By Vassilis L. Aravantinos
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Other Latino community leaders, some elected, others not, would repeat in public what Molina had said in private. These Latino leaders insisted t that because their constituencies had grown in numbers, they deserved a proportionate share of government power. Many African American leaders, who remain convinced that their constituents are entitled to a larger share of government to compensate for past injustices, disagreed. The riots exacerbated these competing claims. The escalating rhetoric surrounding job competition during the ill-fated attempts to rebuild South-Central Los Angeles underscored the quandary in which Latino political leaders found themselves: although they perceived themselves as agents of progressive change, they, like African American leaders, continued to ply the old politics of racial entitlement.
As such, this chapter can be understood as a first step toward the discovery of an epistemology for labor and community organizers in a restructuring economy. Today poor and working communities find themselves in a frustrating struggle to identify and name their enemies and allies. Something has changed. For many community, labor, and political groups, changing conditions have outpaced the language of social and political rewards that once sustained the illusion of 18 • Economic Geography an expanding middle class.
Her approach also provides us with a method for narrating the Eastside's construction in time by focusing upon the dialectics of capital accumulation and the formation of local political institutions. Explicit in this economic-political dialectic is our representation of the Eastside as a contested terrain where its actors— Economic Geography • 21 indigenous or outside capital, indigenous social classes, and local political bureaucracies—vie for strategic advantages. The spatial convergence of capital, politics, and class, Zukin argues, can be portrayed as a dialectic of places.