Common Myths about M.E.Ch.A - Latino Recruitment and Retention Committee (LRRC)
M.E.Ch.A stands for Movimiento Esutdiantil Chicano de Aztlan. M.E.Ch.A is a student organization that promotes higher education, political and culture awareness to "La Raza". The M.E.Ch.A Philosophy was created by students for students.
There are M.E.Ch.A chapters all over the nation, each chapter stands for the same cause, and are all student run. Many people have different myths of M.E.Ch.A to what it really is and stands for. Such interpretations are; M.E.Ch.A is a racist organization; it is a Mexican organization; or that M.E.Ch.A does not do enough for the Movement.
Such myths are unfortunately being picked up without review by other organizations.
Below is a breakdown of common myths about MEChA:
Myth #1: MEChA’s motto is: “¡Por La Raza Todo, Fuera de La Raza Nada!”
Fact: MEChA’s motto is: “La Union Hace La Fuerza.”
Myth #2: MEChA is a racist organization because its constitution is “El Plan de Aztlan” and its sole aims are to implement the goals printed in El Plan de Aztlan.
Facts: MEChA has a formal constitution; “El Plan de Aztlan” is a document that was written before MEChA was established. MEChA’s founding document is El Plan de Santa Barbara, not El Plan de Aztlan.
El Plan de Aztlan is an historical document of the Chicano movement. As such MEChA would not renounce the collective history of our peoples Civil Rights struggle by denouncing what is inarguably the true history of the southwest.
The facts are that the southwest was invaded upon by Anglos under the white supremacist banner of “Manifest Destiny” in 1836 and 1846. The invasion was so brutal that Irish-American soldiers deserted in droves and formed the St. Patrick’s brigade and fought against U.S. forces in defense of the Mexican peasantry (anyone ever wonder why there are so many redheads in Northern Mexico?). In fact, the red stripe on the pants of the dress blues of the US Marine Corps. symbolizes the blood of the Mexican peasantry that was spilled by US aggression, to always remind the Corp of what it did to the Mexican civilian population in 1846- 48.
People’s ideologies may change, but we would not denounce El Plan de Aztlan, just like many in the African- American community would not denounce the legacy of the Black Panthers or Malcolm X in the current African-American struggles for Human and Civil rights in the U.S. today.
Myth #3: To be a Chicana or Chicano you have to be born in the U.S. but have parents who were born in Mexico.
Facts: MEChA believes that “the term Chicano is grounded in a philosophy, not a nationality. Chicanismo does not exclude anyone, rather it includes those who acknowledge and work toward the betterment of La Raza.”
Thus, MEChA is not a Mexican or Mexican-American organization. In 1999, MEChA changed its philosophy and declared itself to be part of the intercontinental Indigenous Struggle of the Americas. Thus, we are internationalist in scope, and stand in solidarity and support the aboriginal rights of all the indigenous peoples of the Americas and we no longer recognize the borders of any colonial nation-state.
Myth #4: M.E.Ch.A does not do enough for the Movement.
Facts: MEChA is only the student portion of the Movement. MEChA works on getting Chicana/o students into higher education, and education and helping La Raza, as student Mechistas. It would be impossible for MEChA to take on the Movement by itself. The Movement is composed in different portions, like the labor portion, the student portion,etc. All portions are vital to continue the Movement going.
Myth #5: MEChA is a violent organization.
Facts: MEChA is a non-violent organization; this is the legacy of the late, great Cesar Chavez that MEChA has internalized. MEChA’s official philosophy states it is a non-violent organization. In fact, MEChA believes it must “combat all forms of oppression, and manifestations as experienced through racism, sexism, and homophobia, both inside and outside of our Movement, in order to better develop a more meaningful educational plan of action (refer to Goals and Objectives). Advocating an educational revolution, we recognize that our bullets are our books and our victories are an increase in Chicana/Chicano graduates committed to our people's progress.”
Myth #6: MEChA is a Mexican centric organization.
Fact: M.E.Ch.A. is not a Mexican centric organization. It is an organization that works for La Raza which includes other nationalities, including Mexicans, that have the same struggles and go through the same oppression. You don not have to be Mexican to be in M.E.Ch.A.
Myth #7: MEChA is a radical & militant organization.
Fact: If you think that getting Chicana/os to graduate from High School and obtain advanced degrees at colleges and Universities is a radical idea or that standing up for immigrants rights, and resisting the racists, sexist, homophobic, and class warfare perpetrated by reactionary forces in society is a militant course of action… well this myth may in fact be true!
Myth #8: MEChA wants to create a separate nation-state only for Chicanos.
Facts: MEChA refers to the liberation of Aztlan as the liberation of our people from oppressions and ignorance -- a spiritual liberation. And unless you've lived under a rock for the last 15 years, you should make a note of this: The southwest is already Chicana/o-Latina/o! Regardless, MEChA does not believe in nation-state borders: “We didn’t cross the borders, the borders crossed us!”