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A SIFTING OF CENTURIES: POLITICAL AND MUSICAL CROSSROADS OF AFRICAN-AMERICANS AND CHICANOS IN LOS ANGELES

A thesis submitted to the faculty of the Graduate School Of the University of Minnesota

Gaye T.M. Okoh

In partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy

David W. Noble, Advisor July, 2004

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UMI Number: 3134596

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University of Minnesota

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Gaye T.M. Okoh

And have found that it is complete and satisfactory in all respects, and that any and all revisions required by the final examining committee have been made

David W. Noble

16 April 2004

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Dedication This project is dedicated to the spirit of honor, nrotivation, and resilience that has been created by so many for the benefit of all of us w ho will use it. This is for my Grandfather, w ho drove a bus for the city of Chicago, w ho was a proud and brutal man, and w ho cried for lack of money when his son asked him for bus fare. This is for my great grandmother Juana, w ho cleaned houses for a living, and saved dim es in sandwich bags. This is for m y Grandmother Theresa, w ho wrote every day of her last twenty years from a wheelchair and the prison of her crippled body. For my Aunt Henriqueta, the first Black woman to work for Chicago Bell. For m y Great Grandmother FFazel Redmon, head washerwoman for the Chicago Cubs for 30 years, and w ho grew up above a saloon after being left on the doorstep by an Asian wom an and a Black man in 1901. For my Aunt Gaye, w hose life was snuffed out before I was born, but w hose sw eet and lively disposition lives in the memories of all those who loved her. To the spirits of all m y ancestors, who ever left a story for me to learn from, I am grateful. Most of all, though, this is for my parents, "the love story of Illinois." For my Mother, who went to college on a welfare scholarship and became a "Crystal Apple" special education teacher. She is loved and respected by teachers and students, and a tried, true, wise, generous, kind, and beautiful woman. In my darkest hours, when the sound of m y ow n laughter was foreign, she brought it out of me in peals. And for my Father, brutally challenged so often in his early years as an academic and an administrator by personal trials and institutional racism, who overcame and overran these difficulties in w ays that have made his life and work an example for so very many people on so many different paths. His love is like his work in the yard: meticulous, thoughtful, and a masterful, beautiful thing to behold.

I am so blessed: never has a child had such strong supporters, never has a child been so loved, never has anyone had such good friends in her parents as I have. Thank you.

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Table of Contents

Dedication Acknowledgements Introduction The Future has a Past: The Meaning of Afro-Chicano History in a Transnational Age 'An Aural Counterpart': Afro-Chicano Music Culture and M ainstream Radio in Post-war Los Angeles Cold Wars and Counter WAR(s): Coalitional Politics in an Age of Violence Teeth-Gritting Harmony: Punk Rock, Ethnic Studies, and 'N ew Intellectualisms' Exporting Los Angeles: The Limits and Possibilities Of Marketing Popular Protest
1 11

Chapter 1 Chapter 2

42 91

Chapter 3

128

Chapter 4

175

Conclusions Bibliography

224 236

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Acknowledgements This is a collective project, as most things are. But there are people w ho have really been "on m y team." Voke leads the charge, telling me to write when I could handle it, telling me to go to bed and start again in the morning when I was overwhelmed. He told m e he w ould do anything to help, and he did. His love, for better or for worse, is a miracle; and his pride and happiness upon com pletion of this dissertation were so genuine - 1 share this victory with him. Tammy Amoth and Laura Jimenez loved and supported me, cheered m e on from the nonacademic sidelines, and most of all didn't talk about it w hen "dissertation" was a bad word. For months, in m y m ost despondent personal times, they listened, loved, and cried with me, brought me back from the ropes of my personal boxing ring. Similarly, I could never say enough about Anne Martinez's support in the writing of this dissertation. Her cards, calls, and comments kept me on a road towards success; it was usually she who was driving the car. Kim Heikkila and I struggled together throughout graduate school to strike a balance; Kim has kept me true to recognizing what I really want in life, not just what is prescribed. I am proud to be her friend. Adrian Gaskins and I cried, mostly laughed, and shook our heads at our ow n shortcomings, but held each other's hands through a lot of grad school life. Finally, my dear doggie Shanti gave me what I named her for: peace. But she was always there, licking my tears and patiently enduring my hugs and frustrations. All of these wonderful beings have loved m e w ith and/or without the dissertation. George Lipsitz was the first person to make me want to do something great for students. I didn't know I wanted to be an academic: I just wanted to be like him. It is only now that I have a tenure-track job that I know just how much his time, generous attention, and support meant, then and now. He always makes me feel as if I was his favorite student of all time; he is my favorite professor of all time. Claudine Michel and Douglas Daniels have been mentors and friends, supporters and allies when I needed them most. They also let me grow when I needed to. I thank them for all the things 1 almost didn't get and they made sure I did, for the support I know about and the support I don't. There is plenty of both, to be sure. Mary Ann Soule's gentle pushes toward a readiness to write are at the core of w hy I ever even finished this project. I remember w eekends at her house in San Pedro, and now, desperate conversations that always ended with much more peace and balance than I could have pulled from m yself in those times. My colleagues at the University of Texas at San Antonio, most notably Harvey Graff, Sue Hum, Kirsten Gardner, and Louis Mendoza, encouraged me no matter how discouraged I was. They

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held me up w hen I had no one in town to help me. They are the ones I call at Sam. Marian Aitches gave m e medicine, gave me hope, gave me an example to follow, and has become for me a model of the best that teaching - and humanity - has to offer. Louis M endoza's friendship and confidence inspire me to be a better person and a principled colleague. Rhonda Gonzales, whom I met late in the process, w ill never know what a psychological circuit-breaker it was for her to rename my project "The Big D," a phrase that helped m e rename the w hole process and get it over with. She as become. I'm quite sure, one of the reasons I m oved to San Antonio. Marshall Pitman's very sw eet gesture, an email every week, "is it done yet?" made me feel more accountable, encouraged, and inspired. All the tools I ever needed to write this dissertation were provided to me by David Noble, David Roediger, Leola Johnson, George Lipsitz, Catherine Ceniza Choy, and John Wright. David has doubled as advisor and grandfather, and my love for him as both has grown with every interaction w e've had. Dave Roediger saw me graduate through several levels of academic, political, and personal maturity and I'm thankful for his advice and encouragement, but especially for our exchange in Seattle, when he told me that I was still smart. Cathy stepped in like a miracle to help me out at the last minute, a generous and kind gesture that inspired much confidence in me. Students in Mas Color, such as Adrian Gaskins, Tiya Miles, and Brian Klopotek inspired m e early on to envision scholarship and equality in representation as inextricable. Gail Noble taught me an invaluable tool: how to be a good teacher and a responsible academic. Any good work in m y teaching w ill always reflect her teaching practicum, held in her hom e in 1996.

I am so grateful to have met all of the people that I interviewed, most notably Val Poliuto, Dan Pollock, Carlos Santana, Karl Perrazzo, Ray Barretto, Eddie Palmieri, Martin Sorrondeguy, and Jono Shaffer. Mostly, I am grateful for the spirits which traveled through this work. It makes me hopeful about so many facets of what w e think of as possibilities: the human, the scholarly, the musical. I thank them all.

IV

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Introduction "The Future has a Past"^: The Meaning of Afro-Chicano History in a Transnational Age

"In the campaign fo r the 'control o f our borders,' we are once again debating the citizenship of the native-born and the m erits o fD re d Scott.

In a keenly argued text, critical race theorist Ian F. Haney Lopez draws critical connections between immigrant nativism in California and the 1857 Dred Scott decision. In Scott, Chief Justice Taney read the Constitution to mean citizenship was too precious to be shared with Americans of African descent; as a result the U nited States Supreme Court was able to declare that all Blacks, free and enslaved, "are not and can never be citizens because they are a subordinate and inferior class of beings."^ The African-American experience during the antebellum era had already dem onstrated that citizenship was "beyond their grasp;" but Robin Kelley has explained that "the fugitive slave law of 1850 and the Dred Scott decision in 1857 ... cleared up any ambiguity on the matter.""* This clarity on the m atter of Black exclusion narrow ed Carter G. W oodson's

1J. California Cooper, Fam ily (N ew York: Doubleday, 1992). 2 Ian F. Haney Lopez, W hite B y Law: The Legal Construction o f Race (N ew York: N ew York University Press, 1996), 43. 3 Dred Scott v. Sanford, 60 U.S. (19 How.) 393 (1857). * Robin D.G. Kelley, '"But a Local Phase of a World Problem:' Black History's Global Vision" in Journal o f Am erican H isto ry Vol. 86, No. 3 (December 1999), 1048.

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argum ents in a 1921 essay to a pointed remark: "the citizenship of the Negro in America is a fiction."^ In 1995, California's Proposition 187 banned undocum ented immigrants and their families from receiving vital social services. It targeted undocum ented parents by refusing education and medical treatm ent to their children, m any of whom were American-born. Ignoring the status of thousands of undocum ented Canadian and European immigrants in the United States, then-governor Pete Wilson initiated a campaign for the "Save O ur State (SOS)" initiative that targeted Mexicans w ith racially specific television commercials. Major networks ran prime-time images of people running through a Tijuana-San Diego border checkpoint, powerfully transforming the anti-immigration initiative by "almost single-handedly [making] the w ord 'immigrant' mean Mexican."^ "You are the posse and SOS is the rope," Proposition 187 chairman Ron Prince told an audience of conservative activists,^ as he invoked the nation's history of racial violence. The pow er of his w ords to both reflect and direct violence were evidenced in a report by the Los Angeles County H um an Relations Commission, documenting a 24 percent increase in hate crimes against Latinos after the SOS

5 Carter G. W oodson, "Fifty Years of Negro Citizenship," in Journal o f N egro H istory 6, No. 1 (January 1921): 1. Quoted in Lopez, W hite B y Law, 143. ^Quoted in Ron Unz, "California and the End of White America," C om m entary 108 No. 4 (April 1995): 3.

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initiative. 187 was quickly followed by Proposition 227, which eradicated bilingual education in California public schools. W hat is the significance of Lopez's Black-Mexican connection? Alexander Bickel dem onstrates w hat Scott and 187 share: "it has always been easier, it always will be easier, to think of someone as a non-citizen than to decide that he is a non-person, which is the point of the Dred Scott decision."^ As evidenced by the genealogy of American citizenship, this is far from an arbitrary link. There is substantial evidence to support Lopez's claim that the story of African- and Mexican-American exclusion is cormected^, and even m ore to support the notion that their communities have been tied together not solely as a consequence of white racism. Rather there has often been positive cooperation between these two groups. My dissertation demonstrates that the story of Black and Mexican exclusion in California is also a story of resistance and cultural creation, articulated in response to the racialized discourse of national inclusion

David Finnegan, "Hate Crimes Up Since Proposition 187, Group Says (Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles - CHIRLA)" N ational Catholic Reporter 32, No. 10 (October 1995). Alexander Bickel, The M ora lity o f Consent (New Haven: Yale University Press), 1975. Blacks in early California contended with a number of proposed anti-Negro immigration legislation, but never with the results experienced by Mexicans in the later years of the deportation campaigns of the 1930s and "Operation Wetback." Blacks and Mexicans suffered similar, but not identical exclusions in the legislated citizenship of the early period. In Los Angeles in the 1940s they w ould again experience similar brutalities during the Zoot Suit Riots, and in the sixties and early seventies shared the often-fatal burden of government repression. Numerous examples are provided throughout this study.

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prom inent in this state from its inception. Concentrating on post-war Los Angeles, I illustrate how these communities were connected through popular musical cultures that evolved out of systems of exclusion and resistance. Unlike other groups who have shared the burdens of segregation, discrimination, and economic oppression in this region, African- and MexicanAmerican communities have been linked, both voluntarily and involuntarily, through explicit cormections for centuries. Ivan Van Sertima has dem onstrated evidence of an African presence in Mexico centuries before Columbus; Dennis Valdez has docum ented a substantial and early Black population in Oaxaca as early as 1523; a tribute to African Mexicans who planned an uprising against Spanish colonists stands in a zocalo in Mexico City; as a product of the first Great Migration north by thousands of Blacks escaping the brutal conditions in the South, African-Americans established an agricultural colony in Baja California in 1917. Strong cooperation between Black immigrants and local Mexicans ensured its survival until 1960. From the mid-1930s to just before the black cultural explosion of the 1960s, African-American artists like Charles Alston, John Biggers, Elizabeth Catlett, Sargent Claude Johnson, Jacob Lawrence, Charles White, John Wilson and Hale W oodruff reinvigorated the concept of the "New

Ivan Van Sertima, They Came Before Columbus (N ew York: Random House, 1972). 12 Dennis Nodfn Valdez, "The Decline of Slavery in Mexico" Am ericas, 44 No. 2 (Oct 1987): 167. 1 3 Ted Vincent, "Black H opes in Baja California: Black American and Mexican Cooperation, 19171926" in The W estern Journal o f Black Studies, 21 no. 3 (Fall 1997): 204.

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Negro" by studying Mexican muralists. The w ork of Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros and Jose Clemente Orozco provided a visual m odel that expressed and encouraged communal interaction toward the shared goals of fighting oppression and celebrating their cultural heritage.^^ People of African and Mexican descent have dem onstrated a transnational connectedness, centuries before W estern economic trade agreements assumed hegemonic responsibility for all things global. This project's focus on LA is affirmed by the nature of the city's birth: in 1781 Los Angeles was settled by forty-four people, including a few whites, one person described as "Chino," a large group of Mexicans, and twenty-six mestizos of African descent.^^ Not just a product of white supremacy, ideologies of race and ethnicity in California w ere forged by multiple encounters that included Mexicans, Chinese,

Lizzetta LeFalle-Collins, "The Mexican Connection: the N ew Negro and Border Crossings" Am erican Visions 11 no. 6 (Dec-Jan 1996): 20. 1 5 William Loren Katz, The Black W est (N ew York: Simon and Schuster, 1996). For additional studies on the early interactions of Blacks, Mexicans, Asians, Indians, and whites in the West, see also Kenneth W. Porter, "Relations Between Indians and Negroes within the Present Limits of the United States," Journal o f N egro H istory 17:3 (July 1932): 1B7-3&7. Kenneth W. Porter, "Negroes and Indians on the Texas Frontier, 1831-1876," Journal o f N egro H isto ry 41 no. 3 (July 1956):185-214, and 41 no. 4 (October 1956): 285-310. Daniel F. Littlefield and Lonnie E. Underhill, "The Crazy Snake Uprising of 1909: A Red, Black or White Affair?" A rizona and the W est 20 no. 4 (Winter 1978): 307-324. Grinde Jr., Donald A., and Quintard Taylor, "Red vs. Black: Conflict and Accommodation in the Post Civil War Indian Territory, 1865-1907," A m erican Indian Q uarterly 8 no. 3 (Summer 1984): 211-229. Johnsen, Leigh Dana. "Equal Rights and the 'Heathen Chinee': Black Activism in San Francisco, 1865-1875," W estern H istorical Q u a rterly 11 no. 1 (January, 1980): 57-68. Taylor, "Blacks and Asians in a White City: Japanese Americans and African Americans in Seattle, 1890-1940," W estern H istorical Q uarterly 22 no. 4 (November 1991): 401-429.

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Japanese, Filipinos, Native Americans, and African-Americans. This m eant that despite its escape from solely Black-white dichotomies of racism, California exercised w hat Gerald Horne considers a more complex "rainbow racism" atypical of other s ta te s .F u r th e r m o r e , from the annexation debates over the positions of former slaves and Mexican laborers in the state's racial and class hierarchies, California was a strong symbolic microcosm of the strengths and dilemmas of American expansion. This has been true ever since. California's 52person delegation to the US Congress and its 54 Electoral College votes make the state a central player in determining national immigration policies and international politics.

I am w riting at a m om ent w hen the legacy of exclusion in communities of aggrieved minorities in California is reinforced by stagnant wages, high unemployment, industrial transformation, governm ent deficits, and declining unions. In the past fifteen years, California has dem onstrated its enduring importance as microcosm of both nation and globe through legislative

IGerald Horne, Fire This Time: The W atts U prising and the 1960s (Charlottesville and London: University Press of Virginia, 1995). Numerous scholars on California, most notably Tomas Almaguer and Gerald Horne, have shown that systems of white racism dominated nonetheless. "[California] continue[s] to occupy center stage in national immigration policies and international politics, important since California's 52-person delegation to the US Congress and its 54 Electoral College votes make the state a central player in determining the outcome of national politics." Mark Baldassare, California in the N ew M illennium : The Changing Social and Political Landscape (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2000), 17.

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articulation of racial discourses of nationalism, brought into sharper relief by its dominating presence in transnational economies and cultures. Scholarship on marginalized groups in Los Angeles has disrupted dom inant histories of LA which assume that Angelenos of color have less to do with defining and shaping the history of California than w ith a physical laboring of an Anglo vision. Some scholarship has provided an im portant counter narrative; rich political, economic, and social analyses have sought to include specific racial histories in the larger picture of the region's development.^ This dissertation seeks to extend that project by including a story of interethnic cooperation and conflict in Los Angeles. I believe scholarly writing on California's rich inter-ethnic history can play a major role in encouraging interethnic action against the patterns of oppression. Today, youth culture has been nearly convinced of the fiction that collective action does not work, and this is com pounded by the fact that they see little scholarly evidence of the long standing and dynamic history of inter-racial struggles. The absence of these

See, for example, Ricardo Romo, East Los Angeles: H isto ry o f a Barrio (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1983); George J. Sanchez, Becoming M exican Am erican: E thnicity, Culture, and Id en tity in Chicano Los Angeles, 1900-1945 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993); Edward J. Escobar, Race,
Police, and the M aking o f a Political Identity: M exican Am ericans and the Los A ngeles Police D epartm ent, 1900-1945 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999); Lawrence B. de Graaf, Kevin Mulroy, and Quintard Taylor (eds). Seeking El Dorado: African Am ericans in California (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2001); Marta Menchaca, The M exican O utsiders: a C om m u n ity H istory of M arginalization and D iscrim ination in California (Austin, TX : University of Texas Press, 1995); Emory J. Tolbert, The U N IA and Black Los Angeles (University of California Press, 1980); B. Gordon Wheeler, Black California: The H istory o f African-Am ericans in the Golden State (N ew York: Hippocrene Books, 1993).

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histories obscures the complexities of ethnic and political identity formation, as well as the possibilities of a constructive common future amid the rapid mobility of culture, capital, and populations across the globe. There are two objectives contained within this dissertation. The first is to contribute to a growing body of work in inter-ethnic histories and cultures in order to suggest strategies of possibility in this transnational age. I situate, then, a political "arm " of m y work in a scholarly context being shaped by Vijay Prashad, George Lipsitz, and Scott Kurashige, in a literary context long shaped by Chester Himes, Luis Rodriguez, and Beatrice Griffith, in an activist context shaped by Grace Lee Boggs and Yuri Kochiyama. My second objective is to demonstrate the connection between popular music and the changing relationship of race and ethnicity to systems of inequality. The language of action in a transnational age m ay indeed be a musical one. George Lipsitz has suggested that when "the grass-roots realities of everyday life for residents rarely find expression in public pronouncem ents by politicians or in the public relations-oriented journalism of commercial, electronic, and print media, music can be a way of understanding the links between communities and experiences, and a way of reinforcing messages."

'^George Lipsitz, "World Cities and World Beat: Low-Wage Labor and Transnational Culture" in
Pacific H istorical R eview 68 no. 2 (May 1999): 213.

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I will argue, then, that the popular musical cultures of Blacks and Chicanos in LA served as a concrete social site where social relations were envisioned, constructed, and enacted. Overlapping cultural forms emerged not just as practices encoding m emory and history of specific ethnic groups, but also as composite forms representing m utual influence and locally shared experience. In this project, music serves as a rich terrain for examining an historical political consciousness that reflects the lives of working class Black and Chicano communities. What, then, can we learn from Afro-Chicano bands like The Jaguars, WAR, and The Mixtures that we may not be able to learn from the UAW strikes, or the welfare and housing struggles in the same eras? W hat can we learn about articulated intellectual and political responses to Reaganomics from the punk music scene that we cannot learn from the academic theory that emerged from cultural, wom en's, and ethnic studies? My w ork evolves from an understanding that w hen excluded populations speak from a different im agination of themselves as national members, different identities are created.^ W hen those at the margins of inclusion contest discursive tactics of race and nation mobilized against them, popular musical culture becomes a "process, a set of cultural

2 Paul Gilroy, A in 't N o Black in the Union Jack: The C ultural P olitics o f Race and N ation. (Chicago: Urriversity of Chicago Press, 1981), 45.

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practices that define American nationality - who 'real Americans' are in any given historical moment."^^ In her thorough examination of the lives of Gertrude "Ma" Rainey, Bessie Smith, and Billie Holiday, Angela Davis has argued (following Herbert Marcuse), "art never achieves greatness through transcendence of socio-historical reality. On the contrary, even as it transcends specific circumstances and conventions, it is deeply rooted in social realities." Davis suggests that we take the terrain on which claims of citizenship and subjectivity are m ade seriously Therefore, we do well to understand the impact that cultural forms have had on shaping identity politics over time in the context of U.S. nationalism. Throughout a racialized history of labor, education, and imm igration law. Blacks and Chicanos have deployed music as an im portant w eapon in battles to unmask the pow er imbalances which Lipsitz argues, "give regions, languages, and ethnic groups very different relations to the state they supposedly all share."^^ African Americans and Latinos have had a trem endous influence on each other's music. Musical forms in both diasporas have been rooted in material and social realities of racism and economic subjugation, but also in the realities of political struggle and visions of social justice. The experiences of exclusion are
Robert G. Lee, O rientals: A sian A m ericans in Popular Culture (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1999), 6. Angela Davis, Blues Legacies and Black Feminism: G ertrude"M a" Rainey, Bessie Smith, and Billie H oliday (N ew York: Pantheon Books, 1998). 23Lipsitz, "World Cities and World Beat," 151.

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something all aggrieved minorities in California have felt. But the intertwined histories of Blacks and Chicanos in Los Angeles created m utual spaces of popular musical production, influence, and enjoyment. In the current global context, this history and its practice can translate "into positions of resistance against ambient racism, economic insecurity, and the negative effects of a greater penetration of global capital."^^ My study shows that the most notew orthy conversations taking place about race, nation, and culture are not necessarily inside the circle of American inclusion. The story of Afro-Chicano cultural creation and resistance in Los Angeles underscores the importance of horizontal relationships of culture and politics. I draw on work from fields such as African-American and Chicano History, political science, California history, urban studies, and cultural and media studies of race and ethnicity to provide the first multidisciplinary scholarly analysis of the links between African-American and Chicano popular music in California. Background of Project I have learned an im portant lesson from reading the introductions of Dave Roediger's Wages of Whiteness and David Noble's Death of A National

Micheline Labelle and Franklin Middy, "Re-reading Citizenship and the Transnational Practices of Immigrants" in Journal o f Ethnic and M igration Studies 25, no. 2 (April 1999): 214.

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Landscape: that the historical writer cannot stand outside herself w hen writing about history. As Noble writes, "...I have rejected the state-of-nature anthropology which says that an individual can stand apart frona that which he observes, that a rational male can be a neutral observer. In contrast, embracing cultural anthropology, I understand myself as a participant-observer who is concerned not only w ith the true but also with the good and beautiful."^ As the product of a 34-year coalition between my Mexican-American m other and African-American father, I grew up with the privilege of being multi-ethnic, and also understanding its frustrations. As I m atured into creating my own identity politics and embracing grassroots politics, m y inter-racialism was a w onderful lens through which to see the potentials contained in AfroChicano coalitions. That lens also yielded disappointm ents w hen interethnic racism and rivalry underm ined w hat I had the privilege of understanding as a common cultural and political space. As a child beat up by w hite children for being a "nigger" in a "spic" neighborhood, later as a high school student pressured by well-meaning friends to "choose" a single ethnicity to identify with, and still later as a m ember of both MEChA and the African American Student Union in college, I had to come to terms with the privileges of being a "light-skinned Black" at the same time that I had to understand how being part Black m ade me different from other Chicanas. It was frustrating during the

25 David Noble, D eath o f a Nation: Am erican C ulture and the End o f Exceptionalism (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2002).

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Rodney King uprisings to see both groups resort to ethno-nationalist strategies, even when I knew that these are the tools m ost readily available in a society dedicated to a unified national culture. After college I worked for a year on both the south and west sides of Chicago at high schools that were 100 percent African American and 100 percent Latino respectively. I learned about organizing through coalitional politics in multi-national urban communities. By the time I got to graduate school, I was eager to read about the kinds of political cultures that m ade sense in m y experiences as an embodied African-AmericanChicana. I was disappointed with m ost scholarly sources on social movements and popular musical cultures that placed ethnic groups in categories sealed off from the influences and dynamic exchanges with other communities. I felt this was contradicted by the explicit histories of interaction docum ented in ethnic newspapers, personal memoirs, and novels of 2 0**^ century America by AfricanAmerican and Chicano writers. For example, Luis Rodriguez's autobiography recounted how in the fifties and sixties, "for the m ost part, the Mexicans in and around Los Angeles were economically and socially closest to Blacks. As soon as we understood English, it was usually the Black English we first tried to m aster.. The California Eagle,

the Chicago Defender, as well as other Black newspapers responded to a series of

Luis Rodriguez, A lw a ys R u nn in g (Sagebrush Education Resources, 1994).

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articles in the H earst Press demonizing Mexican pachucos in 1943. They retorted with their ow n coverage of the Sleepy Lagoon Case.^^ Beatrice Griffith's American Me and Chester Himes' Lonely Crusade and If He Hollers Let Him Co, Arna Bontempts' Cod Sends Sunday and Walter Mosely's num erous novels assume the interethnicity of Los Angeles in a way that I did not often see reported in scholarly studies of the same region. But I became encouraged by the growing intellectual interest in global cultures, not just global economies. Books by George Lipsitz, Jon Cruz, and Robin D.C. Kelley prom ised more analysis of multi-ethnic communities that did not center on a Black-white binary. Tomas Almaguer, Neil Foley, Kwang Chung Kim, Vijay Prashad, and Nestor C arda Canclini created connective histories of culture and resistance in books that ranged in chronology from the early 1800s to the present. Their w ork on postwar urbanism, transnational popular culture, and coalitional and grassroots politics has emphasized inter-ethnic interaction, empirical understandings of racial and economic subjugation, and shifting identity politics in ways that I feel have captured the age-old understandings of these patterns by the people w ho have lived interconnected lives.

McGrath, Alice. Interview with Stanley Nelson. The Black Press: Soldiers W ithout Swords. PBS. February 10,1999. 28 Vijay Prashad, E verybody W as K u ng Fu Fighting: A fro-A sian Connections and the M y th o f Cultural P u rity (N ew York: Beacon Press, 2001); George Lipsitz, D angerous Crossroads: Popular M usic, Postm odernism , and the Poetics o f Place (New York and London: Verso, 1994); Kwang Chung Kim, Koreans in the Hood: Conflict w ith African Am ericans (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press,

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My dissertation reaches into the past to yield contemporary insights about interethnic political and cultural possibilities. Moreover, one of the more im portant objectives of my work supports Kelley's form ulation that "so-called 'mixed-race' children are not the only ones w ith a claim to m ultiple heritages.. .[our various cultures] have never been easily identifiable, secure in their boundaries, or clear to all people w ho live in or outside our skin. We were multi-ethnic and poly-cultural from the get-go."^ This m eans that this project's understanding of the connectedness between Black and Chicano communities in Los Angeles is only one example of the m any histories and m any possibilities of interethnic action. Finally, undergirding this project is a resonance with novelist J. California Cooper's claim that "the future has a past:" Afro-Chicano connections are only one example of intertwined, ethnic m inority histories of exclusion and resistance. But like other histories, they provide a model for communal interactions that share a political and cultural space to envision the connection between the past and the future. History and Historiography

1999); N eil Foley, The W h ite Scourge: M exicans, Blacks, and Poor W hites in Texas Cotton Culture (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997); Tomas Almaguer, Racial Fault Lines: H istorical O rigins o f W h ite Suprem acy in California (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994); Nestor Garcia Canclini, H ybrid Cultures: Strategies fo r Entering and Leaving M o d ern ity (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1995). See also Robert Post and Michael Rogin, eds. Race and Representation: A ffirm ative A ction (N ew York: Zone Books, 1998). 29 Robin D.G. Kelley, "People in Me," Color Lines M agazine 1, no. 3 (Winter 1999): 5-7.

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In his novel of m id-century Black Los Angeles, Chester Himes declared, "as the West Coast goes, so the nation goes."^ But as m uch as California has dem onstrated its particular significance, one m ust look to the national context in order to understand how Chicanos and Blacks experienced exclusion and discrimination at the state level. David Noble's analysis of the generation of U.S. historians who wrote in the 1830s shows that intellectuals believed the United States was the only nation with a progressive history. For them, it was "the West in which the history of liberty w ould reach its final destination," freed from the savagery of Native Americans and the tyranny of French Catholics, culminating in Protestant liberty.^^ W estern expansion depended upon the belief that the American nation was destined to bring order to uncivilized peoples and spaces: artists, scientists, and historians w ho developed this belief w ould now begin to find there were fewer and fewer uncharted spaces. Increasingly, then, the writings of William

Prescott, John Motley, Francis Parkman, and George Bancroft drew boundaries between a "progressive 'American' people and the unprogressive, non-American peoples w ho lived w ithin the boundaries of the United States."^^ Therefore, Noble argues, Bancroft could celebrate "a national people and a national

Chester Himes, Lonely Crusade (Thunder's Mouth Press, 1997). Noble, D eath o f a N ation, 73. 32 David Noble, D eath o f a N ation, 71.

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landscape w here no one should remember the colonial [Native American] peoples." Catholic and Jewish immigrant groups and people of color could not understand Protestant liberty and could never, then, participate in the universal national.^ This Anglo-American commitment to a national m onoculture is evident in the dismal record of national exclusion that was California's model at annexation. W hen restrictions on voting rights, naturalization, and immigration are taken into account, it becomes apparent that for most of U.S. history, American laws declared m ost people in the w orld legally ineligible to become full U.S. citizens because of their race, nationality, or gender. For at least two-thirds of American history, the majority of the domestic adult population was also ineligible for full citizenship for the same reasons.^^ For instance. Congress in 1790 had declared that only white immigrants could be naturalized as citizens, thereby excluding all people of color. Some African-Americans were conceded to be U.S. citizens, w ith voting rights, in states as far south as N orth Carolina in the 1820s, but most had lost the vote by the time of the Dred Scott Decision. All Black men were given national citizenship by the Fourteenth A m endm ent and retained the vote for more than two decades. But

33 Ibid., 5-7. 3 ^ Rogers M. Smith, C ivic Ideals: Conflicting Visions o f C itizenship in U.S. H isto ry (N ew Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1997), 15.

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most lost their voting rights again by 1905, not to regain them until after the 1965 Civil Rights Act.^ W omen could retain a national citizenship independent of their husbands prior to 1855. But from that point on, foreign wom en who m arried Americans were automatically naturalized, and from 1907 until 1931, congress clarified that even native-born American wom en could be expatriated by m arriage to a racially "inappropriate" foreigner. But citizenship for women did not include the right to vote in national elections until 1920. The independence of the Native Americans tribes was also m ore fully acknowledged in 1790 than it w ould be in 1850. The residents of Puerto Rico and Guam remain in many respects second-class citizens today. The U.S. adopted a perm anent system of national origins quotas in 1924, in order to preserve the existing ethnic makeup of the American citizenry, with the National Origin Act.^^ But this was designed to exclude Catholics and Jews.

35According to Smith, "The Fifteenth amendment was far from a truly radical measure. It only prevented the federal government and the states from abridging citizens' voting rights 'on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.' Thus it did not confer any right to vote per se; and though it banned racial requirements, it left the states power to enact many other restrictions, including property qualifications and exclusions from office holding; that could
n eg a te th e form al p o litic a l rig h ts o f B lacks an d m a n y oth er c itizen s as w ell." A ls o o f n o te are

Smith's remarks on the actual application of the amendment at the local level: "Because of the 15th Amendment, Blacks could not be denied the vote by explicit racial criteria...yet lawmakers frequently admitted, indeed boasted, that such measures as com plex registration rules, literacy and property tests, poll taxes, white primaries, and grandfather clauses were designed to produce an electorate confined to a white race that declared itself supreme...meanwhile. Blacks began to vanish from the formal democratic process." Smith, Civic Ideals, 314 & 383. 36 Ibid., 16-17.

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Part of w hat m ade California unique in these patterns of racialization was the fact that it entered the Union by way of conquest from Mexico, a factor that continues to impact every aspect of the state. Gerald Horne has argued, "just as enslavement of African-Americans and genocide against N ative Americans m ust be the starting point for the explication of m uch of U.S. history, in California the added factor of conquest from Mexico m ust be n o t e d . I n California, the attem pted transplantation of this pattern of exclusive Anglo-American citizenship was difficult and messy. Its complexities are vividly reflected in the case of Chinese immigrants, particularly between 1850 and 1900. U.S. business elites w anted low-wage Chinese labor, but denied these imm igrants any opportunity for citizenship, then attem pted to prevent m ore laborers from arriving, forbade their reentry if they left the country, and began expelling those who had not secured certificates demonstrating the legality of their presence.^* This culminated in the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882, which suspended the immigration of Chinese laborers for ten years. The act was expanded to exclude all Chinese in 1884, and w as eventually implemented indefinitely. Exclusion of Asian Indians in 1917, Japanese in 1924, and Filipinos in 1934 followed this trajectory of nativism. One historian has argued that "capital in the 1880s

3^Gerald Horne, Fire This Time: The W a tts U prising and the 1960s (Charlottesville and London: University Press of Virginia, 1995), 23. Chae Chan Ping v. U.S., 1889, Fong Yue Ting v. United States, 1893.

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utilized racialized divisions among laborers to maximize its profits; it needed the exclusion of further Chinese immigration to prevent a superabundance of cheap labor, and the disenfranchisement of the existing Chinese Im m igrant labor force, to prevent capital accumulation by these wage l a b o r e r s . I n these discussions, politicians openly dismissed the Declaration of Independence's notions of equality as "sentimentalist," reflecting a "speculative and utopian" theory that was absurd in "practice."^ From the begirming of California's statehood, people of Chinese, African, and Mexican descent were connected by their general segregation from the national body, and also by their specific exclusion from rights as citizens. Links between their racial experiences are appropriately made. For example, the Fifteenth A mendment, which in 1870 said that Americans could not be barred from voting because of their race, was initially defeated in California, largely due to fears of Chinese voting. Ronald Takaki has shown that Chinese migrants found that racial qualities previously assigned to Blacks quickly became

Lowe, Im m igran t A cts, 13.


Sm ith, C ivic Ideals, 361, 314. M o reo v er, L isa L o w e h as arg u ed , "In la te 19th cen tu ry A m erica, as

the state sought to serve capital, by excluding and disenfranchising the Chinese in 1882, the state could constitute the "whiteness" of the citizenry and grant political concessions to "white" labor groups w ho were demanding immigration restrictions. At this point, the state reconfirmed bars to citizenship and naturalization that dated back to 1790: the national citizenry and national attempts to "resolve" the economic contradictions of capital and the political contradictions of the nation-state resulted in the successive exclusions...and the barring of all these immigrant groups from citizenship and ownership of property." Lowe, Im m igrant A cts, 13.

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"Chinese" characteristics

. .like Blacks, the Chinese were described as heathen,

morally inferior, savage, childlike, and lustful."^^ As acquisition of Mexican lands grew m ore imminent in the 1830s and 1840s, Anglo-Americans increasingly lum ped Mexican people w ith NativeAmericans and Blacks. African-Americans were characterized as the antithesis of white republican freemen, ironically because their position as slaves made them economically "dependent." "Free labor ideology" associated nonwhite people w ith various unfree labor systems; they were people w ho ostensibly threatened Anglos' super-ordinate social standing and class privileges in California.^^ This sentim ent was an overriding issue in the negotiation of citizenship, race, and labor in early California. Concerns to protect native white laborers were param ount.

Ronald Takaki, Iron Cages: Race and C ulture in 19' C entury A m erica (N ew York and London: Oxford University Press, 2000). Almaguer, Racial Fault Lines, 13 and 25. A speech by delegate Wozencraft to the California Constitutional Convention in 1850 very accurately exemplifies this sentiment and deserves to be quoted at length: "I w ish to cast m y vote against the admission of blacks into this country, in order that I may thereby protect the citizens of California in one of their most inestimable rights - the right to labor. This right is not only valuable, but it is a holy commandment - 'by the sweat of thy brow shalt thou earn thy daily bread. I w ish to inculcate this command, and encourage labor, I wish, so far as my influence extends, to make labor honorable; the laboring man is the nobleman in the true acceptation of the word; and I w ould make him worthy of his high prerogative, and not degrade him by placing him upon a level with the low est in the scale of the family of man...I desire to protect the people of California against all m onopolies - to encourage labor and protect the laboring class. ...the capitalists w ill fill the land with these living laboring machines, with all their attendant evils. Their labor...will drive the poor and honest laborer from the field, by degrading him to the level of the negro." Quoted in Almaguer, Racial Fault Lines, 36-37. '* 3Rudolph M. Lapp, "Negro Rights Activities in Gold Rush California" California H istorical Society Q uarterly 45 (March 1966): 16.

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For instance, since m ost new Euro-American immigrants to California envisioned a capitalist economy based on free wage labor, slavery did not fit this vision. But California convention delegates feared acquiring a population of free Blacks, w ho were "idle in their habits, difficult to be governed by the laws, thriftless, uneducated," and who w ould "degrade labor."^^ This culminated in a series of legislated anti-Negro immigration initiatives. Because of this powerful commitment to preserve the purity of the AngloSaxon race, California's first governor Peter Burnet, in his first message to the Assembly in December 1850, recommended the exclusion of free Blacks from the state. Burnet's bill was well within the directives of the federal Fugitive Slave Law, claiming that Blacks brought into California before its admission to the union were fugitives. The object of this bill was to prevent Blacks from immigrating to or residing in California. Burnet's bill was not passed, but was reintroduced on three m ore occasions, including once in the 1940s.'^

^ Robert F. Heizer and Alan J. Almquist, The O ther Californians: Prejudice and D iscrim ination U nder Spain, M exico, and the U nited States to 1920 (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1971), 105. The bill instructed that no Black or mulatto w ould be allowed to come to the state to settle or reside. But it was also directed against African Americans already residents of California. The recorders of each county were to register every free Black and mulatto over the age of fifteen. Those w ho refused to register w ould be declared guilty of a misdemeanor. The bill was passed overwhelm ingly and sent to the senate, where it was defeated. See D ouglas H. Daniels, Pioneer Urbanites, William Sherman Savage, Blacks in the W est, Heizer and Almquist, The O ther Californians, and reports by the San Francisco D a ily Globe, February through March 1858.

