UC Riverside professor thinks it’s time for a third, Latino political party

Is it time for a third party? Armando Navarro, UC Riverside ethnic studies professor, says it is.
Is it time for a third party? Armando Navarro, UC Riverside ethnic studies professor, says it is. Cathro via Flickr Creative Commons

It’s convention season for Republicans and Democrats and now a UC Riverside ethnic studies professor says it's time for a third party to join the political ballgame — a Latino party.

Armando Navarro has walked a fine line between academia and activism since the '60s.

He was involved with the Chicano Rights Movement decades ago.

He was a founder of the Raza Unida Party in the Southwest, which campaigned for better social and economic conditions for Mexican-Americans. But the party lost momentum in the '80s amidst criticism it was too radical.

Navarro is used that; some dismiss him as a radical or a Mexican nationalist.

Navarro says that today, since Latinos make up more than 16 percent of the U.S. population, the time is ripe for a third political party that represents Latinos.

“We have the capacity, numerically, to wield great influence, to be the balance of power, to be the swing vote,” says Navarro.

But, he explains, the focus should shift from getting out the Latino vote and electing Latinos to creating what he calls a “Brown” party.

“The fact is that we’re not organized. Nobody is organizing in our barrios. There’s deep alienation in our communities," he said. "The immigration crusade that some of us helped organize in 2006 — mobilizations and marches — today, are history. We don’t have that capacity. So we’re in an impasse; we have to be able to translate the numbers that we have into power.”

Navarro will present a paper detailing his thoughts for this new Latino political party later this week, at the 40th Anniversary Commemoration of the first Raza Unida Party National Convention in El Paso, Texas.

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