ORGANIZING THE MEXICAN-AMERICAN COMMUNITY IN TEXAS: THE LEGACY OF SAUL ALINSKY

Authors

  • Benjamin Marquez

    1. Received his BA in Political Science from the University of Texas at El Paso and his MA (1975) and Ph.D. (1983) in political science from the University of Wisconsin Madison. His research interests in American politics include political psychology and sociology, interest group politics, and urban and ethnic politics. He is currently writ- ing a book on the political history of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), the oldest Mexican-American civil rights organization. His research on the LULAC has appeared in Social Science Quarterly and The Western Political Quarterly.
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Abstract

This paper examines the political activities of the Industrial Area's Foundation (IAF) network in Texas. Two major research questions are addressed. The first is whether or not the political program of the IAF can empower the Mexican-American community and influence the policy-making process. The second is whether or not their efforts can have a lasting impact on the social and economic problems that plague the Mexican-American population. The evidence put forth reveals that the IAF network has been successful in mobilizing the Mexican-American com- munity and has established a significant record of political vitories. Despite these gains, however, there is reason to doubt the network's ability to counter larger structural problems facing minority communities such as poverty and unemployment. Questions concerning the future of the IAF's style of neighborhood politics are raised in the context of their political ideology, goals, alliances and the difficulties encountered when organizing the poor.

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