WHEN I RETURNED to college after serving Uncle Sam, I discovered a new organization at UCLA called MEChA--Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan. The group, founded by Mexican-American students who preferred to call themselves Chicanos and Chicanas, proclaimed that its mission was to reclaim California and the rest of the Southwest--an area MEChA called Aztlan--from "the foreigner 'gabacho' who exploits our riches and destroys our culture. ... [W]e declare the independence of our mestizo nation. We are a bronze people with a bronze culture. Before the world, before all of North America, before all our brothers in the bronze continent, we are a nation, we are a union of free pueblos, we are Aztlan." MEChA's motto made clear that it was all about race: Por La Raza todo. Fuera de La Raza nada--"For the Race everything. Outside the Race nothing." I recall thinking at the time that no white group with similar aspirations would have been tolerated. MEChA's aim at UCLA was to gain control of the newly created Chicano Studies Center, radicalize it, and transform it into an independent department. This was clearly more about power and funding on campus than a lack of courses for Hispanics. The long-established departments of history, language, and literature already offered dozens of those. Since I was working on my doctorate in the history department at the time and knew several professors who taught Latin American classes, I was more than a casual observer of the battle.