Ruben Salazar: Man In The Middle – Documentary Film Review


Ruben Salazar: Man In The Middle (2014)
Phillip Rodriguez, director

Ruben Salazar: Man In the Middle, is a documentary scheduled to be aired on PBS this month in April. I went to an advanced screening at a film festival here in Denver. It tells the story of Ruben Salazar, one of the first martyrs of the Chicano Movement.

Ruben Salazar was a journalist in print and television, who used his position to publicize the demands of the Chicano people. Man In The Middle not only gives a biographical sketch of Salazar but explores his evolving sense of identity as a Mexican-American. His advocacy for Mexican-American issues brought him in conflict with the Anglo-dominated structures of power in Los Angeles, as well as the attention of many law enforcement agencies who wanted to neutralize potential Chicano leaders. His death during the Chicano Moratorium on August 29th, 1970 was surrounded in mystery, as many activists have not accepted the official accounts around his death especially since he was such a prominent figure. This particular film was the result of a lawsuit against the Los Angeles Sheriffs Department to release their files pertaining to Salazar and his death at the hands of one of their deputies. Much new information about his death is included in the film.

The subtitle of this documentary reflects on the dual positions Salazar occupied in his life, between his professional position in Anglo society and the burgeoning Chicano Movement.  Salazar was born in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico to a wealthy family, whom harbored bourgeois and white chauvinist values. They later moved to El Paso, Texas, with the bridge that crossed the border becoming symbolic for Salazar of the bridge between the two nations and cultures. Like many Mexican-Americans of his time, Salazar served in the armed forces, and with the GI Bill went to college. He used that education to become a journalist, a member of the intelligentsia. He would later become a successful mainstream journalist, and use that position to bring attention to the issues of Chicanos.

Salazar became a successful journalist and entered middle class life in the United States. Yet his professional and class status did not make him blind to his identity as a Mexican in America. He rose through many positions up to becoming a correspondent for the Los Angeles Times. While there he became a foreign correspondent, covering the Vietnam War and the Tlateloco Massacre in Mexico in 1968, among other events. In the last years of his tenure in the Times he was sent back to Los Angeles to cover local stories. From this point we can see that Salazar succeeded in the so-called American dream, but from this position he still was conscious of the racism and white supremacy inherent in this dream. The film presents excerpts from his writing, both published and personal, that traces his evolving identity with being Mexican in White America.  This was around the time the Chicano Movement was becoming more active.

The Chicano Movement brought a shift in the politics of Mexican-Americans. Before, the emphasis was on assimilation into American society, and for those of Mexican descent to be accepted as white. But as many Mexican-Americans became aware, white society would not accept Mexicans or other non-whites for who they were, so thus they became more conscious of themselves as Chicanos. The new strategies were of a more nationalist basis, and they used more militant tactics to exert their human rights. Salazar, while not a militant himself, was a product of this growing self-awareness. His growing sense of his position as a Mexican in American society translated into his journalism, and he used his position to articulate the demands of the demands of the Chicano Movement to a broader mainstream audience. He was one of the only mainstream journalists to do so.

Salazar’s journalism often went against the powers that be.  The documentary shows released FBI files that documented Salazar’s travels as a foreign correspondent, with some attempting to link him to support of Cuba. Along with being part of the LA Times he later took a position with KMEX, a Los Angeles television station, where he did more investigative journalism. His exposure of police brutality by the Los Angeles Police Department, some of which led to disciplinary actions against officers involved, invoked the anger of this powerful department. It was this same police department that would be the instigator of violence at the Chicano Moratorium that included his untimely death.

Chicano Moratorium

The Chicano Moratorium March against the Vietnam War, which happened on August 29th, 1970, was known for two things. One, it was not only the largest Chicano demonstration against the Vietnam War, but one of the largest anti-war demonstrations against the Vietnam War overall in the United States. It brought attention to the fact that while Chicanos made up only 6 percent of the U.S. population they made up more than 20 percent of the casualties of the war. Chicanos were being used as cannon fodder for an imperialist war. This march showed the anti-imperialist nature of the Chicano Movement. (1). Some of the slogans emphasized that the real war for Chicanos was being fought at home for their own liberation. The Moratorium is also known for ending police instigated violence. Several people at this event were violently attacked by the Los Angeles police, and at least 3 people were killed by police due to their actions this day. One of them was Ruben Salazar.

To escape the conflict happening at this time, Salazar and a companion sought refuge at the Silver Dollar bar. He was killed when Los Angeles Sheriffs Deputy Tom Wilson fired a projectile tear gas canister inside the bar. The projectile, shaped as a bullet, hit Salazar in the head and killed him instantly.

