Commentary about how the social conservatism of many Hispanic voters makes them natural Republicans always overlooks the radicalism among the Hispanic political elite — an elite that is, especially in today’s fragmented, bowling-alone society, the main political intermediary between them and the broader society. As evidence of such radicalism, Chris Kelly points to this story about a book fair earlier this month in Venezuela. It featured the usual suspects — Ward Churchill, Amira Baraka, a video by Noam Chomsky. But the central event of the book fair was an ongoing discussion entitled “United States: A possible revolution.” Among the speakers — speakers who flew to Chavez’s Venezuela to discuss the prospects of overthrowing our established order — were two important, mainstream Hispanic leaders, namely Gustavo Torres of Casa de Maryland (described earlier this month by the Washington Post as “the state’s largest Latino and immigration advocacy group”) and Antonio Gonzalez, president of the Southwest Voter Education and Registration Project, which accurately describes itself as “the largest and oldest non-partisan Latino voter participation organization in the U.S.” The report on his comments in Caracas said:
“What does a revolutionary do in the U.S. today?” asked Gonzalez. “Take power wherever you can” by electing Latinos to city, state, and federal offices. His PowerPoint presentation highlighted the growing number of Latino voters.
Only with less immigration and more assimilation do we even have a chance of depoliticizing ethnicity and reduce the mediating function of radicals like this, as well groups like La Raza, MALDEF, and their ilk.