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Discussions about the racial reasons w hy Blacks w ere economically dependent entered politicians' deliberations over the problem of Mexicans. They had failed to retain their lands, it was argued, because they were a mixed, inferior race w ith considerable Indian and some African blood. Americans were not to be blam ed for forcibly taking the northern provinces of Mexico because Mexicans, like Indians, were unable to make proper use of the land: "no one who knew the indolent, mixed race of California," argued T.J. Farnham in 1840, could believe they w ould long populate m uch less govern, the region." By 1845, James Buchanan had declared, "the Anglo-Saxon blood could never be subdued by anything that claimed Mexican origin." The entire world, it was argued, would benefit if a superior race shaped the future of the Southwest.^^ Tomas Alm aguer has argued these debates unfolded in a context where race, rather than class, resulted in being the key organizing principle of hierarchical relations of inequality. "Although California's ethnic populations were racialized in different ways, and the specific m anifestations of racial and ethnic conflict were unique to California, the racialization process at its most basic level, represented the extension of 'w hite supremacy' into the new American Southw est... [this] clearly privileged and elevated the status of white
In 1855, the "Greaser Act" allowed white citizens to make arrests in the case of loiterers; yet this act applied specifically to "all persons w ho are commonly known as "Greasers" or the issue of Spanish and Indian b lo o d .. .and w ho are not peaceable and quiet persons." Reginald Horsman, Race and M anifest D estiny: O rigins o f Am erican Racial A nglo-Saxionism (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1986), 215, 214, 208, 210.

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immigrants in the social structure and placed below them, in descending order, the Mexican, Black, Asian, and Indian populations."^^ In the early years, then, California officials legislated anti-Negro immigration laws, intermittently shifted fearful and dam aging attention to Chinese labor, twice outlawed mixing between Blacks and Indians, prohibited marriage betw een Mexicans (sometimes considered white) and Blacks, and allowed individual cities to determine the merits of Mexican citizenship. Ultimately, Mexicans w ere socially defined as "white" and extended citizenship while the California Indians, like Indians elsewhere, were deemed "nonwhite" and ineligible for citizenship.^ W hat m ade Mexicans different, in the eyes of Euro-Americans in California, was that Spanish colonization had conferred upon them "a 'w hite' racial status, Christian ancestry, a romance language, European somatic features, and a formidable ruling elite that contested 'Yankee' depredations."^^

* 7Tomas Almaguer, Racial Fault Lines: The H istorical O rigins o f W hite Suprem acy in California (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1994), 7, 8-9.
'In 1884, th e S u p re m e C ou rt h e ld in Elk v . W ilk in s that N a tiv e A m e rica n s o w e d a lle g ia n ce to

their tribe and so did not acquire citizenship upon birth; not until 1924 did Congress pass an act conferring citizenship on all Native Americans in the United States. H owever, questions still arose regarding the citizenship of those born in the United States after the effective date of the 1924 act. These questions were finally resolved under the Nationality Act of 1940, which specifically bestowed citizenship on all those born in the U.S. 'to a member of an Indian, Eskimo, Aleutian, or other aboriginal tribe.'" Ian Haney Lopez, W hite By Law, 41. Almaguer, Racial Fault Lines, 4.

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Blacks sometimes experienced a similar and arbitrary favor: they were " after all at least Christian, spoke English, and had - after years of enslavement assimilated im portant European cultural patterns." But the California State Constitution prevented African Americans from voting, holding public office, testifying in court cases involving whites, serving on juries, attending public schools, or hom esteading land. And most Mexicans were dark complexioned mestizos w ith significant Indian ancestry and did not, then, qualify for citizenship in the eyes of local officials.^ Those Mexicans not locally defined as "white" were prohibited from naturalization and ownership of property for extended periods. ^ For Blacks, property ownership was just as difficult and contradictory. The Hom estead Act in 1851 read: "whenever any white m an or female resident in this State shall desire to avail himself or herself of the benefits of this act, such person shall m ake a w ritten application to the county judge of the county in which the land is situated." And in 1860, the Senate and Assembly passed concurrent resolutions which promised: ".. .to each bona fide settler on the public agricultural lands within the State, being a free white person over the age of twenty-one years and a citizen of the United States; who shall have become
soibid., 8. 5 1 Ibid., 4. 52 In Santa Paula, California, the Land Commission apparently confirmed only one Mexican land grant in 1869 and invalidated the property rights of the rest of that city's Mexican inhabitants in the Santa Paula Water Works v. Julio Peralta case in 1896. Menchaca, The M exican O utsiders, 42.

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such a hom estead community of one hundred and sixty acres or m ore after a continuous residence and occupation thereof for five years." In 1854, the California Supreme C ourt in the case of People of the State of California v. Hall heard the appeal of a white defendant challenging his conviction for m urder. He appealed on the grounds that he w as convicted only through the testimony of a Chinese witness, and that this testimony should have been excluded under an 1850 statute providing that "no Black, or M ulatto person, or Indian shall be allowed to give evidence in favor of, or against a white
man."3

White racism in California was a powerful force, therefore, in shaping racist hiring, housing, and educational policies. Most Blacks, Native Americans, Latinos, Asian-Americans, Catholic and Jewish working-class whites, and wom en were expected to be unfit for full and equal citizenship for generations to come. Hence they norm ally received tutelary, vocational education, often in segregated environments, and afterward entered political and economic systems in which by law they could rarely hope to buy, sell, or rent property, borrow money, vote, hold office, or serve on juries on an equal footing w ith white men."*

53 As the early work of Delilah L. Beasley documented: "[a Black man] might purchase a home and yet if a white person should claim the land, a colored person could not go into court and testify in his ow n behalf." Delilah L. Beasley, N egro Trailblazers o f California (Los Angeles: 1919), 158. 54 Smith, C ivic Ideals, 468.

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In later years, racially restrictive housing covenants m ade neighborhoods like W atts racially specific, after they had been racially mixed areas between whites. Blacks, and Mexicans since the late 1800s. Exclusion laws w ould drastically affect Japanese citizens in WWII through internment; Mexicans who were part of the Bracero Program would suffer terrible conditions in agricultural and defense industries; and Black and Chicana women w ould endure some of the poorest wages and w orking conditions in the nation. In the face of the Anglo-American attem pt to monopolize economic, political, and cultural power, there were early attem pts at coalitions by oppressed minorities. As early as 1903, Japanese and Mexican beet workers collaborated against unfair working conditions in Oxnard. The Longshoreman's Union that em erged from the General Strike of 1934 in Los Angeles was racially integrated, as were the farm workers' unions of the 1930s. In the latter part of that decade, Mexicana employees at CalSan protested discriminatory practices in the hiring of African-Americans, so that by the early part of 1942, factory owners were forced to relent under union pressure, and hire close to thirty Blacks. In the late sixties, Reies Lopez Tijerina and the Black Panthers swore their allegiance to a peace pact they co-authored, and it was working-class w om en's organizing

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that inspired the coordinated efforts of Ralph Abernathy and Corky Gonzalez for the Poor People's March to Sacramento and Washington, D.C. in 1968.^ Lisa Lowe has argued that the "historical and continued racialization of the [subject] as citizen, exacerbates the contradictions of the national project that promises the resolution of material inequalities through the political domain of equal representation."^ As my study shows, these contradictions w ould not be lost on African- and Mexican-Americans in Los Angeles. Citizenship in Context I have used federal and state laws of citizenship to dem onstrate the ways in which African- and Mexican-Americans in California were defined as outside America's progressive purpose.^ Like Ian Lopez, I understand African- and Mexican- American exclusion from the Anglo-American racist understanding of national membership. This indicates that citizenship, as is often claimed, is not only a m atter of rhetorical law. Lopez demonstrates that even since 1952, when the racial prerequisites to citizenship were being eradicated, white identity and privilege have m aintained a racialized discourse of national inclusion. *

5 5 Mervyn M. Dymally, "Afro-Americans and Mexican-Americas: The Politics of Coalition," in Ethnic Conflict in California H istory ed. Charles Wollenberg (Los Angeles: Tinnon-Brown, Inc., 1970), 166. 55 Lowe, Im m igran t A cts, 10. 57 Before the developm ent of agribusiness and heavy industry drastically stratified the nature of work along racial lines in California, Blacks and Chicanos were often excluded in similar ways. 58 Lopez, W hite B y Law, 145.

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I draw m y conclusions about citizenship and national membership from a variety of sources. T.H. M arshall's pioneering w ork in his 1949 essay "Citizenship and Social Class" explores the relationship betw een the evident inequalities of class and the prospective equality of citizenship. Marshall was the first to conceptualize and defend "social citizenship" as the final stage in the historical developm ent of m odern citizenship. In his formulation, the stage of social citizenship w as preceded by the stages of civil citizenship (which concerns the rights necessary for individual freedom, like the right to property ownership) and political citizenship (which grants the franchise). Social citizenship comprises "the whole range from the right to a m odicum of economic welfare and security to the right to share to the full in the social heritage to live the life of a civilized being according to the standards prevailing in the society."^ If, in M arshall's formulation, national citizens have equal rights and duties which derive from that status, then many working-class, female, and minority populations can still be defined as non-citizens. The strength of M arshall's argum ent is that it moves beyond a strict interpretation of citizenship to encompass the various gradations of the quality of membership in the national body. However, when questions of gender and race are p u t at the center of the inquiry, the analysis becomes problematic.

T.H. Marshall, The R igh t To Welfare and O ther Essays (N ew York: The Free Press, 1981), 11.

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Marshall does not acknowledge gender and racial hierarchies, slighting other key axes of inequality and other mechanisms and arenas of domination. Thus, Marshall's three stage process tow ard the attainm ent of citizenship is contradicted by the history of the development of wom en's rights. Sylvia Walby explains that "for First World w om en political citizenship is typically achieved before civil citizenship, the reverse of the order for men." And Anne McClintock has argued that "all nations depend on powerful constructions of gender . . . no nation in the w orld gives wom en and m en the same access to the rights and resources of the nation-state. Rather than expressing the flowering into time of the organic essence of a timeless people, nations are contested systems of cultural representation that limit and legitimize peoples' access to the resources of the n a tio n -s ta te .M a rs h a ll ignores the fact that the developm ent of citizenship is a highly gendered process. Citizenship has been traditionally defined in terms of social membership in a particular society or nation-state, that is, a participation in a national identity. Rogers Smith argues, "citizenship laws literally constitute - they create with legal w ords - a collective civic identity. They proclaim the existence of a political "people" and designate w ho those persons are as a people, in ways that

Anne McClintock, Imperial Leather: Race, Gender, and Sexuality in the Colonial C ontest (N ew York: Routledge, 1995), 353.

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often become integral to individuals' senses of personal identity as well."^^ By implication those w ho are perceived as not belonging to the nation can be excluded from the rights of citizenship. They are non-citizens; denied the right of membership of, or belonging to, a particular community w ith a shared identity. This kind of identity, according to Smith, creates "civic m yths," used to explain why persons form a people, usually indicating how a political community originated, who is eligible for membership, who is not and why, and w hat the community's values and aims are. These myths may be "noble lies... [that] cloak the exploitation of citizens by their leaders [and] demonize innocent outsiders.. .They m ay be ugly, ignoble lies. And they are often likely to be so..."^ In Scott vs. Sanford, for example. Chief Justice Taney found himself scrambling to clarify the status of native-born white wom en and minors, who as state citizens were denied the franchise and m any economic rights in ways comparable to the exclusion of free blacks. In order to preserve the m yth of racial inferiority, he declared that unlike Blacks, wom en and m inor were U.S. citizens as well as state citizens, entitled to privileges and immunities clause protection. Such w om en and children were, Taney said, "part of the political family" of those "who form the sovereignty." Blacks were outside the "family.

Smith, C ivic Ideals, 30-31. Ibid, 33 & 34.


D red Scott v. Sanford

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Bill Ong Hing has argued that "the discussion of who is and who is not American, w ho can and carmot become American, is beyond the technicalities of citizenship and residency requirements; it strikes at the heart of our nation's long and troubled legacy of race relations."^^ And Alexander Bickel states that citizenship is too unstable as a category to promise liberatory struggles; it is too easily taken away and qualified. But as Black feminist scholar and critical legal theorist Patricia Williams points out, since citizenship rights have been a crucial terrain of struggle against the totalizing dom ination of racialized capital, we cannot abandon them as a category of analysis. Williams insists that, for African Americans and others, the discourse of rights em bedded in citizenship can still be deployed against the social system that they are supposed to uphold. Similarly, Nancy Fraser argues that in m oving tow ard a more democratic public sphere, we m ust both problematize social and institutional logics and attend to the "historically and culturally specific ensemble of discursive resources available to m embers of a given social collectivity in pressing claims against one and other." The articulation of claims on the state, for Fraser, is an im portant site of resistance. She argues that scholars need to pay more attention to how these claims are

^ Bill Ong Hing, "Beyond the Rhetoric of Assimilation and Cultural Pluralism: Addressing the

Tension of Separatism and Conflict in an Immigration-Driven Multiracial Society" California Law


R eview 81 (1993): 863,866.

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made, and that their negotiation by contemporary "politics" constitutes resistance to a privileged construction of public life. Lisa Lowe contends that the concept of abstract citizens, "each formally equivalent - one to the other" obscures the material conditions of work and the inequalities of the property system. "Unrepresentable histories" are w hat result, and she argues that it is these histories which contradict the abstract form of citizenship. My project seeks to recover these histories through its exploration of interethnicity among Blacks and Chicanos.^^ Academicians m ay have only recently begun to consider in broad scope the discursive m eanings of citizenship, but social movements led by women and aggrieved m inority populations over the past several centuries have dem anded that those in pow er make good on legal, written promises of equality. My dissertation places more scholarly weight on these marginalized, sometimes "organic" intellectual conceptions of citizenship. In using these theorists I situate
Patricia Willianas, The A lch em y o f Race and R ights (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1991). Nancy Fraser, U n ru ly Practices: Power, Discourse, and Gender in Contem porary Social Theory (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1989), 164. Rachel Buff's remarkable dissertation. Calling H ome w as of invaluable assistance to me in understanding the arguments against citizenship as a category of analysis. M odernity at Large cultural theorist Arjun Appadurai has attempted to show what is new about
"globalization" in th e last tw o d eca d es, fo c u ssin g o n th e cu ltural d im e n s io n o f g lo b a liz a tio n . H e

explores how the interconnectedness of migration and modern mass media affects the imagination and defines notions of neighborhood, nation, and nationhood. Today, ".. .the new topography and practices of citizenship...are multi-connected, multi-referential, and post national... with the post-[WWII} reconfigurations in citizenship...the old categories that attach individuals to nationally defined status positions and distributory mechanisms become blurred." Yasemin Soysal, "Citizenship and Identity: Living in Diasporas in Post-War Europe?" Ethnic and Racial Studies Vol. 23, No. 1 (January 2000); 13 & 5.

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my w ork in the im portant tradition being established by scholars like Chandra Talpade M ohanty and Jacqui Alexander, who locate minorities and women at the center of global economic expansion and concomitant governm ent negotiations of national identity.^^

Since the mid-1980s, LA has replaced New York as the chief receiving area for immigrants, and is now the biggest industrial center in the United States, twice the size of second-place Chicago.^ All of the economic and demographic changes that are reshaping America, therefore, are exaggerated in Los Angeles. It is the second-largest Latino city in the world, after Mexico City; in Southern California, 8.6 million people do not speak English (more than twice as many as in any other state) and 5.47 million residents speak Spanish at home. Cantonese is now the second m ost common foreign language in California, spoken by almost one-half million residents: Tagalog, Vietnamese, Korean, German, and Japanese follow it.*^

In their innovative and original analysis of the garment industry, Mohanty and Alexander argue that our econom y is now reliant upon Third World wom en and a labor force made up of people of color, yet the literature on transnational identities has focused on a white male subject. See also L. Basch, N. Glick-Schiller, and C. Szanton Blanc, N ations Unbound: Transnational Projects, Postcolonial Predicam ents and D eterritorialized N ation-States (Amsterdam: Gordon and Breach Science Publications, 1994). Richard Walker, "California's Collision of Race and Class," in Race and Representation: A ffirm ative A ction ed. Michael Rogin and Robert Post (N ew York: Zone Books, 1998), 284. Susan Berfield, "Global Changes and Domestic Transformations: Southern California's Emerging role" Conference Paper delivered for The Stanley Foundation. DeMoines, 1993.

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In this context, increased competition for scarce resources and the trap of racial chauvinism too often positions workers of different origins and ethnic groups in opposition to each other, a phenomenon as m uch about globalization as it is about the changing meaning of all socio-racial identities in the current historical moment7 Unique intersections of global capitalism and ongoing negotiations of identity produce new political struggles around urban spaces. Writing about cooperation and solidarity, then, means writing at the same time about rejection and mistrust.^^ Prejudice and racism have not only been found in the oppression of white suprem acy in California. There is a history of racism between Blacks and Latinos all over the world, despite their shared oppression as subjugated laborers, colonial subjects, and second-class citizens.^^

This is a force well-captured by George Lipsitz: "the influx of hundreds of thousands of Central Americans over the past decade has changed what it means to be Chicano for the nearly 3,000,000 people of Mexican origin in the city, w hile the migration of nearly 200,000 Koreans reconfigures the contours of the area's Asian American population. Immigration has changed cultural networks, the color of low -w age jobs, and increased competition for scarce resources." George Lipsitz, "World Cities and World Beat: Low-Wage Labor and Transnational Culture" in Pacific H istorical R eview 68 i2 (May 1999): 213. Mary Douglas, H ow In stitutions Think (New York: Syracuse University Press, 1986). 72 See, for example, Lillian Comas-Diaz, "LatiNegra: Mental Health Issues of African Latinas," in The M ultiracial Experience: Racial Borders as the N ew Frontier, ed. Maria P. Root (Thousand Oaks CA: Sage Publications, 1996): 167-90; Marta I. Cruz-Janzen, "Y Tu Abuela A Onde Esta?" Sage Race Relations Abstracts 26, no. 2 (2001): 7-24; Gabriel Escobar, "Dominicans Assimilate in Black and White," The W ashington Post, May 14,1999: A2; and Mirta Ojito, "Best Friends, Worlds Apart," The N ew York Times, June 5, 2000: A l, A16-7; Winthrop Wright, Cafe con Leche: Race, Class, and N ational Image in Venezuela (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1990); Jameelah S. Muhammad, "Mexico," in N o Longer Invisible: Afro-Latin Am ericans Today (London: Minority Rights Publications, 1995), 163-80.

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In the United States, African Americans are often considered the racialized group most discriminated against^^ For Latinos, to be black in the United States is a perceived liability. Regardless of skin color and physical appearance, in the United States one drop of nonwhite blood makes the person 100 percent nonwhite, while in Latin America one drop of white blood makes the person whiter, or at least no longer black or Indian.^^ In Latin America "racial impurity" can be "cleansed" and "expunged" in ascending stages; in the United States racial "impurity" designates the person and his or her future for generations as unfit and undesirable.^^ The m ore Latinos become immersed in the racial ideology of the United States, the sharper and more unyielding the black/white dichotomy becomes, and the more powerful the desire to free themselves of any and all vestiges of African ancestry. Blacks have also been perpetrators of racism against Latinos. In California, the historical context from which this emerges was exemplified in the Save O ur State debates. The Black vote for 187 was courted by California politicians who fanned Black fears of job loss to imm igrant workers. AfricanAmericans have also often relied on available stereotypes to criticize Mexican immigrants for "undeserved" state aid, education, and medical treatment.
Toni Morrison, "On the Backs of Blacks," Time (Special Issue: The N ew Face of America: How Immigrants are Shaping the World's First Multicultural Society?), December 2,1993, 57. F. James Davis, W ho is Black? O ne N ation 's D efinition (University Park: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 1998); Lillian Comas-Diaz, "LatiNegra," 171. Marta I. Cruz-Janzen, "Y Tu Abuela A'Onde Esta?"

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Like m ost forms of racism, the discrimination between Blacks and Mexicans comes from the combination of available stereotypes and miseducation about the real social relationships that characterize inter-ethnic history. But it is also aided by the fact that the few gains m ade by one group in a racist society m ight come at the expense of another aggrieved community. Conceptualizing privilege and oppression as "relational", scholars like Maxine Baca Zinn and Bonnie Thornton Dill have shown that a given individual can be both oppressed and privileged in varying degrees and in different contexts:^* The central question my dissertation asks, then, is w hat histories can we draw upon, and w hat strategies can we imagine w hen engaging politics of cooperation and solidarity w ithin a history of rejection and mistrust? ' I believe an im portant answer can be found in the interethnic cultural politics of African- and MexicanAmerican communities in Los Angeles. Chapter one is about the relationship between Afro-Chicano popular musical culture and m ainstream radio in postw ar Los Angeles. I trace the links between African-and Mexican-Americans that show how shifts in the meanings of race, space, labor, and nation after WWII were experienced in the exclusion of Afro-Chicano musical groups from mainstream radio and recording industries.

Maxine Baca Zinn and Bonnie Thornton Dill, "Theorizing Difference from Multiracial Feminism" in Fem inist Studies 22 (Summer 1996): 321-31. Douglas, H ow In stitutions Think, 73.

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Chapter two demonstrates how the governm ent's perpetual commitment to war (on Poverty, in Vietnam, on ethnic and minority movements) was met by wars from an "inter-ethnic below." These "wars of position," as C.L.R. James has argued, could not always precisely define the kind of individual freedom or freedom of association they were striving for; but James believed that many activists and oppressed communities had rejected dom inant perspectives of individual freedom and democracy, and that this rejection had often taken forms that were "cultural and religious rather than explicitly political."^ I argue that it was this particular kind of rejection which m ade possible coalitional politics between, for example. La Raza Unida Party leader Reies Lopez Tijerina and the Los Angeles chapter of the Black Panther Party, who forged a peace pact after the Watts Riots. This complimented the relationship between La Raza groups and the Black Congress in Los Angeles, and the joint leadership of Blacks and Browns during the Los Angeles Poor People's March in 1969.^^ Despite the challenges posed by economic racism and the climate of w ar in Los Angeles, the ongoing creation and affirmation of inter-ethnic m emory and history in Los Angeles opened spaces of political possibility for Blacks and Chicanos.

78 Robin D.G. Kelley, "Introduction" in CLR James, A H istory o f Pan-African R evolt (Chicago: Kerr Publishing, 1995), 15. 7 9 Mervyn M. Dymally, "Afro-Americans and Mexican-Americans: The Politics of Coalition," in Ethnic Conflict in California H istory, ed. Charles Wollenberg (Los Angeles: Tinnon-Brown, Inc., 1970), 166.

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For working class Latinos and African Americans, economic problems have been a crucial source of conflict in Los Angeles. Chapter three examines the material results of Reaganomics on Black and Chicano life in the late 70s and early 80s, and the intellectual and popular ideological responses to ReaganThatcherism. In discussing the formation of resistance to economic, ideological, and political repression in the eighties, I discuss two forms of intellectual response: academic (in cultural studies, women's, and ethnic studies theory) and the "organic" intellectual response offered by the new Black and Chicano punk music scenes of the 1980s. Using theories advanced by filmmaker Marlon Riggs, I argue that explicit invocations of white republican nationalism and citizenship, the emergence of liberal multiculturalism, and narrow ing definitions of "Chicanisma/o" and "Blackness" (even with the development of im portant identity, popular cultural, and critical race theory in this era) contributed to the exclusion of punk rock from mainstream Black and Chicana/o identity and culture. In chapter four, I reflect on the ways transnational capitalism benefits from the construction of popular protest as sheik, temporary, and titillating. My understandings of im portant scholarship in this area move me to consider the m anagem ent of national and international consent through the exportation of images of popular protest. Yet primarily this chapter is preoccupied w ith how

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movements and musicians manipulate this same commodification for both material and ideological gain. As a departure from scholarship on the influence of globalism on LA, the question posed here, then, is, how and w hy is LA exported? The construction, export, and consumption of the city not only link the danger and promise of inter-ethnic politics to the rest of the nation, but subvert and create challenges to the inequality engendered by 21 century labor practices and politics. An analysis of the film Bread and Roses and the media coverage of the J4J protest at the Democratic National Convention in 2001 illustrate this argument.

In 1998,1 visited the town of Cuajinicuilapa, in the Mexican state of Guerrero. As part of a group of researchers participating in a conference on Afro-Mestizaje, I was astounded to see children dancing to music heavy with percussive rhythm s that were clearly West African in origin. The town was entirely Afro-Mexicano. The mayor that greeted us could have been from the south side of Chicago, except that he came from generations of Black Mexicans. Committed to the survival of their cultural history, m any of the adults recounted to us their supposition that their ancestors were brought as slaves to the W estern side of Mexico via the Philippines. This m ade the residents of Cuajinicuilapa all the more important, since m ost slaves were brought to the Eastern seaboard of

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Mexico, to Vera Cruz, and little is documented about the communities of former slaves that settled in the fishing villages of W estern Mexico. After the formal visit, children surrounded me asking questions about my origin. H ad I grown up in Cuajinicuilapa like they had, and left for a more cosmopolitan future? Why did I speak Spanish so properly? W hen were m y parents coming back to Cuajinicuilapa? But the m ayor also talked to us about the fact that the Mexican government will not recognize their ethnicity as African-Mexicans, and about the racism that they endure from other Mexicans. He spoke knowingly to a nodding audience, several of w hom were Chicanos from California. The reluctance of the Mexican governm ent to acknowledge the partial African ancestry of present-day Mexicans is part of the larger internalized racism that has kept all socio-economic groups operating as if we have no common interest in the eradication of social injustice. Seeing m y history reflected in the children of Cuajinicuilapa was validating. But it also brought into sharp relief the importance of exploring cormective histories, of creating connective strategies that resist reductive understandings about race, culture, gender, class, and nationality. This dissertation is a beginning.

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Chapter One: 'An Aural Counterpart': Afro-Chicano Music Culture and Mainstream Radio in Post-war Los Angeles

In the 1950s, Fremont High School in South Central Los Angeles was synonymous with the musical beginnings of such famed doowopers as The Penguins, The Platters, and The Ink Spots. Many bands and vocal groups like The Meadowlarks, The Flames, The Medallions, and The Dreamers w ould later attribute their beginnings to Fremont High, one of the first public schools to integrate its classrooms before the landm ark US Supreme Court desegregation decision in 1954. Located at 76* Street and San Pedro Boulevard, it was among the m ost integrated schools in Los Angeles at the time.^ LA was unique in the context of the nation's predom inating models of Black-white racism. In this multi-ethnic city, racially mixed audiences at clubs and concerts w ere common in the 1950s. Interracial music groups were not. This was a fact not lost on four young m en from Fremont High, who formed a doowop vocal group in 1953. They called themselves "The Miracles" because as one member recalls, "we were so different, it was a miracle we ever got
Parents and students of Fremont High School had not always been open to integration. In her memoir of Black Los Angeles, longtime California Eagle editor Charlotta Bass recalls an incident in which a mock lynching was staged at the school in 1941: "The poster circulated preliminary to the mock lynching stated: 'we want no niggers in this school. This is a w hite man's school. Go to your ow n school, and leave us to ours.. .the Eagle editor was on the scene during the entire demonstration, and there was no question in her mind but that the 500 students of Fremont had been encouraged in this hate campaign by their hate-mongering parents.. Charlotta Bass, Forty Years: M em oirs from the Pages o f a N ew spaper (Los Angeles: privately printed in 1960), 135-6

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together;"^ both lead vocalist Herm an "Sonny" Chaney and bass Charles M iddleton were African-American, baritone Manuel "M anny" Chavez was Chicano, and second tenor Valerio "Val" Poliuto was Italian-American. Within a few m onths the Miracles renam ed themselves The Jaguars. The Jaguars express w hat was unique about postw ar LA: an integrated musical culture in which local Black and Chicano music predom inated. Already, radio DJs Al "Hunter" Hancock, Art Laboe, Lionel "Chico" Sesma, Dick "Huggy Boy" H ugg and the music they featured on their program s in the 1940s and 1950s achieved "w hat the proponents of forced busing could only imagine - and with much less effort."^ Emcees prom oted concerts that targeted multi-ethnic audiences, something rare in other parts of the country at that time. Art Laboe remembers, "white kids from Beverly Hills, black kids from Compton, and local Chicano kids used to come out to our shows every weekend."^ The Jaguars embodied the demographic trends that transform ed the city during the W ar years and beyond. The diversity of influences reflected in their singing style dem onstrated the crossroads of cultures that characterized music in Los Angeles. Second tenor Val Poliuto remembers.

2 Val Poliuto, Personal Interview by author, Ventura, California; 4 December 2001. ^David Reyes and Tom Waldman, Land o f a Thousand Dances: Chicano Rock'n'Roll From Southern California (Albuquerque: University of N ew Mexico Press, 1998). * Matt Garcia, '"Memories of El Monte': Intercultural Dance halls in Post-WWII Greater Los Angeles" in Michael N evin Willard and Joe Austin (eds.), Generations o f Youth: Youth Culture and H istory in Tw entieth C entury A m erica (New York: N ew York University Press, 1989), 161.

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"... they w ould ask us 'well w hat are you singing? Are you singing pop music [popular doowop ballad-style] or something else?' The thing about it was that Sonny, Manny, Charles, and I listened to all kinda music. And we just did n 't sing in a category. In other words we did n 't always sound like the same group. Were they white or were they black? That was our biggest problem." This "problem " captures the contradictions of racialized popular culture in the m ainstream LA radio industry after World War II. This chapter is about the relationship between Afro-Chicano popular musical culture and mainstream radio in postwar Los Angeles. Two decades of immense migrations by African-Americans and Mexicans during the 1940s and 1950s into the city m eant the local predominance of Black and Chicano musical forms. Hence, the proliferation of these listeners and perform ers w ould require that radio stations and their DJs do more than just commodify Afro-Chicano musical forms. The Jaguars' story demonstrates the ways in which doowop, jump blues, early rock and the integrated venues they produced entered into an unprecedented relationship w ith the recording and radio industries. Yet their story also illuminates the segmented classification of the music industry that prohibited the m arketing of mixed-race groups. The dialectical relationship between these industries, as well as Afro-Chicano music after WWII illuminates the relationship betw een networks of connective resistance on one hand, and strategies of dom ination and oppression on the other.

5 Val Poliuto, Personal Interview by author, Ventura, California; 4 December 2001.

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By nearly every m easure of wartime influence, from militarization to urban m igration, California cities dramatically felt the effects of W orld War II. The w ar ushered the W est out of a provincial, colonial past into the mainstream of m odern industrial life; Los Angeles was transformed from a raw-materials colony for the East to a metropole in its own right, and governm ent spending was crucial in this process. By the end of the first year of the War, Los Angeles County w ould lead the nation in the num ber of predom inant industries, ranking first in the production of aircraft, motion pictures, sportswear, oil well equipment, and food products.^ Jaguar lead vocalist Sonny Chaney and bass Charles M iddleton were both from families that m oved to California during the wartim e m igration to the West Coast. From Texas and Louisiana respectively, they joined the over 70,000 African-Americans whose migration between 1940 and 1946 caused a significant transformation of Black Los Angeles. In the 1950s, the Black population of New York City increased nearly two and a half times and in Detroit it tripled, but more Blacks m igrated to California than to any other state. Black immigrants

Los Angeles County Chamber of Commerce, Industrial Department, "Economic Background of Los Angeles County," in Collection of Eight Studies on the Industrial Developm ent of Los Angeles County (Los Angeles, n.d.), 6. ^ U.S. Bureau of the Census, Special Census of Los Angeles, California (Washington, D.C., 1946) John Caughey and LaRee Caughey, Los Angeles: Biography o f a C ity (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1976), 426.

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would encounter unique patterns of racism in Los Angeles neighborhoods, but they were rooted in national patterns of economic racism already familiar to people of color. African-American citizens had no choice but to settle w ithin the narrow corridor situated just to the south and east of downtown Los Angeles. Mexicans were also limited to specific neighborhoods: in 1940, m ost still lived in Central, South, and East Los Angeles. Neither Mexicans nor Blacks could purchase homes in other areas because of racially restrictive covenants supported by construction companies and banks: the Federal Housing Association made the adoption of racially restrictive covenants a condition for insurance of new construction, and savings and loans associations refused to lend money to people of color who w anted to buy in white residential areas. Therefore, both groups were forced to reside several miles away from the burgeoning industrial neighborhoods of Maywood, Pico Rivera, South Gate, and Vernon. Even if there had been no racial discrimination in wartime industry hiring, m any residents in Black and Chicano neighborhoods could not easily w ork in high-skill, high-wage jobs available in shipbuilding, aircraft assembly, or munitions, since very few of the mass transit red cars were useful in transporting them to these sites: "there were no runs after dark, and bus, taxi, and jitney drivers w ere reluctant to drive

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into or out of South LA at night." Although Shelley v. Kramer^ m ade restrictive covenants illegal in 1948, white resistance to residential integration kept most African-Americans and Chicanos in urban areas while post-war jobs, which historically had been disproportionately in the suburbs, continued to flow into outlying regions. Patterns of segregation and the organization of space in Los Angeles scattered the multi-ethnic working class in fragmented suburbs, which furthered the hegemony of business owners and their efforts to maintain LA as an open shop city.^^ Therefore, wartime manufacturers in oil, movie, apparel, automobile, rubber, and aircraft industries responded not just to the region's climate, land availability, and supply of workers and consumers, bu t also to the weakness of most unions in Southern California. This was part of a process by which immigration, location of defense industries, and community plarming principles coincided to produce the spatial patterns of postwar Los Angeles. Aircraft and

their allied industries were not centrally located, but instead surrounded the
^Gerald Horne, Fire This Time: The W atts U prising and the 1960s (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1995), 31-32. 1 Shelley v. Kraemer, 3 34 U.S. (1948) Caughey, Los Angeles: Biography o f a C ity, 426. By 1950 Black expansion south of Slauson
A v e n u e h ad n o t y e t rea ch ed w e s t to B r o a d w a y or East p a st A la m ed a Street. M ex ica n s also

remained in restricted neighborhoods. White resistance was especially strong in the small, independent cities such as Huntington Park, Bell Cardens, and South Cate to the Southeast. See also James P. A llen and Eugene Turner, The Ethnic Q uilt: Population and D ive rsity in Southern California (California State University Northridge: The Center for Geographical Studies, 1997). 12 Horne, Fire This Time, 28-29. 13 James P. Allen and Eugene Turner, The Ethnic Q uilt: Population and D ive rsity in Southern California (California State University Northridge: The Center for Geographical Studies, 1997), 78.

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central city in w hat Fred Viehe calls "suburban industrial clusters."^^ Los Angeles was different from m ost major cities of the WWII era in that it did not develop an industrial core surrounded by an industrial suburban network. Instead, the working class w orked in the industrial suburbs, but did not necessarily live or vote there. Aircraft m anufacturing had pioneered the economic foundation on which postw ar community builders prom oting the ownership of low-cost, mass-produced homes in communities that reflected the principles of m odern community planning could flourish. Federal agencies encouraged, and construction companies capitulated to, the establishment of new housing developments near suburban employment. Through the 1950s, then, suburbs were nearly all residential, whereas shopping and office work were much more concentrated in central business districts or downtowns. But this pattern w ould change after 1960 and leave urban Blacks and Chicanos in the sixties and seventies almost uniformly poor. The urban environm ent into which the Jaguars emerged, then, constituted a dynamic multi-ethnic and multi-classed audience. The Jaguars' second tenor Val Poliuto had a Polish and Italian background. His family m igrated from Detroit to South Los Angeles in 1951. Even though his enrollment at Fremont High exposed him to a kind of diversity he had not previously experienced, Poliuto was no stranger to integrated venues.
Fred W. Viehe, "20th Century Los Angeles: Power, Promotion, and Conflict" (Book Review) Journal o f Urban H isto ry 23 no. 5 (July, 1997): 657.

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Poliuto did not leave Detroit until well after the postw ar boom and the transformation of the city's auto industry by Black migrants. After 1945, Poliuto could consider his own Detroit neighborhood integrated; this contributed to his exposure to Afro-American musical forms, which w ould influence his early start at 16 as a bandleader and composer of an integrated band. Poliuto's immediate family m igrated to Los Angeles and settled near Compton in 1952. This was also an integrated neighborhood that included Native Americans, Creoles from Louisiana, African-Americans, Mexicans, European ethnic groups, and mixedclass people from diverse origins. M anuel Chavez was the only member of the Jaguars w ho was a native Californian. His parents had come to California during the Bracero Program in WWI. They were p art of an ongoing shift of Mexicans to the cities, especially Los Angeles, which increased during the second and third decades of the twentieth century. Another Bracero Program, initiated during WWII in response to acute labor shortages in agriculture, brought thousands of tem porary Mexican workers to harvest crops on land throughout the West and Midwest. Although the government planned to terminate the program once potential workers returned from the w ar front, US agribusiness "acquired an addiction" for the low-cost foreign laborers. This transformed the face of agricultural work. Blacks, along with Mexicans, Hindus, Sikhs, Japanese, Chinese, Filipinos, and Anglos had long

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constituted farm labor, m any since the first development of agribusiness in the state. But m any of these laborers were now replaced by large num bers of Mexican im m igrant workers. Lobbyists m anaged to establish Mexicans as more or less the perm anent faces of California agribusiness well beyond the 1940s. By the passage of a series of public laws, the Bracero contract system was legally extended through 1964, but its effects are visible today in the majority of Mexican and Central-American pickers and packers in the California agricultural industry. After WWII, Mexican immigrants settled perm anently in communities throughout the Southern California basin. LA received the heaviest in-migration, and, consequently, recent immigrants dom inated community life.^ But urban Mexican-Americans w ould pay a high price in the post-war restructuring of the city's ethno-racial order: in the early 1950s, several thousand were evicted from their traditional neighborhood in Chavez Ravine, near downtown, to make way for a new baseball stadium. Anglo imm igrants from other states also brought their ow n experiences of economic depression into this unique pattern of racial labor relations in Los Angeles. During the Depression, "nothing bothered Okies m ore than California's system of racial and ethnic relations. They were shocked by signs

George Sanchez, Becom ing M exican American: E thnicity, C ulture and Id en tity in Chicano Los Angeles, 1900-1945 (N ew York and London: Oxford University Press), 254.

