"From below and to the left" : re-imagining the Chicano movement through the circulation of Third World struggles, 1970-1979
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Activists, artists, journalists, and intellectuals in the United States, from the 1950s to the present, have supported national liberation movements in Latin America, Africa, and Asia, arguing that anti-colonial struggles abroad were related to human and civil rights struggles in the United States. This dissertation builds on these foundations by tracing multi-racial and transnational connections among people and organizations in the United States, and between the United States and Latin America during the 1970s. Uncovering these connections that linked the Third World “within” to the Third World “without” across the Américas reconfigures the narrative of what happened to social movements in the 1970s, and helps us re-imagine the Chicano movement through the lens of an anti-colonial politics. This project bridges the local, national, and international terrains of political struggle by tracing the lives of activists and organizations in the United States and Latin America who defined their politics in relation to the Third World. It interrogates four inter-related themes: the prison rebellions in the United States, third world political activity in major U.S. urban centers, guerrilla theatre on both sides of the U.S-Mexican (and by extension Latin American) international border, and social movement connections between Texas and Mexico. My primary focus is on localized strategies for grassroots mobilizations rooted in working class cultural practices, multi-ethnic solidarities, and transnational political formations that were comprised of Chicano, Black, Asian, Puerto Rican, Mexican, American Indian, and white activists and artists. I also emphasize the local elements involved in the political alliances, coalitions, and solidarity efforts across geopolitical borders and different political perspectives. Overall, this project explores connections across, underneath, and outside the political, economic, and cultural construction of the nation state, and the hemispheric construction of the Americas with the United States as the primary political, economic and cultural power. These intertwined perspectives simultaneously step back to interrogate the larger international connections while focusing in on local manifestations of national issues refracted through a hemispheric lens. It is in the 1970s - a decade characterized by a shift in the policies of the crisis-ridden political economy of the Keynesian welfare state in response to these very struggles - that we should locate the early elements of what is currently referred to the anti-globalization movements.