At the annual meeting of the Southwestern Social Science Association in March 1972, various Chicano caucuses merged to form the National Caucus of Chicano Social Scientists (NCCSS).
A later meeting at the New Mexico Highlands University would convene the formation of a Provisional Coordinating Committee to solidify the group and with that came the renaming of the group to the National Association of Chicano Social Scientists (NACSS). In 1976, the group voted to become the National Association for Chicano Studies (NACS). The majority of those who came together were junior faculty and/or graduate students in the university whose academic backgrounds were varied.
Of course, the formation of NACS was not so simplistic as political ideological and paradigmatic struggles were waged between those pressing Chicano Studies to take on an internal colony approach and those who wanted a Marxist analysis for the study and research of Chicanas/os. Nonetheless, the ideological divide did not impede those young scholars from envisioning a platform from which to advance the goals of the Chicano Movement.
There is no doubt that the idea of NACS was premised on the notion that it would become the intellectual arm of the Chicano Movement, and whose origins were located in the 1968 East Los Angeles Blowouts, the Third World Liberation Front Strikes, and the drafting of El Plan de Santa Barbara in 1969.
The primary focus of NACS was to develop a counter-narrative to historically racist social science research that proliferated the discourse of academia at the time.
What role Chicana/o Studies was to play in the struggle for Chicana/o self-determination has been a point of contention since the inception of the discipline as well as the formation of NACCS (in 1995, the name was modified to the National Association of Chicana and Chicano Studies to recognize the historical contributions of Chicanas in the community).
NACCS has been criticized for promoting careerism and individual advancement at the expense of the community. Many have used their positions within the administrative body of NACCS as a stepping stone for professional advancement and have created both an intellectual vacuum but worse an organization that is largely ceremonial in practice and is known mostly for its yearly conference.
I’ve been a dues-paying member of the National Association of Chicana and Chicano Studies (NACCS) for several years now. I’ve attended several meetings of the Southern California Foco. I believe in the idea of NACCS that it should be a revolutionary intellectual organization dedicated to La Gente.
The upcoming NACCS 2016 Conference will be held in Denver, Colorado. The theme of the conference “¡Chicana/o Power!: Transforming Chicana/o Activism, Discourse, and Scholarship and Power” intrigued me enough that Irene Ramírez, a compañera at the University of Arizona, encouraged me to submit a joint proposal for a co-presentation.
The conference theme is within my historical trajectory as a scholar-activist that in light of the anti-Mexican climate that is running at an all-time high I decided that this was the perfect opportunity to engage NACCS towards returning to its origins of advocacy and become, as Dr. Cintli says, “the leading human rights organization of our people” and so hopefully our proposal gets accepted.
My primary research interests are the Chicano Movement, U.S. Third World Struggles, and the Third Space Intellectual Movement (Chicana/o Studies) as key sites of resistance. To be able to have the opportunity to go Denver would be amazing after all it was in this city that Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales gave political and ideological language to the Chicano Movement through his work in what is without a doubt the leading Chicano Power Movement organization, the Crusade for Justice.
It was in Denver, Colorado that I am Joaquin was written. It was in Denver that El Plan Espiritual de Aztlán was formally announced to the entire world at the First National Chicano Youth Liberation Conference in 1969. Denver has special spiritual significance for me.
Below is the abstract along with the tentative title we submitted to NACCS. Although some of the language may change, the final paper proposes to challenge previous notions that view the Chicano Movement and its influences as contained to a specific geographical space and singular political ideology. Rather, the paper will argue that the Chicano Movement did not occur in isolation and very much influenced other revolutionary struggles, especially in Latin America.
“Recuperando El Legado de Los Movimientos de Resistencia Tercermundista de Ayer y Hoy: The Chicana/o Movement’s Reciprocal Influences on Third World Liberation Movements of Yesterday & Today”
ABSTRACT: In this work, we investigate the reciprocal influences of the Chicano Movement on the radical, post-national and insurgent politics that emerged out of Indigenous Third World communities during the 1960s and 1970s. We incorporate a transdisciplinary framework to understand the political trajectory of the Chicano Movement, which has largely been understood to be rigidly mapped to a specific geographical space (Aztlán) and contained to a political ideology (cultural nationalism).
We will also demonstrate how the “era of violence” looks much like the past, but so do our collective efforts to resist and revolutionize a violent system. Our goal is to reconocer the strong solidarities that Chicanas/os-Mexicanas/os have forged with the political movements of Argentina, Cuba, México and other Third World countries since the 1960s and 1970s.
In exploring the revolutionary discourses of global movements in relation to Chicano Movement organizations, the underground press, and activists, such as Olga Talamantes, Enriqueta Vasquez, Luis Valdez and Elizabeth “Betita” Martínez, we demonstrate how the movement’s reciprocal influences contribute to globalizing the radical politics of Chicanas/os-Mexicanas/os beyond the geographical space of Aztlán and politics of cultural nationalism.
This project contributes to a richer understanding of the political history of the Chicano Movement while also connecting it to the insurgencies that have occurred in Latin America. Similarly, we investigate how La Nueva Musica via the music of Mercedes Sosa and Violeta Parra, from the past “era of violence,”contribute to our current, global revolution. We hope to analyze how the visual & symbolic discourse of the music and videos of Ana Tijoux and Evelyn Cornejo serve as postnational, technological tool of revolution, which continue to form part of the same historical continuum of post-national solidarity which respond to the neo-liberal and imperialist policies of the United States which impact Chicanas/os-Mexicanas/os and Third World peoples.
— Abstract by I. Ramírez & D.Cid