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reading 'no white laborers need apply/"^^ But African-Americans and Mexicans suffered material consequences of the racialization of labor in Los Angeles in ways that poor whites did not. The reality was that although some Mexicans and Blacks benefited from increased job opportunities, Anglo immigrants from Oklahoma and Arkansas typically secured better jobs and ascended m ore rapidly to well-paid, skilled positions. In his wonderfully argued A W orld of Their O w n, M att Garcia demonstrates this phenom enon in 1941: the then-mainly Mexican pickers and packers at the Ventura County Limoniera Company confronted their employer to dem and a m odest increase in pay after a decade of low wages. The company responded by evicting the nearly 700 Mexican employees organized as the AFLaffiliated Agricultural and Citrus Workers Union, Local 22342, and replaced them w ith m igrant farm workers from Oklahoma and Arkansas. Mexican workers were actually re-hired after a four-month strike that was tragically unsuccessful and came w ith a terribly insulting consequence: white laborers were replaced by the original Mexican laborers, but only after the latter would accept the same wages they had previously worked for.^^ It was these kinds of tactics that shaped patterns of racism in Los Angeles: business anti-unionism

James McFarline Ervin, "The Participation of the Negro in the Community Life of Los Angeles" PhD Dissertation, University of Southern California, 1931, 9. Matt Garcia, A W orld o f Their O wn: Race, Labor, and C itrus In the M aking o f Greater Los Angeles, 1900-1970 (Chapel H ill and London: University of North Carolina Press, 2001).

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helped to ensure an ample supply of cheap white labor, but cheap white labor feared the even cheaper Mexican and Black labor.^ This ongoing competition for jobs, the large num ber of southern white immigrants to the area, as well as supportive systems of segregation already in existence spaw ned a reorganization and reinvigoration of the Ku Klux Klan. In the immediate postw ar years, the Los Angeles Klan pursued a campaign of intimidation aimed at keeping African Americans out of "white" neighborhoods.^ ^ Antagonism was not limited to Black-white or Mexican-white situations in labor and housing. J. Max Bond observed in 1936 that where certain factories categorized Mexicans as "colored," African-Americans not only w orked with them, they were given positions over them. In other plants, he found that Mexicans and whites worked together. Further research indicated that white workers often accepted African-Americans and objected to Mexicans; still another pattern was found in other plants where white workers accepted Mexicans but objected to Japanese.^ For example, the neighborhood of Watts had always been a historically racially balanced area. Originally part of a large Mexican land grant, the area that became W atts w as first subdivided in the 1880s. During this time, Mexican
Horne, Fire This Time, 28. 1 5 See folder 10, box 1, Ku Klux Klan, Realm of California, Special Collections and Archives, University Library, California State University, Northridge. 20 J. Max Bond, "The Negro in Los Angeles." Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Southern California, 1936, 98.

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laborers m oved into the area to work on the Southern Pacific Railroad, forming the village of Tujuata. W hen Watts was incorporated in 1907, Tujuata disappeared. W atts developed as a grid of small residential lots w ithout the significant industrial base enjoyed by neighboring Compton. Blacks who moved into the area settled in a district called M ud town, which, as part of Watts, was annexed by Los Angeles in 1926.^^ Until World W ar II, W atts remained racially balanced between whites. Blacks, and Mexican Americans. But because of Black migration and racially restrictive housing covenants that continued legally until 1946, the Federal Housing Authority designated Watts as a "Negro area." Between 1940 and 1960, therefore, the Black population of W atts increased eightfold. After WWII, returning Mexican veterans became resentful over the striking changes that had occurred during their absence, and in some cases threatened to band together to expel the "Negro invaders. In an autobiographical account of life in East LA after WWII, author Luis Rodriguez recounts, "For the m ost part, the Mexicans in and around Los Angeles were economically and socially closest to Blacks. As soon as we understood English, it was usually the Black English we first tried to master. L ater.. .Blacks used Mexican slang and the cholo style; Mexicans imitated the Southside swagger...

2 1 David Wyatt, Five Fires: Race, Catastrophe, and the Shaping o f California (N ew York and London: Oxford University Press, 1998), 34. 2 2 Lloyd H. Fisher, The Problem of Violence: Observations on Race Conflict In Los Angeles" (Chicago: privately published 1947), 11.

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although this did n 't m ean at times we didn't w ar with one another, such being the state of affairs at the bottom."^^ There w ere m any interethnic and class antagonisms in multi-ethnic postwar LA. Yet even w ith the rivalries that residential segregation, labor discrimination, and m igration brought, the unjust practices of business, education, and housing authorities provided more reasons for economic coalitions betw een workers.^^ The contradictions between the national rhetoric about freedom on one hand, and racial exclusion in education, hiring, and housing on the other helped some Blacks and Mexicans to see themselves in overlapping struggles for cultural and political equality. In the June 1943 race riot, white sailors on leave from a docked ship in San Pedro harbor not only attacked and beat Mexican-Americans and blacks, but stripped them of their zoot suits. The zoot style was popular among AfricanAmerican m en in urban areas like Detroit, Chicago, New York, and Philadelphia. In Los Angeles, it was m ost visible among Mexican-American young people, but was also w orn by Jewish, Black, and Filipino youngsters. The riots m ade the interrelationship of Black and Chicano popular cultures painfully clear. Both
23 Rodriguez, A lw a y s R unning, 126. 24 In 1947, Lloyd Fisher observed that in LA there was "for the Negro and Mexican, inequality in income, em ploym ent opportunity, educational opportunity and housing, for the white, ignorance, prejudice, insecurity and a thousand and one personal frustrations. Add to these an irresponsible press, the policies of real estate agencies and mortgage companies and a prejudiced police force." Lloyd H. Fisher, The Problem o f Violence: O bservations on Race Conflict in Los Angeles (Chicago; Privately published in 1947), 11.

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groups were also losing on the labor front. By the 1945 CIO Convention, plant closures had undercut gains by those who had challenged racism on the shop floor and expanded job opportunities for blacks in wartim e defense industries: the proceedings read, "Negro, Mexican, and all minority groups in California are becoming the first post-war casualty."^ The possibility of interethnic economic and political m obilization was rooted in evidence of shared oppression among the mixed working classes in California. For example, as a teenager and Communist Party member in 1933, African-American activist Dorothy Healey helped organize the Mexican and Japanese berry pickers in El Monte. As head of the Los Angeles branch of the Communist Party after 1946, she helped build bridges between unions, civil rights movements, and progressive electoral coalitions. In 1942, hundreds of African-American wom en had flooded the dow ntow n U.S. Employment Service office, forcing the end of racial and gender discrimination in the w ar industries. This coincided w ith a dramatic change in the AFL International Association of Machinists, who had restricted its initiation ritual to whites only. But due to wom en's activism, industrial expansion, and labor shortages the aircraft and other industries created 550,000 new jobs between 1940 and mid-1943. This m eant that the num ber of wom en employees in the six southern California aircraft plants w ent from 143 in 1941 to nearly
25"Proceedings of the Eighth Annual Convention California CIO Council," December 5-9,1945, 111-113.

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65,000 by the sum m er of 1943.^^ In the 1930s there was collaboration between the Black Sleeping Car Porters and the middle-class NAACP, as well as between white and black reformers, as evidenced in the fight for the first African American school teacher in Berkeley. The Longshoreman's Union that emerged from the General Strike of 1934 was racially integrated, as w ere the farmworkers' unions of the 1930s. CalSan employees in the forties, who were primarily Mexican women, protested the racist hiring practices that barred Blacks from working in the factory. By the early part of 1942, factory owners bowed to union pressure and hired close to thirty Blacks. As a result of the development of the first substantial generation of Mexican-Americans in Los Angeles, identity politics in the barrio had undergone several changes. By the end of World War 11 there was a new sense of entitlement and national citizenship felt by a generation of American-born Mexicans w ho had served in the War, and who had seen their parents suffer from housing, educational, and hiring discrimination because of racist city or national policies. For African-Americans, World War 11 also m arked a similar change in attitude about their role as national citizens. Not unlike Chicanos, Black

Sherna Berger Gluck, Rosie the R iveter Revisited: W omen, the War, and Social Change (Boston: 1987), 203-204. See also Arthur C. Verge, "The Impact of the Second World War on Los Angeles" in Pacific H istorical R eview 63 Issue 3 (August 1994).

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intellectuals and w orking people after the W ar articulated and acted upon a suspicion about the relationship between W orld War II and white-supremacy widely held in their community."^^ America's international trium ph after World W ar II therefore signified a dramatic shift in the national narrative of progress, one that altered meanings of identities of class, ethnicity, race, and region. Principally, the narrative of American national progress w ould no longer be described or envisioned in bounded term s in light of the undeniable internationalism of the American economy. The idea of the American nation as a virtuous island in a sea of chaos, which had sustained the moral imperatives of manifest destiny and concomitant hierarchies of race, gender, and class, was weakened by the events of World War IT. historian David Noble has pointed out that "elites in the United States and in the other major industrial nations converted during the 1940s from a selfconscious isolation to a self-conscious internationalism .. .from seeing their nations as expressions of the state of nature to seeing the international marketplace as the state of nature."^ Before W orld W ar II confirmed the growing international direction of United States markets, "capitalism" was considered representative of the chaos

George Lipsitz, "Frantic to Join...the Japanese Army" in The P olitics o f C ulture in the Shadow of Capital ed. Lisa Lowe and David Lloyd (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 1997). 28 David W. Noble, D eath o f A Nation: Cultural Politics and the End o f Exceptionalism (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2002).

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and tyranny of the Old World, as opposed to the virtue found in the morality and sacredness of the landscape in the New World. After W orld W ar II, the "meaningful agency," that American Studies scholars celebrated in the lives of the frontiersman, entrepreneurial trader, sailor or artisan were no longer sufficient narratives of progress. David Noble also has illustrated how after the War, no longer the bounded, national landscape, but the boundless international marketplace, w ould become naturalized into the narrative of American exceptionalism.^^ In the years leading up to Brown v. Board of Education, a growing complication in the revision of this narrative w ould become the contradiction between imperial expansion and domestic discrimination. America's interest in South African diamonds or West African Bauxite, for example, necessitated at least an initial measure of diplomacy: promises of fair economic practices in newly independent African nations were contradicted by stateside policies of discrimination that resulted in the subjugation of AfricanAmerican or other aggrieved minority populations. As this contradiction became m ore of a conspicuous problem in the construction of an exceptionalist narrative after WWII, C.L.R. James observed that the United States "proposed no longer freedom bu t security; security for children; against sickness; better housing; for the rural areas technical education and fixed prices; for full

25 Ibid.

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employment; for vacations and pensions for the infirm and aged."^ Like earlier attempts at welfare capitalism, these measures aimed to give some workers a possessive stake in the expansion of capitalism. The underlying philosophy behind them "sought to portray economic security as a private and personal m atter - a rew ard for specific services rendered rather than a general right."^^ James was aware that the United States could no longer claim freedom as if it were indigenous to American democracy. W.E.B. Du Bois, Jose Marti, the FloresMagon brothers, Marcus Garvey, and Ida B. Wells had m ade similar observations m uch earlier about the contradictions between American freedom and security on one hand, and the everyday realities of colonized groups both inside and outside American national borders. The recognition of these contradictions by aggrieved minorities, women, and poor whites was a companion to a lengthy history of identifying transnational connections shared by oppressed populations. In 1906, for example, the Flores-Magon Brothers, Mexican revolutionaries and founders of the anti-imperialist newspaper Regeneracion, organized the first strike on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border, and are widely considered as the first cross-border activists. As part of the strike, the brothers plotted the Cananea

30 Anna Grimshaw and Keith Hart, C.L.R. James: Am erican C ivilization (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1993), 106. 3' George Lipsitz, A Rainbow at M idnight: Labor and Culture in the 1940s (Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1994).

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uprising in the communities of Mexican railroad workers in East Los Angeles and St. Louis. The Flores-Magon Brothers were supporters of the Industrial Workers of the World, the early U.S. industrial union of southwestern miners and farm workers. W ith activist origins in the opposition to Mexican President Pofirio Diaz, the Flores-Magones put early Mexican transnationalism on the map. Similarly, African-American awareness of internationalist, anti-colonial discourse placed domestic struggles in diasporic context, and provided examples of successful liberation struggles across national boundaries. The rapid acceleration of Asian and African challenges to European domination, the crumbling of European hegemony during and in the wake of WWII, and the contradictions of U.S. expansion, therefore, did not go unnoticed by AfricanAmericans, who could not ignore the liberation aims of other people of the African Diaspora: "the struggle of the Negro in the United States [became] part and parcel of the struggle against imperialism and exploitation in India, China, Burma, South Africa, the Philippines, Malaya, the West Indies, and South America." African American leaders argued that the bonds black Americans shared w ith colonized peoples were rooted in the shared history of the racism spawned by slavery, colonialism, and imperialism. This w as a long-standing theory, one evident in the early internationalism of M artin Delaney, Flenry Highland Garnet, Alexander Crummell, Ida B. Wells, and W.E.B. Du Bois. By the

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last years of WWII, this heritage of internationalist anti-coIonial discourse was critical in shaping Black American politics and the meaning of racial identities and solidarities. Yet African-American perceptions of their connections to the histories and destinies of those across geographic borders was an idea that was experienced differently in varying regions and locales: experiences of race and diaspora in California w ould develop differently as time moved on, both because of spatial organization and the different histories of hum an bondage and economic subjugation that unfolded in this state. One factor that m ust be considered is that even though there w ere long-standing communities of Blacks and Chicanos in Los Angeles, they were dramatically changed by new m igrants during and after WWII. The challenges to oppression in the U.S. after W orld W ar II w ould not be the same everywhere. The politics of resistance and inter-ethnic collaboration were likewise in diverse spaces, but were not the same politics. Afro-Chicano political collaboration in California was more often a response to local racial segregation than identification of common colonial contexts. Afro-Chicano engagement w ith segregation and labor did require an understanding of the ways in which economic exclusion figured cross-racially, b u t this did not become a m ovem ent like the anti-colonialism of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters

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in New York, who m ade clear the connections of their struggle to the anti colonial struggles of Indians under British rule.^^ The structure of racism in labor and leisure in post-war Los Angeles often m ade the critiques expressed by Blacks and Chicanos m ore a m atter of immediate gain than of establishing long-term, intra-racial coalition building. It w ould not be until the sixties that Southern California w ould see an explicit engagement with Afro-Chicano connections on the level of ethnic liberation. Yet formations of ethnic self-consciousness that formed as a result of common cultural politics in postw ar Los Angeles were important, because they were a product of the dialectic between local strategies of confronting dom ination and oppression and networks of collective resistance and cultural expression. Connective networks of cultural resistance between African-American and Chicano young people functioned to produce the possibility of defeating racism. Afro-Chicano music revealed histories of connective resistance, but also the foundation for a different kind of cooperation in the ethno-nationalist contexts of the late sixties and seventies. A developing ethnic popular culture was m irrored in the broad multi ethnic cultures of resistance that supported it. Afro-Chicano musical forms predominated.

32 Penny Von Eschen, Race A g a in st Empire: Black Am ericans and A nti-C olonialism , 1937-1957{lthaca: Cornell University Press, 1997.)

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For example, jum p blues evolved in the thirties from Harlem bands like those of Cab Calloway and the Kansas City groups of Count Basie and Louis Jordan and was a strong link between early rhythm and blues and doowop. But it was Johnny Otis, a Greek-American raised in an African-American Oakland neighborhood, w ho was most responsible for bringing jum p blues to the Eastside with his 1948 shows at Angelus Hall in Boyle Heights. Chicanos heard the difference between swing and jum p blues, a raw er "honking" saxophone sound and stronger drum beat, from artists like Roy Milton, Joe and Jimmy Liggins, and Johnny Otis on the thriving ballroom circuit in East LA, downtown, and on Central Avenue. Jum p saxists like Chuck Higgins ("Pachuko H op" 1953), Joe Houston, and Big Jay McNeely became the influences of 1950s honkers like Lil' Bobby Key and the Masked Phantom Band, and Danny "Chuck Rio" Flores (who wrote "Tequila"). That same year that Johnny Otis played the Angelus Hall in Boyle Heights, one of the m ost popular bands in East LA was the Pachuco Boogie Boys, lead by Raul Diaz and East Bay transplant Don Tosti. Their 1948 hit "Pachuco Boogie" celebrated and publicized "calo" narratives, long a p art of the pachuco and zoot suit style. The zoot-suit was associated w ith black urban youth in cities like Detroit, New York, and Chicago w hen it first appeared around 1940. The autobiography of Malcolm X recounted the importance of his first zoot-suit and

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suggested the style had racial connotations as the preferred choice of hip black men and entertainers. In Los Angeles, Jewish, Black, Filipino, and primarily Mexican youth m ade the zoot suit popular.^ Garment fabrics were rationed during WWII, and its purchase on the black m arket by makers of the zoot suit was considered treasonous. But it was the "calo" slang adopted by pachucos, the clean lines and flamboyant colors, the flaunting of expensive style on working class bodies, and the culture of music that appealed to interracial audiences which infuriated m any whites who identified pachucos in LA as traitors and criminals. Five years later, "Pachuco Boogie," along with the A rm enta Brothers and Lalo G uerrero's "Chucos Suaves," and "Marijuana Boogie" m ade jum p blues and "honking" popular in the Chicano communities of East LA: this gave Chicano "honking" a distinct sound by combining jum p blues and calo slang. Guerrero and the Pachuco Boogie Boys countered the image of pachucos as treasonous and unpatriotic by celebrating a socio-political and cultural identity that both Blacks and Chicanos identified with, something Paul Gilroy has called a "politics of transfiguration."^^ The legacy of their adaptation of "honking" w ould later be

Douglas Henry Daniels, "Los Angeles Zoot: Race "Riot," the Pachuco, and Black Music Culture" in The Journal of N egro H istory, 82 n2 (Spring 1997); 201. ^ Borrowing from Paul Gilroy, w e might understand "Pachuco Boogie," "Chucos Suaves," and "Marijuana Boogie" as non-linguistic, communicatory means that projected "an alternative body of cultural and political expression that considers the world critically from the point of view of its

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heard in the music of Thee Midnighters ("Whittier Boulevard"), Cannibal & The H eadhunters ("Land of 1000 Dances"), The Salas Brothers, all of whom forged their own East LA sound. By 1950, tenor sax honker Big Jay McNeely was attracting crowds of Black, white, and Chicano teenagers: "wild crowds of Black kids, drape-shape pachucos and white teenagers were all going nuts at Big Jay's shows at the Shrine and Olympic auditoriums."^ Ebony Magazine reported in 1953, "A young white lad got so hepped up over Big Jay's music that he jum ped out of a balcony onto the m ain floor where he miraculously landed w ithout hurting himself and w ent into a riotous dance. In Redondo Beach . . . last summer, a teenaged white girl was sent into raging hysterics by the violent sounds of Big Jay's horn. She did not recover her balance until her boy friend had slapped her face vigorously about a dozen times." The frenzy of the honking sound at a concert at the Rendezvous Ballroom led to a ban on McNeely's perform ing in m ost of Los Angeles county.^ Local papers described the scene as " thousands of white kids dancing like Watusis." McNeely remembered, "It was tremendous. At the time, people w ere so prejudiced, they couldn't understand w hy the white kids
emancipatory transformation." Paul Gilroy, The Black A tlantic: M o d ern ity and Double Consciousness (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1995), 39. 35 Jonny Whiteside, "Nervous Man Nervous: Big Jay M cNeely in 3-D" in LA W eekly (February 410,2000): 32. 35 "Big Jay McNeely!" Ebony, May 1953. 37 Whiteside, "Nervous Man Nervous." 38 Ibid.

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responded the way they did, and there'd be Mexican kids by the thousands watching us jam."^^ The Jaguars were one of the few Los Angeles groups that could sing standards in the spirit and style of pop music, but added a hard rock 'n' roll edge. The group began recording for the Dolphin label in Los Angeles in 1955, and soon m oved on to the Aardell label, where in 1956 they found success w ith their third single, a doow op remake of the Jerome Kern standard "The Way You Look Tonight." It became a smash throughout Southern California, but in an interview, Chaney said, "we never saw a dime from that disc." In 1959, they had a minor hit with freelance vocalists Tony Allen and Richard Berry (who w rote the original "Louie Louie," later covered by the Kingsmen), recording "Thinking of You" on the Original Sound label.^ These artists helped to establish a cultural and sociopolitical identity that was a product of Black-Chicano musical sounds. But the dissemination of this poly-cultural sound revolution w ould not have been possible w ithout radio. Mainstream radio became im portant in the dispersion of Afro-Chicano cultural forms after WWII, but African-American and Chicano radio had its own early history; around 1924, Isaac McVea hosted w hat may have been the first black radio show in Los Angeles. Federico A rturo "Tito" Guizar y Tolentino,
39 Ibid.
The Encyclopedia o f Popular M u sic IV s.v. "The Jaguars"

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called "Mr. Amigo" on the air, was in the 1920s one of the growing num ber of legendary Mexican Artists who had crossed the border to Los Angeles. Later migrants to LA from Mexico, like Jorge Negrete, Pedro Vargas and Pedro Infante, capitalized on the growing market for Spanish language music by appearing on Guizar's CBS radio show in LA in 1936. Tito's radio show on the CBS netw ork in 1936 was a success for Latino music. His live guitar accompaniment of Mariachi songs m ade songs like "Solamente una vez," "Malagiiefia," "Cielito Undo," "Noche de ronda" and "Guadalajara" hits in Los Angeles.^^ African-Americans likewise had early involvement in the recording industry. The Spikes Brothers owned one of the earliest black-owned record labels in the early 1920s, begirming a tradition of black musical entrepreneurs that continued w ith the Rene Brothers, A1 Patrick, Jack Lauderdale, Dootsie Williams and m any other black label owners. Louis Arm strong and Kid Ory made some of their first recordings in Los Angeles. In 1942, the first recognized R & B hit, Lionel H am pton's "Flying Home," was recorded by mostly Los Angeles musicians. Afterward, all the great R & B and blues stars from T-Bone Walker and Louis Jordan to Big Joe Turner and B.B. King m oved to Los Angeles or recorded extensively there.

Jim Dawson, Interview by author, 17 November 2001.

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During the Depression radio became the "central medium" of America. By 1935; two out of three homes had radio sets, and four national and twenty regional netw orks provided program s everywhere in the country 24 hours a day. Then, the post-war radio business exploded as war-time controls on m anufacturing and broadcasting were removed, and advertising agencies shifted money from new spapers to radio as public trust grew stronger in the industry. The num ber of AM stations on the air increased from 961 in 1946 to 2006 in 1949.
42

A technological bonus after W orld W ar II was the acquisition of tape recording technology from the Germans in 1945. Small businesses and workingclass music groups could now afford portable tape recorders, which m eant that recording could be done anywhere, and transferred to records. Radio stations had just begun in the forties to use recorded music instead of live music in regular program m ing. Records emerged as a relatively inexpensive medium, and soon became the staple of the music industry, surpassing sheet music as the major source of revenue in 1952. At about the same time, radio overtook

^ 2 R. LeRoy Bannerman, N orm an Corwin and Radio: the Golden Years (Alabama: University of Alabama Press, 1986); Christopher H. Sterling and John M. Kittross, S tay Tuned: a Concise H istory o f Am erican Broadcasting (2nd ed.) (Belmont, California: Wadsworth Pub. Company, 1990); William Stott, D ocum entary Expression and Thirties A m erica (N ew York: Oxford University Press, 1973).

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jukeboxes as the num ber one hit-maker.^^ Eventually/ all it took to create a record company and sell in a local or even regional m arket was a small am ount of capital, a magnetic tape recorder, some performers, and credit with pressing plants and printers.'*^ Therefore, recording studios could be and often were in storefront offices. In 1950, African-American entrepreneur John Dolphin had all of these plus his own record store and his own record pressing machine on Vernon and Central in South Los Angeles. Even more important. Dolphin had a multiracial clientele and access to a num ber of LA musicians whose music was often neglected by large recording companies. Dolphin became a pioneer in fostering the emergence of the independent record label, and gave needed exposure to many artists in urban Black and Chicano popular music w ho were often overlooked by larger record companies. Dolphin m arketed musicians like Joe Houston, Bobby Day, Linda Hayes, Jesse Belvin, Chuck Higgins, and Eddie Cochran to a w ider audience by hiring a DJ to play their songs from the front window of his store. As a result. Dolphin's of Hollywood was a prime factor in the emergence of R&B on the West Coast.^^ He also contributed to the fame of

Reebee Garofalo, "Crossing Over" in S plit Image: African A m ericans in the M ass M edia ed. William Barlow and Jeanette Dates (Washington, D.C.: Howard University Press, 1990), 16-17. Donald J. Mabry, "The Rise and Fail of Ace Records: A Case Study in the Independent Record Business" in Business H istory R eview 64 n3 (Autumn 1990): 411. Dolphin preferred to pay cash on the spot for songs rather than royalties, and this is the storied reason behind his murder in 1958 by a dissatisfied songwriter.

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Anglo DJs like H unter Hancock and Dick "H uggy Boy" Hugg: Dolphin had them broadcast rhythm &blues all night on weekends from his store. They exhorted white suburban teenagers to "get on dow n here to Vernon and Central, Central and Vernon .. This appeal from Dolphin's, in the heart of the Black entertainment community, however, w ould come to symbolize the limits of the Jaguars' success, as well as the limited success of m any other groups whose image was not considered m arketable by major labels and radio stations. This did not stop the radio and recording industries from exploiting African- and MexicanAmerican music: for several years in the forties, at least half of the nation's best selling R&B recordings w ere coming out of Los Angeles.^But LA radio was built on more than just the historical multi-ethnicity of the city. It was also shaped by the unique urban form of postw ar Los Angeles. Mainstream radio in LA was developed to reach not only the busy Central Avenue club circuit, b u t also the suburbs, and even further, the communities of farm workers in the San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys. Such geographic dispersion m eant that for some, driving to places like the Zenda Ballroom on Street near Figueroa and Broadway, where Perez Prado and Tito Puente

Jim Dawson, "Liner Notes" in Boogie D ow n on Central: Los A n geles' R hythm and Blues Revolution (n.p. Rhino Records 75872,1999). Mabry, "The Rise and Fall of Ace Records," 411.

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performed; or the Club Alabam at 42"^ Street and Central Avenue in South Central, where Johnny Otis's band played, m eant lengthy travel time if o n e had a car. Traveling musicians w ould find that the only freeway in Los Angeles at that time did not reach scattered farms and small towns down through Orange County's El Toro Air Station and the Laguna Beach Colony. Local AfricanAmerican musicians could take work outside of their own tightly restricted districts, but audiences of color were often barred from attending theaters and clubs in other parts of the city. Unless nationally famous touring bands or developing local players appeared in Central Avenue venues, African-American audiences could at best only hear them over live nightly radio broadcasts from white-only clubs. But an entertainer could build an audience everywhere with radio. LA radio benefited, then, from and contributed to a multi-racial audience.^

After the war, as Mexican immigrants settled perm anently in communities throughout the Southern California basin, radio station KOWL began looking for a Mexican American to do a bilingual half-hour program. Lionel "Chico" Sesma
As Horne notes, the growing urban working-class and multi-ethnic nature of the city contributed to a unique social and economic situation, with contradictory inclinations when it came to racial and ethnic discrimination. Other leisure spaces were also segregated, and reflected the patterns of racism characteristic of California in the 20* century; in Pasadena Blacks were barred from public sw im m ing pools, "but in a uniquely LA twist, so were Japanese, Chinese, Filipinos, and Mexicans." Horne, Fire This Time, 42.

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applied for the position. Sesma, a major figure in the history and development of Latin music, w as especially influential in Los Angeles. A trained musician and trombonist w ith m any big bands in his early career, he eventually emerged in Los Angeles as a dom inant radio personality and producer of Latin music and concerts featuring major contemporary artists during the fifties through the seventies. In February, 1949, Sesma began broadcasting from KOWL at the foot of Pico Boulevard in Santa Monica. KOWL was an independent netw ork which was primarily interested in "specialized radio programming: disc jockeys, or personalities, staging a program designed for a special segment of the community." W hat was supposed to be a half-hour, short term bilingual program of both popular music and a few Latin records aimed at the Mexican American community turned into a three-hour broadcast by the second year. By late 1949, Chico Sesma had come to the realization that he w ould have to change his playlist to more accurately reflect the changing ethnicity of Los Angeles. Principally, he had found that rancheras, mariachis, and boleros were in high dem and from the Mexican-American community. But the romantic bolero trio ballads that Sesma played and Chicano youngsters grew up on, like "Sin Ti," and "Sabor a mi," by vocal groups like Los Tres Aces and Trio Los Panchos, and rancheras like "Tu Solo Tu" and "Volver Volver" prepared
Steve Loza, Barrio Rhythm : M exican Am erican M u sic in Los Angeles (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1993).

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listeners "for the precise harmonies of doowop and more soulful ballads" that would emerge as the post-WWII Black population continued to flow into Los Angeles. This m igration created a m arket for R&B, still called "race music" in the 1940s. As novelist Luis Rodriguez recounts in his memoir of LA, Black migration w ould influence Mexican-American life in m any ways, but "for Chicanos this influence lay particularly deep in music: Mexican rhythms syncopated w ith Blues and ghetto beats. Anglo DJ A1 "H unter" Hancock was hired in 1943 as the weekend DJ by Los Angeles radio station KFVD on Western Avenue in South Central Los Angeles. In April, KFVD decided to try its appeal to the African-American community, and directed Hancock to play jazz. The one-hour show on Sundays, called "Harlem Holiday," became modestly popular among African-Americans. In 1947 the station expanded the show to a daily half-hour and called it "Harlemmatinee." Hancock began playing jazz on this show as well, but within a few days, a salesman from M odern Records came to see him, "You're playing the wrong records," he admonished. He instructed the DJ to play "race" records. Hancock recalls, "I didn't know w hat race records were, b u t he gave me a list of what records were selling to blacks in the South. I didn't recognize any of them.

5 Ruben Guevara, View from the Sixth Street Bridge: A H isto ry o f Chicano Rock (N ew York: Pantheon, 1984). iRodriguez, A lw a ys Running.

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But I was so impressed by his material that I took a chance and played two of his records that afternoon. Almost instantly, other local distributors showed up at the studio w ith other race records, and by the end of the following week my show was 100% race music. Nowadays we call it rhythm and blues. According to one 1954 survey, one out of four black households was tuned to "Harlemmatinee" between one and four in the afternoons.^ The station began selling so m any commercials that they were obliged to add another halfhour, then yet another hour, until Hancock was on the air three-and-a-half hours every day, M onday through Saturday, as well as broadcasting his jazz show, "Harlem Holiday," on Sundays. In addition to radio work. H unter Hancock collaborated with other disc jockeys, club owners, and entertainers to host talent shows at various clubs and black theaters around town. At one point in late 1951 he also hosted a series of "Midnight Matinee" shows in 1951, first at the Olympic A uditorium and then at the Orpheum Theater dow ntow n on Broadway: "by that time m y audience was not just blacks. Whites and Chicanos were also listening to "Harlemmatinee" and coming to m y live shows."^ By 1951, KFVD had become KPOP, and since it was a sundow n station that signed off at dusk, Hancock's boss was open to him

52 Hunter Hancock, "Huntin' with Hunter; The Story of the West Coast's First R&B Disc Jockey!" 17 August 2000 http://www.electricearl.com/dws/hunter.html. 53 Ibid. 54 Ibid.

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accepting non-competing nighttime shows from other stations. In the fall of 1955, on Friday nights, Hancock began hosting a television show on KCBS, Channel 2, called "Rhythm and Bluesville." His guests included Duke Ellington, Fats Domino, Little Richard, The Platters, Richard Berry, Gene & Eunice, and a young doowop group nam ed The Jaguars.

4f
'NBiyihmi 7ViAm tote i f H

The R&B vocal ensemble style that the Jaguars used emerged from urban
centers; the early g ro w th of doow op w as on the streets, and w as nourished by its

myriad styles.^ Both Hancock and Sesma w ould come to discover that Los

55 Robert Pruter, Doowop: The Chicago Scene (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1997), 1-2.

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Angeles was home to an indigenous form of R & B found nowhere else. The Jaguars' recordings of "The Way You Look Tonight" and "Thinking Of You" are perfect models of the style. The Jaguars' style was informed not only by local Afro-Chicano cross rhythms, but also by Afro-Latin syncretisms that had influenced jazz, swing, bebop, and w ould later influence soul. It was radio play that gave rise to its popularity in Los Angeles and other major California cities like San Francisco. At KOWL, Chico Sesma had found to his dismay that his familiarity with Latin music d id n 't go beyond a few famous musicians, so, like Hancock, he went to different record stores dow ntow n and found w hat the public was buying. But he thought he w ould listen to the music he found in "little bins here and there where there w ere some names that I had never heard of, like Puente, Machito, Rodriguez, Pacheco, and Miguelito Valdes.. ..and oh, I w ent wild. I know the reason I appreciated this was because of my musical background. How else could I have possibly recognized something of this quality "I first heard Oye Como Va at around 2 o'clock in the m orning w hen I was living on Portrero Hill," remembers Carlos Santana. That night, the radio was playing, and this guy was saying, 'party, it's party time, party time.' All

* Steve Loza, Tito P uente and the M aking o f Latin M u sic (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1999), 94, 95.

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night, 'party time.' And he w ould play Eddie Palmieri, Ray Barrette, and Tito Puente.. .straight ahead Afro-Cuban^ music.^ And w hen that one came on, I said to myself, 'now I've got to go find this song.' And after he said, 'th at was Oye Como Va, Tito Puente,' I w rote it down. As soon as I heard it, I felt like there was something - it's like alchemy, combining this w ith that and you get gold, you know. Oye Como Va has a Louie Louie kind of thing; Friday night, you're a teenager, and you don 't have to be responsible to anybody so you just turn it up and dance. That's w hat Oye Como Va is to this day. It still has the same effect. It's church and it's also party By the time Santana, in San Francisco, had heard Tito Puente's song, the Nuyorican timbalero had on num erous occasions attributed the song's major influence to the 1947 Afro-Latin jazz suite Manteca, w ritten and performed by Dizzy Gillespie and Cuban conguero Chano V o zo .^ Manteca was w ritten in 1947 by Gillespie, Cuban conguero Luciano "Chano" Pozo, and arranger Gil Fuller. As a part of the cubop genre of the late 1940s, Manteca's harmonic and rhythmic impact on Latin music and jazz m ade it one of the m ost im portant records ever made. Pozo, a m ember of the Nafiigo society of Cuba and a fluent speaker of both Yoruba and Spanish, had been recommended for Gillespie's band by Mario
Actually, Palmieri, Barretto, and Puente are all Puerto Ricans. 5 8 Carlos Santana, Interviewed by Author, 8 June 1999. 5 Hal Miller, "Liner notes" in Dance o f the Rainbow Serpent, (n.p.: Columbia/Legacy Records, 1995). Ed Morales, "All That Latin Jazz." N ew York M agazine 25 (June 22,1992): 1.

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Bauza, who had played with Gillespie in Cab Calloway's orchestra in the 1940s and had instructed him in the then-peculiar Afro-Cuban cross-rhythms that would come to influence jazz, as well as its offspring: rhythm and blues and rock. Puente enjoyed trem endous success in Los Angeles after disc jockeys likeSesma played his songs on KOWL, and booked him at the Zenda Ballroom on Seventh Street and Figueroa in dow ntow n Los Angeles. Artists like Joe C arda also booked Perez Prado. Nationwide, the radio industry was part of the larger system of racism in the arts: "radio continued well into the forties to follow 'rules' that 'a Negro cannot be represented in any dram a except in the role of a servant or as an ignorant or comical person' and that 'the role of the American Negro in the war effort cannot be m entioned in a sponsored program.'"^^ But in Los Angeles, the growing Black and Chicano audience w ould force radio to capitulate to listening trends. Therefore it w ould not be out of the ordinary for LA radio DJ H unter Hancock to have an African-American woman, Margie Williams co-host his "Harlemmatinee" show on KPOP in the mid-fifties. Williams was the wife of

Loza, Barrio R hythm , 98. Phyllis Stark, "A History of Radio Broadcasting" Billboard M agazine v.l06 Issue 41 (Nov. 1, 1994): 76.

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lead singer Tony Williams of the Platters, a group who like the Jaguars had their beginnings at Fremont High School. Geographic dispersal and the multi-ethnicity of the city, therefore, encouraged mainstream LA radio to promote the integrated listenership and venues that contributed to their audience. An excellent example of this phenomenon comes from M att Garcia's work on inter-racial audiences at concerts in 1950s Los Angeles. In Garcia's exploration into the musical culture of Los Angeles, he argues that demographic and economic changes caused the emergence of a "culturally hybridized music and dance culture" that depended on the unique "m ulti nucleated physical and cultural geography of Greater Los Angeles." In integrated places like El Monte's American Legion Stadium and Rainbow Gardens, concerts familiarized Blacks, Latinos, Asians, and whites w ith one another, but also "tended to accent the growing material inequalities among Southern California's residents." Garcia grounds these patterns in the origins and evolution of Los Angeles's "citrus suburbs. Garcia contributes an im portant understanding of the cormections between race, labor, and leisure in Los Angeles. But his lack of attention to
Matt Garcia, "'Memories of El Monte': Intercultural Dance halls in Post-WWII Greater Los Angeles" in Generations o f Youth: Youth Culture and H istory in T wentieth C en tu ry A m erica ed. Michael N evin Willard and Joe Austin (N ew York: N ew York University Press, 1989), 163; Matt Garcia, A W orld o f Its O w n: Race, Labor, and Citrus in the M aking o f Greater Los Angeles (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2001).

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urban populations and the influence of radio in the prom otion of integrated venues leaves m uch unsaid about the power of these components in the development of a broad multi-ethnic culture. For example, car culture was also an integrated venue, and more accurately reflects the importance of enduring city spaces, urban identities, and the influences of a broad inter-ethnic culture. Los Angeles had changed dramatically with the trium ph of automobile use. Because this m eant increased use of oil, development in the oil fields less than twenty miles from the center of Los Angeles sustained industrial expansion.^^ LA became the center of the oil equipm ent and service industry, as well as the second largest tire-manufacturing center; and one of the largest automobile-tire-glass m anufacturing centers. Five of the automobile plants were located in the central m anufacturing zone just south of the dow ntow n cities of South Gate, Vernon, Maywood, Commerce, and Pico-Rivera. Throughout the forties, these areas drew large num bers of Mexican-Americans from the entire Southwest who w ere looking for better paying jobs. Mexican and AfricanAmerican veterans or high school graduates from technical and vocation schools used mechanical experience to work in these plants; post-war consumerism, the eradication of trolley cars, the later movement of industries into outlying suburbs, and the idea of the American Dream all contributed to the importance

^ Horne, Fire This Time, 26-27.

