imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List




IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Ed Roybal Presente

by Rosalio Muñoz Sunday, Nov. 06, 2005 at 8:41 AM
pww@pww.org

An honest appreciation, not uncritical, of the late Ed Roybal and his major contributions to coalition building and grass-roots politics.

Ed Roybal, first 20th Century Mexican American elected to the Los Angeles City Council (1949-1963) and to the House of Representatives (1963-1992) was a progressive Latino politician long before there was something called a Chicano movement. His political contributions should be deeply studied by Latinos and progressives.

He was a New Deal Democrat with left of center politics all his life. He stood up against the loyalty oath of the McCarthy era, he was an early Congressional critic of the Vietnam War, and was a supporter of labor rights and put domestic need over militarism all his life.

He kept running for higher offices like Lt. Governor and County Supervisor and was a founder of the Mexican American Political Association well as the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials. In his later years in Congress he held important committee appointments defending important programs against Reaganism.

The Los Angeles Times article says he voted against the Landmark Amnesty law, that is a distortion, he voted against the vicious employer sanctions provisions of the bill that also included the amnesty. Without the fight of Roybal in Congress against sanctions along with Latino, civil rights and progressive labor activists, the amnesty provisions would never have been written, much less passed. (Today we need to extend the “amnesty” and get rid of the employer and other sanctions.)

I remember the first mass Chicano demonstration I went to, it was in downtown LA in June of 1968 and was a protest of the conspiracy charge arrests of the LA 13, organizers and supporters of the student walkouts that year. I remember hesitating going fearing the police might attack, but hundreds and maybe thousands were there downtown including Roybal. A few weeks later I had the courage to help lead a protest to get UCLA cafeterias and vending machines to stop selling grapes during the farm worker called boycott. Having principled politicians around helps.

As an activist and also a writer for the Peoples World and Peoples Weekly World I had a chance to learn of and see Roybal in action at key points. At labor meetings I heard him speak how as a young child in New Mexico during a railroad strike he would join with the other “manito/a” children in throwing rocks at passing trains.

At a meeting with the establishment “LA 25” after the police attack on the Chicano Moratorium of Aug 29 1970 he told of how as a youth in Boyle Heights a siren would go off near sunset signaling a curfew for Mexicanos. At this critical time he told the LA establishment something like “police brutality was a top priority when I was first elected, and it is today as well”!. Just before the moratorium he had joined in a mass downtown demonstration protesting the police killing of the undocumented Sanchez cousins.

In the back issues of the Peoples World of the early fifties are articles about Roybal standing up to the loyalty oath, standing up against the elimination of rent control, protesting the Bloody Christmas police brutality, protesting the prohibitions on public housing projects, and much more. In one story, I believe it was on the abolition of rent control, Roybal was the lone “no” vote and his colleagues were mad. One of the council members came up with the canard that Roybal had threatened him with a knife”.

Yes like Rosa Parks, Ed Roybal was a pioneer who had to take heat. He was no radical, not a leftist but he came from the New Deal era, he was part of the CCC program that showed government could and should do much more for the working people. He benefited and joined in united front programs and issues and developed.

I remember an article critical of Roybal in La Raza Magazine that accused him of being an “arco iris” a rainbow politician who came out after the storm. Looking back on this I can see that article two ways, Roybal was a man of coalition who came out for well organized events and issues for progressive issues. As a left wing and communist activist there were many issues I worked on that Roybal did not speak out on, but I was always working in his district and never recall his “machine” trying to silence or punish me.

It is important to remember that in the 9th Council District where Roybal made his breakthrough in 1949 the largest voting group was African American and that his coalition went beyond Mexican Americans, Jewish and labor activists as is usually recounted. When Roybal finally moved on to Congress he did not insist that a Mexican American replace him as the biggest group in the district was African American. Roybal did however put energy and clout behind the formation of the Mexican American Political Association that fought for Mexican American (Chicano and Latino) representation as an independent progressive political group.

Ed Roybal went to UCLA in the thirties, a later alumnus, former L. A Controller Rick Tuttle tells me Roybal lived in student Coop housing there with Tom Bradley (later L.A. Mayor) and George Brown (a leading peace advocate in Congress). In the mid sixties Brown (who then represented part of East L.A.) was among the first two to vote against the Vietnam War, the next vote Roybal and a few others joined in. Roybal also was key in winning Latino Votes for Bradley’s successful mayoral campaign in 1973.

At one time I did organize a picket of Roybal. In a bill that added rights for immigrant workers he included provisions to use the Social Security card for I.D. purposes. A few of us in an immigration coalition protested. He responded with a meeting with us including broader forces. He also invited pioneer African American Congressman Augustus Hawkins to join in. In effect Roybal explained that immigration was one of the more racist federal departments and to get even small positive action took compromise, and that often usually perfunctory request for cooperation from him were ignored. Hawkins corroborated the discrimination. I still objected to the provision but recognized the context of his action.