Two others, Lynn Ward and Angel Diaz, members of the Brown Berets, were also killed that day. Another, Gustav Montag, was killed in a later Moratorium march the next year. Salazar’s death is the one most remembered because of the prominent positions he held for a Chicano. As a middle class professional who got accepted into mainstream American society, he was killed at the height of his career and as he began to do more journalism on behalf of Chicanos.  Inquiries were done into his death, all of which exonerated the officer and the police, even though it was ruled a homicide. In another documentary, scholar and activist Elizabeth Martinez states that “if it was an accident, it happened because the lives of Mexicans were considered useless,” for they fired a tear gas canister inside a bar and did not worry about it. (2). The documentary even interviews deputy Wilson in present day, and shows footage of him talking about contemplating shooting another tear gas canister at a heckler at the inquiry itself, showing his mindset. The film gives more details about what the police did that day, along with uncovering potential reasons the police would not want to go into his death, if they deliberately targeted him. Either way, the death of Salazar was a major blow to the Chicano people.

In a panel this day after the film the director and a former activist spoke. According to documents released, many intelligence agencies were monitoring and acting against the Chicano Movement in general, and the Chicano Moratorium protest specifically, with evidence they were observing many top leaders from around the country who attended this march. Subsequently many top leaders were arrested at the Moratorium march, which shows they were being specifically targeted. While the director emphasized they have found no direct evidence linking direct involvement by security forces in Salazar’s death, it was emphasized that many documents still have not been released. For any student of counterintelligence knows, any direct link between these agencies and Salazar’s death is beside the point. They do not have to have a direct link, but they used their resources to actively disrupt people and movements that were a threat to the established order, and the climate they created around it was enough.

Ruben Salazar after his death became a martyr figure. His portrait has been used in demonstrations and murals up to today. Laguna Park, the site of the Chicano Moratorium, was renamed Ruben Salazar Park. A postage stamp of him was issued by the Post Office. Like many martyrs he has been uplifted to a mythical status. Man In The Middle goes beyond this and looks at Salazar as a regular person, and looks at the real events that made up Salazar’s life.

Overall Salazar should be remembered in the history of the Chicano people. In his position he became an unlikely voice for the struggle of Chicanos. He was not an activist himself, or likely very militant. Yet through the struggles that Chicano people were waging, and his own personal struggles, he was able to put out those issues when very few mainstream news sources would. His death showed the extent of the repression of the Chicano Movement, and how national oppression would affect even someone as successful and middle class as Salazar. This film gives an important historical document to understand this part of history. Ruben Salazar, presente.


2. Quest for a Homeland, Chicano: History of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement, at 50.00 minutes:

Start of Murrieta Mondays: The Corrido of Joaquin Murrieta

JoaquinMurrietaThis is a new project I will be doing each week on this blog. I will be posting notes related to my upcoming research and analysis of Joaquin Murrieta from an anti-imperialist and anti-colonial viewpoint. Here is an anonymously written ballad about one of the better known resistance fighters the Anglos called “bandits,” titled The Corrido of Joaquin Murrieta, in both English and Spanish.

-Antonio  Moreno

The Corrido of Joaquin Murrieta

Ahora Salgo a los caminos
A matar a americanos
Tú fuistes el promotor
De la muerte de mi hermano
Lo agarrastes indefenso
Desgraciado americano

A los ricos y avarientos
Yo les quité su dinero
A los humildes y pobres
Yo me quitaba el sombrero
Ay, qué leyes tan injustas
Voy a darme a bandolero

Now I go out onto roads
To kill Americans
You were the cause
Of my brother’s death
You took him defenseless
You disgraceful American

From the rich and avaricious
I took their money
To the humble and poor
I tipped my hat
Oh, what unjust laws
I’m going to become a bandit


cited with translation in –

Rosales, Arturo F. (1997). Chicano: The History of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement. Houston, TX. Arte Publico Press. pg. 7.

MIM on Aztlán

aztlanmap-lgThe Maoist Internationalist Movement (MIM) was a Maoist party that existed until very recently. They were unique in their forwarding of an analysis of the labor aristocracy in the First World and their support of national liberation in said. This blurb from their old website, archived presently by their succeeding organization the Maoist Internationalist Ministry of Prisons, or MIM Prisons, is an overview of their line on Aztlán.

Aztlán is the name in Mexica Aztec history of the northern land their ancestors came from. The exact place of it has been debated, but it was used in the Chicano Movement to identify the northern part of Mexico forcefully annexed by the United States. It was used to create a sense of place for our people who were under Amerikan occupation, and a way to spread nationalist consciousness that we the Chicano people belonged to this land.

This analysis below is not the best analysis out there, but MIM should be noted for being one of the few Marxist groups to seriously look at this issue and to advocate for the liberation of Aztlán, the Chicano nation. This is posted here to further discussion and does not reflect endorsement or agreement with everything said.