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of owning an automobile, particularly in Chicano families. Most of the cars visible in the barrios were second hand Chevrolets, which were more stylish, less expensive, and easier to repair than Fords. U nder urban renewal, Whittier Boulevard was targeted for retail development in the early fifties, a reaction to the rapidly growing population in the area. Local and national companies built shops close to the road, flooding the area w ith lighting to attract after-work shoppers. This created a perfect "cruising" environm ent not just for a burgeoning Chicano population but for African-Americans and Jewish teenagers from LA's West side. By all accounts however, the A&W on Firestone in H aw thorn was the m ost integrated cruising spot, and was a venue for car clubs and street racers. African American Compton native Valerie Cameron was the only female street racer she knew in the late fifties and early sixties. Cameron bought her own car w ith m oney she earned working at McDonnell-Douglas. She remembers, "We worked for our cars, not for an apartm ent or a place to live. Mexicans, Blacks, white kids from the suburbs, we all w ould be at the A&W, looking under the hoods of our cars, comparing the flames and designs we put on them. They were either low or straight across high." Car clubs like "The Drifters" traveled up and dow n the less crowded streets of Los Angeles. They also m ade frequent appearances at "The Old Dixie Dance
Val Cameron, Interview by Author. Minneapolis, MN, 6 April 2002.

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Hall" and "The Big Union Hall" in the City of Vernon where m any great 60's acts performed including the "Midniters" and "Cannibal and the Headhunters." A favorite old cruising spot still visited by the Duke's today is the famous "Johnny's Broiler" in Downey.

In Los Angeles, the auto industry recognized the m arket they had in a multi-ethnic consumer base. The Ford Company in particular took advantage of the increased spending power and technical skills of African-Americans in Los Angeles. Identifying Blacks as a major market, they advertised specifically to that segment of the population by prom oting the fair hiring practices of an integrated Ford repair shop: "[we] maintain no job race lines," the advertisement declared, and "always point to our open door hiring policy which has helped build the business into the largest among 6,630 Ford dealers around the world. Ford's hunch that African Americans had a keen interest in cars was substantiated by car owners like Cameron. She added, "We pu t in our own speakers and radios. Those were always on, but back then you had to p u t your own in because the radios the cars came with were really bad."^

Michael Van Wagenen, "The History of the Dukes Car Club" March 1998, http://members.aol.com/ritualfilm/dukes.htm (3 May 1999). Boyd Gibbons, "Ford Repair Shop: Advertising Tells About Colored Personnel" Ebony v.4 (August 1949): 39. Val Cameron, Interview by Author. Minneapolis, MN, 6 April 2002.

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The first car radios were not available from carmakers, but had to be purchased by the consumer. The road and the radio m et for the first time in the 1920s w hen an entrepreneur named William Lear invented the car radio. Having no money to produce it (a problem exclusive to Lear's early career; he later invented the Lear jet), he sold the idea to Paul Galvin, the head of Galvin Manufacturing Corporation. Combining the idea of motion and radio, Galvin coined the nam e "Motorola" for the company's new products. By 1930, another radio company nam ed Fhilco was negotiating contracts w ith the Ford Motor Company to supply them w ith auto radios. Fhilco introduced the first telescopic rod antenna in 1934, which replaced the running-board antenna. In subsequent years they developed the process of ignition suppression, circuitry, and electric components. But it w ouldn't be until 1940 that they developed and introduced the first car radio in the world. In 1941 they implemented push-button permeability tuning to replace capacitive tuning, the first commercial use of miniature tubes and search-tune radios in 1948, and the first all-transistor commercially produced auto-radio in 1954. Transistors were also welcome in Fhilco's radio business because they extended radio life. This was particularly im portant in car radios. Until transistors came along, car radios were terrible. The m an who pu t transistors into car radios was Tom Page, who was plarming manager for new Ford vehicles in the early 1950s. At first, car radios had a one-

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m onth w arranty and often w ouldn't last for a month. There was a high cost of w arranty returns on the radios. While planning the 1954 Thunderbird - a car that was very successful in getting attention and not very successful in making money - Page decided that transistor radios might offer a trem endous selling advantage. Ford was buying radios from Motorola when a Motorola salesman suggested a switch to transistor radios because they offered longevity. Page got the radio on the 1954 Ford and Thunderbird and 1955 Lincoln and Mercury. These were the first American vehicles w ith a one-year radio warranty, phenomenal in the industry.^ By 1949, six millions autos had car radios. In 1951 alone, 5 million auto radio sets w ere sold and over 13 million radio receivers. Developments in auto radio technology w ould make the car an integral part of youth culture in Los Angeles. Reebee Garofalo has argued that the mass commodification of Black popular forms was due in large part to the grow th of portable radios. Cars with transistor radios had an enormous impact on where music was heard, and transformed radio entertainm ent from a family-centered activity to a more personal and dispersed listening experience.^

Electronic Engineering Times, v. 978 (October 30,1997): 131. ^ 0 Reebee Garofalo, "Crossing Over," 26-27.

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This mobility in the development of radio circles back on the dialectic between radio and Afro-Chicano predom inant integrated venues. This m eant that while station owners, record distributors, and nearly all the m ost popular DJs in LA in the 1940s and 50s were Anglo, the large num ber of Black and Chicano listeners and performers would dem and that radio stations and their DJs do more than just commodify Afro-Chicano musical forms. Radio and the recording industry in LA contributed to a multi-ethnic popular environment, and even countered the city sanctions that made it unlawful to hold such events. But the limits that the entertainm ent industries imposed m irrored limits to hopes of the working classes and aggrieved minorities in the wake of the postw ar strike wave.^^ That is, transformations in labor policy as a result of working class activism during and after the w ar were tremendous, but these gains were countered by the limits imposed by the interests of business executives. This was not only a result of the closing of defense industry factories; workers had clearly m ade m aterial gains in the postwar era, but not all gained equally, and many paid dearly in other areas. In the postwar period, business executives conceded higher wages and fringe benefits to organized labor, and they supported as well an increased social wage for unorganized workers in the form

The postwar strike w ave was a series of working-class agitations that ranged from small walkouts to dramatic insurgencies by auto workers, longshoremen, electrical and rubber workers, refinery workers, and many more groups around the country. More strikes took place in the tw elve months after V-J Day than in any comparable period in American history.

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of govem m ent-sponsored housing, education, and welfare program s. But they also sought to contain working-class demands for a greater share of the nation's material abundance and for greater political pow er by confining the concessions within program s designed to guarantee expanded opportunities for private profit. They favored highway construction over rapid transit, loans for the purchase of single-family detached housing in the suburbs rather than for public housing or renovation of inner-city neighborhoods, and suburban locations for new plants.^2 Moreover, the powers that countered labor agitation w aged a fight for authority not just in the factories, but for power over the reception, uses, and effects of new forms of commercialized leisure. ^ Radio and television executives began this search for pow er by targeting suburban audiences. Val Poliuto remembers, "Because we were a mixed group, we didn't sound like all white and we did n 't sound all soul.. .And so consequently w hen w e'd go to one [radio] station, they'd say 'well, w hat are you guys?' and one guy said, w hen he heard the arrangem ent of "Thinking of You," he said 'well I thought you guys were all Black.' No! I sang the lead. If my voice is in there w ith M anuel's voice.. .he's gorma have a different inflection. Putting it all together, we couldn't get played on a lot of stations simply because w hen we w ent to perform one guy w ould say, 'w ell gee I thought they were Black' and another guy would say, 'well gee I thought they were white.'^^
George Lipsitz, A R ainbow A t M id n ig h t, 259 "The Fight for Moral Authority" in George Lipsitz, A Rainbow A t M idn igh t. Val Poliuto, Personal Interview by author, Ventura, California; 4 December 2001.

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The Jaguars did not m arket themselves as an integrated group, but as a vocal group. Yet radio DJs were so blinded by their investment in the segmented classification of the music industry that they seem to overlook the function of radio's invisibility. A t the same time, it m ust be noted that live performances were a large part of radio culture in the fifties. A later band (not a vocal group) called "The Mixtures" had the same problem. Their members included Steve Mendoza, a Chicano pianist, African American saxophonist Delbert Franklin, a Chicano drum m er (Eddie de Robles), a Puerto Rican bass player (Zag Soto), a black horn player (Autry Johnson), a white guitarist (Dan Pollock), and an American IndianAVest Indian percussionist Qohrmy W e lls ).A successful Southern California band, they recorded and released several 45's including "Darling" featuring the vocal duo Phil and H arv that sold over 250,000 copies in 1961. The Mixtures also appeared on "Parade Of Hits" on KCOP Channel 13 in Hollywood sponsored by KRLA Radio and hosted by TV personality. Bob Eubanks. But the fact that they and the Jaguars never achieved national prominence reveals the economics of scale that make hom ogenous suburban homes the target audience for mass culture rather than groups mixed by class, race, and different kinds of neighborhoods.

^ 5 Dan Pollock, Interview by Author, Saticoy, CA. 2 April, 2001.

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Integrated vocal groups like The Jaguars, The Mixtures, and The Crests found that while they personified post-war LA's racial and class demographies, DJ and prom oter shortsightedness, symbolic of the city's racism and segregation, w ould dem and they fit into static racial categories, which severely limited the prom otion and distribution of their music. "The W ay You Look Tonight" was the Jaguars' biggest hit. But in an interview. Sonny Chaney rem arked bitterly, "we never saw a dime from that disc."^^ Chaney's comment depicted a common problem for Black and Chicano musicians in LA, but m ost especially for mixed groups. Radio and television targeted middle-class suburbs as ideal sites for consumption. They worked to attract audiences and sell products to them. Therefore, the homogeneity of white suburbs in Los Angeles m eant that radio and record industries hesitated to m arket mixed-race groups in the 1950s, no m atter how integrated LA had always been. George Lipsitz has shown that this process functioned as a powerful agent for the nationalization and homogenization of U.S. culture. In this campaign, business executives interested in installment buying, community planners interested in residential segregation, and radio executives interested in the power of advertising money w ould never promote something that did not fit the national project of a uniform citizenry. Chicano and African-American

Mitch Rosalsky, "The Jaguars" In Encyclopedia o f R hythm and Blues and D oo-W op Vocal Groups (Lanham, Maryland, and London: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 2000), 330.

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musicians m ay have gotten more airplay, exposure, and prom otion via the radio than they w ould have before WWII, but radio and record labels still targeted homogeneous suburban audiences. This often m eant that original music groups of color received little or no credit or money for their recordings after covers were m ade of their songs. This included the Jaguars, who "never saw a dime" from "The W ay You Look Tonight." Like the Jaguars, Big Jay McNeely never received a penny of royalties from the sales of his m any platters. And his philosophy, like Big Joe Turner, was that a bird in the hand always w as better than one in the bush. "At least, I got my money up front w hen I cut the tracks. And learned not to expect anything else after," confided Jay.^^

By the time rock and roll and rhythm and blues began to dominate American popular music, Chicanos were leaving Watts and South Central Los Angeles for other parts of South California. Throughout the 1950s South Central Los Angeles changed from a majority Black section to a virtually all-black section. But immigration w ould profoundly affect the area's demographics after 1965, as thousands of families from Central America and Mexico m oved to the relatively affordable area of W atts and its surrounding neighborhoods.

Whiteside, "Nervous Man Nervous."

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In broad terms, the early post-war years can be characterized by an historically unique disciplinary narrowness and conservatism of the domestic sphere and by an equally unprecedented politicization of cultured In the context of the Cold War, Consensus was normalized as patriotic duty. This encouraged making hom ogeneous white suburbs the target population for radio and recording; this could be seen as contributing tow ard the health of the American body politic. In this context, Los Angeles' political and social elites sought to resist labor and civil rights demands, while simultaneously prom oting sprawling development and homogeneity in the face on an increasing multi-ethnicity. But Afro-Chicano music and the postwar integrated musical culture it was a part of did challenge the containment created by the patterns of segregation, postwar conservatism, and economic subjugation into spaces of pleasure and possibility.^^ Significantly, it w ould be a recognition of colonialism's transnational legacy that inspired Black and Chicano ethno-nationalist movements in the next two decades to collaborate cross-racially, at least for a time.

^ Stephen Whitfield, The Culture o f the Cold W ar (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996). ^ Stuart Hall, "Race, Articulation, and Societies Structured in Dominance," in UNESCO, Sociological Theories: Race and Colonialism (Paris: UNESCO, 1980); Hall, "Gramsci's Relevance for the Study of Race and Ethnicity," in S tuart Hall: Critical Dialogues in Cultural Studies ed. David Morley and Kuan-Hsing Chen (N ew York: Routledge, 1996).

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Chapter Two: Cold Wars and Counter WAR(s): Coalitional Politics in an Age of Violence
"The p r o m is e o f th e in te r n a tio n a l m a rk e tp la c e is a re g im e o f p e r p e tu a l peace. A c o n tin u in g iro n y , h o w ev er, is th a t o n e m u s t be p re p a r e d f o r p e r p e tu a l w a r to a ch ie ve th e g o a l o f peace. The c u ltu r e o f in te r n a tio n a l c a p ita lis m se e m s, th erefore, to be d e e p ly d iv id e d . W ith in th is c u ltu r e on e is a sk ed to a c c e p t th e ra tio n a l w o r k in g o f th e n a tu r a l la w s o f th e m a rk etp la ce, b u t on e is a lso e n co u ra g e d to d e v e lo p a p e r s o n a lity th a t is s tr o n g e r a n d m o re a g g re ss iv e th a n th a t o f th e lea d ers o f th e "rogue" sta te s . O n e m u s t a lw a y s be r e a d y to m a k e th e sa crifices d e m a n d e d b y w a r.

In his speeches from 1967 to 1970, C.L.R. James argued that it was impossible for him to approach the political explosion of America's ethnic minorities w ithout a developed historical perspective or an understanding of their dynamic connection w ith other resistance movements worldwide.^ Anti imperialist rebellions in the previous two decades alone substantiated this opinion. Between 1945 and 1970, virtually the entire colonial w orld dem anded and secured political independence; within the space of five years over one and a half billion people in m ore than 100 national capitals, all colonized, became free. Suddenly, liberation was a "more significant force than domination."^ When James argued in 1967 that "the world was now one world," he had in mind not

' David Noble, D eath o f a Nation: C ultural Politics and the E nd o f Exceptionalism (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2002). 2 C.L.R. James further notes: "Whereas formerly the works of Marx and Lenin - and particularly their ideas about the development, freedom and emancipation of nationally oppressed people were the key works studied by [European] political theorists, there is another movement today. The great upheavals in France in 1968, one of the m ost tremendous political upheavals that has taken place in Europe, was organised under the slogans of Ho Chi M inh...in other words, people of the Third World and particularly the writings and speeches of blacks from America's cities, are occupying a key place in the revolutionary thinking of European students." Anna Grimshaw (ed). The CLR James Reader (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1993), 367-377.

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only the transnational economies created by imperialist intervention in local economies and labor systems, but also the multi-directional influences of anti imperialist activism on locally oppressed communities.^ For James, this was one reason why the grassroots political organizations which formed in United States urban communities w ere "not some diversion from the class struggle but a revolutionary force to be reckoned with." This argum ent has particular force when considered within the contradictory social context of the United States of the late sixties and early seventies: politicians and intellectuals promised domestic peace and prosperity through the realization of Cold War economic and containment policies, yet America's urban areas felt the brunt of the shortcomings of Cold W ar economics in material ways. For m any aggrieved communities, the promise of peace was contradicted by America's engagement in several simultaneous wars, m any of them being fought on the urban American landscape. In m any AfricanAmerican and Chicano communities in Los Angeles, divisive effects of the War on Poverty Programs, the Vietnam War, and the W ar on civil rights and cultural nationalist organizations contradicted public pronouncem ents of domestic good

3 Michael Manley, Jamaica: Struggle in the Periphery (London: Third World Media, 1982), 11. ^Anna Grimshaw (ed). The CLR James Reader (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1993), 21. See also Robin D.G. Kelley, "Introduction" in CLR James, A H istory o f Pan-African R evolt (Chicago: Kerr Publishing, 1995), 17, in which James argued that Marcus Garvey was among the first to make "the American Negro conscious of his African origin and created for the first time a feeling of international solidarity among Africans and people of African descent."

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intent. For example, Lyndon Baines Johnson, the m ost visible President of the Vietnam W ar and the W ar on Poverty, asked Americans to understand that "in this age, w hen there can be no losers in peace and no victors in war, we m ust recognize the obligation to match national strength with national restraint." But a six-year span of demoralizing defeats for civil rights workers - in no small part embodied in the deaths of Malcolm X, John F. Kennedy, M artin Luther King, and Robert Kennedy - confirmed suspicions of political activists about the contradictions contained within Johnson's pairing of "national strength" and "national restraint," between peace and global capitalism. David Noble's argum ent then, that the culture of international capitalism promises perpetual peace but is deeply divided by its perpetual commitment to war, has im portant relevance to grassroots activism in Los Angeles in the Civil Rights era. Los Angeles' racial exclusion, the changing urban and agrarian economy, and city planning after 1960 all contributed to the isolation of urban Blacks and Chicanos in hom ogenous class and spatial categories. In this context, some of the most im portant dem ands were coming from inter-ethnic coalitions, who held themselves, city politicians, and their government accountable for the rights of poor people and workers. These coalitions included the Local 700 of the International Union of Mine, Mill, and Smelter Workers, and UAW Local 645, led

5James, A H istory o f Pan-African Revolt, 18

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by Paul Schrade; the interethnic East Los Angeles Welfare Rights Organization led by Alicia Escalante, and the musicians w ho informed the construction of Black and Chicano urban identity through music born from Afro-Chicano neighborhood experiences. This chapter demonstrates how the governm ent's commitment to w ar (on Poverty, in Vietnam, on ethnic and m inority movements) was m et by w ars from an "inter-ethnic below," even in a time of ethnic nationalisms. These "wars of position," as James has argued, could not always precisely define the kind of individual freedom or freedom of association they were striving for; but James believed that m any activists and oppressed communities had rejected dom inant perspectives of individual freedom and democracy, and that this rejection had often taken forms that were "cultural and religious rather than explicitly political."^ I argue that it was this particular kind of rejection which m ade possible coalitional politics between, for example. La Raza Unida Party leader Reies Lopez Tijerina and the Los Angeles chapter of the Black Panther Party, w ho forged a peace pact after the W atts Riots. This complimented the relationship between La Raza groups and the Black Congress in Los Angeles, and the joint leadership of Blacks and Browns during the Los

Kelley, "Introduction" in CLR James, A H isto ry o f Pan-African Revolt, 15.

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Angeles Poor People's March in 19697 Despite the challenges posed by economic racism and the climate of w ar in Los Angeles, and the despite the prom otion of often exclusive ethnic nationalisms, the ongoing creation and affirmation of inter-ethnic m em ory and history in Los Angeles opened spaces of political possibility for Blacks and Chicanos. This chapter also addresses a recent, though understudied contention in the field of American Studies. Several scholars seek to understand the usefulness of terms like "nation," "nationality" and "nationalism" in w hat m any agree to be a "post-national" era. They argue for moving past uncritical nationalist perspectives tow ard w hat has been termed "critical internationalism" "transnationalism," or "globality." As John Carlos Rowe notes, "...rather than treating . . . cultural differences as discrete entities . . . [post-nationalism's] new comparative approach stresses the ways different cultures are transform ed by their contact and interaction w ith each other." Wisely, these theorists counsel against "throw ing all nationalisms into the trashcan of history." This chapter supports this perspective, both in argum ent and methodology, in its exploration of Afro-Chicano cooperation in an age of ethno-nationalism.

7 Mervyn M. Dymally, "Afro-Americans and Mexican-Americans: The Politics of Coalition," Charles Wollenberg, ed.. Ethnic Conflict in California H istory (Los Angeles: Tinnon-Brown, Inc., 1970), 166. Barbara Brinson Curiel, David Kazanjian, Katherine Kinney, Steven Mailloux, Jay Mechling, John Carlos Rowe, George Sanchez, Shelley Streeby, and Henry Yu, P ost-N ation alist Am erican Studies (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2000), 23-29.

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In the late 1960s and early 70s, ethnic minorities across the nation embraced cultural nationalism as a means of em pow erm ent and selfidentification. Los Angeles was no exception. However, 1 dem onstrate that the internationalism of these groups - and more locally, their inter-ethnic exchanges - was a reflection of w hat Black Panther and Brown Beret members had experienced in "a California that diverged sharply from the national pattern of simple biracial polarity." This was a state, as Gerald Horne argues, where "race relations m eant more than biracial polarity.. .it was difficult for the Blacks in the city and state not to be internationalist in outlook." My w ork shows that while

Black Nationalism focused on the development of African and African-American revolutionary identities, and while Chicano Nationalism preoccupied itself with the recuperation of identities rooted in Aztlan, formal and informal alliances between these groups had been nurtured by the long-time demographic, popular cultural, and political overlappings 1 have delineated thus far. My interviews with musicians and activists yield evidence of these exchanges. The activism among Blacks and Chicanos in Los Angeles during the cultural nationalist era conveys the fact that for these groups, "ethnic nationalism and internationalism

9 Ibid, 2. 9 Gerald Horne, The Fire This Time: The W atts U prising and the 1960s (Charlottesville and London: University Press of Virginia, 1995), 13 and 18.

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were not m utually exclusive."^^ My research shows that among cultural nationalist groups in Los Angeles, this sensibility was born m ore out of cultural and popular experiences, out of a natural extension of shared demographic and cultural spaces, than a consistent commitment to interracial politics. Those politics constituted an im portant part of the making and re-making of inter ethnic identity and grassroots sensibilities, but they were not necessarily the beginning, nor the end, of this process. W hat I present here, then, is not a neat package of Afro-Chicano political alliance, but rather a picture of the AfroChicano cultures underpinning the relationship - unique from other cities in the nation at this time - between Blacks and Browns. We m ight look first to the demographic and economic context which developed alongside of, and related to, grassroots inter-ethnicity. Several demographic factors contributed to the reinforcement and continual rem aking of an interethnic environm ent in urban areas of Los Angeles. Between 1950 and 1960 in Compton, for example, the white population declined by 18.5 percent, while nonwhites were increasing in num bers by 165 percent. By 1966, the "minority group," as the papers called it, had become Compton's majority. Watts, betw een 1940 and 1960, witnessed the Black population increase

Robin D.G. Kelley, Race Rebels: Culture, Politics, and the Black W orking Class (N ew York: The Free Press, 1996), 124.

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eightfold; by 1965, Blacks m ade up 87 percent of the city's 34,000 residents.^^ In 1970, m ore than 50,000 Latinos lived in the traditionally Black south-central area of Los Angeles; by 1980 that figure had doubled, w ith Chicanos alone making up 21 percent of the total population of the south-central area. W ith an area of two and half square miles. W atts had the highest population density of any city in Los Angeles County.^^ In 1965 Black unem ploym ent in the U.S. was 9%, but unem ploym ent in W atts was 31%. Los Angeles joined the ranks of cities all over the country - Newark, New York, Las Vegas, Detroit - where riots had broken out over political and social issues. Anti-poverty funds were m ade available by the Federal Government as a part of the solution, but L.A. M ayor Samuel Yorty all but refused them. L.A. anti-poverty politics were so severe that M artin Luther King, Jr. came to L.A. in 1965 to call on the city to increase the representation of minority and poor citizens on the anti-poverty board. More broadly, other geographic regions and ethnic groups experienced similar drastic demographic changes, which perpetuated LA's inter-ethnicity, which in turn was informed by both class mobility and stratification. In the period between 1950 and 1970, large num bers of new cities sprang up all over

David Wyatt, Five Fires: Race, Catastrophe, and the Shaping o f California (N ew York: AddisonW esley Publishing Company, 1997), 209. 1 3 Melvin Oliver and James Johnson, Jr., "Inter-Ethnic Conflict in an Urban Ghetto," in Research in Social M ovem ents: Conflict and Change, v. 6, 57-94. 1 ^David Wyatt, Five Fires, 201.

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Los Angeles County. By 1960, industrial plants, shopping centers, and residential subdivisions began to replace the fields and orchards that surrounded the Los Angeles area. W hat resulted is a spatial pattern that reflects a high degree of urbanization w ithout a clear center. James Allen and Eugene Turner have referred to this urban pattern as "multinucleated" or "poly-centered:" large num bers of new malls, industrial zones, and clusters of office buildings constitute suburban "nuclei" that attract local residents and outsiders. They explain that the "loose collection of suburbs" that characterized pre-sixties development in Los Angeles was replaced by a "highly intricate distribution" of resources and neighborhoods. Importantly, this m eant that business centers built far from the old central business district of Los Angeles began to siphon away m uch of the business activity that in earlier times was focused on Downtown, precisely at a time when m any of the Japanese, Mexican, and other farm workers w ho had earlier cultivated rural land became gardeners, service employees, or small businessmen and began to reside in m ore urban areas.^ But this also m eant serious miscalculations and/or negligence on the p art of city planners: m oving away from the total growth m odel of the 1946 zoning ordinance (which anticipated a city of 10 million people), city planners concentrated high density commercial and residential zoning in 35 centers

Eric R. Avila, "The Folklore of the Freeway: Space, Culture, and Identity in Postwar Los

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around the city, drastically reducing density in single family neighborhoods. The Los Angeles Planning D epartm ent developed a plan with heavy citizen participation (read white, middle-class) that reduced the density perm itted in residential neighborhoods. Although the plan was adopted, no money was allocated to im plem ent the plan. W hat resulted w as that zoning never changed, and high density developments continued. This "downzoning" m ovem ent was not the top priority in all parts of the city, especially not in East L.A., South L.A., or Pacoima, all inter-ethnic (primarily Chicano and African-American) working class neighborhoods.^^ The clear class stratification which resulted from these residential patterns was accompanied by upw ard mobility experienced by African-Americans in this same period; as access to higher-skilled and higher-wage jobs became more prevalent and racial restrictions in housing decreased, m any African-Americans who had m anaged to become members of the m iddle class during the fifties moved out of South Central. These residential patterns, solidified by "white flight"^^ resulted in a m ost often uniformly poor population in urban Los

Angeles" m A ztlan : A Journal o f Chicano Studies Volume 23 Issue 1; 26. 16 "Environmental Justice in Los Angeles: A Timeline." Brochure by Environmental Defense, January 1999. particularly after the Watts riots

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Angeles, prim arily in the South and East: African- and Mexican-Americans constituted the majority of the poor. The notion that California was a state unburdened by racial differences was a m yth built to epic proportions in the 1960s. In media and public image, Los Angeles had a m ystique that hid its faults. California's government, major universities, and corporations prided themselves as models of fairness, proclaiming the state "a laboratory of racial equality In fact, businessmen and political executives in 1971 were so

committed to this constructed understanding of their entitlements, that even w hen threatened by urban unrest, then-California Governor Ronald Reagan could declare w ith trem endous bipartisan support: "If we're going to have a blood bath, let's get it over with." Reagan went on to argue that, "no people in all history paid a higher price for freedom. And no people have done so m uch to advance the dignity of man."^ This was in part a continuation of Reagan's 1966 gubernatorial cam paign ideology, which emphasized "law and order," a code for

Additionally, John Laslett has shown that the developments of the 1950s and 1960s prove that
th e city b eca m e m o r e se g re g a te d in th e p o stw a r y ea rs th an it h a d b e e n in th e past. John Laslett,

"Historical Perspectives: Immigration and the Rise of a Distinctive Urban Region, 1900-1970" in Russel Sage Foundation, 1996), 60. Howard Dewitt,TTie Fragm ented Dream: M u lticu ltu ral California (Dubuque: Kendall/Hunt Publishing), 1996. 20 Americans for the Reagan Agenda, A Time fo r Choosing: The Speeches o f Ronald Reagan, 19611983 (Chicago: Regnery Gateway, Inc., 1983), 89.
Ethnic Los A ngeles ed. Robert Waldinger and Mehdi Bozorgmehr (N ew York:

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Watts 1965.21 Defeated incumbent Jerry Brown declared that Reagan played on and propelled the "so-called 'w hite backlash' to Black m ilitancy/' portending a trend that "came earlier to California than to the rest of the nation."^^ In Governor Reagan's vision, the history of his ow n white male generation - as well as American progress to come - eclipsed the histories of protesting students and aggrieved minorities in California's universities and urban areas in the 1960s and early 70s. Like George Bancroft in the 1800s, Reagan could celebrate his generation w ithout remembering "less privileged citizens" of the nation: "as for our generation, I make no apology.. .we did not have to make a field trip to the ghetto or the sharecropper's farm to see poverty. We lived it in a Great Depression."^^ His position - indeed the very legacy of 1830s historians was even supported by a higher authority: the following year. Catholic Pope Pius Xll declared to Reagan that "the American people have a genius for splendid and unselfish action, and into their hands, the hands of America, God has placed the destinies of an afflicted mankind."^^ The contradictions between the media images of Los Angeles and the realities of racist hiring practices, housing discrimination, and lack of adequate

2 1 Richard Nixon's presidential campaign platform utilized a similar tactic, exploiting white fears of blacks he portrayed as having become too powerful and violent, calling on the "silent majority" to uphold "law and order" by electing a president w ho w ould take control of and shore up the status quo that seem ed to be toppling. 22 Gerald Horne, Fire This Time, 281. 22 Americans for the Reagan Agenda, A Time fo r Choosing, 89.

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schools for ethnic minorities led M artin Luther King to interpret the W atts riots as a crisis of disjuncture between the affluence of whites and the distance of Blacks from this privilege: "Los Angeles could have expected riots because it is the symbol of luxurious living for whites. Watts is closer to it and yet further from it than any other Negro community in the country. In a Free Press article in 1965, architect and city planner Richard Neutra delineated a relationship between the Watts Riots and the economics of city planning and the geography of potential employm ent markets: "Transportation in the Watts area is a costly problem; a bus trip to the dow ntow n labor markets passes through at least three zones...in this neglected environment, the citizen w ithout an automobile is almost condem ned to unemploym ent. .. .the people of W atts m ay indeed vote as m uch as they like but they are still stranded in the ghetto, faced with problem s which go far beyond the civil rights issues."^^

Scholars on Los Angeles generally agree that the Los Angeles Black Panthers bloomed out of the ashes of the W atts Riots.^' The Brown Berets, formed in 1967, were advocating a nationalistic position similar to that espoused by SNCC and the BPP by the end of the sixties. The Black Panthers and the Brown Berets: A Different Nationalism

24 Ibid., 148. 25 Wyatt, Five Fires, 210. 25 Los Angeles Free Press, Friday, September 3,1965: 3. 22 Horne, Fire This Time; Lawrence de Graaf, Kevin Mulroy and Quintard Taylor, eds.. Seeking El Dorado: African A m ericans in California (Seattle: University of W ashington Press, 2001); Roger

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In a dissertation entitled, "The Elusive Coalition," H eather Rose Parker argues: "w ith the urban rebellions of black communities across the country, and the assassinations of Robert Kennedy and M artin Luther King Jr. in 1968, the idea of cross-racial collaboration and progress faded, the hopes and dream s of the idealistic and hard-working civil rights activists dissolving with the conflicted memory of past successes."^

Parker's m onograph is well-documented and informative, bu t the conclusions she draw s about coalitional politics are based upon the interactions between prom inent leaders of mainstream organizations and committees. For example, Parker argues that extreme nationalism in both African-American and Chicano communities, a dearth of leaders within the Chicano community, and the discomfort of Chicanos allying with Blacks who were stronger politically all contributed tow ard the unstable relationship which existed betw een African Americans and Chicanos in LA. She also argues that white America's perception of Blacks as the "national minority" resulted in boons to the African American community, often at the expense of the Chicano community. Further, she posits

Waldinger and Mehdi Bozorgmehr, eds.. Ethnic Los Angeles (N ew York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1996). Heather Rose Parker, "The Elusive Coalition: African American and Chicano Political Organization and Interaction in Los Angeles, 1960-1973." PhD Dissertation, University of California at Los Angeles, 1996,178.

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that much of the alliance w ork between Blacks and Chicanos occurred between leaders of organizations on the phone, not at the grassroots level. While there is some truth to her generalization (particularly with regard to the privileging of African-Americans in War on Poverty funds distributions), interviews, a survey of political activism in the seventies, and a common popular culture yields contrary evidence: several efforts and movements emerged many of them sustained - among Chicano and African-American communities in Los Angeles after 1968. First, there are several anecdotal examples of Afro-Chicano political alliance, even at the height of ethnic nationalism. In November of 1968, a white UCLA professor physically assaulted an African-American student for challenging his approach in an American History class. After Black students protested UCLA's refusal to suspend the professor, the m ajority-white Student Senate suspended the BSU charter, and the Board of Trustees renewed its efforts to centralize college control. Student leaders Timmi Villegas and Frank Lechuga urged Chicanos to support the Black Student Union's dem and that the professor be fired, and connected the physical assault and white student racism to the assault being w aged by the UC Regents on the Educational O pportunity Program, which was set to be discontinued by the end of the academic year.

Parker, 79-85.

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Appealing to the common experience of a multi-tiered racism experienced by Black and Chicano students, members of the BSU and United Mexican-American Students dem anded a change in curriculum that w ould lead to a bachelors degree in Chicano Studies and Black Studies: "our parents.. .have been paying taxes for years to support the so-called institutions of 'higher' learning, only to have the 'gabacho' history and value system propagated." Villegas and Lechuga connected the professor's conduct to institutionalized racism against Blacks and Chicanos, and urged students not to accept the "mis-education and mis-direction of our people."^ By the last years of WWII, Penny Von Eschen has argued, internationalist anti-colonial discourse was critical in shaping Black American politics and the meaning of racial identities and solidarities. This was true in Chicano communities as well. For example. La Raza columnist Alfred Arteaga drew connections betw een the cultural nationalisms that developed in Algeria and Angola and the redefinition of Chicano identity in the United States. Arteaga voiced a suspicion about the cormection between domestic racism and international imperialism, arguing, "as Algeria was colonized by France and Angola by Portugal, Aztlan is a colony of the U.S." Editors of La Raza connected layoffs, inflation, cutbacks in welfare and child-care, and discrimination against

Timmi Villegas and Franch Lechuga, "Letter to the Editor" in C S M (November 1968): 9.

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immigrants to increased repression by police in Black and Chicano communities.^^ There are countless examples, too num erous to m ention here, of internationalist politics in the L.A. independent newspapers from the late sixties to the late seventies. While Watts 1965 m arked the rise of Black Nationalism, and soon thereafter Chicano Nationalism in L.A., an understanding of the common issues of race, dem ography, and culture reached back over a century, as I have previously dem onstrated. Links between the political, racial, and economic repression in Black and Chicano communities were frequently m ade in community newspapers. In 1968, La Causa de los Pobres, an East Los Angeles newsletter, documented a coalition of concerned African-Americans and Chicanas who staged a series of dem onstrations against the Departm ent of Public Social Services. The DPSS, according to the instruction of the D epartm ent of Social Services, were em pow ered to discontinue welfare benefits to all undocum ented immigrants. The result of the protests was that there was no discontinuation of aid, and those who had been excluded for any length of time were reinstated. "The atm osphere of the day," La Causa reported, as that the people had won the battle, but the w ar goes on."^^

3' Alfred Arteaga, "Frantz Fanon and the National Culture of Aztlan" in La Raza Volume 2 No. 4 (January 1975): 6. 32 "The Poor Peoples March" in La Causa de Los Pobres (February 28,1969): 2.

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In an article entitled, "In the Black and Chicano Communities of Los Angeles, Police Violence is on the Rise," La Raza new spaper reported the beatings, shootings, and harassm ent of Chicanos and Blacks in Aliso Village, Florence Community, East L.A., Watts, and Bell Gardens. The article urged African-Americans and Chicanos to unite "against their common enemy; the capitalist system."^^ "The Mexican-American community has learned a lesson from the Black community," w rote a reporter in an article covering the East L.A. high school blowouts. "The Chicanos are organizing and the display of coordination involved in our demonstrations at five high schools...is an impressive example."^^ The Brown Berets' manifesto, "El Plan del Barrio," offered their public support to furthering the cause of African Americans by identifying the plight of Blacks w ith their own and working tow ard eradicating inequities in both communities.^ In 1969, representatives of CORE, SNCC, and AfricanAmerican area churches attended a strikers meeting to pledge their support to the largest farm labor strike in San Joaquin Valley since the 1930s.

33 "In the Black and Chicano Communities of Los Angeles, Police Violence is on the Rise" in La Raza, Volume 2 N o. 4, (January 1975); 4. 3 ^ "L.A. High School Revolt" in Los A ngeles U nderground Volume 1 No. 10 (Undated Issue, 1968); 7. 33 David Montejano, Chicano P olitics and Society in the Late T wentieth C en tu ry (Austin; University of Texas Press, 1998), 114. 3 Anne P. Draper, "Organized Pickers Strike Growers" in Los Angeles Free Press Volume 2 No. 42 Issue 65 (October 15,1965); lA .

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Second, there is evidence of sustained inter-ethnic coalitions. Paul Schrade w as an organic chemistry major at Yale University, w ho dropped out and moved to LA w ith his brother in 1947 after a dispute over m oney with his family. He found a job at National American Aviation, w here he became part of an organizing drive. After reading leaflets about the union organizing endeavor, Schrade began talking to people who recruited him to work w ith them. He eventually became an organizer himself. The crux of the problem in 1951 and 1952 was that National American Aviation workers and auto workers, who labored in the same plant doing essentially the same work, had major disparities in income and benefits. The union presence in the plant, namely the International Association of Machinists and the United Auto W orkers, were individually highly organized. But split representation and competition for membership had m ade efforts at collaboration futile. Furthermore, Aviation workers' wages were on average 25 cents below those of auto workers, which engendered m ore tensions. As Schrade and other Aviation workers organized for increased wages, retirem ent benefits, and health insurance (auto w orkers had secured the latter two some years before), they were able to make the issue of equity w ith Auto workers their bargaining tool. Schrade eventually became the UAW leader in the West, and by 1965 the union under his leadership had 65,000 members in the state. There was an

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influential black m embership, though the union had been weakened by internal Red Scare scrapes, resulting in some of the more m ilitant Black members and antiracist whites being ousted from influence. Nevertheless, the UAW under Schrade's influence m ade distinct gestures to blacks after the revolt, offering to p u t up $10 million in seed money for housing in Watts and provided a two-story office building on South San Pedro for a year to the United Civil Rights Committee.^^ The fact that in this period, nearly 42% of W atts men, including some who w ere unem ployed, belonged to labor unions, was not a hindrance.^ This UAW local set the stage for Afro-Chicano politics in later years.^ In the wake of the W atts riots, Schrade also helped build bridges between the UAW and the city's Black and Latino communities. He helped Ted W atkins form the W atts Labor Community Action Committee and David Lizarraga form the East Los Angeles Community Union (TELACU), which used union and federal funds to build low-income housing, set up job-training programs, and mobilize community residents around neighborhood improvement.

