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The Plan Espiritual de Aztlán (English: "Spiritual Plan of Aztlán") is a manifesto advocating Chicano nationalism and self-determination for Mexican Americans. It was adopted by the First National Chicano Liberation Youth Conference, a March 1969 convention hosted by Rodolfo Gonzales's Crusade for Justice in Denvermarker, Coloradomarker.

Background

The Chicano Movement was one of many movements of the late 1960s and 1970s, like the Black nationalism movement of the United States or the Black Consciousness Movement of South Africa, in which people of color in white-ruled societies adopted the ideas of nationalist liberation movements that had successfully overthrown colonial regimes in Africa and Asia.

In an area of the United States that had been purchased from Mexico by the United States after the Mexican-American War, where Mexican American history was neglected in education, and where discrimination against and segregation of Mexican Americans was common, the idea of a program of decolonization had special resonance for young Mexican American activists, who called themselves "Chicanos" as a mark of pride. The reconfiguration of the mythic idea of Aztlán was an important part of this movement, and El Plan Espiritual de Aztlán was an extension of that idea.

Origin and adoption

During the conference, a young poet named Alurista, born in Mexicomarker but raised in San Diegomarker, took the stage. To a captive audience, he read the words,
In the spirit of a new people that is conscious not only of its proud historical heritage but also of the brutal "gringo" invasion of our territories, we, the Chicano inhabitants and civilizers of the northern land of Aztlan from whence came our forefathers, reclaiming the land of their birth and consecrating the determination of our people of the sun, declare that the call of our blood is our power, our responsibility, and our inevitable destiny.


The poem, El Plan Espiritual de Aztlán, became the title of the manifesto, and the poem became its preamble. Alurista went on to become the "poet laureate of Aztlán".

Criticism

El Plan Espiritual de Aztlán contains several controversial statements which have led some commentators to criticize MEChA, a Chicano student group that sprang from the Chicano Movement, as a racist and separatist organization. However, MEChA is not an organization that takes the same stance across-the-board on issues and statements in its founding documents. After all, El Plan de Santa Bárbara is in fact the true founding document of the group. El Plan Espiritual de Aztlán and El Plan de Santa Bárbara are manifestos that should be taken in historical context.

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