Update on the Myth of Dolores Huerta, 2016

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Back in 2014 I wrote the article “The Politics of Opportunism and Capitulation: The Myth of Dolores Huerta.” It was written after the midterm elections of 2014, and during a time of resentment against the Obama administration and traditional Latino establishment power brokers such as Dolores Huerta who came to its aid. Partly in response to the feeling that Huerta cannot be criticized because of her iconic status, I deconstructed this status in this article, which was documented and sourced. It not only examined her reformist history, but also her recent history with the Clintons’ and the Democratic Party, and predicted that she would continue to support Hillary Clinton in her next presidential campaign to be used to bring out Latino voters. Recent news about Dolores Huerta’s actions in the Nevada Democratic Party caucus this year in 2016 made this article get a lot of attention recently, more than a year later.

During the Nevada caucus it was alleged that Dolores Huerta was shouted down by Bernie Sanders supporters for offering to translate for Spanish speaking voters, with Sanders supports shouting “English Only.” This was first tweeted out by actress America Ferrera, then tweeted on Dolores Huerta’s Twitter account. The story was then picked up by the media in the frantic election coverage which reported this story uncritically, with the implication that Sanders supporters are racist. It also spread through social media by supporters of Hillary, who also uncritically accepted the story because of the reputation of Dolores Huerta. Yet due to both Huerta and Ferrera being vocal Clinton supporters, this story was questionable from the beginning.

Later on many others who were there disputed Huerta’s account. A video from the caucus showed that people were shouting “neutral,” to favor a translator who was not affiliated with either campaign, as Huerta was there as a partisan of Clinton and wearing her campaign shirt and buttons. It turned out that”English Only” was said once by a moderator over some confusion about the rules, not from Sanders supporters as was reported. Snopes.com determined the story as False after extensively researching it. Other reports debunked the story too. Yet Huerta continued repeating this lie after it was discredited.

This comes about with other reports of election irregularities in Nevada, a common occurrence in the primary election in a tight race. Dirty tricks happen from all aisles in the campaign, but this one is at play with the Hillary campaign, which is faltering with competition from Sanders, and desperate to get the Latino vote, which she ultimately lost in Nevada.

This all could have been an honest misunderstanding or a backhanded plot by a partisan of Hillary. The motives of Dolores Huerta may not be known. But the evidence shows that it would not be surprising that Huerta intentionally did this to help her candidate, for she has been a vocal supporter of Clinton for many years, and willing to attack anyone for those she favors. Yet many still see Huerta’s iconic status as a reason to automatically believe her, and any criticism was muted because well, she was Dolores Huerta.

This incident was for many their first glimpse of the back handedness of Dolores Huerta. Because of this my article was forwarded several times around social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, garnering over 8,000 hits the days after the story broke. It was used as evidence about what Dolores Huerta’s real politics are about, which is to capitulate to the Democrats. It generated much discussion about this and many other issues, mainly about how myths of our leaders are used to bring our people in line.

Other evidence has been presented about Huerta’s ties to the Clintons’, including the Clinton Foundation’s $100,000 donation to Huerta’s own foundation. Others have come out against what Dolores Huerta did, as more are willing to criticize her politics despite her status.

Also, just to note, I do not have anything against Dolores Huerta personally, I am willing to go after any leader or figure if their politics are wrong. I am not a fan of Bernie Sanders either, as he has shown he would sell out Chicano people in the case of Sierra Blanca. I may write about this in the future. Either way, we as Chicanos need to create our own liberatory politics independent from this system, and the above is further proof of that.

Personally I am glad that something I wrote has had an impact like it did, and brought more attention to my blog. It is noteworthy for I have had an irregular posting schedule. Because of this, I will pledge to post more on this and other topics for my new readers here in the future.

-Antonio Moreno

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This entry was posted in 2016 election, Chicano Movement, Dolores Huerta. Bookmark the permalink.

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