Roybal was a very dignified person, “buen educado” (well educated)” socially as we say in the community, always impeccably dressed and very civil, his style helped win people over and when he showed emotion his emphasis stood out. I could see in his approach his background as a new deal social worker winning over a community theretofore denied and outcast to use new public programs. When he got into a fight his style became more that of an organizer in the style of Alinskyite Fred Ross who helped Royal in developing the Community Services Organization. Cesar Chavez, who also had Fred Ross as a mentor, had that seemingly low key approach as well.

Roybal had a sense of irony. In one of the Congressional sessions in the early eighties when House Democratic Speaker Tip O’Neill was pushing hard for the passage of employer sanctions Roybal led a heroic successful blocking action with the passion of an organizer, despite the important committee assignments O’Neill had apportioned him. The next session Roybal put his name on a bill with moderate sanctions in it but did nothing to move it. It died early on and Roybal called press conference to point out that he had put out the bill at the request of “leadership” (ie Tip O’Neill, to make the point that it was community opposition not his personality that gave force to the anti sanctions. His sober demeanor at the CSPAN covered press conference was belied by a faint grin as he announced the defeat of the measure.

In these days when we face the vicious far right politics of Bush and Schwarzeneggar we need to keep in mind the correlation of the organization grassroots based coalition and the ability of progressive politicians to make principled stands. Ed Roybals career in politics is an important model of one style of such correlation. Latino and progressive activists and politicians have much to learn from his contributions.

Report this post as:

Local News

GUIDE TO REBEL CITY LOS ANGELES AVAILABLE A12 5:39PM

lausd whistle blower A10 11:58PM

Website Upgrade A10 3:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 1:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 11:58AM

Change Links April 2018 A01 11:27AM

Nuclear Shutdown News March 2018 M31 6:57PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 7:00PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 6:38PM

Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! M19 2:02PM

Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A. M16 5:40PM

Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released M15 12:34AM

Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Clean Ups M06 12:10PM

After Being Told He's 'Full of Sh*t' at School Event, Mnuchin Demands UCLA Suppress Video M02 11:44AM

Resolution of the Rent Strike in Boyle Heights M01 6:28PM

What Big Brother Knows About You and What You Can Do About It M01 3:30PM

Step Up As LAPD Chief Charlie Beck Steps Down F14 2:44PM

Our House Grief Support Center Hosts 9th Annual Run For Hope, April 29 F13 12:51PM

Don’t let this LA County Probation Department overhaul proposal sit on the shelf F13 11:04AM

Echo Park Residents Sue LA Over Controversial Development F12 8:51AM

Former Signal Hill police officer pleads guilty in road-rage incident in Irvine F09 10:25PM

Calif. Police Accused of 'Collusion' With Neo-Nazis After Release of Court Documents F09 7:14PM

Center for the Study of Political Graphics exhibit on Police Abuse posters F07 9:50AM

City Agrees to Settle Lawsuit Claiming Pasadena Police Officer Had His Sister Falsely Arre F04 3:17PM

Professor's Study Highlights Health Risks of Urban Oil Drilling F04 12:42PM

Claims paid involving Pasadena Police Department 2014 to present F04 10:52AM

Pasadenans - get your license plate reader records from police F03 11:11PM

LA Times Homicide Report F03 1:57PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Xyloglossie attitudinale A23 8:07AM

Shadowgun Legends Hack and Cheats A23 7:24AM

What does the Quran Say About Islamic Dress?? A21 4:15PM

Biodiversité ou la nature privatisée A20 11:22AM

The Market is a Universal Totalitarian Religion A20 7:14AM

Book Available about Hispanics and US Civil War by National Park Service A19 5:52PM

The Shortwave Report 04/20/18 Listen Globally! A19 4:01PM

The Republican 'Prolife' Party Is the Party of War, Execution, and Bear Cub Murder A19 11:48AM

Neurogenèse involutive A18 9:21AM

Paraphysique de la dictature étatique A16 10:13AM

Book Review: "The New Bonapartists" A16 3:45AM

The West Must Take the First Steps to Russia A14 12:25PM

Théorie générale de la révolution ou hommage à feu Mikhaïl Bakounine A14 3:30AM

The Shortwave Report 04/13/18 Listen Globally! A12 3:50PM

“Lost in a Dream” Singing Competition Winner to Be Chosen on April 15 for ,000 Prize! A12 3:48PM

The World Dependent on Central Banks A12 4:43AM

Ohio Governor Race: Dennis Kucinich & Richard Cordray Run Against Mike DeWine A11 9:40PM

March 2018 Honduras Coup Again Update A10 10:52PM

Apologie du zadisme insurrectionnel A10 3:33PM

ICE contract with license plate reader company A10 1:14PM

Palimpseste sisyphéen A09 11:23PM

Black Portraiture(S) IV: The Color of Silence...Cuba No...Cambridge Yes A09 5:32AM

Prohibiting Micro-Second Betting on the Exchanges A09 4:18AM

Prosecutors treat Muslims harsher than non-Muslims for the same crimes A08 10:33PM

Amy Goodman interview on cell phone safety A08 10:29PM

Mesa, Arizona police officer kills unarmed white man A08 9:50PM

Israeli leaders should be prosecuted for war crimes A08 9:48PM

Paraphysique de l'autorité A08 12:11AM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy