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The Aztlan raza-ists see their task as liberation of Mexican territory from the evil United States and its “anglo” occupiers with names like Smith, O’Hoolihan, Kowalski, and Rabinowitz. Aztlan publications are not exactly friendly to Jews. (See Voz de Aztlan)
The Aztlan concept created some difficulties during a 2003 renovation of Chicano Park with federal funding. Some thought the term was too militant, and would violate the 1964 Civil Rights Act by giving preferential treatment to Chicanos. Caltrans district director Pedro Orso decided it did not.
“There are works of art here that everyone should view and enjoy,” Orso told reporters. The Aztlan propaganda duly remained as part of the federally funded renovation. Not all the imagery is Communist hagiography or raza-ist propaganda in the familiar neo-fascist style (to see a gallery of the images, click here). Some of it is the artistic equivalent of gang and prison tattoos, but Caltrans has never considered any of it to be “graffiti,” as it did the American flag mural in Sunol. Neither Caltrans nor any government agency has ever subjected any Chicano Park mural to a cover-up; paint or otherwise.
According to news reports, when Waldron, Noda and Hanley painted the 35-foot American flag by Interstate 680, the California Highway Patrol let them work without interruption, and passing motorists honked with approval.
In his written statement following the cover-up, Arnold Schwarzenegger said, “I extend my apologies to the artists whose mural inspired drivers along 680 for over eight and a half years.” The governor, who called Caltran’s actions “unconscionable,” announced no plan to have the 9/11 American flag mural restored, but artists took up the cause on their own.
Thomas Hanley sought permission from Caltran’s officials to repaint the mural, but according to news reports, artists Jim Gallagher and Steve Giordano restored the flag mural on July 3, just in time for the July 4 holiday.
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