Paul Schrade, Personal Telephone Interview by Author. 21 December 2002. See also Testimony of Paul Schrade, 26 October 1965, vol. 12, McCone Transcript; L A H erald Exam iner, 13 September 1965; LA Times, 30 November 1965. 3 8 James O'Toole, W a tts and Woodstock: Id en tity and Culture in the U nited States and South Africa (New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1973), 57. 3 For example, UAW Local 645 drove a Campaign to Keep General Motors Van N uys Open (1982-1992), led by Eric Mann, Chris Mathis, and Rudy Acuna. This campaign challenged GM's "management right" to shut dow n plants and lay-off workers (the vast majority of whom were Black and Latino, and 15 percent of w hom were women).

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W hen Lizarraga was nine, his family m oved into a m ore affluent school district. After the 1965 riots in Watts, which was followed by forced busing to end de facto segregation in schools, Lizarraga found that he was reunited with friends from his old neighborhood. "The black kids they were busing in to our high school were kids I'd grow n up with," he says. "So I knew them, and of course I knew the Chicano kids, and I was friends w ith the w hite kids, too. I w as in the m iddle and had experience with all of them, and I guess that's why I was identified as someone who could help to facilitate some interaction."^ In 1965, several m onths before the riots, a group of concerned union leaders organized the W atts Labor Community Action Committee. Their goal was to stimulate economic change and improve the quality of life for poor families living in South Central Los Angeles. WLCAC was established as a non profit, community organization with longtime W atts resident Ted Watkins as president. Immediately after the riots, WLCAC intensified its efforts to change the physical and economic despair of Watts. With a volunteer staff, WLCAC created em ploym ent training program s and began rebuilding neighborhoods. Paul Schrade, one of the founding members, still sits on their board at this writing. N ot all relationships between African-American and Chicano Angelenos arising from radical protest were successful; there are num erous examples of

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competition over resources, racial antagonisms, and general strife between these groups in the era under consideration. We can learn as m uch about AfroChicano interaction and cooperation from the examples of w hat didn 't work in this era. Before addressing this issue, I would like to consider the musical culture that constructed spaces of common popular culture in African-American and Chicano Los Angeles. Los Angeles saw im portant opportunities for intercultural exchange develop around the arts and within multiethnic community groups. W hether fostered in such informal settings as dance halls and theaters or in formal organizations, these interethnic encounters formed the basis for political cooperation to address broader social problems.
OO

In 1969, WAR, the Compton-based African-American and Danish band with Chicano influences, was waging, as they p u t it, a "war on the wars," one informed by "our conception of w hat was going on in the w orld at that time.''^^ WAR traces its roots back to 1962, when guitarist H ow ard Scott and drum m er Harold Brown were high school students in the Com pton/South Central Los Angeles area. Together they launched an R&B club group. The Creators. By

David Lizarraga, Personal Interview by Author, Los Angeles, CA. 8 October 2001. Barry Alfonso, "WAR Anthology, 1970-1994," Liner N otes, W A R A n th ology, 1970-1994

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1965, the band had added Lonnie Jordan, bassist B.B. Dickerson, and saxophonist Charles Miller. By 1968, the group that was to become WAR was reorganized as The Nightshift, and it recruited Papa Dee Allen, an East-Coast percussionist who had years of experience w ith Dizzy Gillespie and other jazz greats. Finally, Eric Burdon, formerly of The Animals, who had teamed up w ith Lee Oskar, a Danish harp and harm onica player and found, after a long search for stimulating musical collaboration. The Nightshift in a club in Watts. It was this group which became WAR. Their songs, according to m any music critics at the time of their second album's release in 1971, were in tune w ith the urban America of the early 70s, striking the right balance between hope, fear, and frustration. Pianist Lonnie Jordan rem arked, "our battle to make our instrum ents shoot out notes instead of bullets." Combining Black, white, and Brown musical traditions, WAR drew upon the interracial past of Los Angeles urban music to find common ground during an era of conflict and repression. "What m ade us different," said H ow ard Scott, "was the Latin influence we picked up in the Com pton area... Compton was an amazing place to grow up we were so intermingled w ith the Spanish-speaking people that it came out naturally in our music and our rhythms." Jordan agrees: "We mixed and

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mingled everything, even mariachi music. We were trying to imitate w hat we heard, but it came out being something else."^^ Two of w a r ' s original members previously belonged to a band called "Senor Soul," w ho had a hit in 1967 will a remake of the M iriam Makeba original "Pata Fata." Sefior Soul, an all-Black band with Latin influences, was known for dressing in Sarapes and Sombreros, but also for their adept performances with Latin instrum ents not common to Mexican music (see photo). As we already know, this was not a new construction: legendary bands El Chicano and Tierra, for example, had great success combining Mexican culture with black R&B and rock and roll. Both bands had a sound that resembled Latin jazz, which Black and white audiences in Los Angeles had been listening to and buying since the 1940s. Tierra was formed by brothers Steve and Rudy Salas, who began their careers singing in Spanish, later switched to English, and when they had m atured musically and otherwise, combined R&B, rock, and Latin styles to create Tierra. Despite the overt references to Mexico, the band cultivated an

Barry Alfonso, "WAR Anthology, 1970-1994," in W A R A nthology, 1970-1994 (Rhino Records R2 71774).

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awareness of their Mexican heritage while combining particularly and traditionally "Black" sounds w ith Mexican ballads to form a distinct LA sound. Both grew u p listening to, and later modeled their own songs, after soul acts. Even during the height of Chicano nationalism in the Barrio, Tierra toured with Black groups, including Kool and the Gang and Con Funk Shun, playing R&B to mixed audiences. El Chicano got their break in 1969, w hen they got an unusual (for a Chicano band) offer to fill a regular slot at the Kabuki, a club in South Central Los Angeles that regularly drew a crowd of Asians, Chicanos, Blacks, and whites. While their nam e proclaimed solidarity w ith the new-found ethnic politics of East LA, they got their big break with a song recorded by Black artist Gerald Wilson, "Viva Tirado."^^ Los Lobos, whose hybrid background is not readily apparent, is another example. Los Lobos was formed in 1974 in East Los Angles by Louie Perez, Cesar Rosas, Conrad Lozano, and David Hidalgo. Their neighborhoods, which used to be one barrio, were separated by a freeway, reflective of the kinds of structural choices m any U.S. cities make. Their band members pay hom age to, and their style often reflects, the influence of Blues guitarist Albert Collins. Collins, born to an African-American sharecropping family in Texas, m oved to Houston as a child; although he began his career playing the piano, Collins' cousin Lightnin' Hopkins taught him to play the

David Reyes and Tom Waldman, Land o f a Thousand Dances: Chicano Rock 'n' Roll fro m Southern

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guitar, and was responsible in large part for w hat became Collins' trademark: tuning his guitar to a m inor key. Louie Perez remembers carefully listening to Collins play with Big Mama Thornton, Little Richard, and the Imperials, and he taught himself to play guitar listening to soul music and buying the sheet music of artists like Sam and Dave and Aretha Franklin. Perez's first musical gigs were playing Tower of Power and James Brown hits for Chicano audiences. So by 1975, as Los Lobos w as beginning to enjoy a wide Los Angeles following, these blues and soul styles perm eated their music, which they perform ed at weddings, block parties, and high schools. They became know for being a "Chicano" band, emphasizing the ranchera, Tex-Mex, and mariachi styles they had heard as children in their homes. In 1975, aware of the struggles occurring in the Chicano Movement, they contributed to the album Si Se Puede (It Can Be Done) in support of the United Farm Workers. "The Neighborhood," recorded in 1986, captures both the syncretic style associated with their urban background, bu t also addresses some of the demoralization in urban neighborhoods in the 1980s. Los Lobos, not a political band in terms of their lyrics or activism, nevertheless redefined "Mexican" music in East Los Angeles in the 1980s in a w ay which brought African-American and later Japanese influence into play with instruments reflective of Tex-Mex and other Latin-American styles, like the

California (Albuquerque: University of N ew Mexico Press, 1998), 100-128.

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accordion, guitarron, vihuela, jarana, and charango. These and several other examples are detailed in other places. One understudied aspect of Afro-Chicano culture is the way in which mixed bands were used to draw white audiences to soul music in "acceptable" venues. Mike Garcia's interviews with The Mixtures, a mixed Anglo, Chicano, and African-American band from the early 1960s, dem onstrate his contention that L.A. had a distinct Afro-Chicano culture.^^ My own interviews w ith Mixtures guitarist Dan Pollock yielded information about the function of the band in the racial structure of leisure spaces: "they used us to draw a w hite audience," explained Pollock. "We w ere told by Bob Eubarrks, who w as prom oting a lot of our shows at that time, that we were a safe, you know ... face to pu t on soul and rock-n-roll."^^ Led by Chicano pianist Steve M endoza and the African American saxophonist Delbert Franklin, the group also included a Chicano drum m er (Eddie de Robles), a Puerto Rican bass player (Zag Soto), a black horn player (Autry Johnson), a w hite guitarist (Dan Pollock), and an American Indian/West Indian percussionist (Johnny Wells).'*^ Pollock describes The Mixtures' gigs at the Rainbow Gardens:

Matt Garcia, A W orld o f Its O wn: Race, Labor, and C itrus in the M aking o f Greater Los Angeles, 19001970 (University of North Carolina Press, 2002).

Dan Pollock, Interview by Author. Saticoy, CA, April 2002.

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"[It was] pretty much exclusively white teenagers, and m ost of them were from the nicer areas. Pomona was a perfect place to come because they didn't have to go to Central A venue, El Monte, any of those places w here there was all Black or Mexican or Asian kids. But it was a lot of fun. In the end w e were just all about the music."^^

In the photos on the following page. The Mixtures are pictured performing at Rainbow Gardens and with Bob Eubanks, who was a popular radio announcer at the time. "You know, it was really a trip, our band. We were really popular locally," he told me as he showed me the playbills for concerts. "But we never did get big nationally." Pollock felt that Eubanks and others "never really had an interest in marketing us to a w ider audience. In fact, after awhile, Zag and me we thought they were pretty m uch using us to play to a particular scene." I asked Pollock if he thought the racial m akeup of the band had anything to do w ith The M ixtures' inability to secure a national audience. "Yeah, probably, bu t I don 't really think about that stuff anymore. I mean, to a certain point [we were] all about the music."'* I told Pollock about The Jaguars, but he had only heard of the band members individually, and not as a

Garcia, 163. Dan Pollock, Interview by Author. Saticoy, CA, April 2002. Ibid.

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collective.^^

On a methodological note, in my interviews with musicians, I consistently got the comment "we were all about the music." From Santana to Pollock, they've all said the same thing at one point or another. However, what was also consistent in my interviews was that w ith further conversation, almost every musician of color I interviewed w ould later qualify this statement, recounting their ow n racialized experiences in the music industry. Pollock, w ho is Anglo, never did. In fact, he talked to m e for the duration of the interview with a conspicuously adopted "Black" accent! H e later dropped it in a moment of sincere surprise, w hen he thanked m e for the new photo album I sent to him. I thank him for the photographs, as w ell as his review of my work here.

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The M ixtures' experience, like The Jaguars in the 1950s, demonstrates the shifting politics of race, bu t also the persistence of discrimination and segregation in Los Angeles leisure spaces. Dissension: Afro-Chicano Tensions Peter Carroll and David Noble have argued that the W ar on Poverty was "a topdow n policy m asked by bottom -up rhetoric," taken literally by m any of its targets. In truth, they show the actual am ount of money available to conduct the w ar against poverty paled in comparison to the billions spent on foreign aid and the Vietnam War. In the prosperous 1960s, the worsening condition of the poor forced the num ber of welfare families to double, totaling over 1.5 million households. H eather Parker demonstrates how the anti-poverty funds m ade available by President Lyndon Johnson's W ar on Poverty were the cause of heated disagreements betw een LA's African American and Chicano communities. The funds "were allocated in lum p sums to the county of Los Angeles with no federal guidelines as to how the funds were to be disbursed."^ The County of Los Angeles established the Economic and Youth O pportunity Agency (EYGA) to supervise disbursem ent and application of funds. Conflicts arose because the majority of the funds w ere allocated to the African American community. was due in part to the W atts rebellion in 1965, which prom pted the federal This

^ Peter Carroll and David Noble, The Free and the Unfree

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government and social scientists to mitigate the m yriad social and economic problems that assailed the Black community. Eventually, m any Americans came to consider African-Americans the m ost "deserving" minorities of EYOA fund allocations, not least because of social scientists' endeavors to define cultures of poverty Struggles over housing in Los Angeles embody m any of the dynamics of change that characterized LA's working class Afro-Chicano interaction in this era. The continuing - indeed accelerating - isolation of African-Americans and Mexicans w ho lived in the eastside barrios of dow ntow n Los Angeles or in South Los Angeles w as due partly to continued unspoken racism in job and housing applications, and partly to the poor quality of the segregated public education system in the inner city. A third reason, in the case of foreign-born Mexicans, was the rapid grow th in the num ber of illegal immigrants w ho entered the inner city during the 1970s and 1980s. This isolation was most evident in the housing conditions and struggles of Chicanos and Blacks in the late sixties and early 70s. Major disagreements, and eventually public rhetorical battles, were waged among organizations w ithin the African American and Chicano communities; African Americans tended to receive a much larger share of the funds than

5 1 Parker, "The Elusive Coalition," 178. 52 For the best discussion of this scholarship, see Robin Kelley, Yo M a m a s Disfunktional: Fighting the C ulture W ars in Urban A m erica (Boston: Beacon Press, 1994).

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Mexican Americans, who were a larger portion of the population by 1970. This remained an issue that caused m uch tension betw een the African American and Chicano communities, making coalition efforts a difficult process. Parker argues convincingly that w hat began as a general wariness of each group of the other, was exploited by outside "instigating forces" which conveniently "fan[ned] the flames of hostility and inhibit[ed] inter-group cooperation." Parkers points to the absence of guidelines for the disbursement of the funds, an act that encouraged dissention among poverty-stricken groups.^ There were attem pts to establish cooperation in this endeavor. For example, Esteban Torres, a Chicano community leader in East LA, urged LA minority groups to recognize that they shared a common enemy and praised efforts in both communities to reach an agreement in the battle over funds made available by the W ar on Poverty: "far too m uch has been said about the conflicts between Mexican Americans and Negroes over the diminishing funds of the w ar on poverty. It is gratifying to know that in at least one instance concerned Chicanos and Blacks stood firmly on common ground against the common enemy. Once again, m any of our neighbors were saying that Chicanos were getting the short end of the stick. It is a credit to our community that this resentment was not turned on our Black brothers in need whose needs are just as critical as ours. Instead, we realized that the fund cuts were a betrayal of all poor people, regardless of race and that the antagonist is the M an who holds the purse-strings."^

53 Ibid., 182.

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W hat becomes clear are multifaceted African-American and Chicano movements w ith competing interests. In many areas, both groups shared a sense of cultural nationalism that was not m utually exclusive, but in m any of their endeavors, they differed in tactics and goals and in their appeal to different sectors of both their own and each other's communities. A t these times, both communities failed to recognize the dynamic and heterogeneous nature of African-American and Chicano communities in Los Angeles, a reflection of the fact that coalitional politics are a "process.. .that happens over time, that is never absolutely stable, that is subject to the play of history and difference."^ oo I have argued that the cultural politics that arose in the 1960s and early seventies were less an articulated and purposeful move tow ard interracial cooperation than an extension of shared demographic and cultural spaces. This is because examining nationalist, internationalist, and inter-ethnic politics and culture at any m om ent does not yield a tidy picture of Chicano-Black alliance. However, regardless of the fact that intercultural collaborations are not always successful, those addressed in this chapter do constitute an im portant component

Esteban Torres, "Letter to the Editor" Eastside Sun (October 30,1969): 3. 55 Stuart Hall, "Ethnicity: Identity and Difference," Radical Am erica 23 no. 4 (October-December, 1989): 15.

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not only in Southern California's social and cultural developm ent bu t also in the larger history of American race relations and working-class resistance. Moreover, in examining the "wars from below" w aged by AfricanAmerican and Chicano communities in this era, scholars need to recognize, as Robin Kelley argues, that "infrapolitics and organized resistance are not two distinct realms of opposition to be studied separately and then compared." Rather, he writes, "they are two sides of the same coin that make up the history of working-class resistance."^

^ Robin D.G. Kelley, Race Rebels: Culture, Politics, and the Black W orking Class (N ew York: The

Free Press, 1994), 33.

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Chapter Three: "Teeth-Gritting Harmony:"^ Punk Rock, Ethnic Studies, and ^New Intellectualisms^ Introduction In his groundbreaking exploration of the punk m ovem ent in Britain, Dick Hebdidge argues that the working-class origins of punk subculture "were disguised or symbolically disfigured...as ploys to escape the principle of identity."^ He further posits that punk itself "refused to make sense, to be

grounded, 'read back' to its origins," which he argues was possible "because punk style had m ade a decisive break not only w ith the parent [skinhead] culture but with its own location in experience."^ While central to understanding the dialectical relationship of subculture to the symbolic order, H ebdidge's perspective on white working-class punks in Britain does not speak for all punks, specifically the experiences of Chicano and

' In "Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses," L. Althusser describes how the different parts of the social formation - the family, education, the mass media, cultural and political institutions - together serve to perpetuate submission to the ruling ideology. H owever, these institutions do not perform this function through the direct transmission "ruling ideas." Instead, it is the way in which they work together in what Althusser calls a "teeth-gritting harmony" that the ruling ideology is reproduced "precisely in its contradictions." I use the term ironically here to suggest a kind of harmony of rejection to the symbolic order of the 1980s. L. Althusser, "Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses" in Lenin and Philosophy and O ther Essays, (N ew York: N ew Left Books, 1971). D ic k H e b d id g e , Subculture: The M eaning o f S tyle { N e w Y o rk : Routledge, 1987). 2 Dick Hebdidge, Subculture: The M eaning o f S tyle { N e w Y o rk : Routledge, 1987), 120-121. 3 Hebdidge's pronouncement that subcultures are a form of resistance in which "experienced contradictions and objections to [the] ruling ideology are obliquely represented in style" informed much of the scholarship to follow in cultural studies for the next tw o decades. Dick Hebdidge, Subculture: The M eaning o f S tyle (N ew York: Routledge, 1987), 133.

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African-American punk musicians. M artin Sorrondeguy, lead singer of Chicano punk band Los Crudes declares, "For us, singing punk doesn't m ean letting go. ..of these ties that we have to our parents, to our families, or to where w e're from or to our language. It [doesn't] m ean breaking away from that. It means working with them to try to get somewhere, to get to a new level."^ Several scholars have examined working-class identified punk music and musicians. Im portantly, m uch of this scholarship examines the contradictions that arise from both the hegemonic order and the subcultures that resist it, or that at least "represent the experience of contradiction," as H ebdidge cleverly puts it. But as Sorrondeguy's rem ark demonstrates, none account for the marginalization engendered not just by economic oppression, but by narrow definitions of Chicana/o and African-American identity. That is, scholarship on punk musicians and subcultures by (most notably) Hebdidge and other scholars operate prim arily from a class analysis, b u t this analysis does not represent the
4 Martin Sorrondeguy, in M as A lla de los Gritos: Beyond the Screams, a U.S. Latino Hardcore Punk D ocum entary. Written, Directed, and Produced by Martin Sorrondeguy, VHS, 1999. 5 Cyntha Connolly, Leslie Clague, and Sharon Cheslow, Banned in D C: Photos and A necdotes from the D C Punk U nderground (N ew York: Sun D og Propaganda, 1988); Greil Marcus, Lipstick Traces: A Secret H istory o f the 20"' C en tu ry (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1990); Jon Savage, England's D ream ing: A narchy, Sex Pistols, Punk Rock & Beyond (N ew York: St. Martin's Press, 1992); George Gimarc, Punk D iary: 1970-1979 (N ew York: St. Martin's Press, 1994); John Lydon, Rotten: N o Irish, N o Blacks, N o D ogs (N ew York: Picador USA, 1995); Dave Thompson, Illustrated Collectors G uide to Punk: Band by Band D ocum ent o f the Punk Era (Collector's Guide Publishers, 1995); Henry Rollins, G et in the Van: O n the Road w ith Black Flag (London: Two Thirteen SixtyOne, 1996); Roger Sabin (ed). P unk Rock: So W hat? (N ew York and London: Routledge, 1999); Sean Carrillo, Forming: The E arly D a ys o fL .A . Punk (Distributed Art Publishers, 2000); Marc Spitz and Brendan Mullen, W e C ot the N eutron Bomb: The U ntold S tory ofL .A . P unk (N ew York: Three Rivers Press, 2001). ^Dick Hebdidge, Subculture, 121.

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complexity of political, racial, socio-economic, historical, and sexuality issues engaged by Chicana/o and Black punks and their music. Interviews with these punk musicians illustrate how Black and Chicana/o punk music created in the eighties a "culture w ithin a subculture" (to borrow a term from Chicano punk band Subsistencia), not only in terms of creating a space for "alternative" Chicana/os and Blacks, but also for those w ho felt m arginalized by the idea that "punk" equaled "white."^ One of the strengths of H ebdidge's analysis is his assertion of "a deep correspondence" betw een subculture and its context: he argues that subcultures are themselves produced in response to specific historical conditions. This grounding in historical specificity leads him to conclude that "if a style is really to catch on .. .it m ust say the right things in the right way at the right time." W hat were the "right things" to drum m er Jose Palafox who rem arked, "I felt like an outsider to everything, w hether it be school, or punk rock, or even the Chicano movement"?^ W hat m ade punk the "right way" for a singer/song writer to call attention to not just economic and racial oppression but to his own gay Chicano identity? W hat m ade the eighties and early nineties the right time?

^Which I suppose w e might say is a concept as much about the scholarship that maintains this idea as it is about the subculture of mainstream punk itself. Dick Hebdidge, Subculture: The M eaning o f S tyle (N ew York: Routledge, 1987), 123. M as A lla de los Gritos: Beyond the Screams, a U.S. Latino Hardcore Punk D ocum entary. Written, Directed, and Produced by Martin Sorrondeguy, VHS, 1999.

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Thinking about the California's economic condition in the eighties begins to frame this discussion. California recorded major economic gains during the 1980s, the m ost significant in its history in absolute terms. But one of the main factors in the grow th of the state was an increase in funds flowing into the state's defense-related industries, a classic indication of Reaganomics at work. The surge in available jobs in defense-related industries was not something that historically m arginalized populations generally benefited from; m ost AfricanAmerican and Latina/o workers had only recently gained entree into the wellpaying jobs in heavy manufacturing, and increasingly were concentrated in service jobs. One study estimated that defense-related employees m ade nearly double the per capita level of service jobs, an area of labor that was rapidly becoming almost exclusively Latina/o and immigrant.^ There w ere gains for particular sectors of both the state and national economies in the 1980s. But those gains were concomitant with (if not partly based upon) drastic losses for the working class. This chapter contextualizes themes found in the Chicana/o and African-American punk scene - non conformity, anger, and marginalization - with evidence dem onstrating that working-class youth were hit hardest by the sharp inequities of Reaganomics. An exploration of the eighties and Chicana/o and Black punk subculture reveals
James Dertouzos and Michael Dardia, Defense Spending, Aerospace and the California Econom y (New York: Rand 1993), 15-16.

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staggering m aterial results of Reaganomics on Black and Chicano communities in Los Angeles, bu t also grassroots responses that were eloquent and impressive. Most intriguing is the emergence of Chicano and African-American punk movements, especially in Los Angeles and Chicago. These music scenes - the bands, the audiences, and the culture created - shed light on the contradictions of both w hat "trickled down" and w hat was shouted - literally - back. For musicians like Jose Palafox and others, neither m ainstream Chicana/o and African-American community politics, nor popular political and intellectual discourses on identity and multiculturalism were representative of the diversity of experiences am ong m arginalized youth. Beginning w ith the material impacts of Reaganomics on Black and Chicano life in the Los Angeles of the eighties and early nineties, I discuss two forms of intellectual response: popular ideological response to the conservative backlash under Reagan-Thatcherism; and the "organic" responses offered by LA radical protest movements and the Black and Chicano punk scene. Reaganomics and Los Angeles
"Reagan never used blatantly racist language, because he did n 't have to." - M an nin g M arable

"Reaganomics" was the most serious attem pt to change the course of U.S. economic policy since the New Deal. W hen Reagan took office in 1981, his solution to the w orst economic dow nturn since the Depression was to propose that the "supply side" of the economy be stimulated through tax cuts for the
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wealthy, providing an opportunity for the upper class to append and invest more money. Economic terms like "supply side" and "trickle down" suggested that reducing taxes (disproportionately for the wealthy) w ould free individuals and businesses to expand their operations domestically and internationally, thereby maximizing economic gain for all social classes. The central theme of Reaganomics, therefore, was that a reduction in taxes for the wealthy would provide greater investm ent opportunities to the upper class, eventually leading to the creation of m ore jobs for the working class. Instead, the United States accrued m ore debt during the Reagan administration than in any other era: when Ronald Reagan took office in 1981, the national debt was about $1 trillion, a debt which included in it all the debt accrued during the Revolutionary, Spanish-American, Civil, Korean, Vietnam, and both W orld Wars. While it took the U.S. m ore than 200 years to accumulate a $1 trillion national debt, by the time Reagan left office, it had increased by $2.5 trillion. The redistribution and expansion of w ealth during this time period set the stage for the decline of living standards for the poorest Americans, while incomes of the wealthiest citizens soared.

A. Scott Piraino, "Reaganomics at War" in The Populist: Essays on P olitics, Economics, and M ilita ry Affairs (October 8, 2003): 3. U.S. Census Bureau, The S tatistical A b stra ct o f the U nited States, 1996 E dition, 329.

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The Reagan adm inistration diverted American angst about the economy toward the Soviet Union. According to Michael Rogin, Reagan succeeded in making himself "the benign center of America, placing malignancies outside our borders." Having raised anxiety about the permeability of American boundaries, Reagan "split the good within the country from the bad without. Evil, he reassure[d] us, [was] out there in visible spots that [could] be identified and r e m o v e d . T h i s ideology supported a national economy focused on defense. During the 1980s, California's share of prim ary defense contracts averaged 20 percent; in 1984, federal prim ary defense contracts in California were valued at

$28.5 billion, m ore than double the volume just four years earlier.^ But the commitment to defense spending m eant a drastic reduction in governm ent program s for the working class. By the mid-eighties, for example, the Liberty Hill Foundation (a strong supporter of social services), was reporting dozens of grant applications which proposed basic services formerly provided by the government. Groups such as the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank and the Los

Michael Rogin, R on ald Reagan The M ovie: an d O ther E pisodes in P o litica l D em on ology (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University o f California Press, 1988), xviii. California S tatistical A bstract, table H -8 ,120. '5 The defense establishment in California was dominated by several large firms - for example, Northrop, Hughes, Lockheed, TRW, Rockwell, McDonnell-Douglas, and General Dynamics with the resources to compete for such projects as the Strategic Defense Initiative, the B-1 bomber, and the Trident missile. These organizations and their networkds of smaller subcontractors are concentrated in the Los Angeles area, which absorbs more than half of statewide defense spending. The Comm ission on State Finance estimated that the top 20 defense-related contractors held 75 percent of the dollar value of primary defense contracts. Commission on State Finance, Im pact o f Defense C u ts on California, 1992,15-16.

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Angeles Coalition to End Homelessness and H unger became major de facto service providers.^^ Holly Sklar demonstrates that since the 1970s the top 1 percent of households have doubled their share of the national wealth, while the average net w orth of the bottom 40 percent w ent from $4000 to $900 between 1983 and 1995. Likewise, the percent with zero or negative net wealth increased during the same period from 15.5 percent to 18.5 percent. Income inequality was staggering: betw een 1980 and 1993, salaries for American CEOs increased by 514 percent while workers' wages rose by 68 percent.^^ In Los Angeles, deindustrialization, exportation of jobs to underdeveloped economies abroad, and the sharp decrease in social spending led to a decrease in wages in traditionally strong union labor sectors. In 1983 the cost of an hour's labor time in the U.S. was $12.26. The hourly savings for using foreign labor that year am ounted to $10.81 in Mexico, $10.09 in Singapore, $6.06 in Japan, and $10.97 in Korea: U.S. companies, m any of them located in Los Angeles, relocated to take advantage of this sharp difference in wages. On the whole in Los Angeles, African-Americans, Chicana/os, and Latina/os were the m ost affected by these changes. Not quite two decades after
Stephanie Strom, "Giving A w ay Cash Can Be More Cumbersome Than Clamorous" N ew York Times, (January 12, 2003): C21. Holly Sklar, Chaos or C om m un ity? Seeking Solutions, N o t Scapegoats fo r Bad Economics (Boston: South End Press, 1995), 5-10, 55-56. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Handbook of Labor Statistics (Washington: 1985), 435, Table 132.

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minorities gained legitimate entree into Los Angeles's best-paying blue collar jobs, devastating plant closures hit the city: by 1988 not one of the auto, rubber or steel plants was left standing.^ The resulting loss of blue-collar jobs caused a 20 percent decline of African-Americans in the area. Some 75,000 left South Central for the Inland Empire, where the African-American population doubled as a consequence. This latter trend had its roots in the economic restructuring of the 1970s, w hen m any jobs in heavy industry were eliminated; it was here and in the area of durable consumer goods, traditionally the strongholds of high-wage organized labor, which m anufacturers either abandoned factories to imports or shifted overseas or to areas where organized labor is weakest. But Black flight also occurred as a result of upw ard class mobility: Latina/o immigrants flocked to Los Angeles service and garm ent industry jobs in part because m any Blacks and U.S.-born Latinas/os had managed to rise beyond them during the preceding decade. Yet the impact of the eighties economic dow nturn on young people was most telling: looking back on the 1980s, the Children's Defense Fund reported in 1994 that the percentage of children living in poverty in America rose armually during the Reagan and Bush administrations. By 1991 it had reached 21.8 percent (14.3 million children), marking a 26-year high. By 1994, 27 children
"Environmental Justice in Los Angeles: A Timeline." Brochure by Environmental Defense, January 1999.

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were dying of poverty every day, and among Black males 10-24 years of age, homicide became the leading cause of death.^ The num ber of young workers entering the job m arket declined during the 1980s, but unem ploym ent among young people rem ained high. In 1979,15 percent of 18 and 19 year olds were unemployed, and nine percent of 20-24 year olds were unem ployed. In 1986, unem ploym ent among the 18-19 age group was 17 percent, and 11 percent of the 20 to 24 age group was out of work, despite the fact that the size of the 18-19 group declined by 14 percent during this period, and the num ber of 20-24 year olds declined by four percent. The recession of the early 1980s was especially difficult for young people, w ith 22 percent of 18-19 year olds unem ployed in 1982.21 evidence of a slack job m arket for young w orkers lay in their low

labor force participation rates, more involuntary part-tim e employment, and persistent unem ploym ent.^ As the service sector clamored for entry-level employees, m any young w orkers opted instead for more education and training. Those who decided to look for work competed w ith baby boomers w ho delayed entering the job m arket while they went to school.^^

2 0Robin T. Edwards,

"A Grim Future of Violence, Poverty, Neglect: U.S. Youth Need Help from Government, Churches, CDF Says" in N ation Catholic Reporter v30 n21 (March 25,1994), 5. 2 1Thomas Exter, "Not So Rosy: Job Outlook for Entry Level Workers" in Am erican Demographics, v9 n l2 (December 1987), 14. 2 2Report of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1996. 23 Thomas Exeter, "Not So Rosy: Job Outlook for Entry Level Workers" in Am erican Demographics, v9 n l2 (December 1987), 16.

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D uring the 1980s, m uch of the 17 percent grow th in Los Angeles overall was among the Latino and Asian populations. Swelled by an influx of immigrants from Mexico, Central America, Asia, and other parts of the world, Los Angeles em erged in the 1980s as the nation's m ost multi-cultural city, adding almost 1.3 million Latino residents.^^ It attracted the largest share of 1975-1984 immigrants (18%), w ith 41% of Central American immigrants and 28% of Mexican imm igrants living there in 1985, leading to the creation of new immigrant neighborhoods, cultural identities, and social realities.
OO

In such a dire economic context, as they always do, oppositional cultures and oppositional identities emerged. In England, punk rock originated as a popular musical m ovem ent during the late 1970s among the lower socioeconomic strata, bu t became popular as a w orking class musical form in the 1980s, its sensibilities reflecting particular socio-economic conditions, but also frustrations w ith conventions that stood in stark contrast to the everyday realities of white working class youth. It emerged as a response to the ideological and economic contexts, bu t also at the crux of musical influences of W est Indian immigrants, xenophobia, and white working-class identity. In the U.S., Anglo

24 Kath Bodovitz, "Hispanic America" in Am erican D em ographics V13 n7 (July 1991), S14.

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punk m ovem ents appeared for m any of the same reasons. But Chicano and African-American punk emerged for very different reasons. The Emergence of Chicana/o and African-American Punk
"The Latino punk scene really exploded because all o f a sudden we had a hell of a lot to sing about. W hat started happening politically in the U.S. in the eighties pissed us off so much, and we were feeling targeted and we were feeling so cornered as a com m unity that we began w ritin g songs about it ." -M artin Sorrondeguy^^ A handful of essays and book segments examine Chicano punk, and there

is even less on African-American punk music.^^ Exploring the reasons behind the emergence of Chicano and African-American punk music is not an endeavor w ith a lengthy history. Certainly, alienation was a theme that ran through all forms of punk; but in addition to class status, African-American and especially Chicano punks cite regional, racial and ethnic, sexual, as well as imm igrant identities - not just racism - as integral to the construction of a punk subculture in the 1980s. In m ost of the interviews I have conducted, I have found that AfricanAmerican musicians in the eighties formed punk bands because they had been exposed to the music through their own school and friendship networks, and because they were interested in new directions in Black music. For example.

25 Punk Plane 3 7 (May/June 2000): 21. 261 am unaware of any articles or books that have specific sections dealing with AfricanAmerican punk music, though monographs on mainstream Anglo punk often touch fleetingly on Black and Chicano punk, treating it as a minor tangent in the developm ent of the genre.

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Fishbone vocalist Angelo Moore remembers, "we started out in the [high school] music room playing Bootsy [Collins] and Rick James and Led Zeppelin covers, and we just stuck together."^^ Bad Brains recounts, "All the while we was jazz, we w anted to innovate. We w anted to be p art of something new and different and real. We w as continually seeking. And then I saw the Sex Pistols album, and I said, 'BOOM!' This is it!"2 For African-American musicians, the move to punk music was one that took many audiences by surprise. John McKnight, of the all-Black L.A. band

Fishbone, told me, "Being Black was the problem. The white rock-n-roll kids couldn't understand a Black band playing rock-n-roll, and the Black kids were expecting hip hop."^^ "I w ent to a very white school," remembers McKnight. "They w anted to integrate schools. They bussed in kids from the inner city. That's where I m et my band." McKnight's parents had m oved to LA from the Deep South, eventually settling in the South L.A. neighborhood of Crenshaw. Eventually, they moved into the suburbs. There, "we were like Black flies in the butter milk."3

27 Ibid. 28 Don Howland, "Pay to Cum!" in Trouser Press M agazine (December 1983) and Anthony Countey, "Liner Notes" on Black D o ts LP (Caroline Records, 1996). 29 McKnight, John. Personal Interview with Author, Los Angeles, CA. July 2001; Telephone Interview June 2003. 30 Ibid.

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Fishbone m ade their name in the late eighties w hen the LA bands achieved the m eltdow n between funk and metal. Contemporaries like The Chili Peppers and their ilk w ere forging new forms of music. Fishbone were part of a revolution but they have yet to achieve the same sort of m ainstream acceptance as the Chili Peppers. Angelo sees the deep racial division that still scars US showbiz as part of the reason.

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Members of the African-American band Bad Brains recount similar experiences that brought them to punk. Influenced by punk bands the Sex Pistols, Eater and the Clash, as well as Led Zeppelin, the African-American punk band Bad Brains began a new version of "Black music" in 1979. Paul "HR" H udson (vocals),^^ Earl H udson (drums), Darryl Jenifer (bass) and Gary "Dr. Know" Miller (guitar) were introduced to reggae in the same year through The Clash's version of "Police and Thieves," and later at a Bob Marley concert. Realizing that the lines between punk and reggae were already blurred in the U.K., their creative mix of funk, reggae, and punk m ade them one of the definitive American hardcore punk groups of the early eighties. Although the group released only a handful of records during their peak, they developed a dedicated following, m any of whom were later future members of Anglo punk bands the Teen Idles, M inor Threat, Scream, and S.O.A. "It was different, because we were all Black and playing punk rock music. Politics of race and sexuality also informed the creation of Black punk for some individuals and bands. For example. The Bus Boys, also from the Los Angeles punk/N ew W ave scene of the late seventies and early eighties, dressed like waiters and specialized in throwing stereotypes back into their listeners'
31 "HR" stands for "Hunting Rod," a childhood nickname. 32 Paul Hudson, "Liner Notes" on Black D o ts LP (Caroline Records, 1996).

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faces (Lyric; "...I'll bet you never heard music like this by spades!"). On their first album. M inim um Wage Rock & Roll, every other song speaks to issues of race, turning stereotypes (such as the phrase "yassuh, boss") into a vicious tool of satire.^^ Race continues to be a theme in the music of Watts "homocore" punk legend. Vaginal Creme Davis, who emerged in the eighties as a punk musician and cross-dresser; she is both African-American and Chicana. Her earliest records w ere as a member of the a cappella punk performance act The Afro Sisters, but she later fronted bands PME, Gore Gore Girls, Black Fag, and ICholita! The Female M enudo. Well respected in the industry, Davis has remained part of the "underground" punk scene in Los Angeles, yet her recordings have been produced by punk greats such as Alice Bag and Beck. Davis's w ork (she nam ed herself [in part] after Black heroine Angela Davis) includes acting in underground films, comedy, writing advice columns, moonlighting as a DJ, and lecturing. Her shows often include personas such as a gay-bashing gangster rapper and "a Black Muslim for Christ."^^ In contrast to m any of the African-American male bands I studied, Chicano male m usicians credit specific political movements and issues - both in

33 Liner Notes, M in im u m W age Rock & Roll (Arista Records 1980). ^ Davis is also rumored to be a PhD. James Porter and Jake Austen, "Black Punk Time: Blacks in Punk, N ew Wave and Hardcore 1976-1983 (Part 2)" in Roctober 32, 2002.

