The Chicano Movement

The Chicano Movement

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The Chicano movement was one of the social movements in the U.S. with most of its activities occurring in the Southwestern and Midwestern parts of the country. The movement’s activities lasted from 1950s to 1980s. It composed of people of Mexican origin who called themselves the Chicanos. The main goal of the movement was to obtain political supremacy in order to change political relations between the American Mexicans and the Anglos.

Accomplishment of the Collective Effort

The idea of the Chicano movement was a collective bargain for power and equality by a group of Mexicans. The movement’s ideologies were not pushed ahead by an individual. All the participants were equally involved in the quest for justice and equality and held similar values for the group. The group used various mechanisms in their quest for justice and power. They were involved in building alliances, conducting protests, revolting as well as litigation process among other mass actions. Conducting self-motivated mass actions gave the group an upper hand in achieving what they desired. This is opposed to some social movements whose ideas were being generated and actualized by an individual such as Martin Luther King. A revolt that was dependent on an individual was difficult to achieve its objectives due to victimization of the leader and lack of common ground of the participants (Gutiérrez, 2010, p. 26).

The Chicano had more bargaining power based on their unity, tyranny of numbers and mutual interest. They could not be easily ignored by the federal government as opposed to an individual. The Chicano gained government recognition as opposed to individuals activists who usually got maimed in their quest for justice. The collective effort by the Chicano enabled them to safeguard political leadership positions through formation of political coalitions and alliances (Gutiérrez, 2010, p. 27). According to Loeb (2010), Rosa Parks encountered numerous setbacks in her fight for civil rights. This is because most of her rebellions were personal. She didn’t have mass following and her pursuit of civil rights was compromised. The Chicano due to their collective movement also managed to achieve equality in schools between the Latinos and the Anglos through litigation. The movement was also able to achieve better working conditions for farm workers (Garcia, 2014, p. 230).

Sustainability of the Movement due to Group Involvement

            Group oriented movements are perpetual since their ideologies are shared by all participants. Conversely, social movements initiated and spearheaded by an individual tend to have a short lifespan limited to the lifespan of the leader or founder. The Chicano for example has been present in the U.S. since its formation. The institutionalization of the movement by the participants has given it a long lifespan and has enabled it to continuously execute its mandates. Group involvement in a movement encourages mutual ideologies and goals among the participants (Gutiérrez, 2010, p. 29). The spirit of the movement is hence shared among all participants unlike in movements where individual leaders are the only ones with the inspiration to achieve the set goals. For example, Rosa Parks had great inspiration to achieve civil rights equality, but her movement failed after her arrest (cited in Loeb, 2010).


Unity and common goal are among the catalysts in forming strong social movements. It is evident that collective effort in such movements lead to achievement of their political and social goals (cited in Loeb, 2010).

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