Plan Del Barrio
We are basically communal people… in the pattern of our Indian ancestors. Part of our cultural rights and cultural strengths is over communal values. We lived together for over a century and never had to fence our lands. When the gringo came, the first thing he was to fence land. We opened our houses and hearts to him and trained him to irrigated farming, ranching, stock raising, and mining. He listened carefully and moved quickly, and when we turned around, he had driven us our and kept us out with violence, trickery, legal and court entanglements. The land for all people, the land of the brave, becomes the land for the few and the land of the bully….
Robbed of our land, our people were driven to the migrant labor fields and cities. Poverty and city living under colonial system of the Anglo has castrated our people’s culture, consciousness of heritage, and language. Because our cultural rights, which are guaranteed by treaty, and because the U.S. says in its constitution that all treaties are the law of the land…
Therefore we demand:
Housing: We demand the necessary resources to plan our living accommodations so that is possible to extend homes to be situated in a communal style…around plazas or parks with plenty of space for the children. We want our living areas to fit the needs of the family and cultural protection, and not the needs of the city pork barrels, the building corporations, or the architects.
Education: We demand that our schools be built in the same communal fashions as our neighborhoods…that they cane be warm and inviting facilities and not jails. We demand a completely free education from kindergarten to college, with no fees, no lunch charge, no supplies charges, no tuition, no dues. We demand that all teachers live within walking distance of the schools. We demand that from kindergarten through college, Spanish be the first language and English the second language and the textbooks to be rewritten to emphasize the heritage and contributions of the Mexican American or Indio-Hispano in the building of the Southwest. We also demand the teaching of contributions and history of other minorities which have also helped build this country. We also feel that each neighborhood school complex should have its own school board made up of members who live in the community the school serves.
Job Development: We demand training and placement program which would develop the vast human resources available in the Southwest. For those of our people who want to further choices in employment and professions we wish training programs which would be implemented and administered by our own people. In job placement, we demand that, first of all, racist placement tests be dropped and, in their place, test be used which relate to qualifications necessary for that job. Futher, we demand nondiscrimination by all private and public agencies. We demand seed money to organize the necessary trade, labor, welfare, housing, etc. unions to represent those groups. We further demand that existing labor, trade and white collar unions’ nondiscriminatory membership practices be enforced by a national labor relations act.
Law Enforcement: We demand an immediate investigation of the records of all prisoners to correct legal errors, or detect the prejudice which operated in those court proceedings, causing their convictions or extra heavy sentencing. As these cases are found, we demand that the Federal Government reimburse those prisoners for loss of time and money. We demand immediate suspension of officers suspected of police brutality until a full hearing is held in the neighborhood of the event. We demand suspension of a citywide juvenile court system and the creation of a neighborhood community court to deal with allegations of crime. In additions, instead of a the prowl-car, precinct system, we want to gradually install a neighborhood protection system, where residents are hired to assist and safeguard in matters of community safety or possible crime.
Economic Opportunities: We demand that the business serving our community be owned by that community. Seed money is required to start cooperative grocery stores, gas stations, furniture stores, etc. Instead of our people working in big factories across the city, we want training in our own communities. These industries would be coops with the profits staying in the community.
Agricultural Reforms: We demand that not only the land, which is our ancestral right, be given back to these pueblos, but also restitutions for mineral, natural resources, grazing, and timber be used.
We demand compensation for taxes, legal costs, etc. which pueblos and heirs spent trying to save their land. We demand the suspension of taxation by the acre, and institute instead the previous taxatition system of our ancestors; that is, the products of the land are taxed, not the land itself.
Redistribution of the Wealth: That all citizens of this country share in the wealth of this nation by institution of economic reforms that would provide for all people, and that welfare in the form of subsidies in taxes and pay-off to corporate owners be reverted to the people who in reality are the foundation of the economy and the tax base for this society.
Land Reform: A complete reevaluation of the Homestead Act, to provide people ownership of the natural resources that abound in this country. A Birthright should not only place responsibility on the individual but grant him ownership of the land he dies for.
Delivered By Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales at the Poor People’s Campaign, Washington D.C., May 1968.