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the U.S. and abroad - which brought them to the punk genre. Sorrondeguy, originally from Chicago punk band Los Crudos, talks about the first time he heard punks from Latin America. "Man, there was this urgency, I mean, it was pissed off. A nd I realized there was this transnational connection. They were singing about poverty and all these issues." Sorrondeguy's exposure to the history of revolutionary movements in Latin America inspired him to "make a conscious decision to sing in Spanish...we were getting some ears that w ouldn't have been turning before." For musicians like Sorrondeguy, the material realities of working class life that gave rise to the punk genre in the eighties m ay have had commonalities across class, bu t the diversity of messages in punk rock stem from the diversity of experiences among poor and working class people in places like Britain, Ireland, Guatemala, Mexico, and East and South Los Angeles during the economic and political changes of the Reagan-Thatcher era. His and others' exposure to punk music from Latin America shaped the politics of Chicano punk. "A lot of the Latino/Chicano punks living in the US still have ties to family and friends in Latin America and those ties are strsemen analysis

35 See M as Alla, de los G ritos! Beyond the Screams: A U.S. Latino Hardcore Punk Documentary;' Interview w ith Martin Sorrondeguy, March 15, 2004.

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song, so w hen things get desperate or intense in Latin America it is a concern for m any living here as well."^^ Vocalist Gino from Subsistencia remarked, "Everyday we see our Aunts or our Uncles w orking these fucked up jobs; those types of bands for me are really im portant for me because they bring those things out, they bring those issues out. A lot of punk bands do n 't talk about those things."^^ A second issue which differentiates the roots of Chicano punk from African-American punk is the influence of Chicana bands from Los Angeles on later generations of Chicano punk musicians. This female influence sits in stark contrast to both m ainstream and African-American punk music, which tended to be dom inated by masculine narratives and archetypes; at least until the genderambiguous New W ave culture took hold in the late eighties.^ For example, among the bands m ost influential to Chicano bands Subsistencia, Los Crudos, and Life's H alt w ere early eighties East Side LA Chicana legends Alice Bag (fronted by Alice Vasquez) and The Brat, (fronted by Teresa Covarrubias). Covarrubias was an aspiring poet before she formed The Brat w ith a friend in
Quoted in Jason Schreurs, "Interview w ith Martin Sorrondeguy" Hardcore O nline 23 February 2003 < http://www.flexyourhead.net/interview display.php?id=62> (15 February 2004). Ibid.
38 N e w w a v e e v o lv e d from p u n k . W h ile it co n ta in ed so m e o f th e sa m e so c ieta l critiq u es o f p un k,

it was much more esoteric. N ew W ave em ployed danceable beats and recording techniques utilizing synthesized sound and electronic clap tracks. Whereas punk may have been too brash for much of the record-buying public, new w ave proved to be a popular alternative and quickly encountered success and a diverse market in the U.S. N ew w ave in the Chicano community of Los Angeles offered musicians and aficionados a vehicle for social statement and at the same time the potential for penetration into a new market. See James B. Bakalar. P sych edelic D rugs R econ sidered (Basic Books, 1979) and Richard Loza, Barrio Rhythm .

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1978. She w as one of the few female lead singers coming out of the largely maledom inated East L.A. scene during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Covarrubias' striking lyrics as well as the visceral effect of her vocals helped distinguish The Brat as an im portant creative force on the Eastside. After The Brat broke u p in the mid- 1980s Teresa joined the Chicana feminist groups Las Tres and Goddess 13 with Alicia Velasquez. Many chronicles of punk in Los Angeles leave m uch to be desired in terms of noting the shaping role played by young Chicanas in the developm ent and transm utations of L.A.'s punk scene as manifest in its multiple spatial and temporal locations. Assumptions about the racial and gender configurations of punk as a popular practice tend to cast the scene as nihilistic in spirit, only white, and mostly male, thereby closing-off analysis of and input from wom en and wom en of color participants. But Chicana inventions and interventions shaped the contours of L.A.'s early punk scenes in both Hollywood and East Los Angeles. Covarrubias and Vasquez in particular disrupt status quo narratives of punk and alternative music in L.A. by claiming discursive space and the authority in a m ale-dom inated genre.^^ "W hen Alice, lead-singer for the Bags...takes the stage in torn fish-net how and micromini leopard-skin tunic she explodes...the effect is a raw sexuality not
39 Teresa Covarrubias, "Crossing the L.A. River: The East L.A. Renaissance in the Wake of the L.A. Punk Scene" Unpublished Paper, February 2004.

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for the fainthearted."^ Chisme Arte in 1981 declared, "Theresa [from East L.A.'s the Brat] plays a major role in reaching out to cross-cultural audiences" (Vaginal Creme Davis counts both Alice Bag and Covarrubias among her influences, remembering riding her bike to Hollywood "dives" like The Masque to see them perform) .^1 A critically understudied period in Chicano music and history is the East L.A. Renaissance of the 1980s. By the early part of the decade, the Hollywood punk scene had established itself on the W estside of the city. Finding venues and an audience was difficult for the Chicana and Chicano bands that were not a seminal part of the m ovem ent several years earlier. "When I w ent to shows on the Westside," says Covarrubias, "I always got a sense that I was an outsider. There was always a hint of racism in the punk m ovem ent in Hollywood. It w asn't always overt, but it was there." A rt Reyes of Thee U ndertakers even remembers being told by producer Ted Templeton, "You can't mix wheat bread w ith white bread. "I always felt that our scene was invisible and unrecognized," said Willie Herron in a 2003 interview with music w riter Josh Kun. "It w asn't anything that many other bands or writers were interested in. W hen they w ould review our

"Not for the Fainthearted: Alice Bag" Los Angeles Times, 22 March 1978. "Politics of Punk" Chism e A rte 3 October 1981. Quoted in Loza, Barrio R hythm , 63.

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shows, they just didn't get it. We had to remain in the shadows. We couldn't be ourselves and represent the East L.A. we knew. We couldn't be white punkers, and we didn't w ant to be white punkers. We were trying to come up w ith our sound. "The booking agents always w anted us to play rancheras and stuff," recalls the Brat's Rudy Brat, "...but that's w hat they expected, and they had a hard time categorizing us."^ As a result, bands coming out of East L.A. created their own scene around The Vex, a performance venue housed in Self-Help Graphics and grassroots record companies like Fatima Records. Music critic Josh Kun discovered "the Vex Spirit" in an interview w ith Brian Qualls of the W arriors (a band of predom inantly African-American Eastsiders): the commitment to having crowds of mixed races from all sides of the city and mixed bands "come together in a place where you paid w hat you could at the door, beers were a quarter, and punk was another w ord for unity. If you showed up, you w eren't just pledging allegiance to a new vision of punk, you were pledging allegiance to a new vision of L.A."^ Unable to secure gigs at any of the major Westside punk venues unless it was East L.A. N ight (as the Roxy frequently called its Eastside showcase).

* 3Josh Kun, "Vex Populi: At an Unprepossessing Eastside Punk Rock Landmark, Utopia was in the Air. Until the Day it Wasn't" Los A ngeles M agazine 16 March 2003. 44 Ibid. Ibid.

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Covarrubias' band The Brat played car shows and backyard parties in their own and surrounding neighborhoods. Other punk bands had surprising venues: Los Illegals landed their biggest early gig at an Eastside Jewish temple, which they filled with Chicanos in platform shoes and glitter.^ This racially mixed scene became known as the East L.A. Renaissance, and was instrum ental in creating crossover audiences and recognition for East L.A. punk bands of the eighties. For m any young people from East L.A. and Hollywood, the East L.A. Renaissance became a vehicle for entering, even if temporarily, usually segregated social spaces across the city. Often, Covarrubias remembers, there were art shows by Chicana and Chicano artists, specially commissioned m ural paintings commemorating this East L.A. Renaissance, cultural street fairs, and even mainstream band performances, like that of Los Lobos.^^ Tom W aldm an and David Reyes argue that performances by Los Illegals at these events "brought many elements of the Chicano artistic renaissance - art, theater, and poetry - into a multimedia package."^ According to Steven Loza, Chicano punk musicians represented a new breed of young Chicano artists from the East Side of Los Angeles: not old
Josh Kun Interviewed by Author, 10 February 2004. Mas Alla de los Gritos: Beyond the Screams, a U.S. Latino Hardcore Punk Documentary. Written, Directed, and Produced by Martin Sorrondeguy, VHS, 1999. "On stage Los Illegals w ould show slides, W illie Herron w ould wear a mask m odeled after Zorro's - w hile performing a set dominated by hard rhythms and loud guitars...it was humorous, it was pointed, and it was bilingual." Tom Waldman and David Reyes, Land o f a
Thousand Dances.

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enough to have participated fully in the Chicano movement, but nonetheless historically enculturated enough to have a strong Chicana/o identity. Loza further argues that Chicano punk emerged in part because "a void had been created by now for disaffected youth; in the 70s there was the same marginalization, but there were options and outlets in the form of grassroots organizing; the Eastside Blowouts, etc. all this culture of protest had been for all intents and purposes crushed by the governm ent at large and local officials and led to a serious decrease, if not eradication from the popular and public eye, of available outlets."^^ Loza's assertion bears out when one examines the availability of outlets for Chicano youth; after all, in addition to the governm ental crack-down on protest movements, there was also a serious decrease in funds to after-school program s during the Reagan-Bush era. But understanding the political roots of

Chicano punk, especially in light of Sorrondeguy's remarks, begs a serious examination of radical protest in the eighties. It is my belief that the culture of protest, while different, was still substantial enough to inspire the politics of Chicano punk in the eighties. Indeed, several of the movements of the eighties developed naturally out of the trajectory of progressive activism that characterized post-WWII Los Angeles. Organizations like The Coalition for W omen's Economic Development

Richard Loza, Barrio R hythm , 77. Robert M. Adelman, Hui-shien Tsao, Stewart E. Tolnay and Kyle D. Crowder, "Neighborhood disadvantage among racial and ethnic groups: residential location in 1970 and 1980" in The Sociological Q u arterly 42 i4 (Fall 2001), 603.

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and the Esperanza Com munity Housing Corporation sought to forge the dozens of separate neighborhood organizations into a broader m ovem ent for community development.^ Black and Chicano Neighborhood Associations witnessed the results of the collapse of governm ent activism in the decline of community social services, but they also w on im portant gains through steady activism. One of the more notable examples is the struggle against the LANCER (Los Angeles City Energy Recovery Plant) incinerator project. Approved by the Los Angeles City Council in June 1983, the 1600 ton per day solid waste incinerator plant would have been built in South Central Los Angeles on 41st and Alameda Streets. Mayor Tom Bradley's administration at first supported the project as a way to alleviate the growing problem of landfill capacity, due in p art to the objections of his Westside supporters regarding the expansion of the Lopez landfill. The city's Bureau of Sanitation, in conjunction with major industry, legal, and political interests, came up w ith a plan to construct three of these huge incinerators. The first w ould be built in South Central on the assum ption that low-income Blacks or Latinos did not care about environmental questions. Proponents such as Councilman Gilbert Lindsey argued that w ith the $14.7 million was offered to improve the neighborhood, the plant w ould make the community "a garden of

5' One such effort was the Jobs with Peace campaign, which sponsored a successful citywide referendum in 1984 calling for the federal government to cut the Pentagon budget and place the savings into job-creating community economic developm ent programs.

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Eden;" Lindsey and others consistently pointed to the plant's projected ability to provide 40,000 homes in the community with electricity. The Bradley administration claimed there was a one-in-a-million chance that a new case of cancer m ight develop; residents responded w ith their ow n research in chemistry and epidemiology, arguing that the majority of studies conducted involved white males betw een 20 and 30. Residents of this mainly Black and Chicano community were concerned not just w ith inevitable noise pollution, but also that the incinerator w ould cause the respiratory illnesses, already a problem in other low-income communities located near environm ental hazards. From 1985-1987, groups in South Central Los Angeles mobilized, and other organizations throughout the city formed alliances to stop the project. Chicano and African-American citizens of South Central Los Angeles fought the LANCER project and won, even after land had been taken by eminent dom ain and bonds had been sold for the project. These alliances helped prom ote a potent progressive environm ental m ovem ent and ultimately forced Bradley to w ithdraw his support from the waste-to-energy project in 1987.

52 Robin Cannon (member of Concerned Citizens of South Central) Interviewed by Author, Los Angeles, CA., 8 May 2001. 53 Tyrone Bland and Jose J. Gonzalez, "Southern California Voices / A Forum for Community Essays; Platform; 'Air Pollution Knows N o Boundaries'" The Los A ngeles Times 24 August 1996.

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South Central and East L.A., devastated by plant closures, were now sites designated for "economic development" projects like LANCER, prisons, and toxic incinerators. Similarly, environmental activists in the Coalition for Clean Air sued the federal governm ent and ultimately forced the South Coast Air Quality M anagem ent District to develop a m ore far-reaching and vigorous plan to clean the region's air. And the Mothers of East Los Angeles (MELA) successfully combated the construction of a $29 million incinerator designed to burn 125,000 pounds of toxic wastes per day.^ Two notable African-American/Latina/o) responses to the widening economic divide were the 1987 statewide campaign for a "moral minimum wage" and UAW Local 645's struggle to keep the Van Nuys General Motors Plant open. Organized by three Los Angeles area affiliates of the Alinsky Industrial Areas Foundation (lAF), the "moral minimum wage campaign" was based in 73 churches, mostly in low-income neighborhoods. The leaders of the United Neighborhood Organization (based in East Los Angeles), the South Central

K am ala Platt, "Chicana S trategies for S u ccess a n d Survival: C u ltu ral P o etic s o f E n viron m en tal

Justice from the Mothers of East Los Angeles" in Frontiers: A Journal o f W om en's Studies. Volume XVIII, Number 2 (1997), 48-72; Mary Pardo, M exican Am erican W omen A c tiv ists: Id en tity and Resistance in T w o Los A ngeles Com m unities (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1999); Mike Davis, Ecology o f Fear: Los A ngeles and the Im agination o f D isaster (Vintage, 1999); Blake Gumprecht, The Los A ngeles River: It's Life, Death, and Possible Rebirth (Washington, D.C.: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001); Reyner Banham, Los Angeles: The A rch itectu re o f Four Ecologies (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2001).

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Organizing Committee, and the East Valley Organization (based in the San Gabriel Valley) had seen the living standards of their constituents decline as wages stagnated and housing costs skyrocketed. Their solution was to mobilize a grassroots campaign which w ould increase the state m inim um wage from $3.35 to $4.25 an hour, the highest in the nation at the time. By building on the lAF's strong and racially-mixed congregation-based leadership, bringing in allies among labor and church groups, and enlisting the support of some elected officials (including Congressman Gus Hawkins and State Senator A rt Torres), this impressive campaign successfully secured an annual raise of $1800 for each of the state's nearly one million low-wage workers.^ In 1982, UAW Local 645 was one of the m ost progressive and powerful locals in the U.S. labor movement. The Local represented w orkers in the General Motors' Camaro plant in Van Nuys, one of the last remaining heavy industrial jobs for Black and Latino workers in the County. W hen GM decided to close the plant and move m anufacturing south of the border, workers built a powerful in-

55 Author Unknown, "A Mosaic of Movements: Progressive L.A. in the 20th Century, From Liberty Hill to a Living Wage" Progressive L.A.: A n Essay, http://64.233.167.104/search?q=cache:FRpywEmMdWlT:0-departments.oxy.edu. oasys.lib.oxy.edu/library-reservecourses/fall02/uep410/chapterl.doc.

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plant m ovem ent led by Latino, Black, white, and wom en workers, in strong alliance w ith LA's large Black and Latino communities.^ As economic and demographic changes impacted Latina/o and AfricanAmerican communities, radical protest in turn impacted the term s of that change. Im portantly, a num ber of key figures like Bert Corona^ emerged during the 1980s at the forefront of w hat became a continuous mobilization against the repeated efforts to threaten the rights of immigrants, who constituted a major new constituency. Demonstrations, such as the massive turnout in March 1982 protesting federal immigration policies, coincided with a wave of organizing, activist leadership, and other ethnic-based organizations (such as the Asian Pacific Legal Center, the Korean Youth and Community Center, and the Korean Immigrant W orkers Association). This shift also extended to the labor movement, increasingly defined by emergent leaders such as Maria Elena Durazo, who was elected president of Local 11 of the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees union in 1989.
oo

5 Eric Mann has done important work on this struggle. See his book. Taking on General M otors (Los Angeles: University of California Institute, 1997). and also Eric Mann, "Driving the Bus of History: Anti-Imperialist Resistance in the Megacities of the Empire." Unpublished Paper. Corona was a former longshoreman w ho served as president of Local 26 of the International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union during World War II. He later helped organize the Community Service Organization and MAPA in the Mexican-American community. 55 For a wealth of information on this era in Los Angeles, see http://www.progressivela.org/history/eighties.htm.

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Despite such inspiring evidence of radical protest in the eighties, Jose Palafox's assertion that his punk identity was not represented in "school" or "the Chicano movem ent" points to the double marginalization that inspired alternative identities like punk. Surveying literature on punk and popular music in general reveals that the culture African-American and Chicana/o punks created was often absent from the rapidly developing popular and academic discourses on identity. Scholarly m onographs not just on punk music, but on Chicano and African-American identity, overlooked or ignored this im portant component of both communities; the mainstream music industry, including companies owned by Blacks and Chicanos, rarely acknowledged the contributions of groups like Bad Brains, Fishbone, The Brat, Los Illegals, The Undertakers, and The Plugz to mainstream rock and/or rap music.^ Black and Chicana/o youth in low-income neighborhoods reflected and expressed the material results of decades of economic disinvestment on their communities. For economically m arginalized people in Los Angeles, this disinvestm ent could be traced from Ronald Reagan's tenure as governor through "Reaganomics" during his presidency. On one hand, w ithout its marginal representation in academic

59 Penelope Spheeris' 1981 documentary The D ecline o f W estern C ivilization , ignored the Chicano contingent com pletely. More recent histories of the scene, like Marc Spitz and Brendan Mullen's W e Got the N eutron Bomb, Chicano and Black punk music as one of punk's unincorporated ghettos; "marginal barrio music w ith permanent residence in history's footnotes."

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and popular discourse, African-American and Chicano punk w ould not have become the "D.I.Y."^ genus that it is: "Fuck rock stars!" says Mike Amezcua of Grito Records. "W e're making our own shirts, booking our own shows, not through the club circuit or through promoters. There's a universal netw ork that exists underground."^ According to Sorrondeguy, this kind of networking, in which musicians press their own records and drive their own cars on nation-wide tours, "dismantles rock-n-roll concepts. There's no rock stars or bouncers separating who is the band from who is the crowd. W e're always dialoguing."^ But the pow er of the underground cannot be underestim ated as an influence on m ainstream artists: artists like Ice Tea, Chuck D, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers credit Chicana/o and Black punk music as early inspiration. A second im portant issue (not nearly attended to enough in college classrooms in m y view) is collective racial identity development. I coin this term loosely, w ith well-known Racial Identity Development^ models in mind, to refer to the ways in which a community defines itself racially at any given point in

^ D.I.Y. sta n d s for "D o It Y ourself," a p o p u la r d esc rip tio n u s e d b y u n d e r g r o u n d p u n k s to d e n o te

the punk underground network. Mike Amezcua, Telephone Interview by Author, 20 March 2004. Mas Alla de los Gritos: Beyond the Screams, a U.S. Latino Hardcore Punk Documentary. Written, Directed, and Produced by Martin Sorrondeguy, VHS, 1999. For something beyond the usual psychological models, as w ell as something a little more up-todate in this area, see Charmaine L. Wijeyesinghe, N ew Perspectives on Racial Id en tity Developm ent: A Theoretical and Practical A n th olog y (N ew York: NYU Press, 2001).

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time. To be m ore specific requires using the theories of the under-utilized scholarship of M arlon Riggs. Marlon Riggs w as known for m aking insightful

and controversial docum entary films confronting racism and hom ophobia that thrust him onto center stage in America's "cultural wars." Riggs' first major work. Ethnic N otions, traces the evolution of the racial stereotypes which have implanted themselves deep into the American psyche across 150 years of U.S. history. His second film. Tongues Untied, was a discussion of the Black, gay experience on television; his final work is the focus of the current discussion here. In Riggs' 1994 Black Is, Black A in 't, Angela Davis observes, "Perhaps we have an obsession w ith naming ourselves because for m ost of our lives we have been nam ed by other people," supporting the underlying claim of the film: namely that aw kw ard and erroneous generalizations were being imposed upon African Americans not only by those outside the race but by Black people themselves. Certain behaviors, ways of speaking, social practices, even dress began to be touted by African Americans as "Black" while others were deemed "white." Black Is, Black A in 't delivers testimony of individuals w ho have felt uncomfortable and even ostracized because their speech, sexual orientation, class or complexion has somehow rendered them "not Black enough."
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"Rick, this is like Black punk rock. H ow can you waste your time on this garbage? " -Russell Simmons to Rick Rubin upon hearing a demo tape o f Public Enemy^

Riggs' scholarship as a filmmaker and a lecturer at UC Berkeley often centered around the notion that definitions of Blackness created by both Anglos and African-Americans have been extremely painful. He argues that while for centuries, American culture has imposed hurtful stereotypes on Black Americans; the African-American community is limited by its own narrow definitions of "Blackness." Chicana/o and African-American punk musicians and their music were rooted in a history and identity of marginalization, from access to economic upw ard mobility, from both mainstream and alternative popular culture, and from expanding politics of Chicano and Black identity. Even w ith the emergence of more radical curriculums in universities during the seventies and eighties, most Chicanos and African-Americans did not feel their identities were represented in m ainstream academic and popular intellectual discourse.

^ James Porter and Jake Austen, "Black Punk Time: Blacks in Punk, N ew Wave and Hardcore 1976-1983 (Part 1)" in Roctober 32 (2002).

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Looking back on this era, I believe that despite the strong non-conformist response to the eighties by alternative popular cultures and scholarship, w hat these punk musicians felt m ay have been the result of a sort of "tightening" of available space for acceptable identities and research. My interviews lead me to speculate that even w ith the expansion of "m ulticultural" curriculums in the 1980s, certain identity politics were nonetheless m arginalized in the quest to gain small m easures of legitimacy. Left out are the multiple and often contradictory positions that scenes like punk rock inhabit.
"That's w here I think academia fails. I think it's som etim es really out of touch with "everydayness." I feel that even in the art world, which is basically the academic world, it's a very privileged world also. It's very far removed, and I just think it's lost touch with everyday people, with life. Especially with the art program, I have big issues w ith it, they feel like they can constantly critique the world, as if they do not form a part of it or do not participate in what is the problem. And I think that w hen people have removed them selves in that way, they can just sit back and look at it and talk about it and not really include them selves as a part of what's happening."^

A brief look at the academic and popular intellectual climate of the era makes this apparent. Reaganomics was disastrous for the working-class and working poor in America, but the m ovem ent toward deregulated economies (known as Reagan/Thatcherism in developed countries, and as "economic policy reform" in developing countries) also affirmed an ideological authority of the w ealthy domestically and world-wide. It envisioned a decentralized public state power.

Jayson Green, "Interview with Martin Sorrondeguy" D igress M agazine (December 1996).

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but valorized private power; Robin Kelley demonstrates effectively how this kind of authority leads to beliefs that the working poor (particularly, in his formulation, the urban Black working class), and not governm ent policy or corporate capitalism, are to blame for their own condition.^ This sentiment, embodied in right-wing vitriol of the 1980s and early 90s, was suggested to the public for consum ption in both scholarship and popular culture. The rhetorical component of this ideological struggle was perhaps m ost visible in the academy.
oo
I f m u ltic u ltu r a lis m is w h a t its p r o p o n e n ts cla im i t is, w h y has its m o m e n t seen th e ric h e s t on e p e r c e n t o f A m e r ic a n s g r o w ric h e r a n d th e d e -u n io n iz a tio n o f th e A m e r ic a n workplace?^^

In a 1993 article, David Rieff indicted academic leftists for ignoring their own privileged status as white-collar workers:
For all their writings on power, hegem ony, and oppression, the campus multiculturalists seem indifferent to the question of where they fit into the material scheme of things. Perhaps it's tenure, with its w ay of shielding the senior staff from the rigors of som eone else's bottom-line thinking. Working for an institution in which neither pay nor promotion is connected to performance, job security is guaranteed (after tenure is attained), and pension arrangements are probably the finest in any industry in the coxmtry no wonder a poststructuralist can easily believe that words are deeds. She or he can afford

to.^ Rieff was w riting in a m oment w hen the gap between white collar workers and those at the bottom of the increasingly service-oriented economy

^ Robin D.G. Kelley, Yo' M am a's Disfunktional! Fighting the Culture W ars in Urban Am erica

(Boston: Beacon Press, 1997). David Rieff, "Multiculturalism's Silent Partner: It's the new ly globalized consumer economy, stupid." Harper's, A ugust 1993, 62-72. ^ 8Ibid., 66.

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was larger than it ever had been. While Rieff s point is an im portant one, several scholar-activists were waging, through both their writings and their activism, a struggle to m aintain not only the legitimacy of Ethnic Studies but its very presence in the academy. This struggle had a lengthy history. The protracted struggles of the fifties and sixties w on Black Studies program s at over 500 schools and compelled nearly 1,300 schools to offer at least one Ethnic Studies course by 1971. For m any students and scholars, it was the "first time education seemed relevant and empowering." However, by 1972, conservative alliances of administrators, politicians, and conservative intellectuals were waging a powerful counterattack. They castigated Ethnic Studies as "balkanized bastions of self-imposed isolation for students of color, shoddy scholarship, and unqualified professors." By 1974, only 200 such program s remained. Nonetheless, betw een 1976 and 1993, the num ber of Asian American college students grew from 198,000 to 724,000. By 1993, 1 million Latinos attended college.^^ Moreover, m any of the college student activists of the 1970s became professors by the 1980s, and began to make im portant changes in the ways ethnic history was taught and read. By the m iddle and late 1980s, teachers-

Bob Wing, "Now that multiculturalism is in vogue, should Ethnic Studies declare victory?" in Color Lines Volume 2 No. 2 (Summer 1999). Ibid.

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turned-scholars such as Carl Grant, Christine Sleeter, Geneva Gay, and Sonia Nieto provided m ore scholarship in m ulticultural education, developing new, deeper fram eworks that were grounded in the ideal of equal educational opportunity and a connection between school transform ation and social change. For the first time in the 1970s and 80s the emergence en masse of a meticulous and convincing scholarship that contributed to a dram atic shift in pedagogical approaches to the teaching of slavery. Reconstruction, and the historical and cultural impact of Native Americans, Latinas/os and Asians. Scholars explored comparative and cultural approaches to both traditional western history and the history of non-European cultures, while students of color dem anded an education relevant to their cultural backgrounds, and agitated for program s that w ould serve as support for student and community organizing. Feminist scholars and wom en activists insisted on curricula m ore inclusive of their histories and experiences. Together, the separate actions of these various groups defined the earliest param eters of m ulticultural education. By the early 1980s, a new m ovem ent was underw ay to make previously marginalized voices that w ere historically excluded and culturally misrepresented in American culture; this m ovem ent was appropriately coined "multiculturalism."

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In m y introduction, I illustrated argum ents by 19** and 20** century intellectuals, w ho argued that W estern expansion depended upon the belief that the American nation was destined to bring order to uncivilized peoples and spaces. I dem onstrated how the writings of William Prescott, John Motley,

Francis Farkman, and George Bancroft drew boundaries between w hat David Noble term ed a "progressive 'American' people and the unprogressive, nonAmerican peoples who lived within the boundaries of the United States."^* These paradigm s were constructed in such a way as to allow artists and intellectuals to celebrate "a national people and a national landscape where no one should rem ember the colonial [Native American] p e o p l e s . I n the 1980s, as in several other eras, we see an explicit invocation of this white republican nationalism, as well as a reconfiguration of the meaning of citizenship. Scholars like A rthur Schlesinger, Laurence Auster, and Richard Brookhiser, answered back w ith vicious, if passive-aggressive, argum ents that "multiculturalists" threatened "the American way of life," the threat lying in an "unprecedented ... protest against the Anglocentric culture" that "today threatens to become a counterrevolution against the original theory of America as ... a

David Noble, D eath o f a N ation, 61. Noble, D eath o f a N ation, 5-7..

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common culture, a single nation."^^ The New Right's approach to the public discourse of race w as characterized by an "authoritarian version of color blindness," and the subtle manipulation of white's racial fears. The New Right discourse strove to protect white privilege and pow er by pretending that racial inequality no longer existed." ^ This ideological battle, which was by no means confined to academics (indeed, some of the m ost memorable argum ents were posited by adm inistrators and politicians) w ould have lasting effects upon both the educational system and the popular representation of diversity in America.^^ In popular ideological terms, this m eant that mainstream responses to this debate, as well as to the economic dow nturn of the 1980s, provided representation of an economically and morally solid American middle-class. The

'3Arthur Schlesinger, The D isu n itin g o f America: Reflections on a M u lticu ltu ral Society (N ew York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1991), 43,118. See also Laurence Auster, The Path to N ational Suicide: A n Essay on Im m igration and M u lticulturalism (American Immigration Control Foundation; 1991); Richard Brookhiser, The W ay o f the W A SP: H ow it M ade Am erica, and H ow It Can Save it, So to Speak (N ew York: Simon and Schuster, 1990). Without a doubt, the best documentation of this ideological debate is done by Shelley Fisher-Fishkin, "Reframing the Multiculturalism Debates and Remapping American Studies" in Journal o f Am erican Studies o f T urkey 1 (1995): 3-18. Quoted in Ted Click, "Racism and Presidential Elections Since 1964: A Short History" Z N et M agazine <http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?SectionID=30&ItemID=5011> (19 February 2004). ^ 5 Peter Coleman, The Liberal Conspiracy: The Congress for Cultural Freedom and the Struggle for the Mind of Postwar Europe (N ew York: Free Press, 1989); David Rieff, "Multiculturalism's Silent Partner: It's the new ly globalized consumer economy, stupid." Harper's, August 1993, 6272; Daniel Patrick Moynihan, "Deficit by Default" (14th edition of an annual series beginning with Fiscal Year 1976), July 31,1990, xiv - xvii; Pat Aufderheide, ed. Beyond PC: Toward a P olitics of U nderstanding (Saint Paul MN: Graywolf Press, 1992); Karen Lehrman, "Off Course," Mother Jones (September-October 1993).

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Cosby show, for example, posited a positive portrayal of African-Americans but suggested the end of racism and economic discrimination/^ My w ork on Chicana/o and African-American punk scenes shows that even as identity politics w ere expanding in both academic and popular venues in the 1980s, certain identity politics were nonetheless m arginalized in the quest to gain small m easures of legitimacy - w hether it was academic or communitybased. Left out were the m ultiple and often contradictory positions that scenes like punk rock inhabited. While punk musicians wish to rem ain marginalized from the commodifying effects of mass music m arketing and production, they nonetheless seek legitimacy as part of a Chicana/o or Black cultural ethos. This narrow ing availability of legitimate identities was nevertheless m irrored in the identity politics of marginalized groups. For example, Chicana drum m er Michelle Gonzalez, of the Chicano punk group Spitboy and Instant Girl, argues, "People in the punk music scene are notorious for saying "racism sucks" but when it comes dow n to it.. .there's like, desirable people of color and then there's undesirable people of color. And it's like, you're too Brown, too down, you're gonna like piss somebody off or you're gonna m ake somebody feel uncomfortable.

Sut Jhally and Justin Lewis, Enlightened Racism: The Cosby Show, Audiences, and the M y th o f the Am erican D ream (W estview Press, 1992). ^^quoted in Sorrondeguy, M as A lla de los Gritos

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Nonetheless, while the politics of identity in both the academy and the community were unstable and competing, they often created the groundw ork for future, more expansive identity formations. For example, Immanuel Wallerstein's W orld Systems Theory had effects that reverberated through not only the academy, bu t also throughout activist communities. This theory emphasized the asymmetrical political and economic exchange between a highly developed core and a lesser developed periphery. The core is highly developed both economically and politically, and perm itted the local bourgeoisie to obtain control over international commerce and extract capital surpluses from this trade for their ow n benefit. The periphery provides a flow of staple goods and raw materials to the core in exchange for value-added or finished commodities, lacked strong central governments or were controlled by other states, exported raw materials to the core, and relied on coercive labor practices. According to W allerstein's thesis, the core expropriated m uch of the capital surplus generated by the periphery through unequal trade relations.^ The W orld Systems Theory, in conjunction with informal historical knowledge of activists in aggrieved minority groups w orldwide, gave

Immanuel Wallerstein, The M o d em W orld System : C apitalist A gricu ltu re and the O rigins o f the
European W orld Econom y in the Sixteenth C entury (New York: Academic Press, 1974).

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theoretical undergirding to both scholarly and popular understandings of the relationship betw een domestic racism and international imperialism.

OO

While multiculturalism is now often perceived as an em pty signifier onto which groups project their fears and hopes, the future for critical multiculturalism lies, as m any scholars have shown, in attention to the diverse affiliations of all subjects. Vijay Prashad, Ella Shohat, Robin Kelley, and George Lipsitz have all argued that these subjects can be mobilized in varying combinations by particular projects or events. This facilitates critical m ulticulturalism's usefulness for counter exclusionary hegemonic practices or appeals to nostalgic histories. Instead of in articles or in mainstream media, African-American - and especially Chicana and Chicano punk music - engaged the new conservatism and neo-liberalism of the eighties in im portant intellectual ways. The punk expressions of disaffected minority youth in Los Angeles were m arkedly different from the politics of that era or any other. The performance of frustration was aggressive and reflective of the frustrated life chances and stifled

For examples, see "Cultura Chicarra: Los Angeles," in La O pinion Sum plem ento Cultural, no. 11 (13 July 1980); "A Twist - East L.A. Visits Roxy" Los A ngeles Times 14 Feb. 1981; Luis Rodriguez, "The History of the Eastside Sound" in L.A. W eekly, August 15-21,1980; "Eastside Sound" in Q -Vo 7 (1986), 27-29, 69, 76-78.

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economies of the 1980s. The physical moves - the stomping, moshing, aggressive bodily contact that often escalated into violence - to the uninform ed spectator belied the depth of community identity and a politics of opposition. The politics of opposition were visible in the physical performances of musicians and w hat became a characteristic audience engagement (i.e., an involvem ent distinct from mere "response" or "spectatorship" to the music) where the entire, chaotic scene is one organized movement. Some components of African-American and Chicana/o punk even challenged static notions of masculinity, both within the punk subculture as well as the mainstream. Queer punk became a predom inant, if marginalized, component of the Chicana/o punk movement in the nineties. By the m id nineties, journalist Gina Arnold could argue, "if you're addicted to being a member of the underground opposition, you now have to look elsewhere for the sense of exhilaration that the sight of minority culture infiltrating the status quo can give, and at the moment, that means looking Queerward." And w ith a dedicated following. East L.A. band $3 Puta screamed, "My race doesn't seem to matter/But w hy is it not represented/All I see are hard muscle w hite men/Where the fuck are all the lesbians?"^

Gina Arnold, "Queer to the Core; Punk is dead, but its rage and anarchistic joy live on in lesbian and gay bands like Pansy Division, Team Dresch and Tribe 8 M etro A ctive Nov. 6-12,1997. 8 1 $3 Puta "WeHo"on S O U N D S F R O M THE B E D R O O M (Spitshine/Agitprop Records, 2001).

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M artin Sorrondeguy now fronts the all queer, all straight-edge band (meaning that none of them smoke, drink, or do drugs). Limp Wrist. Sorrondeguy says the band's original line up "really played w ith the straight edge thing and w ith the queer thing, which pushed a lot of the boundaries about being punk, queer and straight edge, challenging every different scene."^ In several of their shows. Limp W rist w ould ask queer m en to "stop hating their bodies" and "stop imitating Daddy." In a show at Dumba, a self-described "queer art space" located in the Dumbo district of Brooklyn, Sorrondeguy admonished the crowd, "there's not nearly enough guys in here w ith their shirts off right now." M any audience m em bers-m ale and female took his advice and went topless.^

Daryl Vocat, "Punks: The US punk band Limp Wrist plays do-it-yourself hardcore, but it's anything but your typical hardcore band" X tra! 23 August 2001. "Nice Boys Share: Limp Wrist at Dumba" Scratchbomb 2 April 2000. <http://www.scratchbomb.com/limp_wrist.html>

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M a rtin S o rro n d eg u y s G rap h ics w o rk o n Q u e e r C h ican o P u n k B and Lim p W ris t

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Though Vaginal Creme Davis owes her influences to Chicana punks Alice Bag and Teresa CovarrubiaS/ Sorrondeguy might owe the creation of a queer discursive space to Vaginal Davis. Twenty years before Sorrondeguy formed Limp Wrist, Davis spoke often about not only being a gay, cross-dressing punk musician, bu t about feeling marginalized from m ainstream queer culture: "W hat m ost people don't know about the gay world is that it's the ultimate conformist culture. Individuality is not prized. I never fit into the m ainstream gay w orld and never will."^

Conclusion For working-class Latinos and Blacks, economic problem s have been a crucial source of conflict. Between 1970 and 1980, the population of Latinos in South-Central Los Angeles had doubled, w ith Chicanos alone making up 21 percent of the total population of south-central, a traditionally African-American area.* D uring this same decade, LA County became hom e to the greatest But these immigrants were arriving at a

num ber of Latinos in the nation.

moment w hen the local economy, and consequently the dem ography, was undergoing drastic changes. Moreover, the economic dow nturn of the late 1980s ended a short-lived era of upw ard mobility via blue-collar w ork for Blacks. Yet

^ Jim Jones, "The Vaginal Monologues: A rare interview with the ultimate punk rock drag

queen" in Tablet N ew s, June 2001. Melvin Oliver and James Johnson, Jr., "Inter-Ethnic Conflict in an Urban Ghetto," in Research in Social M ovem ents: Conflict and Change 6 JAI Sage, 57-94.

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despite this oppressive economic context, there were im portant resistances by Black and Chicana and Chicano artists. These resistances are historically and culturally significant because of their contribution to w hat George Lipsitz has term ed "a poly-lateral dialogue," which often "gives new valence to the cultural creations em anating from aggrieved communities, m aking the relationship between "margins" and "center" dramatically
d if fe r e n t." S 6

In this chapter, I have discussed the articulated resistance to the economic, ideological, and political repression of the eighties. I have focused upon grassroots and academic responses, but particularly upon a new Black and Chicana/o punk music scene, formed in the late seventies, which took visible hold in the eighties. Part of w hat makes the emergence of Chicana/o and Black punk so im portant in this era is that it emerges w ithin the context of liberal multiculturalism and narrow ing definitions of "Chicanisma/o" and "Blackness." In future w ork on this subject, I will address distribution and audience responses to punk music.

Lipsitz, A R ainbow a t M idnight, 1.

