[Marxism] Texas Border Wall Can't Separate Latinos from Memories and Culture
Dbachmozart at aol.com
Dbachmozart at aol.com
Sat Jun 14 04:49:42 MDT 2008
Texas Border Wall Can't Separate Latinos from Memories and Culture
A short walk from the state capitol, at the Hideout Theater, the film Border
Bandits is upending some of the tall tales from that era of revolution --
tales like the looming race war -- and replacing them with a bloody history
most folks don't know about. The film centers on the recollections of Rio Grande
Valley ranch hand Roland Warnock, who in 1915 witnessed Texas Rangers shoot
two unarmed Tejano ranchers -- both U.S. citizens -- in the back.
During a Ranger-led border crackdown to root out so-called Mexican bandits
and suspected sympathizers, meaning anyone with a Spanish surname and two good
legs, lawmen and vigilantes killed 5,000; thousands more abandoned their
ranches and fled to Mexico. A postcard memorializing the border crackdown flashes
across the screen, featuring three mounted Rangers with their lassos tied
around dead "Mexicans."
But were they really "bandits"? About midway back to the border, at a
converted ranch house with creaky wood floors that now is the Kenedy Ranch Museum,
historian Homero Vera fills me in on the back story for the "Border Bandits"
"They were revolutionaries, they had their ideals," Vera explains. "They
called them bandits because they were hostile, because they did kill some
The struggle, of course, was over land. Tejano landowners rebelled against
the strong-arm land seizures by Anglos that robbed them of their ranches.
Between 1900 and 1910, some 187,000 acres went from Tejano to Anglo hands in just
two border counties. Suddenly, Tejano ranchers and proud vaqueros (cowboys)
became landless farm laborers.
Inspired in part by this Tejano-Anglo conflict, Tejano rebels launched their
Plan de San Diego. The 1915 plot called for the defeat of U.S. rule in Texas,
Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and California, the formation of a new
republic for Mexicans, blacks and Indians, and the killing of every Anglo male over
Bands of rebels burned bridges, derailed trains and wreaked havoc throughout
the Rio Grande Valley. It was the nightmare scenario Rangers had anticipated.
And though 80 years had passed since that seminal border battle, the Ranger
crackdown evoked that old battle cry of the Texas Anglo: Remember the Alamo!
Spurred by the film, state Rep. Aaron Pea (D) proposed a bill in 2005 to
teach this largely ignored Ranger history in Lone Star schools. The bill died in
session. Pea never revived it.
Faced with the outcry over 21st-century Mexican immigrants, Texas, he said,
wasn't ready to look back at injustices committed against Mexican Americans in
the distant past. "It's a less tolerant environment -- a xenophobic
political environment -- that we exist in today because of the immigration debate,"
But the 1915 Ranger campaign wasn't directed at immigrants, I say. It was
directed at Tejanos, meaning: U.S. citizens. Fear, said Pea, made such
distinctions irrelevant to Anglos of that era.
full article --
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