Neighborhood democracy and chicana/o cultural citizenship in Armando réndon's chicano manifesto

Ethics, Place and Environment 10 (2):121 – 139 (2007)
Abstract
In 1971, Chicano activist Armando Réndon began to chart new directions for Chicana/o politics that move away from a narrow emphasis on cultural and ethnic nationalism. He argues that urban Chicana/o neighborhoods ought develop community-based organizations to provide support services for residents and to advocate local concerns to elected officials. In the first part of this essay, I reconstruct Réndon's concept of a 'barrio union' as an example of participatory democracy. I situate his concept of neighborhood democracy within Mexican American and Progressive movement history, and then highlight contemporary experiments with this model that are particularly successful in transforming traditionally marginalized individuals into active democratic participants. I then suggest that the barrio union is a repository of cultural, ethical, and political ideals that might be used by progressive Chicana/o activists to challenge the meaning of dominant institutions and political traditions within the United States, particularly the ways in which we conceive of race and American citizenship.
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