# 7.1: Theoretical Frameworks

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## Concepts for Analyzing Chicanx and Latinx Social Movements

In order to effectively analyze social movements and political activity, we can use existing theoretical frameworks that have been developed by Chicanx and Latinx scholars and activists. These conceptual frameworks help us to organize the key patterns and differences that influence how and when people mobilize for change, and how successful these efforts are. Specifically, in this section, you will learn the definitions of Chicana Movidas, Chicanismo, and the differences between reform, revolutionary, and reactionary movements.

### Chicana Movidas

Chicana Movidas, or Movidas, are new politicas (politics) “at the intersection of race, class, gender, and sexuality, [that] developed innovative concepts, tactics, and methodologies that in turn generated new theories, art forms, organizational spaces, and strategies of alliance,” as well as policy change.1 This includes aspects of social movement organizing that are typically considered by scholars and activists, like marches, protests, demonstrations, advocacy, lobbying, and labor organizing. It also emphasizes creative and innovative strategies that build on cultural traditions, like teatro, storytelling, murals, altars, testimonios, filmmaking, performance, and more. Chicana movidas highlight the role of drawing from cultural, familial, traditional, and spiritual strengths to develop collective resources. They also respond to the patriarchal biases embedded in the ideology of “Chicanismo,” which dominated some early mobilizations for Chicana/o/x liberation.

### Chicanismo

Chicanismo is a form of political consciousness calling for “Chicano liberation” that was widely mobilized in the 1960s in response to “economic inequality, everyday and institutional racism, and the increasingly militant struggle to end the Vietnam war.”2 Chicanismo amplified the voices of Chicano men, in particular, as advocates for fairness and justice. This galvanized large numbers of Mexican Americans, Latinas/os/xs, and supporters from other racial and ethnic groups to adopt a political identity as Chicano or Chicana, and contributed to a larger project of racial justice, anti-war activism, and economic liberation. However, in both implicit and explicit ways, Chicanismo often erased Chicanas, feminist concerns, and issues related to gender and sexuality. While Chicanas were on the frontlines of these movements, they were often sidelined both within El Movimiento and by politicians and the media. Using movidas, Chicana feminists name oppressions that are ignored, subordinated, or not perceived and identify and challenge the marginalization of their communities by outlining the ways in which gender, race, class, and sexuality are mutually constituted.

### Reform, Revolutionary, and Reactionary Movements

Using the framework of Chicana movidas, we can examine social movements and advocacy in terms of the intersectional dynamics that inform communities’ identities and relationships to structures of power. It is also helpful to analyze movements in terms of both ideology and strategy.3 Reform movements seek to change a specific policy, either at the organizational or political level. These movements work within existing structures to improve the distribution of resources or practices of a group. Revolutionary movements transform society and bring about new ways of life. Advocates work to end policies that cause inequities and establish systems that are organized around collective values. For example, the early 20th-century anarchist movement in southern California worked toward transforming social institutions, including major figures like Ricardo Flores Magón and his brother Enrique Magón.4 From a broader Latin American context, revolutionary movements include the Zapatista movements in Chiapas, Mexico that organized for self-determination and governance over their lands. A mural of Zapatista women caring for their children is shown in Figure 7.1.1. As well, the Purépecha people in Michoacán, Mexico continue their revolutionary resistance against oppressive structures, including in 2011, organizing what is known as Cheran’s levantamiento (uprising) against Mexico’s militarized police force. Finally, reactionary movements exist to oppose and counter other movements. When two or more movements persistently work against each other over time, they can take on unique dynamics as opposing movements. For example, this is the case for anti-immigrant and immigrant justice movements.

Each of these three frameworks provides us tools for analyzing social movements and political activity. In the following sections of this chapter, we will explore specific examples and campaigns led by social movement activists, using these conceptual frameworks to guide and shape our analysis.

## Footnotes

1 María Cotera, Maylei Blackwell, and Dionne Espinoza, “Movements, Movimientos, and Movidas,” in Chicana Movidas: New Narratives of Activism and Feminism in the Movement Era (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 2018), 3.

2 Cotera, Blackwell, and Espinoza, “Movements,” 1.

3 Roberto Regalado, Latin America at the Crossroads: Domination, Crisis, Popular Movements, and Political Alternatives (Melbourne; New York, NY: Ocean Press, 2006).

4 Yesenia Barragan and Mark Bray, “Ricardo Flores Magón and the Anarchist Movement in Southern California,” KCET, May 29, 2014, https://www.kcet.org/history-society/ricardo-flores-magon-and-the-anarchist-movement-in-southern-california.

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