Aztlán: is composed of land now thought of as part of California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and partially Colorado. In this same territory are also English-speaking indigenous peoples and other nations with languages other than English or Spanish.

The important thing is that exploited and oppressed peoples should work together. The common enemy is the oppressor nation of U.$. imperialism. Sell-outs in the struggle against u.$. imperialism have two common avenues: 1) those preferring to use English use that as a reason to support affiliation within empire numero uno in the world–the united $tates. It is the communists’ internationalist duty to cut down this argument. 2) Others seek to become lackeys within the u.$. empire, even as Spanish-speakers.

It is true there is going to be some conflict between exploited and super-exploited Brown people of Aztlán and exploited and super-exploited indigenous Red peoples in the same territory. Communists only prefer that this conflict occur within the camp of the oppressed and exploited and not via alliance with u.$. imperialism. For this reason, an objective analysis of indigenous people’s interests holds that the principal consideration has to be taking down u.$. imperialism. It is in the indigenous people’s own interests as oppressed nationality people to see the Brown people fight a national fight against u.$. imperialism and vice-versa. The reason for that is the super-profits holding together the white nation and partially infecting the oppressed nations within U.$. borders as they exist now.

It is very important that those with legal working rights in the united $tates not use their class position to undermine the unity of indigenous and Aztlán activists against u.$. imperialism. That is how class struggle will express itself as national struggle. Those seeking super-profit sharing will seek legal rights within the empire. A successful national struggle against u.$. imperialism uniting indigenous and Aztlán activists will depend on successful class struggle that demarcates against those seeking merely to become legal workers or pawns within the u.$. empire.

In our upcoming 2004 Party Congress, we would like to envision the future of an Aztlán, because if it were to take over the economy as is, it would become an imperialist country. It is only the fact that Aztlán contains both an exploited and super-exploited working-class that another result is possible– an advanced socialist country. This is what distinguishes the Aztlán struggle from that of Quebec and nearby indigenous nations, because in Quebec, we see no exploited white working class, only petty-bourgeoisie. Thus, in Quebec, we know to side only with the First Nations, because the white “worker” has no progressive thrust with which to build a socialist republic, only the potential to vacillate toward a proletarian pole should it be set up by MIM and the like.

On the whole, of course it is possible that an Aztlán national struggle could end up going down a dead-end. However, as materialists we look at the alternatives, and staying with u.$. imperialism is not a valid one for communists. We must take a chance on the Aztlán people who have socialist potential and not pretend that white “workers” have more socialist and anti-imperialist potential than Aztlán.

To be sure, there is an Aztlán bourgeoisie that aspires to imperialist status. We should seek to use its relative discomfort with the oppressor nation of U.$. imperialism on the side of proletarian revolution. The best possible outcome will be a combined struggle that results in the joint dictatorship of the proletariat of the oppressed nations (JDPON) over imperialism. An active alliance of oppressed nations will be key to advancing the class struggle, bringing down imperialism and establishing socialism. Because of u.$. imperialism’s world historic role, we must also insist on Third World peoples everywhere being given the right and duty to join the JDPON and not allow imperialism to restore itself, possibly through individual deals with the bourgeoisie of each oppressed nation. A bourgeois Aztlán is a trump card vision of the u.$. imperialists, but a JDPON is something that imperialism must fear. That is exactly the reason we hope to see the whole Latin American proletariat take an interest in Aztlán, because the required force necessary to repress u.$. imperialism will have to be re-inforced from Latin America and the rest of the Third World.

At the end of this piece MIM also put up instructions on how to put an accent mark on the last a in Aztlán. It is likely that the links and instructions they gave when they first wrote it are now outdated. It is good they provided this information. People should make an effort to use correct accent marks on non-English words. Most word processing programs have ways to insert accent marks, and more information can be found through online searches.

Remember Luis “Junior” Martinez, Chicano Movement Martyr


This past March 17th, along with being that other so-called holiday, was also the anniversary of the untimely death of Luis “Junior” Martinez. Here is an article I wrote 5 years ago published on our old site at

Later this year in May in Denver, there will be an event to honor the martyrs of the Chicano Movement, particularly those from Colorado. 40 years ago in May 1974, six Chicano activists in the city of Boulder were killed in two bombings, from bombs detonated in their cars in a 48 hour period. Many of them were prominent student activists with UMAS at the University of Colorado (CU) Boulder, the site of much militant activism they led. The website will post information about this history and the martyrs leading up to the event. Furthermore, Siglo de Lucha will post more articles on this blog on the this time in Colorado that produced so many martyrs. We salute those who gave their lives for our struggle, and continue that struggle until liberation.  - Antonio Moreno


“To die for the people is weightier than Mount Tai…

Wherever there is struggle there is sacrifice, and death is a common occurrence. But we have the interests of the people and the sufferings of the great majority at heart, and when we die for the people it is a worthy death.”