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Chapter Four: Exporting Los Angeles: The Limits and Possibilities Of Marketing Popular Protest
The imagination is now central to all forms o f agency, is itself a social fact, and is the key component of the new global orders
U s w o r k i n ' fo lk s g o t t o a ll g e t t o g e t h e r C a u s e w e a i n 't g o t a c h a n c e a n y m o r e . W o o d y G u t h r i e , Tom Joad I 'm s i t t i n ' d o w n h e r e i n t h e c a m p f ir e l ig h t S e a r c h in ' f o r th e g h o s t o f T o m J o a d B ru c e S p r in g s te e n , I 'm s i t t i n ' d o w n h e r e i n t h e c a m p f ir e l i g h t W ith t h e g h o s t o f T o m J o a d . R a g e A g a i n s t th e M a c h in e ,

The Ghost o f Tom Joad

The Ghost of Tom Joad

In 1940 W oody Guthrie was asked to write the liner notes for his forthcoming RCA record, "Dust Bowl Ballads." Calling himself "the dustiest of the dust bowlers," he wrote:
M y relatives had wrote letters back from California a-telling how pretty the country was and about the big rains and the big ocean and the high mountains, and the valleys with the green trees that was loaded down with most every kind o f groceries, and they said the whole landscape out there just spelt the word 'Work'..."

G uthrie's relatives invoked a then-common imagination of a California that might deliver American workers from the poverty of the Great Depression. But in "Tom Joad" (Guthrie's song about the protagonist in John Steinbeck's novel of the depression. The Grapes of Wrath), Guthrie depicted a state at odds with this perception, one in which like any other Depression-era state, workers bore the brunt of the economic crisis. In text and song, the character of Tom Joad embodied the frustration of informed disempowerment, and the potential

1 Arjun Appadurai, M od ern ity a t Large: The C ultural D im ensions o f G lobalization (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1996), 31. 2 reprinted in Joe Klein, W oody Guthrie: A Life (London and Boston: Norton, 1988), 159-60.

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contained in collective resistance. N ot least because he embraced communism and wrote a column for the People's D aily Word, a life like Tom Joad's was music to Guthrie's pink ears. Songwriter Yip Harburg, who in 1932 w rote "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime," told veteran reporter Studs Terkel that in songs like Guthrie's and his own, "the m an is really saying; I m ade an investm ent in this country. W here the hell are m y dividends?"^ Meanwhile, John Steinbeck observed that "new waves of the dispossessed.. .are becoming dangerous," and he was correct: nationwide, marching farmers in Arkansas and walkouts by Chicago school children dem anding free lunch program s forced America to account for its failed promise of a living wage.^ At the same time that Steinbeck wrote and Guthrie sang about California as a land of contradictions, racism in the state's developing industries meant that class discrimination and the results of America's unfulfilled promises spoke not just for Tom Joad, but wom en and minority w orkers as well. Tom Joad had lasting significance as a musical depiction of an historical problem. In a radio interview in 1995, Bruce Springsteen believed that "the American idea of equal opportunity obviously hasn't been realized" and that the widening chasm betw een rich and poor leads to "diminished hopes, diminished

3 Howard Zinn, "Self H elp in Hard Times" in A People's H isto ry o f the U nited States, 1492-Present (New York: Harper Perennial, 1995), 381. * Maurice Hallgren, Seeds o f R evolt (N ew York: Knopf, 1974).

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expectations, [and] diminished possibilities" which led him to write "The Ghost of Tom Joad" for the same-titled album that year. Unlike Guthrie, who wrote a column for The People's D aily World, Springsteen was clear that the Tom Joad he was referring to was not the communist-leaning character of Steinbeck's novel but the character played by Henry Fonda in the Hollywood film version, a significant distinction. Starting in the eighties, Springsteen became an im portant voice emphasizing white working class culture as an ethnic identity. His music created an awareness of the effects of deindustrialization and union-busting characteristic of the Reagan-Bush era, at a time w hen rock music w asn't talking about everyday grassroots realities. This album, departed from Springsteen's consistent depiction of the American worker as white and male: it was preoccupied w ith the plight of Mexican immigrants, echoing the desperation relayed by Guthrie of westward-moving transient workers in the 1930s. Yet by the time Springsteen's album was released, changing demographics gave the messages contained in "The Ghost of Tom Joad" a late 20* century twist: migrant workers in California now came from all over the world, and Los Angeles had become the m ost favored destination in the U nited States for Mexicans, Filipinos, and Koreans. A new w orld of labor had emerged: a burgeoning im m igrant population employed in low-skilled, low-paying m anufacturing and service jobs, juxtaposed against hyper-accelerated capital

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accumulation of the corporate class. For im m igrant and U.S.-born service workers in Los Angeles, Steinbeck's and Guthrie's depictions of California still held; but a different kind of "Tom Joad" w ould have to emerge to make sense of new social, cultural, and demographic politics in a changing California. Rage Against the Machine w ould invoke it in their 1998 cover of Springsteen's song. For this multi-ethnic rock band from Los Angeles, the symbol of Tom Joad included Mexicans, Asians and African Americans who worked side by side in the fields w ith the Dust Bowl m igrants - and who stayed in those fields long after the Dust Bowlers had been assimilated into middle America. Unlike Springsteen, who in 1995 was "searching for the ghost of Tom Joad" in a durge for the forgotten of the New W orld Order, RATM shouted in their rendition that they were sittin g w ith the ghost of Tom Joad, asserting that they were in dialogue w ith the answer to economic oppression and racial discrimination. RATM knew that a contemporary "Tom Joad" m ust champion the collective action that Cuthrie was talking about some sixty years before, but also illumine the affinities between a m ultitude of cultures and communities in one of the w orld's largest cities. Like Cuthrie, whose guitar bore a sign that read, "this machine kills fascists," RATM saw music and the politics of an

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international w ork force as two parts of the same whole, a topic m ost strenuously asserted in their last album. The Battle of Los Angeles.^ Who is the new Tom Joad in turn of the century Los Angeles? "The Latina and Latino immigrant workforce in L.A. is the new face of Tom Joad," Jono Shaffer, former Director of the Justice for Janitors Campaign, told me in an interview. C hapter four explores this question, linking the Justice for Janitors Campaign and Rage Against the Machine's musical politics to the representation and, I argue, export, of popular protest.
OO

Scholarship on Los Angeles in the past 15 years has emphasized the influence of global economies and cultures on the city and its constituents. Many of these works have proposed the city as a microcosm of both national and international patterns endemic to global capitalism; as representative of the transnational m ovem ent of labor and economies; and as a space representative of a positive bi-product of globalization: the creation of new cultures and cultural expressions.^ A second strand of scholarship links local struggles against racism

5 By their ow n actions, RATM has directed attention to the seriousness of their company in Joad: their public solidarity w ith Zapatista rebels and imprisoned activists Leonard Peltier and Mumia Abu-Jamal are w idely recognized. George Lipsitz, "World Cities and World Beat: Low-Wage Labor and Transnational Culture" in Pacific H istorical R eview 68 i2 (May 1999), 213; Kofi Buenor Hadjor, "Race, Riots, and Clouds of

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with struggles against imperialism, situating Los Angeles within the context of a 21 century global moment, cormecting anti-racist struggles in Los Angeles to resistive action against centralized corporate power. This essay bridges these scholarly trends to ask a question about marketing popular protest. It is im portant to note that the popularity of viewing Los Angeles through a post-industrial, global lens is found not only in academic scholarship but in m ainstream film. Pulp Fiction, Falling Down, 2 D ays in the Valley, and Mulholland
D rive

present us

w ith

semi-intertwined

stories m ade

possible by

the

interconnectedness of people and places in post-industrial Los Angeles. The success of these films attests to this popularity:
Terminator I and II alone, for

example, grossed $550 million in worldwide theatrical box office receipts, became a phenom enon on VHS and DVD formats, and inspired attractions at Universal Studios theme parks in Hollywood, Florida and Japan. "No m atter where I go in the world," says (now California Governor) Arnold

Schwarzenegger, "no m atter w hat movie I have prom oted over the last twelve years, people always ask me, 'When are you going to do another Terminator?

Ideological Smoke" in Race and Class 38 Number 4 (April-June 1997); Terry Boswell and Dimitris Stevis, "Globalization and international labor organizing; a world-system perspective" (Special Issue on Labor in the Americas) in W ork and O ccupations v24 nS (August 1997); Genevieve Giuliano, "Information Technology, Work Patterns, and Intra-Metropolitan Location: A Case Study" in Urban Studies v35 n7 (June 1998); Mark Baldassare, California in the N ew M illennium : The Changing Social and Political Landscape (Berkeley and Los Angeles; University of California Press, 2000).

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You've got to do another Terminator. Please, Arnold, do another Terminator.'"^ Futuristic films such as these allow audiences to consider w hat sort of technological and racial futures Los Angeles m ight have to offer. In all of the films m entioned above, Los Angeles' present and future are inter-ethnic, depicted as holding both danger and promise. Yet it is also the juxtaposition of extremes that contributes to the city's prominence in the national and international imagination, a phenom enon which once led M artin Luther King to speculate, "Los Angeles could have expected [the Watts] riots because it is the symbol of luxurious living for whites. W atts is closer to it and yet further from it than any other Negro community in the country." The ideological space

between these extremes is repeatedly represented in films about Los Angeles: Hollywood, then, has its proverbial say in conversations about inter-ethnicity, the future, and technological and corporate expansion. While not as glamorous, grassroots protest responding to these same issues has grow n in popularity and frequency since the late 1980s. The question posed in this essay is w hat happens w hen popular protest movements export their own representations of Los Angeles' interethnic future; and w hat does it mean w hen m ovem ents export competing claims about technology and

7 "No Fate But What We Make" H ollyw ood Jesus N ew sletter 28 June, 2003. quoted in David Wyatt, Five Fires: Race, Catastrophe, and the Shaping o f California (N ew York: Addison-W esley Publishing Company, 1997), 210.

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corporate power? I propose that something quite interesting occurs: the specter of globalization's influence on Los Angeles gets turned on its head, or at least becomes m uch more dialectical. The example explored here, the use of the film
Bread and Roses to call attention to the Los Angeles Justice for Janitors Campaign,

demonstrates how outcomes of centralized corporate pow er and protest culture get exported from Los Angeles. It is the fact of transnational capitalism's benefit

from the construction of popular protest as sheik, tem porary, and titillating which moves me to consider the m anagem ent of national and international consent through the exportation of images of popular protest.^ Yet primarily this essay is preoccupied w ith how the conversation changes w hen movements can manipulate this same commodification for both material and ideological gain, even if it is uneven and fragmented. As a departure from scholarship on the influence of globalism on LA, the question posed here, then, is, how and w hy is LA exported? The construction, export, and consum ption of the city not only link the danger and promise of inter-ethnic politics to the rest of the world, but subvert and create challenges to the inequality engendered by 21 century labor practices and politics.

Here I have in mind Arjun Appadurai's argument that consumption has become a new kind of labor that w e must all endure. Arjun Appadurai, M odern ity at Large: The C ultural D im ensions of Globalization (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1996), 66-85.

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Initially, we m ight consider w hat makes Los Angeles such an interesting city to the rest of the world: all of the economic and dem ographic changes that are reshaping America are exaggerated in Los Angeles. For example, the

nation's largest Koreatown has emerged in an approximately 20 square-mile area west of downtown, which was formerly more than 90% white. Businesses in the area are prim arily Korean, but Koreans make up less than 15% of the residents, who are prim arily Mexican.^" Economic growth through the 1970s and 80s meant that California became the national leader in exports to the global market. During these same two decades, almost 5 million people from around the world immigrated to the U.S. Since the mid-1980s, LA has replaced New York as the chief receiving area for immigrants, and is now the biggest industrial center in the United States, twice the size of second-place Chicago.^' By 1990 it was also the second-largest "information empire" in the nation, m eaning it is one of the largest producers of business information in America.^^ California has become a majority-minority state, that is, a state in which no racial or ethnic group represents over 50 percent of the total population. It continues to occupy center stage in national immigration policies and

Pyong Gap Min, "Problems of Korean Immigrant Entrepreneurs" in International M igration R eview, Vol. 24, No. 3. (Autumn, 1990), 436-455. Richard Walker, "California's Collision of Race and Class," in Michael Rogin and Robert Post (eds). Race and Representation: A ffirm ative A ction (New York: Zone Books, 1998), 284. Joe Schwartz, "Centers of Information Power Grow Stronger" in Am erican Demographics 13 nlO ) (October 1991), 22.

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international politics, im portant since California's 52-person delegation to the US Congress and its 54 Electoral College votes make the state a central player in determining the outcome of national p o l i t i c s . A n d it has led the nation in passing legislation that denies immigrants access to basic social services like education and medical treatment, eradicating affirmative action, and all but outlawing bilingual education. These actions create contradictory messages

about citizenship, ethnicity, border geography, and race, all of them im portant when considering globalism's influence on Los Angeles, as well as representation of that influence in mass media. The Creation of Tustice for Tanitors Cultural Studies scholar Lisa Lowe has argued that in a racially differentiated nation like the United States, the labor m ovem ent is situated within the contradictions of capital and state imperatives: "capital, with its

supposed needs for 'abstract labor,' is said by Marx to be unconcerned by the origins of its labor force, whereas the nation-state, w ith its need for 'abstract citizens' formed by a unified culture to participate in the political sphere, is precisely concerned to m aintain a national citizenry bound by race, language.

Mark Baldassare, California in the N ew M illennium : The Changing Social and Political Landscape (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2000), 17.

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and culture."^^ Bread and Roses offers a look into how exclusions from American social and economic systems exact deep individual and collective pain for marginalized Americans and immigrants, but how these exclusions and contradictions can also open opportunities for labor to m ake dem ands upon the political sphere. The film is situated within the context of Los Angeles' post-industrial economy. Employers in this context have restructured the nature of work,

cutting labor costs by shedding long-term union employees and adopting flexible work schedules using subcontracted, part-tim e non-union employees. The

janitorial industry in Los Angeles became a model of this process w hen it switched from employing union janitors to nonunion janitors in 1981, following a janitors' strike in 1980. Contractors replaced unionized workers, m any of whom were African-American, w ith a mostly im m igrant workforce from Mexico and Central America. The employers then bitterly opposed unionization, companies. eventually contracting with the any efforts at cleaning

lowest-bidding

Soon after that, wages tumbled as nonunion firms established

themselves in the sprawling suburbs and the union lost its hold on the market.^^ At the same time, hundreds of thousands of immigrants arrived from Mexico

w Lisa Lowe, Im m igran t A cts: O n A sian Am erican C ultural P olitics (Durham and London: Duke University Press), 13. '5 For a concise history of this struggle, see "Janitors' Quest Complicated by Shifting Nature of the Job" Los A ngeles Times 7 April 2000.

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and Central America, desperate for work and accustomed to the low wages of their home countries. Almost overnight, the work force changed from highly unionized, relatively well-paid and primarily African American to nonunion, minimum wage and primarily immigrant. For years, the office cleaning sector in Los Angeles was comprised of an enormous num ber of very small firms. But post-industrial patterns of capital concentration situate just two Los Angeles firms to claim over 25 percent of all employment in the area; ABM^^ and ISS.^' The Los Angeles Justice for Janitors Campaign began in 1988 when rankand-file janitors began to contest unfair wages and oppressive working environments. This m ovem ent remained chiefly outside of the control of (and largely ignored by) the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the AFL-CIO until 1991, w hen a march by janitors in the Century City area of Los Angeles was viciously attacked by police. Shortly afterwards the SEIU and the employers signed a contract.^

Able Body Maintenance is the country's largest publicly traded facilities services company. It em ploys more than 50,000 people nationwide and has revenues approaching $1.4 billion. Even in cities other than Los Angeles, ABM em ployees account for a huge part of the workforce. In San Francisco, for example, ABM is the city's third largest private employer with 5,000 workers, while it controls roughly 35 percent of the downtown office cleaning market. The San Francisco Business Times, 5 December 1997. ISS is a Denmark-based multinational. The SEIU is a leading force in the creation and spread of the "Organizing Model" of trade unionism. Several unions define trade-unionism as "skilling up" local level shop stewards and delegates so they maintain highly organized workplaces, including taking responsibility for keeping members informed, recruiting and coordinating industrial action w hen that is required. To underpin this push, national and state offices often increase the level of training for local

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W hen the SEIU began organizing among LA janitors in 1990, conventional wisdom dictated that imm igrant workers did not wish to risk being unionized. But the SEIU, later the Drywallers Campaign in 1992 and the American Racing Company, and m ore recently the UAW Van Nuys campaign and the BRU, found that stronger than this reluctance was a history of union hostility toward immigrants. In p art this could be attributed to Los Angeles' reputation, over the last century, for being the citadel of the open shop: service workers have often been foreign-born and undocum ented. This has engendered a history of deep resentments and im m igrant scapegoating in times of economic distress. In a departure from traditional union perspectives, the SEIU found that in some ways Latino imm igrants were easier to recruit since social netw orks were more im portant among low-wage workers, and Latinos of various nationalities often recognize a shared stigmatization as a result of their undocum ented status in the US. The organizing campaign became primarily focused around ABM and ISS, and succeeded in forcing them to negotiate with the unions and raise wages and conditions. At the same time, however, the union was able to apply political

workplace representatives. See, for example, "Organising Works," Electrical Trades Union N ew sletter, July 2001. The future of the SEIU's connection to the Justice for Janitors Campaign is uncertain. In September, 2002, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a complaint against the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) for threatening San Francisco janitors that they would lose all their benefits if the janitors were no longer represented by SEIU. According to the

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pressure within the cleaning sector as a whole.^ One of the m ost fortuitous sources of political pressure occurred w hen the Los Angeles Police Departm ent violently attacked a dem onstration in the city's business district: the union exploited the incident to the full, rurming a successful publicity campaign that attracted w idespread public sympathy. Resulting publicity from the LAPD led to a second fortuitous source of political pressure: the film Bread and Roses.
Bread and Roses^^ and the Marketing of Popular Protest

W hen cinematographer Haskell Wexler m ade the film Bus Riders Union (1999), he asked music producer Greg Landau to coordinate the musical score and vocal narration for the film. In a departure from traditional narration and score, Landau used his knowledge of LA's diverse music scene to write the kind of score that could replace a narrator. He composed a soundtrack of protest songs

NLRB, the threats, w hich were made in handbills and at meetings, were aimed to discourage janitors from signing petitions to decertify SEIU and form their ow n independent union. The NLRB complaint alleged that SEIU was "restraining and coercing em ployees in the exercise of rights guaranteed in Section 7 of the (National Labor Relations) Act in violation of Section 8(b)(1)(A) of the Act." In "NLRB issues complaint against SEIU for threatening San Francisco janitors." California School Em ployees Association N ew sletter 12 August 2002. 20 For example, perm ission to put up new office blocks had to be secured from the city's Community Redevelopm ent Authority and by lobbying them; local unions were able to secure a series of pro-union clauses in new developm ent agreements. 2 1 The slogan, poem, and song "Bread and Roses" have long been associated with the famous 1912 strike by textile workers in Lawrence, Massachusetts. So close is the association that the Lawrence strike is often called the "Bread and Roses Strike" and the citizens of Lawrence remember the strike w ith an annual "Bread and Roses Heritage Festival" held during the Labor Day holiday. N o one has ever found direct documentation of the slogan's use during the strike, but it was said that James Oppenheim's poem "Bread and Roses" was inspired by a banner carried by strikers at Lawrence that read, "We want Bread, and Roses too!" See Jim Zwick, "Bread and Roses, Behind the song: A Closer Look at Some of the Music We Love" in Sing O u t! 46 14 (Winter 2003), 92.

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written in Spanish, English, and Korean and added a song donated by Zack de la Rocha (of Rage Against the Machine) to become the voice of the film. "We used the music to create a context so the people viewing can understand the picture," said Landau. "M usic's role in the film and also in social protest is like church: it's a way of bonding, synthesizing stuff in to a unifying force."^^ In his 2001 project Bread and Roses w ith British director Ken Loach, Wexler approached George Fenton w ith the same request. The soundtrack accomplishes this with Cumbia songs like, "Si se puede," which narrate INS and White House policies against immigrants. The song urges listeners to follow the examples of

revolutionaries on both sides of the border. In this way, the music of Bread and
Roses compliments issues resonating throughout the U.S. service sector industry.

Following Rosa Linda Fregoso, we m ight understand the stake in understanding this film's importance to the Justice for Janitors Campaign as the dialectics betw een the referential function of cinema and its constitutive role, that is, "art as a m ediation on the phenomenal w orld rather than as a simple or transparent reflection of social reality."^^ Bread and Roses chronicles the struggle to organize Janitors in the Los Angeles cleaning companies, but it also mediates several different tensions about the telling of labor histories in popular and

Greg Landau Interviewed by Author, 6 July 2000. 23 Rosa Linda Fregoso, The Bronze Screen: Chicana and Chicano Film C ulture (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1993), 1.

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academic narratives.

Understanding the importance of this m edium in the

telling of new labor histories underscores the parallel importance of how wom en's and ethnic studies sought from the outset to transform male-centered and "big event" narratives in traditional historical narratives: w hat does Bread

and Roses show us that a union pam phlet or a labor history course do not?

While a fictional story rooted in actual union drives. Bread and Roses focuses on very real challenges faced by Mexican wom en border-crossers. In weaving together the personal and public lives of two Mexicana sisters (Rosa and Maya), British director Ken Loach offers a view into the lives of Latina janitors, but also the lives of African-Americans and other Latino and European immigrants employed in the LA janitorial industry. The film's first few scenes deal w ith M aya's (Pilar Padilla) perilous journey across the U.S. border to join her sister in Los Angeles. The initial focus on Maya, who is kidnapped because Rosa (Elpidia Carrillo) does not have enough money to pay the smugglers, establishes her as a brave and appealing young woman, setting the stage for her role as a union stalwart. Despite endless workers waiting for an opening, Rosa succeeds in securing a job for Maya with Angel Cleaning Service. Quickly befriended by fellow w orker Ruben, (Alonso Chavez), Maya soon encounters union organizer

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Sam (Adrien Brody), establishing a relational triangle that helps m otor the unfolding labor story. There are several scenes w orth engaging, but for the purposes of this essay, I will confine m y remarks to those m ost relevant to the argum ent presented here. The fact that Justice for Janitors union organizing is being done by both janitors and those sympathetic to the aims of the campaign is one of the first issues presented to us in the film. W hen Maya encounters Sam, it is in a

hum orous context which disarms both the protagonist and the viewer into trusting Sam as the Anglo, college-educated outsider. In Sam's comic attem pt to elude security guards (with M aya's help), he throws wax on the floor, employs exaggerated m ovem ents to run and hide (even in garbage bins), all w ithout losing hold of his list of cleaners. Joseph Boskin and Joseph Dorinson have argued that ethnic hum or in the United States originated as "a function of social class feelings of superiority and white racial antagonisms;" but in time, it was "ironically adapted by the victims of stereotyping themselves as a means of revenge against their more powerful d e t r a c t o r s . I n this scene, we see ethnic hum or m anipulated into class-based humor, facilitating trust in the Anglo protagonist. Sam is being chased by, and
Joseph Boskin and Joseph Dorinson, "Ethnic Humor: Subversion and Survival" in Am erican
Q uarterly 37, No. 1 (Spring 1985), 81-97.

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Maya's helping him puts her in jeopardy at the hands of, not only an Anglo adm inistrator for Angel Cleaning but also a Latino supervisor (George Lopez) and an African-American security guard. The "enemy," well established by the end of this scene, is not the abstraction of the cleaning company, but the actualized and corrupt administrators of the company who exploit the employees in a pattern of low wages, no medical benefits and no job security. This allows us to incorporate a college-educated, American-born white male into the context of this largely imm igrant and working-class struggle. Though he's considered a troublemaker to the corporate elite, Sam's socioeconomic position allows him the privilege of risk. His legitimacy is called into question in late scene, especially w hen Sam attem pts to recruit Maya and Rosa into the m ovem ent while visiting their home. Rosa becomes upset when Sam encourages them to risk their jobs by unionizing: Rosa: "We m ight be at the bottom of the shit hole, but we are doing our best." Sam: ".. .where w e're gonna stay, if we let them get away w ith it." Rosa: "We, we? W hen was the last time that you got a cleaning job? You and your union, your fat union white boys, college kids, w hat the hell do you know? D on't ever say 'w e.'" This scene asks us to consider broader issues about inter-ethnic movements: the disparity of risks among organizers and laborers, the place of ethnic and racial histories within an anti-racist movement, and the racial and socio-economic legitimacy of the organizing unit.

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Despite Rosa's reaction, Maya and other janitors invite Sam and his co worker to m eet w ith them after one of the workers is fired. It is this meeting that gives us a view into the common plight and divisions among the kind of diverse workforce that globalization has engendered. As Wexler pans across the faces in the basement, w e see a Russian immigrant, several Latino and Latina immigrants, and two African-American women, all of w hom are employed by the same company on the same shift. In this scene alone, several argum ents about strategy and risk erupt between the workers, dem onstrating in microcosm im portant shifts in the face of labor and in transnational economies and migration. This scene also echoes an earlier one in which Maya waits outside the office building for w ork while an African-American security guard repeatedly instructs her to leave the area. W hen two Latino janitors become involved in the conflict, an argum ent erupts between the African-American guard and the Mexican workers. As the guard asks unsuccessfully for the English translation of the obvious racist epithets uttered by one of the workers in Spanish, the audience is rem inded of a troubled history between Blacks and Browns in Los Angeles. There are several historical and socio-economic problem s at issue here. First, globalization and massive immigration over the past 10 years have m ade women the new proletariat in an international division of labor: this means that in all ethnic groups they are an im portant register of the effects of globalization

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on their communities as a w h o l e . W h a t the janitors' struggles in Los Angeles demonstrate is that Latinas in particular are central to the changing face of transnational labor, as well as the grassroots response to these changes in the economy and structure of work. Second, increased competition for scarce resources and the trap of racial chauvinism have often positioned workers in opposition to each other, a phenom enon which today is as m uch about globalization as it is about the changing m eaning of all socio-racial identities over m any historical moments. African-American and Latino communities have been no exception in the misdirected, interethnic tensions of the postindustrial age, especially since deindustrialization and the concomitant forces of globalization have collectively cost these communities more than any others in Los Angeles. Rodolfo Acuna documents how in the 1980s, both demographics and long-standing antagonisms between African-Americans and Latinos in Los Angeles manifested im portant consequences in electoral politics. He reveals an

25 Bennett Harrison and Barry Bluestone, The Great U-Turn: Corporate R estru ctu rin g and the P olarizing o f A m erica (N ew York: Basic Books, 1988). See also Edward W Soja, Rebecca Morales, and Goetz Wolff, "Urban Restructuring: An Analysis of Social and Spatial Change in Los A ngeles," in Econom ic G eography 59, (1983), 195-230. 25 This is a force well-captured by George Lipsitz: "the influx of hundreds of thousands of Central Americans over the past decade has changed what it means to be Chicano for the nearly 3,000,000 people of Mexican origin in the city, w hile the migration of nearly 200,000 Koreans reconfigures the contours of the area's Asian American population. Immigration has changed cultural networks, the color of low -w age jobs, and increased competition for scarce resources." George Lipsitz, "World Cities and World Beat: Low-Wage Labor and Transnational Culture" in Pacific H istorical 68 i2 R eview (May 1999), 213.

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increasing uneasiness among African-American politicos about the m ovem ent of thousands of Latinos into South Central L.A., known in electoral politics as the ninth CD. Largely due to de-industrialization, South-Central Los Angeles' African-American population had declined from 56 percent to 36 percent during the 1980s, and its Latino population had increased from 36 percent to 61 percent. To Black community officials, who had historically depended on South Central as a political pow er base, this shift was particularly disquieting in light of a slow loss of political ground under the mayoral tenure of Tom Bradley. Though a loss for African-Americans, Acufia illustrates how Chicano political leaders came to view this shift as an opportunity to increase representation w hen they discovered that a Chicano could be elected in the seventh CD in the San Fernando Valley and another by shifting the boundaries of the ninth CD. But redistricting the area to reflect these changes m eant that Rita Walters, then leader of the 9 CD, w ould have to give up dow ntow n Los Angeles. The Black community was unwilling to do this in a time w hen Blacks were losing political and economic power in Los Angeles. The result was that both Blacks and Browns fell into the trap of measuring their political successes against the achievements of the other. Councilman Mike Hernandez and others accused African Americans of making sure that Latinos remained politically disempowered. And conservative Blacks raised the specter

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of "illegal immigrants," saying that m any of the people in the community would not be able to vote a n y w a y T h i s was an unfortunate precursor of a later moment, in which state politicians' exploited these particular antagonisms to pass Propositions 187 and 209; in this instance, right-wing conservatives garnered African-American support against Latinos in the case of the former, and Chicano support was garnered for Proposition 209, which abolished affirmative action. The fact that restructuring in Los Angeles has m oved m any Latina immigrants into a previously an African American m ale-dom inated job makes understanding the divisions engendered by this process crucial for organizers, workers, and scholars. In the most immediate sense, some of these divisions can be traced in some m easure to scarcity of jobs and economic resources: between 1970 and 1990, for example, African American w om en's employm ent in nondurable goods m anufacturing declined by 114 percent, and in durable goods m anufacturing by 37 percent, which had a significant impact on their occupational distribution in Los A n g e l e s . O n e of the consequences of this process was that African American wom en became a rising part of service sector employees. Moreover, m any of the heavy industrial plants that closed during

27 Rodolfo Acuna, A n y th in g B ut M exican: Chicanos in Contem porary Los A ngeles (N ew York: Verso, 1995). 28 Bluestone, The G reat U -T u m ; Soja, Morales, and Wolff 1983, "Urban Restructuring"

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the deindustrialization in the 1980s were located in predom inately African American communities. This m eant that capital flight and economic

restructuring left few remaining options for this group, nam ely unskilled work staffed increasingly by imm igrant laborers. Loach m anaged to dem onstrate that under the press of immigration, diminishing job opportunities, and media m isrepresentation of both groups. Latinos and African Americans have sometimes identified each other as impediments to their ow n communities' progress. The argum ents in these two scenes disclose deep-seated histories of Black-Brown tensions in Los Angeles around demographic, political, and economic resources, but this isn't only true of the relationship between these two groups: for example, J4J organizers were forced to consider long-standing biases between El Salvadoran and Mexican im m igrant workers as they began organizing in the late 1980s. Bread and Roses resists idealizing the fragile alliances that form out of coalitional politics between Latinas, Latinos, and other aggrieved m inority groups involved in the Justice for Janitors campaign. U nderstanding how people w ith multifaceted identities have multiple interests and can therefore create collectivities in various ways is vital to the legitimacy of both the movie and the m ovem ent itself.

29 Marcel van der Linden, "Transnationalizing American Labor History" in Journal o f Am erican
H istory 86 i3 (December 1999), 3.

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Im portantly, w hat becomes clear in the film is that in the context of complex identities and economic relationships in post-industrial Los Angeles, one of the very few voices challenging racial polarization is the labor movement. While the scene involving the first organizing meeting dem onstrates divisions among workers from diverse national origins, it also draw s attention to their commonalities: language barriers, economic challenges, ethnic and racial

discrimination, and often poor representation of their unique circumstances in the labor movement. One of the central problems in the film is illuminated w hen Maya and Rosa clash over the latter sister's choice to nam e those janitors central to the organizing efforts, resulting in a mass firing that leaves several of the main characters w ithout jobs. In this scene we learn that Rosa has secretly prostituted herself to assure income for her families in Los Angeles and Mexico. It is a picture that brings into sharper relief the gap between Sam's experiences and those of the w orkers he organizes, but also between male and female immigrants, betw een prim ary and secondary immigrants. It is this scene that empowers Maya to act illegally, securing funds for Ruben's college tuition by robbing a convenience store. It is as if Maya attem pts to exact from society the costs of imm igration not only for her sister, but for all imm igrants who suffer

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from exploitation at the hands of the very economic system which encourages their transnational movement. The climax of the film occurs during the largest protest depicted, in which they wage a successful strike and publicity campaign that wins recognition for the union and im portant gains in the areas of wages and benefits. During this process, several janitors get arrested and Maya gets deported for the robbery. The union placards in the movie read "Justice for Janitors 2000," but the film telescopes years of labor history. It also explores the ways that race and ethnicity are intricately bound to questions of em pow erm ent and wealth. Issues of identity and representation are complicated by the fact that Rosa cannot possibly represent the varieties of disenfranchised people w ho find themselves in similar situations in the U.S. She can't represent Latinos in the U.S. in a broad sense, because they come from num erous backgrounds and cultures, and just because she speaks Spanish does not m ean guarantee a commonality w ith people from other South American countries. And yet, m uch of the time this is how she is viewed by the white characters, and often her fellow janitors, in the film. They see her as "other," regardless of the particularities of her own situation. oo

In a 2003 interview. Bread and Roses director Ken Loach was asked about distribution of his film. He remarked,
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"...the point of the m arket is that it destroys choice. It doesn't give you choice ... because of the tendency towards m onopoly...The present system does not work.''^ While his inference about film industry's bias tow ard blockbusters and multi-cineplex theaters is uncontested, his pointed conclusion m ay have been a bit hasty, or at least narrow ly focused. Two years earlier. Bread and Roses prem iered in Havana to a thunderous welcome. A full media onslaught (TV, radio, new spapers and a press conference) generated public interest in the film, which drew 1400 people to fill the Chaplin Theatre in Havana.^' Similar receptions in Britain, Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Slovenia, Indonesia, Ireland, and Switzerland both preceded and followed. While it is true that Bread and Roses did not fare well at the mainstream box office,^^ there are several outcomes which suggest that its marketing and distribution, while limited, have effected im portant gains for the Justice for Janitors m ovem ent itself. For example, not long after the shoot finished. Justice for Janitors took to the streets of LA, campaigning for a wage increase. "It w as the idea that the film was going to be released all over the world that m ade us dem and more forcefully for certain things," said Mike Garcia, President of SElU's Local 1877 Justice for Janitors. "We asked for a lot of things during that protest, and from then on.

30 Ross Anthony, "An Interview with Ken Loach" in The H ollyw ood R eport Card N ew sletter March 2003. 3 1 British Council o f the A r ts N ew sletter November 2003. 32 Bread and Roses w as only released in a handful of cinemas and grossed about 350k at the British box office, which was a substantial loss.

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really. That w asn't so different from how w e'd done things before, but there was something m ore to it [after Bread and Roses] because we knew that international pressure was right around the corner." ^ Galvanized by the prospect of the

film's release, this series of protests brought dow ntow n LA to a standstill and attracted the sym pathy of politicians, including Senator Ted Kennedy and the LA Times. Employers eventually caved in to a majority of the dem ands and agreed a 25 per cent pay increase over three years. No sooner had the janitors succeeded than the hotel workers, also underpaid and often ignored, were on the streets.^"* The J4J had long been supported by rank and file of other unions, like the International Longshore and W arehouse Union (ILWU); California Nurses Association (CNA); the AFL-CIO San Francisco Labor Council; P.A.C.E. Local 8675 (oil workers) P.A.C.E. Local 8-0052 (cement workers); Laborers Local 724; AFSCME Local 1108 (government workers) and m any others. The publicity about the condition of undocum ented workers brought a lot of attention, through the film, about how bad things are w ith respect to exploitation by multinational corporations."^
"Bread and Roses...spotlights the desperate need to restore decency and justice in

the U.S. imm igration system. Immigrants work hard, pay taxes and make

33Mike Garcia Interviewed by Author, 8 February 2003. 34 Duncan Campbell, "A Stranger in Paradox" The Guardian O bserver Sunday April 8, 2001. 35 Ibid.

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enormous contributions to our com m unities/' says A ndrew Stern, President of the SEIU. "It w asn't the only reason we asked for it, bu t the private financial support and publicity that emerged from Bread and Roses poised us to ask a the DNC [Democratic National Convention] anti-sweat shop protest for a general amnesty for undocum ented workers."^^ George Lipsitz has argued that w hen the grass-roots realities of everyday life rarely find expression in public pronouncem ents by politicians or in the public relations-oriented journalism of commercial, electronic, and print media, alternative m odes of expression can be "a way of understanding the links between communities and experiences, and a way of reinforcing messages." ^ While the film did not drastically alter the strategy of the Justice for Janitors campaign, it did galvanize a sense of legitimacy for workers and organizers which translated into purposeful action. W hat kinds of ideas about popular protest and Los Angeles does Bread and
Roses export?

Certainly, the film produces a powerful localized identity

(remarkable w hen one considers that the film, while set in Los Angeles, has a

^ Andrew L. Stern, "Bread & Roses Foreword"

<http://www.seiu.org/building/janitors/about_justice_for_janitors/b_r_foreword.cfm> 3 5 Ibid. 33George Lipsitz, "World Cities and World Beat: Low-Wage Labor and Transnational Culture" in Pacific H istorical R eview 68 i2 (May 1999), 213.

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British director and is and financed by five European countries), necessarily uneven and fragmented as it represents m ultiple identities and interests. Like the m ainstream films mentioned at the outset of this essay, it depicts Los Angeles as a complicated racial, demographic, and economic space. Rather than export a highly stratified, yet homogenized LA culture for international consumption. Bread and Roses offers som ething a little more dialectical. First, it connects the rank-and-file interests of m ultinational workers to American varieties of racial discrimination, exporting this connection to audiences used to seeing simplified media images of racial or ethnic subpopulations associated with an economic underclass. Showing how racism is sifted into the exploitation of a growing international, multiracial proletariat in turn challenges one of the m ost widespread exports of m ainstream American news media: neo-liberal understandings of the state of low-income AfricanAmerican and im m igrant communities. Bread and Roses refutes the post-liberal tendency tow ard understating the social factors that create poverty: the

outcomes of centralized corporate power represented in the film challenge a discourse of responsibility created in large part by the Clinton administration (mirroring, particularly after the 1992 riots. Republican conservative attacks which dem anded accountability from the urban poor and not the economic

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restructuring that disenfranchised them). The post-liberal consensus positioned culpability for the state of Black and Latino structural disintegration far away from the culpability of the American political economy, not surprising since the current form ulation of positive economic growth is increasingly at odds with the ideology of the welfare state.^ The Justice for Janitors Campaign, w ith some aid from the international publicity of Bread and Roses, posits an increasingly obvious culprit for structural disintegration in these communities: the centralization of economic pow er and access away from those who need it most. Illuminating the cormection betw een transnational economies and local economic

disenfranchisement. Bread and Roses both contributes to and cultivates the legitimacy of this reality, challenging with remarkable force popular and purposeful accusations about moral breakdow n among Black and Latino individuals as the cause behind the urban poverty and unrest. For despite the fact that infrastructure in traditionally Mexican and African-American Los Angeles areas had declined under the impact of deindustrialization and economic restructuring,^^ prom otion of state and national angst about

immigration, deindustrialization, and ethnic diversity as causes of urban

Terry Boswell and Dimitris Stevis, "Globalization and international labor organizing: a world-system perspective" (Special Issue on Labor in the Americas) in W ork and O ccupations v24 n3 (August 1997) 288308. ^^An article most helpful in understanding this process is Annette Steinacker's, "Economic Restructuring of Cities, Suburbs, and Nonmetropolitan Areas, 1977-1992" in Urban Affairs R eview v34 n2 (November 1998), 212.

