El Plan de Santa Barbara: Page 2
M.E.Ch.A. must bring to the mind of every young Chicano that the liberations of this people from prejudice and oppression is in his hands and this responsibility is greater than personal achievement and more meaningful that degrees, especially if they are earned at the expense of his identity and cultural integrity. M.E.Ch.A., then, is more than a name; it is a spirit of unity, of brotherhood, and a resolve to undertake a struggle for liberation in society where justice is but a word. M.E.Ch.A. is a means to an end.
Function of M.E.Ch.A.- To the Student To socialize and politicize Chicano students of their particular campus to the ideals of the movement. It is important that every Chicano student on campus be made to feel that he has a place on the campus and that he/she has a feeling of familia with his/her Chicano brothers, and sisters. Therefore, the organization in its flurry of activities and projects must not forget or overlook the human factor of friendship, understanding, trust, etc. As well as stimulating hermanidad, this approach can also be looked at in more pragmatic terms. If enough trust, friendship, and understanding are generated, then the loyalty and support can be relied upon when a crisis faces the group or community. This attitude must not merely provide a social club atmosphere but the strengths, weaknesses, and talents of each member should be known so that they may be utilized to the greatest advantage. Know one another. Part of the reason that students will come to the organization is in search of self-fulfillment. Give that individual the opportunity to show what he/she can do. Although the Movement stresses collective behavior, it is important that the individual be recognized and given credit for his/her efforts. When people who work in close association know one another well, it is more conductive to self-criticism and re-evaluation, and this every M.E.Ch.A. person must be willing to submit to. Periodic self-criticism often eliminates static cycles of unproductive behavior. It is an opportunity for fresh approaches to old problems to be surfaces and aired; it gives new leadership a chance to emerge; and must be recognized as a vital part of M.E.Ch.A.
M.E.Ch.A. can be considered a training ground for leadership, and as such no one member or group of members should dominate the leadership positions for long periods of time. This tends to take care of itself considering tie transitory nature of students. Recruitment and Education Action is the best organizer. During and immediately following direct action of any type--demonstrations, marches, rallies, or even symposiums and speeches-- new faces will often surface and this is where much of the recruiting should be done. New members should be made to feel that they are part of the group immediately and not that they have to go through a period of warming up to the old membership. Each new member should be given a responsibility as soon as possible and fitted into the scheme of things according to his or her talents and interests. Since the college student is constantly faced with the responsibility of raising funds for the movements, whether it be for legal defense, the grape boycott, or whatever reason, this is an excellent opportunity for internal education.
Fund-raising events should always be educational. If the event is a symposium or speech or debate, is usually an excellent opportunity to spread the Chicano Liberation Movement philosophy. If the event is a pachanga or tardeada or baile, this provides an excellent opportunity to practice and teach the culture in all its facets. In addition, each M.E.Ch.A. chapter should establish and maintain an extensive library of Chicano materials so that the membership has ready access to material which will help them understand their people and their problems. General meetings should be educational. The last segment of each regular meeting can be used to discuss ideological or philosophical differences, or some event in the Chicano's history. It should be kept in mind that there will always be different levels of awareness within the group due to the individual's background or exposure of the movement. This must be taken into consideration so as not to alienate members before they have had a chance to listen to the argument for liberation. The best educational device is being in the barrio as often as possible. More often than not the members of M.E.Ch.A. will be products of the barrio; but many have lost contact with their former surroundings, and this tie must be re-established if M.E.Ch.A. is to organize and work for La Raza.
The following things should be kept in mind in order to develop group
Above all the feeling of hermanidad must prevail so that the organization is more to the members than just a club or a clique. M.E.Ch.A. must be a learning and fulfilling experience that develops dedication and commitment. A delicate but essential question is discipline. Discipline is important to an organization such as M.E.Ch.A. because many may suffer form the indiscretion of a few. Because of the reaction of the general population to the demands of the Chicano, one can always expect some retribution or retaliation for gains made by the Chicano, be it in the form of legal cations or merely economic sanction on the campus. Therefore, it becomes essential that each member pull his load and that no one be allowed to be dead weight. Carga floja is dangerous, and if not brought up to par, it must be cut loose. The best discipline comes from mutual respect, and therefore, the leaders of the group must enjoy and give this respect. The manner of enforcing discipline, however, should be left up to the group and the particular situation.