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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Recent Work

Interdisciplinary research in Chicano/Latino Studies is conducted under the auspices of the Center for Research on Latinos in a Global Society (CRLGS). Its multifold goals are: (1) to examine the emerging role of Latinos as actors in global economic, political, and cultural events; (2) to promote Latino scholarship; (3) to enhance the quality of research in Latino studies; (4) to provide a forum for intellectual exchange and the disseminiation of research findings; and (5) to promote the participation of undergraduate and graduate students in research on Latino issues. The use of the term "global society" underscores the faculty's perception that, as a society, the United States is becoming "globalized," meaning that it is increasingly affected by worldwide economic, political, demographic, and cultural forces and that Latinos are at the center of this. Latinos in the United States, individually and as a socio-political group, play important roles in the multiple processes—immigration, trade, international capital flow, and international political movements—which are changing the traditional demarcation between domestic and foreign, and national and international politics, economics and society.

Cover page of The Mexican Question:  Mexican Americans in the Communist Party, 1940-1957

The Mexican Question: Mexican Americans in the Communist Party, 1940-1957


This paper will examine Mexican American labor activism between 1940 and 1957 in Southern California by exploring some key issues and political conflicts in the life of Ralph Cuaron. As a member of the Communist Party (CP) and an activist in the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CJO), he was a critical element in the Mexican American community nurturing leadership and laying the groundwork for political activism. Cuaron is representative of the generation that took the mantle of leadership in the period between the 1930s and the 1950s as a personal challenge to transform economic and political conditions of Mexican Americans. And, yet, Cuaron’s project was not so narrowly defined that it excluded all but Mexican Americans Cuaron was ultimately concerned for the plight of the working man and woman. He had joined the CP because of its belief in the potential of the working-class to transform society and make it more democratic and egalitarian. By the end of 1957 however, Cuaron was at an impasse: branded a communist alien by the FBI and a nationalist by the leadership in the CP. Hence, Ralph Cuaron's life is a window into this historical past-a living archive.

Cover page of The Los Angeles County Strike of 1933

The Los Angeles County Strike of 1933


Historians of Chicano, Southwest labor, and U. S.Mexico relations cannot avoid bumping into archival documentation that testify to the significant presence and activism of the Mexican government via its consulate corps within the expatriate communities across the United States. Numerous published studies verify that consuls actively engaged an interest in the political affairs of the immigrant colonias between 1920 and 1940, the period of interest to this study. Several strands of twentieth century (Chicano history, in particular community and political development, union organizing, and the California agricultural labor strikes of the 1930s, defy explanation without reference to the high level interventions by various Mexican consuls. However there is no consensus on the political significance of consular conduct upon Mexico de afuera. This study is an attempt to systematically address that question posed by Chicano historiography by never satisfactorily answered.

Cover page of Latino Poverty and Immigration in California and Orange County:  An Analysis of Household Income in the 1990 Census

Latino Poverty and Immigration in California and Orange County: An Analysis of Household Income in the 1990 Census


Descriptive statistics of the 1990 Census Public Use Microdata Samples (PUMS) 5% file and published data is analyzed to examine income and poverty variables of Latinos in California and Orange County The study aims: 1) to describe the trends of income distribution, and the trends in the growth of poverty, for the general population and the Latino population in California and Orange County; 2) to assess the importance of immigration in the growing poverty of Latinos in Orange County; and 3) to disaggregate the "Hispanic" category so as to make comparisons among different Latino ethnic groups and thus qualify the conclusions one might draw from a total category of Latinos in the state and county. The analysis reveals the heterogeneity of the Latino population and the obfuscation inherent in a Hispanic aggregate category. More Latinos were living in or near poverty in 1989 than other ethnic groups but among Latinos those of Mexican and Central American descent were far worse-off than other Latino ethnic groups. Latinos of South American, Cuban, and Puerto Rican origin in Orange County were found to have socio-economic characteristics more similar to non-Hispanics that Latinos of either Mexican of Central American origin which more likely to suffer from poverty than other racial and ethnic groups. In addition, the analysis demonstrated the greater risk of poverty for women as compared to men and the foreign-born compared to the native born which are in part a result of class related variables such as educational attainment.

Cover page of Mexican-American Interests in U.S.-Mexico Relations:  The Case of NAFTA

Mexican-American Interests in U.S.-Mexico Relations: The Case of NAFTA


This paper examines the question of whether or not a concern for Mexico's interests is a major motivation behind the foreign policy lobbying efforts of Mexican-Americans. To this end, it identifies and analyzes the motivations that propelled some Mexican-American organizations to become active in the process of NAFTA negotiation. It argues that these organizations did not seek to protect or advance Mexico's interests. Their advocacy of NAFTA represented an effort to enhance their own domestic position, not altruistic support of the Mexican government's position out of ethnic loyalty.

In a concluding note it suggests that this kind of behavior is likely to predominate given the nature of U.S.-Mexico relations and the historical relationship between Mexican-Americans and Mexico. It points out, however, that this does not mean that a turn of events might not induce them to try to influence U.S. policy on behalf, or against, the Mexican regime's interest, for example, concerning other issues such as drug trafficking or Mexico's internal political conditions.