
self-definition, but a struggle against a class of ricos for the hearts and
minds of the Mexican American community on the city's west side.5 By
contrast, the Mexican American middle class in Victoria was able to pur-
sue its interests without having to contend with a class of ricos as existed
in San Antonio.
Second, the values found among Garcia's middle class cut across class
lines in Victoria in ways that have not been hitherto borne out substan-
tively in the literature.6 Traditional wisdom held that such "accommoda-
tionist" views could only emerge out of an acquiescent middle class moti-
vated to protect its status. Such thinking also indicated that workers and
their organizations had largely engaged in various forms of overt resis-
tance such as labor activism, the propagation of leftist critiques of
American society, political movements such as la Raza Unida party, or
social movements such as the Chicano movement. All of these forms of
direct resistance raised serious questions about the nature of American
society and posed important challenges to the political, social, and eco-
nomic structure. As significant as those movements were, and as far-
reaching as their legacies have been, scholars have often functioned
under a fundamental assumption that presumes profound identity dif-
ferentiation based on class. The result has been a lack of adequate atten-
tion to the further complicating aspect of the Mexican American histori-
cal experience: the existence of an "accommodative" working class that,
while aware of class distinctions, adopted a worldview quite similar to
that of their middle-class counterparts.
In Mexican Americans: Leadership, Ideology and Identity, 193o-z96o,
Mario T. Garcia astutely examines and explains the emergence of three
strains of thought and identity within the Mexican American communi-
ty. Garcia's working class is one steeped in resistance to capitalism, and
his middle class in acquiescence. LULAC appears as the vanguard of
the middle class ensconced in American patriotism. While it challenges
discrimination, it also embraces the basic values and ideology of the
society that it critiques. At the same time, Garcia's working class is
6 For other studies that discuss a consensual middle-class worldview see Marquez, LULAC and
Arnoldo De Le6n, Los San Angelenios: Mexican Americans in San Angelo, Texas (San Angelo, Texas:
Fort Concho Museum Press, 1985).
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003, periodical, 2003; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101223/m1/62/?rotate=90: accessed August 16, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.