The Chicano political party was born soon after the December MAYO meeting which can be compared to a Declaration of Independence from the two-headed monster. 

Party leaders on both sides, especially the Democratic Party saw it as much to do about nothing. However, after the RUP filed for party status in at least three counties in early 1970, some began to take notice. This included Henry B. Gonzales- Congressman from San Antonio area. He saw the group as a bunch of young radicals that didn’t know anything about how things were supposed to work. He was wrong, they knew exactly how things worked and it was not working for them. Maybe it did work for the Henry Gonzalez’ of the world but as far as they were concerned, he was of no help to La Raza.


  The plan was to grow from the bottom up and file for school board seats and city council seats in Crystal City home base for Jose Angel Gutierrez, Cotulla and Carrizo Springs.  They won Big! Picking up fifteen seats including a couple of Mayoral seats. This came as huge shock to the Angelo establishment, so much so that in Crystal City they refused to turn over the keys to city hall. And keep in mind, this brand-new party had to convince people they were for real and could win. In fact, literacy tests and a poll tax that did not end until 1966 had for the most part denied voting for generations of Tejanos. Yes, this was no small feat and was started by mostly young people before some of the more established Chicanos started coming around to the RUP. Personally, the first time I saw the party representatives at my voting spot, I was like, “Who are these guys”. I was young back then, so it didn’t take much to convince me that a vote for the RUP was a vote for all of us. Their representative back then in Lubbock, at least the one I knew was the late Bidal Aguero. He was a Lubbock activist and the publisher of El Editor, a local Chicano publication.


  So, it was with these initial victories the RUP party held its first state convention in San Antonio. It was proposed the party expand to the whole state and operate as statewide party. Gutierrez argued that they should focus on just local elections. Mario Campeon, the party’s other founder disagreed. He argued that by expanding statewide it would boost the efforts of the Chicano movement. In the end Mario prevailed and the state party was born. That being done they started recruiting people to run for statewide office starting with governor. Reportable they reached out to some well-known or elected officials, but they declined. Waco resident Ramsey Muniz who at that time was an administrator with the Waco Model Cities program and a lawyer accepted the nomination.

Next Week, Alma Canales and some local folk.

By A. Govea

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