Bruin Alumni Association
Antonio Villaraigosa Educational Campaign Archives

Chapter 1
“Born to Raise Hell” – at UCLA

Chapter 2 - A Media Blackout on Villar’s Past

Chapter 3 - What Tony Villar Wrought

Understanding MEChA - Introduction

Understanding MEChA - El Plan Espiritual de Aztlan

Understanding MEChA - El Plan de Santa Barbara

Understanding MEChA - The Philosophy of MEChA

Press Release Announcing Victory in Antonio Villaraigosa Educational Campaign

Press Release on Antonio Villaraigosa Educational Campaign

Antonio Villar(aigosa) – UCLA MEChista

Antonio Villaraigosa (then Tony Villar) at UCLA
Antonio Villaraigosa (then, Tony Villar) leading a protest to include the Communist organization "Committee to Free Los Tres" on the Steering Committee of the Chicano Studies Center.  UCLA campus, May 23, 1974.

Chapter 1
“Born to Raise Hell” – at UCLA

    Antonio Villaraigosa, a one-time juvenile delinquent still tattooed with the slogan “Born to Raise Hell,” entered the UCLA campus as a transfer student from East Los Angeles Community College in 1972.  Known then simply as Tony Villar, he would not successfully graduate by the time he left in 1975.(1)   But Villar did leave a wide swath of influence in other, more radical ways.

While on campus, Villar joined the UCLA chapter of Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan (MEChA), and was part of its leadership by 1974.  MEChA had only been founded as a regional movement in 1969, and in many ways, the UCLA chapter, and the radical Chicano student left today, is a direct product of Villar’s work then.

Fellow MEChA alumni from the period remember Villaraigosa’s exploits well:
"He was one of the guys that would go out there and start the slogans because he was the loudest one," said Arturo Chavez, a fellow activist in college. "He was one of the people who would make sure people were riled up."

    Chavez underemphasizes what young Tony Villar did on the UCLA campus.  Archives from the campus newspaper The Daily Bruin of 1974 have revealed that Villar led a campaign to ensure an advisory role in the UCLA Chicano Studies Center for a communist Chicano community group, and successfully engineered the dismissal of the Chicano director of the Center who stood in the way of this goal.

    As first reported May 9, 1974, a group of approximately 50 Chicano students (out of the 1,500 with Hispanic surnames on campus at that time) called on the Chicano Studies Center Director Rudolfo ‘Rudy’ Alvarez to resign from his post.  Villar accused Alvarez of “trying to alter the concept behind Chicano studies.”  The article paraphrased Villar’s further accusation “that the center has drifted away from its initial direction of research conducted in conjunction with the community.”

    After the protest by the group of students, the Bruin further reported:
    “When CSC staff members arrived at the center Monday morning, they found locks inside and out of the offices jammed with toothpicks and matches, file cabinets also jammed, and the mouthpieces of the phones removed.  It is not known who was responsible or whether this was connected to the demonstration Friday.  Leaders of the demonstration deny any knowledge of the incident.”

    Not content with petty vandalism, Villar’s group engineered, with the cooperation of a like-minded staff, a shut-down of the Center with the stated threat that it would not to end until Alvarez resigned.(2)
    But it is the article from June 25, 1974(3)  that explains the real roots of the controversy and shows the true agenda that belied Villar’s posturing about Alvarez’s supposed “lack of leadership and incapability as an administrator.”(4)

    The Daily Bruin on that date reported that “Chicano students are considering filing a class action suit against Rodolfo Alvarez, Chicano Studies Center (CSC) director, according to student leader Raoul Garcia.

    “Students criticized Alvarez’ mishandling of the Steering Committee in 1973.  “Where at one time the Steering Committee composed of students, faculty, and community people was the policy making body of the Center, now Rudy is its sole dictator,” said Tony Villar, another leader in the movement against Alvarez.

    “Both Villar and Garcia attacked the Alvarez-directed CSC for working only with government-sponsored drug programs “instead of community organizations like the National Committee to Free Los Tres.”” 
     The “National Committee to Free Los Tres,” it must be understood, was a Los Angeles group created by former MEChistas to defend three members of the militant Chicano organization Casa Carnalismo who were convicted of assaulting a federal narcotics officer posing as a drug dealer in East Los Angeles.   Even more telling about this “community organization” that Villar favored is that by 1974, a Marxist-Leninist faction emerged within the NCFLT seeking to deemphasize the social-service aspect of the organization, and hoping to transform its parent group Casa Carnalismo into a "revolutionary vanguard" dedicated to the "liberation of the Mexican people."(5)   In a direct and unmistakable way, Villar was advocating for nothing less than a Communist place at the table within UCLA’s Chicano Studies Center. 

    The Bruin ended the story with a final quote from Villar:
“As Chicanos going to University they’re demanding relevant education that they have some input into.”

    The term “relevant education” is Orwellian code used by minority political activists to describe their vision of a network of non-academic interests that both feed from, and direct, the university.  The ideal network includes, but is not limited to, labor unions, minority racial affiliation groups, and members of the public taking direct action to aggregate political power.  Stripping away Villar’s self-justification about ‘relevant education,’ it becomes clear that the fight was a proxy power grab by militant Chicano organizations.  Their goal: to turn an academic unit at a proud university into a mere ideological factory to support and undergird a drive for exclusive minority power accumulation. 

    Villar was ultimately successful in his fight for his vision for a relevant education.  On July 19, 1974, the Daily Bruin announced in a brief notice that Professor Alvarez had resigned from his directorship following internal private deliberations with higher administration figures.

Villar’s goals, and the actions which made it possible, are instructive in understanding the man who desires to be the next mayor of Los Angeles.  Not only did Villar himself harbor radical ambitions, he proved willing to destroy both an innocent man and a fellow Chicano by turning his staff, his students, and eventually, his employer, against him.

Chapter 2
Chapter 3

1 “His 'Second Chance' Shaped Villaraigosa,” by Matea Gold, May 31, 2001, Los Angeles Times
2 “Chicanos shut down studies center,” May 15, 1974, The Daily Bruin
3 “Chicano students ponder civil suit against Alvarez,” June 25, 1974, The Daily Bruin
4 “Alvarez,” by Antonio Villar, May 21, 1974, The Daily Bruin
5 Working Paper Series, No. 5 by David G. Gutierrez; and “Left turns in the Chicano movement, 1965-1975,” by Jorge Mariscal, July-August 2002, Monthly Review