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instability hold m ore legitimacy than ever. Falling D ow n in fact addressed these issues at their core. That key element in the post-liberal consensus, fortified by

the hostile position of the new Bush administration, has reinforced the attack on welfare issues. Indeed, by the time Clinton had signed the Responsibility and Work O pportunity Act (a title, according to Kofi Buenor Hadjor, that neatly sums up the ethos of the post-liberal consensus of which Clinton is the figurehead), the message that poor or disadvantaged Latinos and Blacks themselves - and their cultures of poverty - were largely to blame for their plight was a belief longem bedded in the psyche of liberal politics.^^ Some of its m ost publicized features were the elimination of the Aid to Families w ith D ependent Children (AFDC) and the Job O pportunity and Basic Skills Training (JOBS) programs, its replacement of these program s with block grants to states w ith federally approved Tem porary Assistance Programs for indigent families with minor children, its five-year restriction on assistance, and its rendering legal aliens ineligible for means-tested public benefits for their first five years of residence. Clinton thus ended the federal welfare guarantee, giving the individual states wide powers to cut benefits or remove them altogether from the long-term jobless, single m others and immigrants, a m easure which Newsweek noted

Kofi Buenor Hadjor, "Race, Riots, and Clouds of Ideological Smoke" in Race and Class Volume 38 No. 4 (April-June 1997), 15-32. 43 J. Schiele, "The personal responsibility act of 1996: The bitter and the sw eet for African American families" in Families in Society 79 (1998), 424-432.

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"simply abolished...the sixty year-old New Deal system established by Franklin Roosevelt to protect poor children and their mothers. The film, viewed in this context, is neither "purely emancipatory nor entirely disciplined but is a space of contestation in which individuals and groups seek to annex the global into their own practices of the modern."^^ The export of this film to international audiences, its implicit challenge to the dom inant narratives of underclass irresponsibility represent the joint work of "media" and "migration" on the imagination. Even, therefore, as global

capitalism seeks to homogenize populations globally, it "enhances awareness of the local, pointing to it also the site of resistance to capital."^^ A second suggestion exported by Bread and Roses is the complex interaction between the m arket and the production of cultural identity. In the United States, not only class but also the historically sedimented particularities of race, national origin, locality, and embodiment can rem ain largely invisible within the political sphere. As capitalism and m arket reforms sweep across all corners of the world, some Marxist theorists articulate locality as an historical

^ Newsweek, 15* December 1993. 5 Arjun Appadurai, M od ern ity at Large: The Cultural D im ensions o f G lobalization (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1996), 4. ^ Arlif Dirlik, "The Global in the Local," in Global/ Local: Cultural P roduction and the Transnational Imaginary, Rob W ilson and Wimal Dissanayake, Eds. (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 1996), 35.

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product that emerges within the context of the translocal.^^ While useful in terms of understanding the effect of globalism on local cultures (of race, ethnicity, protest, etc.), I am inclined to view the politics emerging from both the Justice for Janitors Campaign and Bread and Roses as something less confined, and more dialectical. That is, precisely because of the m ovem ent's claim of multiple

nationalities, identities, and even diverse definitions of "locality," J4J (and by extension. Bread and Roses), are redefining not only the local, but also the translocal through closer and more complex affiliations betw een racial, national, and class identities. This m ight be said, rather generally I am aware, of radical labor m ovem ents at large (throughout history, one m ight add), but it is in fact electronic m edia which contributes to new formulations of culture and community, and hence cultural and national identities. Los Angeles' mere

demography, its complex and layered cultural exports, has become a space where not only are new cultural forms "stirred up" and served to the rest of the world for consumption, but where movements and individuals have access in some m easure to agency in the same practice. Ozomatli, Rage Against the Machine, and Politics of Musical Protest

See, for example. C ultural Logic: A n Electronic Journal o f M a rx ist Theory and Practice, Volume One, No. 1 (2004).

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LA has undergone major changes since Steinbeck w rote The Grapes of


Wrath. For example, under modernization, drastic changes took place in LA

neighborhoods. Jan Lin has noted that Chinatowns, Little Italies, and Mexican barrios have long been considered obstacles to m odernization and cultural assimilation.^ Los Angeles eradicated ethnic spaces under the slum clearance policies of the interw ar period, and more actively under urban renewal in the postwar period, to make room for freeways, middle-class housing, stadiums, and expansion of governm ent and local business buildings. Chinatown was

relocated to facilitate the construction of the LA Union Railway Station, reflecting a trend that m any ethnic communities were undergoing: the construction of freeways has posed several issues such as social disintegration, oppression, and cultural dom ination on the part of African-Americans and Chicanos. Although such construction was primarily aimed at modernization, the displacement and dislocation experienced by Latinos and other suburban minorities have brought different implications to them. Many ethnic communities have been affected, but observers have noted that the predom inant victims of urban renewal program s were African-American communities. At the same time, infrastructure in

traditionally Mexican and African-American LA areas has declined under the


^Her work uncovers how on Manhattan's Lower East Side, riverfront tenements were cleared to make w ay for the East River Drive and public housing; how the Cross-Bronx Expressway severed a huge Jewish tenement community, and that Houston's Chinatown was relocated to facilitate expansion of the Central Business District Jan Lin, "Globalization and the Revalorizing of Ethnic Places in Immigration Gateway Cities" in Urban A jfairs R eview v34 n2 (November 1998), 313-27.

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impact of deindustrialization and economic restructuring over the past two decades. As businesses closed and city residents left for other jobs, municipal tax bases suffered. The less mobile population remaining in cities often were members of groups that placed higher dem ands on municipal services-poorer individuals, larger families, and more recent immigrants. This combination of a diminished tax base and higher expenditure needs contributed to municipal fiscal problems. In an effort to counter these trends, local governm ents increased their emphasis on economic development policies, despite the fact that m any of the factors driving the restructuring were outside local control. During the turbulence of the 1980s and the unrest of the early 1990s, it seemed the competing politics of global capitalism w ere embodied in Los Angeles. On one hand, ensuing economic restructuring was taking its toll on

existing and potential grassroots coalitions. But on the other hand, these same processes were effecting new collaborations and coalitions. In 1982, General

Motors' Camaro plant in Van Nuys was one of the last remaining heavy industrial jobs for Black and Latino workers in the County. W hen CM decided to close the plant and move m anufacturing south of the border, workers built a powerful in-plant m ovem ent led by Latino, black, white, and wom en workers, in

Annette Steinacker, "Economic Restructuring of Cities, Suburbs, and Nonmetropolitan Areas, 1977-1992" in Urban A jfairs R eview v34 n2 (November 1998), 212.

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strong alliance w ith LA's large Black and Latino communities.

Despite a

politically precarious time, UAW Local 645 was one of the m ost progressive and powerful locals in the U.S. labor movement at that time.^ Into the nineties and beyond, then, Black-Latino electoral and grassroots politics have been shaped by both the pitfalls and the trium phs of the political economy of deindustrialization. As m uch as the contradictions of postm odern capitalism have been discussed (for example, the rise of US anti-immigrant nativism and legislation in the m idst of dem ands for imm igrants to fill the minimum-wage, unskilled, and part-time jobs created by transformations of the US economy), social movements have exploited these economic contradictions and have often employed "oppositional practices that are brought to bear on the political institutions that presently exist."^ For example, in mid-March 1995, twenty-three w orkers began a sit-in at the 4th Street office of the Los Angeles Conservation Corps. The corps, a nonprofit organization whose annual budget at the time was $6.5 million, was government- and privately funded, and paid its workers from $4.25 to $6.25 an hour to plant trees, remove graffiti, clean up after disasters, and paint m urals at elementary schools and other buildings. Like m ost of its sister program s under

50 Eric Mann, Taking on General M otors. 5 1 Eric Mann, "Driving the Bus of History" 52 Lisa Lowe, Im m igran t A cts: O n A sian Am erican Cultural Politics (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 1996), x.

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the Corporation for National Service, the LACC paid its m embers minimum wage, but did not provide enough work hours for workers to qualify for medical benefits. LACC w orkers had tried unsuccessfully to unionize the corps, but their endeavors were foiled by managers, who told workers at other sites that the organizers were a rebellious group trying to ruin things for everyone. By March, w hat began as a protest w hen one of the union organizers, Carmelo Alvarez, was placed on adm inistrative leave, grew into concerns about broader issues. The protesters complained that these low-paying jobs dem eaned the minority workers, and their dem ands included higher pay, health benefits, and advancement to m anagem ent jobs. Wil-Dog Abers, a corps w orker w ho was paid $4.25 per hour, rem arked to the Los Angeles Times, "It's slave labor. Some of these women have two children. How are they going to pay for those children on minimum wage?" Abers continued, "We're getting paid m inim um wage and they keep our hours beneath the legal max where they have to give you benefits. Of course, the upper m anagem ent is getting full benefits and rental cars." On March 22, corps officials, eager to avoid the bad publicity of forcibly removing the workers, began a mediation process. Wil-Dog Abers's characterization of his and others' salaries as "slave wages" reflected a national pattern. According to political economist Holly Sklar, the m inimum w age has become a poverty wage. By 1998 the m inim um wage was

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19 percent lower than in 1979, adjusting for inflation. The m inim um wage, which formerly brought a family of three w ith one full-time w orker above the official poverty line, now will not allow one full-time worker w ith one child above that line (Sklar: 31). For m any working-class families of color in Los Angeles, these conditions were brought into sharp relief in the events leading up to and as a result of the 1992 riots after the acquittal of the LAPD officers who beat Rodney King. In the tradition of governm ent remedies in times of crisis, Clinton signed the National and Com munity Service Trust Act in 1993, creating AmeriCorps and the Corporation for National Service. The LACC, which was formed two decades before, followed a tradition of American national service program s since the early tw entieth century, like the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), created by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1933; John F. Kennedy's Peace Corps, approved by Congress in 1961; and Lyndon Johnson's VISTA program , established in 1964. W hat these and other service program s have in common is that they were created in response to economic crisis in order to build national infrastructure. Notably, we witness this directly after the Depression, in the creation of the Works Projects

Administration and Roosevelt's CCC, and again during the Civil Rights Era. Clinton's plan in 1993 came after a major economic recession whose official end was March 1991. In the opinion of Sklar, however, one w ould never have known

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that this was the official end, since the poverty rate of tw o-parent young families more than doubled between 1973 and 1994. As Wil-Dog Abers observed, LACC m anagem ent received full benefits while LACC workers received only minimum wage. This disparity is part of a rising trend. The average CEO in Business Week's annual survey in 1997 m ade 326 times the pay of factory workers in 1997, compared to 1980, w hen CEOs m ade 42 times as much. The reality for families like Abers's at the time of the sit-in in 1995, not just in Los Angeles but nationwide, was that because of employment, housing, insurance, and other discrimination, the hom eownership rate among black and Latino families was 47 percent for blacks and 44 percent for Latinos, about two-thirds the rate for white households (69 percent). In 1995, the median Latino household had a net w orth of only $5,000 (just 8 percent of whites) and the m edian black household had a net w orth of just $7,400. The experience of failed unionization efforts and subsequent firing recounted by Carmelo Alvarez, Wil-Dog Abers, and their co-workers was likewise part of a nationwide trend. In 1994, Business Week reported, "over the past dozen years, the U.S. has conducted one of the m ost successful anti-union wars ever, illegally firing thousands of workers for exercising their right to organize."

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In the m idst of this crisis for young urban would-be workers, the Corporation for National Service happily reported by 1998, "when faced with challenges, our nation has always relied on the dedication and action of citizens." The creation of corps of young workers is therefore imagined as being reflective of w hat historian David Noble has called "the deep fraternity of the people," and is often successful in co-opting would-be leaders of grassroots movements, engaging them instead in "national service." Wil-Dog Abers, who in 1995 called the Los Angeles Conservation Corps "slave labor," in 1998 w ent a little further, calling it a "poverty-pimp program," adding that politicians set up these kinds of jobs for inner-city youth to secure positive statistics for voting time. With this kind of truth serum floating among the workers, the LACC was eager to avoid both bad publicity and the contamination of other workers. They reached, finally, a settlement with the protesters: the workers lost their jobs, but were granted the use of the building for the rest of the year to engage in their own projects. These workers used the building to open a cultural community center dedicated to the arts of irmer-city Los Angeles youth. This seeming end to the story is more accurately characterized as the beginning: Wil-Dog Abers and longtime friend and co-worker Jose Espinosa had begun to collaborate on musical ideas, and decided to p u t together a band to

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raise money for the youth center. After they hired friends and other musicians around Los Angeles to participate, this new band had nine members, hailing from African American, Cuban, Chicano, Japanese, and Jewish cultural backgrounds. W hat resulted inspired the San Jose M ercury N ew s to remark, "If Afrika Bambaata's cosmic utopia Planet Rock had a house band, this w ould be it." Jam M agazine characterized them as "Santana meets Wu-Tang Clan on a runaw ay party bus driven by the Tower of Power horns." Wil-Dog, Espinosa, and the others decided to give their band a N ahuatl name, after the Aztec god of dance: Ozomatli. Arguably, m ore than any other musical group on the m arket at this time, Ozomatli's music reflects the fluidity of national borders engendered by technology free trade agreements, one can hear such diverse percussive instruments as tablas, congas, and turtle drum s. In addition to using a combination of African, Caribbean, and Mexican instrum ents and musical patterns, Ozomatli's performances and music videos include portraits of Che Guevara, Malcolm X, La Virgen de Guadalupe, and Mumia Abu-Jamal, suggesting a complex system of political, cultural, and religious influences which reflect not only the changing demographics of urban areas in California, but also the m ovem ent of culture and capital across w hat are increasingly fluid national boundaries. The fluidity of these boundaries in the popular sense is contradicted

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by the newest forms of rigidity employed by the state to control the m akeup and activities of the national citizenry. Ozomatli captures this contradiction in its demands for public rights and recognition, directly engaging local public policy through urban popular music. Additionally, Ozomatli addresses local topics like police brutality, political prisoners, women's rights, censorship, and nonviolence; these topics are often as diverse as the musical patterns they employ: for example, "Superbowl Sundae" highlights the percussive talent of Jiro Yamaguchi on tabla, and m anipulates a nine-string fretless guitar to sound like a sitar. The fact that Ozomatli was formed out of a political event is important, because it has determ ined the kind of politics the group maintains. Ozomatli can be heard at M umia rallies, college campuses whose student organizations they often affiliate with, and fund-raisers for various political organizations. The creation of the youth center that they were largely responsible for had a positive impact on the community, providing a space where young people could become involved in the arts. So inspired was Rage Against the Machine's Zack de la Rocha that he opened a similar space in East Los Angeles, the People's Resource Center. Interethnic, "political" music isn't always resistant, and its messages are sometimes detrim ental to communities and movements. A given individual can

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be both oppressed and privileged in varying degrees and in different contexts:^ gains m ade by one group might come at the expense of another aggrieved community. Rage Against the Machine has been criticized for capitalizing on an iconic value of Che Guevara, Subcomandante Marcos, and Mumia Abu-Jamal. The band leads people to question, but sometimes, that's it. W hat becomes

im portant is that in the absence of true national membership, excluded populations create alternative communities of allegiance. They are shifting and unstable but often meaningful enough to effect change and set an example for future formations. In this post-industrial, transnational age, the movements

and music that m ight constitute a new "Tom Joad" are found in a num ber of communities using varying strategies of resistance. In Los Angeles, Tom Joad is found in the negotiation of identities and identifications, and geographical boundaries and national memberships in the context of raced, classed, and gendered hierarchies that give meaning to the political musical cultures of transnational and/or translocal communities.
oo

The Anglo, African, and Chicano band Rage Against The Machine didn't form until the late 1980s, but 1968 proved to be an im portant year for them. On

Maxine Baca Zinn and Bonnie Thornton Dill, "Theorizing Difference from Multiracial Feminism" in Fem inist Studies 22 (Volume 2), pages 321-31.

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August 28, 1968, Detroit rock band The MC5 was the only band to perform for dem onstrators at the Chicago Democratic National Convention. They opened their performance w ith "Kick O ut the Jams," a song they characterized as an opportunity to "testify" and to "use the music to hold us together." Drum m er John Sinclair told listeners that rock and roll was the "resensifier" that listeners needed to build a gathering or else, he warned, "you're dead and gone." Sinclair urged the audience to "stay alive with the MC-5!"^ The performance served as prelude to a riot: Chicago police took action against crowds of dem onstrators without provocation. The police beat some marchers unconscious, arrested 175, and sent at least 100 to emergency rooms. The next day. M ayor Daley famously explained: "The policeman isn't there to create disorder, the policeman is there to preserve disorder." Twenty-eight years later, w hen the Democrats next held a convention in Chicago, some police officers still on the force wore t-shirts proclaiming, "We kicked their father's butt in '68 and now it's your turn." The pow er of this event is brought into sharp relief w hen one considers its context: irm January of 1968, the Tet Offensive claimed o v e rll, 000 American lives. In February, Richard Nixon declared his presidential candidacy; on March 16, Senator Robert Kennedy declared his own candidacy; the same day, US ground troops initiated a massacre at My Lai, killing more than 500 Vietnamese
^ John Sinclair, "Original Liner Notes & White Panther Party Statement," Kick O u t the Jams (n.p. Elektra Records 1 November, 1968)

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civilians. On April 4, M artin Luther King was assassinated while working and meeting w ith local leaders on plans for his Poor People's March at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis. On June 5, Robert Kennedy was shot by Sirhan Sirhan, a 24 year old Jordanian living in Los Angeles. In August, Nixon secured the Republican nom ination for Presidency. In October, the Summer Olympic Games opened in Mexico City. The games were boycotted by 32 African nations in protest of South Africa's participation, and on the 18th, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, US athletes and medalists in the 200-meter dash further disrupted the games by perform ing the black power salute during the "Star-Spangled Banner" at their m edal ceremony. The temporal positioning of the MCS's performance, its aftermath situated within the context of state repression of both bodies and information, and its articulated resistance to the entire way in which the United States did business both abroad and at home, is w hat links it to Rage Against the Machine's perform ance of the same song 32 years later at the 2000 Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles. Rage Against the Machine, known in all quarters as a "political band," articulating in lyrics and action their support for the Zapatistas, for the Bus Riders' Union, and popular protest in general. Their songs range in address from NAFTA to Rodney King, so their purposeful invocation of the protest movements - as well as the police brutality - involved in the 1968 Convention in

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their choice of "Kick out the jams" as their opening song was not surprising. Almost on cue, LAPD attacked audience members, disconnecting the band's microphones from the speakers, enabling their own microphones, and declaring the concert an unlaw ful assembly. They subsequently deployed over 200 officers to disperse the crowd. The Los Angeles Police Departm ent has become the category against which police brutality w orldwide is measured. Protestors and Rage Against the Machine/Ozomatli concert-goers at the DNC snapped pictures of the imposing riot police, who initially stood motionless. The export of these images across the world brought pressure to bear upon Los Angeles city officials, w ho eventually were forced to honor a request by Rage Against the Machine to give a free concert to those w ho had been forced out of the DNC concert by the LAPD. Using this media coverage to their advantage. Justice for Janitors, the Bus Riders Union, and several other protest movements involved themselves in the event, speaking between songs perform ed by Rage Against the Machine at the Staples Center following the Democratic National Convention. Frederic Jameson has argued that unlike previous m oments of social drama, social m ovem ents now face a "new and historically original dilemma" for

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which adequate or cognitive m aps do not exist.^ In this context, altemative cultural forms take on important meaning, because even if they do not resolve damaging effects of transnational capitalism, they can nevertheless and often be "eloquent descriptions of the ways in which the law, labor exploitation, and racialization function in making it possible to live and inhabit alternatives" in the encoxmter with the deleterious effects of transnational capital movement.^ Certainly, this is true for the labor m ovem ent in post-industrial Los Angeles. Yet the same m ight be said for existing epistemologies of m arkets and identity. The ways in which the Justice for Janitors Campaign utilized the

publicity gained from Bread and Roses, as well as the events organized by activists following the debacle at the Democratic National Convention demonstrates the continuing need for new theories about the effects of identity, protest, and culture on markets and international representation. W hat are the general lessons that can be draw n from these cases of international solidarity, coalition building, and accessing of political power through the very m eans deployed against laborers? Even if unsuccessful, the J4J campaign and the film Bread and Roses shift debates about race, class, gender, and national belonging. Kirk Fuoss' invaluable insight, that writing about

55 Frederic Jameson, "Cognitive Mapping" in M arxism and the Interpretation o f C ulture ed. Cary Nelson and Lawrence Grossbert (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1988), 351; Jeanne Colleran and Jenny S. Spencer, S tagin g Resistance: Essays on Political Theater (Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 1998). 55 Lisa Lowe, Im m igran t A cts: O n A sian Am erican C ultural Politics (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 1996), x.

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cooperation m eans writing at the same time about mistrust, can be seen as p art of a larger imperative to engage a balance between solidarity and rejection, but also the balance betw een romanticism and reality, between class- or ethnicity- based solidarity and chauvinism, between leadership and vanguardism . And although the willingness of workers to take collective action is often a critical component of success, it is not always sufficient to defeat powerful opponents; additional resources need to be deployed where appropriate. These m ight come from other workers, from local and national governments, or from unlikely sources of representation and affirmation. It is said in Buddhist mythology that each new era is served by a Buddha who offers a perfectly relevant form of teachings for that moment. But the great Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh has stated that the next Buddha may not appear in the form of a single awakened individual. As our rmderstanding of interdependence grows, he says, "the next Buddha may be the Sangha (community) itself." But today, youth culture has been nearly convinced of the fiction that collective action does not work. A successful m ovem ent m ust be open to

accommodating shifting identities, and its musical culture able to move across lines of race, gender, and geography to make sense of those shifts. In a time of expanding economic frontiers and increasingly global cultures, the struggle to

Jack Kornfield, A fte r the E cstasy, the Laundry: H ow the H eart G rows W ise on the Spiritual Path (New York: Bantam Books, 2000), 247.

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define "America" has taken on a uniquely aggressive character. These recurring crises of national identity are indicative of w hat David Noble, following Benedict Anderson, has called America's deepest contradiction: the construction of a bounded nation committed to a boundless marketplace. The explosions of

ethnicity, anti-governm ent riots, and refugee populations we see around the world, insists Arjun A ppadurai, is evidence that "the m arriage between nations and states was always a marriage of convenience...[and] is now a m arriage on the rocks." The new Tom Joad, then, must be able to "work through the conduits of commercial culture in order to illumine affinities, resemblances, and potentials for alliances among a world population that now must be as d)mamic and as mobile as the forces of capital, "s The new Tom Joad is contained in interethnic music of bands like Ozomatli and Rage against the Machine, but is also found in antiracist activism and musical politics of organizers for the Justice for Janitors Campaign.

"Our deep attachment, as Americans, to what w e call our 'country,'" Appadurai writes, "has so far contained the tension between our deep fervor about the nation and our deep suspicions of the state." Arjun Appadurai, "The Heart of Whiteness: Plurality, Diversity, and Democracy in the United States" in Callaloo, Volume 16 No. 4 (Fall 1993): 798. George Lipsitz. D angerous Crossroads: Popular M usic, Postm odernism , and the Poetics o f Place. N ew York: Verso, 1994,17.

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Conclusion At a protest during the Rodney King uprising in 1992,1 heard a speech which was at once inspiring and peculiar to me: a young activist pleaded with the mostly Chicana/o and African-American audience to w ork together, reminding us of our common histories of oppression and resistance. This activist argued that we had never worked together, and that now was the time to do so. He pointed out that although we had no shared occasions of radical protest, we nevertheless faced similar issues; that we needed to stop "segregating ourselves from each other." The response was wonderful, and for awhile in m y own local experience I saw Chicanos and African-Americans collaborating politically and socially in a w ay that seemed new and different. I also knew, though, that this kind of collaboration had happened. I knew that because of my own experience as an embodied African-American Chicana, but m ostly I knew that because I grew up in Southern California and had radical parents w ho took me to protests and listened to radical music: in short, I knew it because Td seen it. I d id n 't have the w ords to convey that experience, and while I found some in graduate school, I realized that a culture of coalitional politics is yet to become an integral part of activist and scholarly culture; that is, to the degree that such language and strategies become ingrained in our collective understanding of w hat is possible.

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I began, at 25, looking for w hat could be some kind of "final w ord" on how to m aneuver past trium phs and present dangers, public policy and ingrained social prejudices, into a newer social and political "beat:" I felt that music was a central p art of the "proof" of the profundity of Afro-Chicano collaboration, and a large part of w hy the story should be told. I felt the story was in the place from which m ost U.S. Afro-Chicano culture has emerged: Los Angeles. I was right only about the last two elements. Evidence of Afro-Chicano musical interaction was abundant, and different from the syncretisms described by scholarship on Afro-Latin jazz. Virtually every history I read on Los Angeles affirmed m y desire to show Afro-Chicano demographic, cultural, and political interaction. But I was soon profoundly discouraged about w hat I did n 't find: any easy solutions w ith regard to coalitional politics. I began the project wanting to argue that there were historical and cultural examples of Afro-Chicano collaboration that could serve as models for current activists and scholars. I was answering the peculiar understanding of that activist in 1992, trying to show that we didn't have to create a new history or language; Afro-Chicano radical protest had always been there. My first interviews showed me that it has, but not always in the same ways, and it certainly has not been all things to all people.

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And sometimes, the coalitions I was looking for, that I was sure had been there, just weren't. For example, I was incredibly excited to interview UAW activist Paul Schrade, who had been a key advisor to Robert Kennedy on the Los Angeles campaign (when Kennedy was assassinated, Schrade was also shot and seriously wounded), because every article I'd read pointed to Afro-Chicano radical activism in the 1960s. I had stacks of articles from militant Black and Chicano newspapers from 1968-1975 that referred to protests, m utual support, and common subjugation in Los Angeles. Schrade had been involved in organizing efforts in South Los Angeles as well as East Los Angeles; he w orked with the L.A. Panthers and the Brown Berets; he helped establish im portant housing advocacy organizations in both Watts and East L.A. But w hen I asked him if he'd seen any Black-Chicano organizing, he told me flat out, "no, I never saw none of that."^ Later he recalled several union struggles and a few events where African-Americans and Chicanos were in m utual attendance and/or formed the key leadership. But he m ade it clear that this was far from the norm. W hen I interviewed Ted W atkins' son about the Watts Labor Com munity Action Center, he told me, "oh, yeah, there was lots of that." But he couldn't think of any examples, except for a parade. Most m en I interviewed could not give

1 Paul Schrade, Interviewed by Author, Los Angeles, CA. May 2003.

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substantive evidence of this grassroots occurrence. In m y review of the sparse secondary information, as well as of the more abundant prim ary sources, I have found that this is because it was usually wom en who tended not to be in the formal leadership positions, but who tended to be the m ost involved on the grassroots level of m any organizations in the sixties and seventies. Interviews w ith wom en were m uch more fruitful. Longtime Chicana activist Alicia Escalante was very helpful, educating me about something I've yet to find in any article or book: Black and Chicana w om en's organizing around welfare and housing in the late sixties and early seventies. I found several anecdotal examples of this. For example, my friend and colleague Keta Miranda, a longtime activist and new scholar w ho's just published an amazing book on Chicana gang girls in N orthern California^ talked to me at length about memories of her m other, a Chicana from South Central w ho since the W ar on Poverty Program has been on the board of her local A.M.E. Church. My most lengthy and helpful interview came from Valerie Cameron, the AfricanAmerican and Chicana Com pton native. Ironically, I m et Val in Mirmeapolis, six years after I m et her daughter in college at UC San Diego. Val gave me a priceless look into late fifties' culture in Los Angeles: the everyday leisure activities, the high school culture, the car culture, and the music culture of

2 Marie "Keta" Miranda, H om egirls in the Public Sphere (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2003).

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African-American and Chicano young people in South Los Angeles. She corrected my inaccuracies with the insight only a native (and loyal) Comptonite would know.^ Overwhelmingly, however, in oral histories, prim ary documents and secondary research, m y chapter on the 1960s and seventies (Chapter Two), yielded few examples of this collaboration. Further research on this era w ould require several m ore oral histories. W hen I began to do interviews and find evidence of Afro-Chicano radical politics, it blew m y "Afro-Chicano politics as guide" model out of the water. These collaborations were complicated, sometimes fell apart, and rarely fit the "Afro-Chicano" rubric I was looking for. My argum ent changed because of these interviews, and m y approach began to focus on the dynamics, and not as m uch the harmony, betw een African-American and Chicana/o musicians and activists. Not only was it m ore accurate, it was more interesting. By the time I interviewed Jono Shaffer, the former Director of the Justice for Janitors Campaign, I was
looking for the kind of stories he told me, about how Anglo, African-American,

and Latina/o organizers came into the SEIU and fired several Chicana leaders; how new organizers pressured the longtime African-American constituents to
3 For example, she made it clear that although books placed Fremont H igh School in Compton, it was actually in South Central Los Angeles. She also made it clear that to many residents of Compton in the fifties and sixties, saying that Compton w as part of South Central Los Angeles was an insult, since Compton had "fewer thugs." Valerie Cameron, Personal Interview April 2002 .

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recognize the importance of globalization and imm igrant labor in 21 century organizing. Shaffer was honest about the mistakes he feels academics make when w riting labor history, and it challenged me to go back and examine my own w ork for these patterns.^ Interviewing musicians was the most exciting and often the most difficult part of this project, for two reasons. W hen I first interviewed Val Poliuto in 1999, he was m ore interested in talking about Brian Wilson stealing his songs than he was in answering my questions about his Black and Chicano doo-wop vocal group, the only one in Los Angeles in the 1950s. I had to talk to him several times before he w ould move beyond his contract feud. And w hen he did, he gave me very little in the way of information about the politics of race and racism in the music industry in the 1950s. Like m any other musicians I interviewed after him (even Carlos Santana and musicians from WAR), he argued that it was always "only about the music;" that he and the other musicians in the group "never even thought about" their racial differences. M any of the musicians I interviewed and came to respect inevitably told me that Civil Rights activism was an era that was over, and that it

^Jono Shaffer, Telephone Interview by Author, February 2004. 5 This was probably informed by the fact that he is Anglo, but further questioning yielded a sophisticated understanding of the racial context of the 1950s. ^Poliuto, Valerio. Personal Interview, 4 December 2001.

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was always the music anyway that brought people together. This kind of reductivist understanding, which sometimes was as directed as an encouragem ent not to focus on these politics but instead on "w hat draw s people together," threw me into tem porary bouts of despair. H ow could it be that the music from which m any activists drew their inspiration, and from which many communities considered central to their demographic and cultural identities, had musicians behind it that spoke the language of liberal individualism? Who seemed to advocate for the kind of enlightenment politics that so m any conservatives draw from? My interview w ith Puerto Rican conguero Ray Barretto w as perhaps most disappointing in this regard. Sixty years old w hen I interviewed him in 1999, Barretto was playing congas as fervently as he ever had. His 1971 song "Indestructible" had been an anthem for the Young Lords Party (translated, the lyrics of one verse are: Take your destiny in your hands/Surge ahead, m y brother, with
the help of new blood/ If your soul feels weary/Think that anything is possible/ Because the new blood is an indestructible force). Instead of Barretto saying, "somebody

finally got it!" he told me, panting from the effort of two sets at the Dakota Jazz Club in St. Paul, that while political collaborations among Latinos, Chicanos, and

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Blacks had always existed, I should refrain from the topics that could dredge up dissension/ The second reason musician interviews were difficult was also w hat made me more aware of gender issues in ethnography. As a woman, I had the kind of access to backstage greenrooms that m any male ethnographers do not. I successfully interviewed members of Santana, Los Lobos, and even Prince's band, but found some band members had expectations that w ent beyond the scope of the dissertation. My access to, as well as m y interactions with, m any musicians were overwhelmingly informed by m y gender. My interviews w ith Dan Pollack of the Mixtures were perhaps m ost demonstrative of some of the exchanges I had w ith lesser-known musicians of the fifties and sixties. Many of them had never been interviewed, and w anted to tell me stories that w ent on literally for several hours, but that had little to do with w hat I was looking for. Ironically, this is w hat ultimately impacted my scholarly approach to m y dissertation topic: not existing scholarship, but listening to the people I interviewed. Interviewing the musicians and activists for this dissertation gave me the language I was after, b u t their histories also illuminated contradictions in m y own work that were frustrating and helpful.

^Possibly, this sentiment is a result of his ow n disillusionment after 1975, but it was nevertheless discouraging. Ray Barretto, Personal Interview by Author, March 1999. I plan to expand upon this depiction of m y ethnographic experience in a longer article.

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I started this project last millennium, which characterizes literally and figuratively how m uch things have changed, but also how m uch they have stayed the same. The wave of demographic changes that has swept over Los Angeles over the last 30 years has already begun to sweep the rest of the country. In social terms, contem porary L.A. is a city split by contradictions of wealth and poverty, "a glittering First W orld metropolis built on a polyglot Third W orld substructure."^ Despite California's overwhelmingly m ulticultural and m ulti national character, and despite an incredible fiscal benefit from im m igrant and low-wage labor, California politicians over the past decade have led the nation in passing nativist and discriminatory legislation, and have done so largely by appealing w ith acute intensity to their constituents on the basis of their national and state membership, eliding real racial and class disparities in income and life opportunities. O pponents of bilingual education, affirmative action, and immigration have urged citizens to imagine themselves as m embers of a nation under attack by foreign elements, a nation whose very character is threatened by racial and gender preferences.

The urban poverty core in Los Angeles is 92% people of color. Sixty-two percent are Latinos. Forty-three percent speak little or no English. Thirty-eight percent live in poverty, compared to 18% for the county as a whole. Environmental Defense, "Environmental Justice in Los Angeles: A Timeline." http://www.environmentaldefense.org/article.cfm?ContentID=2816.

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My understanding of the dire consequences of these policies, but especially m y rich experiences interviewing activists and musicians integral to Los Angeles history over the past fifty years, makes me m ore convinced than ever that California's rich mter-ethnic history could play a major role in interethnic action w hen it m atters most. Today youth culture has been nearly convinced of the fiction that collective action does not work, and this is compounded by the fact that they see little scholarly evidence of the long standing and dynamic history of inter-racial struggles. Leaving out the inevitable and dynamic stories of interethnic cooperation and conflict in Los Angeles misses the complexities of ethnic and political identities in the past and the present, as well as the common future of Californians amid the rapid mobility of culture, capital, and populations across the globe. In m y work, I have found that Afro-Chicano, and m ore broadly, anti-racist interethnic activism, has a strong history: as early as 1903, Japanese and Mexican beetworkers collaborated against unfair w orking conditions in Oxnard. The Longshoreman's Union that emerged from the General Strike of 1934 in Los Angeles was racially integrated, as were the farm workers' unions of the 1930s. In the latter p art of that decade, Mexicana employees at CalSan protested discriminatory practices in the hiring of African-Americans, so that by the early part of 1942, factory owners were forced to relent under union pressure, and hire

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close to thirty Blacks. In the late sixties, Reies Lopez Tijerina and the Black Panthers swore their allegiance to a peace pact they co-authored, and it was working-class wom en's organizing that inspired the coordinated efforts of Ralph Abernathy and Corky Gonzalez for the Poor People's March to Sacramento and Washington, D.C. in 1968. In this global era, we have, by nature of rapidly changing technology and free trade, become closer to nations we previously had no connection to. But the agency of identifying w ith and incorporating these experiences and cultural issues gives us an opportunity to position ourselves in new and im portant ways. My dissertation shows that social movements and artists can incorporate styles and experiences which have no seeming connection to their ow n histories, and in so doing claim citizenship in a larger artistic and political world. It's often the unexpected places, in this case the music, which shows that the m ost impactful beats we create are those which are collective, those which delight in difference, and those that allow us to "move athw art the storm into a future in which the debris is m ore than just a residue: it holds the alternative." I w ould be remiss as a scholar and a hum an being if I did not say that beyond any scholarly epiphanies (which thankfully came consistently, if few and
Mervyn M. Dymally, "Afro-Americans and Mexican-Americas: The Politics of Coalition," in
Ethnic Conflict in California H istory ed. Charles Wollenberg (Los Angeles: Tinnon-Brown, Inc.,

1970), 166. Lisa Lowe, Im m igran t A cts: O n A sian Am erican Cultural P olitics (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 1996).

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far between!), beyond the methodological and ethnographic knowledge I gained throughout this process, I come away from the dissertation profoundly intellectually and personally changed because of the people I interviewed. Though I traveled to Puerto Rico, Los Angeles, Mexico City, and New York to conduct interviews, the words that best describe the impact of the project on my scholarship and person were w ritten right where I began, in Minneapolis: that w riting this dissertation m ade me, as David Noble w rote in 2002, "concerned not only w ith the true but also with the good and beautiful."^^ For that large part of this project, I am most grateful.

David Noble, D eath o f a N ation: Am erican C ulture and the End of Exceptionalism (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2002).

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Written, Directed, and Produced by Martin Sorrondeguy, VHS, 1999.

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The Black Press: Soldiers W ithout Swords. First aired February 10,1999 by PBS.

Written, Directed, and Produced by Stanley Nelson. Miscellaneous Berfield, Susan. "Global Changes and Domestic Transformations: Southern California's Emerging Role." Paper presented at the Global Changes and Domestic Transformations; Southern California's Emerging role, Iowa 1993. Proceedings of the Eighth Armual Convention California CIO Council," December 5-9,1945 Barry Alfonso, "WAR Anthology, 1970-1994," Liner Notes, W A R Anthology, 19701994 (Rhino Records, 1994). Hal Miller, Liner notes for Dance of the Rainbow S erpen t,{C olu m h ia/L egacy Records, 1995) Hall, Stuart. "Race, Articulation, and Societies Structured in Dominance." Paper presented at the UNESCO, Sociological Theories: Race and Colonialism, Paris 1980. Secondary Sources Articles and Websites Almaguer, Tomas. "Racial Domination and Class Conflict in Capitalist Agriculture: The Oxnard Sugar Beet Workers' Strike of 1903." Labor H istory 25 (1984): 325-50. Althusser, L. "Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses." In Lenin and Philosophy and O ther Essays, edited by L. Althusser. N ew York: New Left Books, 1971. Avina, Richard Mines and Jeffrey. "Immigrants and Labor Standards: The Case of California Janitors." In U.S.-M exico Relations: Labor M arket Interdependence, edited by Clark Reynolds Jorge A. Bustamante, and Raul Hinojosa Ojeda. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1992.

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