- Mao Zedong, Serve the People

This March 17th is the commemoration of the death of Luis Jr Martinez. On March 17 1973, the Crusade for Justice, a Chicano civil rights organization in Denver, was attacked in a police raid. In the ensuing attack Luis Jr Martinez was assassinated by a cop from the Denver police. Luis was a Chicano revolutionary who exemplified the spirit of resistance and struggle for Mexicano people in occupied land. He gave his life defending his people, and for this we observe his life.

As a youth Martinez grew up in the barrios of Denver. He put his energies into serving the community as he became more politically active and aware. Martinez eventually joined the Crusade for Justice, founded in 1966 and led by Rudolfo “Corky” Gonzalez. The Crusade for Justice was a leading Chicano nationalist organization and the Crusade and Corky became influential nationwide. With the Crusade Martinez attended the Poor Peoples Campaign in 1968 in DC.

Martinez was also a founder of a local chapter of the Black Berets, a national radical Chicano organization. They operated out of the Crusade building and assisted with security at community events. The Berets played an important role in the West High School blowouts in 1968, high school uprisings that happened all throughout Aztlan/Occupied Mexico.  Junior was active in serving, educating and organizing the Chicano community in many different ways.

Martinez was also an accomplished dancer. After traveling to Mexico Martinez founded the Baile de Chicano de Aztlan, a dance troupe within the Crusade. Using culture as a tool, he helped in bringing back culture from Mexico to teach to the people to help regain their cultural knowledge. The enthusiasm Martinez brought to his dance influenced others around him.

Luis became an outspoken and increasingly militant activist. Subsequently he was constantly targeted by the police. Like many debates among the Movement in this time, an issue at hand was armed self defense, with Martinez being an advocate that oppressed people have a right to defend themselves.

On February 27 1973 the American Indian Movement took over and occupied Wounded Knee, South Dakota in response to the long injustices and oppression faced by First Nation peoples. In Denver the Crusade helped organize protests in solidarity, showing unity and cooperation among oppressed nations within Amerika. Both AIM and Chicano organizations were targets of federal counterinsurgency under COINTELPRO, and the prospects of Chicano and Native unity was something they couldn’t tolerate. The Wounded Knee incident lasted 71 days, and the activity around it was a pretext to lead to a confrontation on March 17 of that year.

The police raided the Crusade headquarters at Colfax and Downing this day. A shootout happened between police and Chicanos, including Martinez. Luis was shot and killed, and another Crusade member was wounded. A subsequent explosion destroyed a Crusade apartment building. The reason for this explosion remains unknown, but was in the context of the Wounded Knee struggle, and this repressive act marked a turning point for movement activities in Denver.

Crusade for Justice building after police attack, 3/17/1973

Crusade for Justice building after police attack, 3/17/1973

The Founding of El Centro L.U.I.S., Continuing Internationalism

After Luis Jr Martinez was killed, movement activism took different directions. His brothers Joe and Mark Martinez founded in the mid-1970’s El Centro L.U.I.S. (Latinos United in International Solidarity) in his memory. It offered a more internationalist alternative to the then dominant and narrow cultural nationalism of the Crusade for Justice. Also as the Crusade slid into reformism, El Centro LUIS attempted to keep a revolutionary project going. At the time there was increased internationalist solidarity among Chicanos, Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, and Native Peoples. El Centro provided serve the people programs as well as advanced an anti-imperialist political program. Much of their work continues from their formed participants, including the Mexican National Liberation Movement founded in Colorado.

Along with Martinez, others from Colorado, as well as nationally, lost their lives for the movement also. They include Ricardo Falcon and Los Seis de Boulder. The Mexican National Liberation Movement recognizes these fallen comrades as Symbols of Resistance. As they describe it in a pamphlet they distribute commemorating the martyrs of the Chicano Movement from Colorado:

“Clarity of vision. Strength of spirit. Firmness of action. These are the gifts the Symbols of Resistance have given to the Mexicano community, gifts made all the more precious because they were given with the fullness and eternity of their lives. For these reasons the Movimiento de Liberacion Nacional Mexicano (M.L.N.M.) has the responsibility to honor its fallen heroes and martyrs. Any revolutionary movement must honor their martyrs who have attained the highest level of love that a human being can attain – the love for their people and the simple conviction that their people have a right to live their lives in dignity.”

With MLNM, RAIM also salutes Luis Jr Martinez this day, a Symbol of Resistance for all oppressed peoples and those who stand with them.


“A Tribute to Luis ‘Jr.’ Martinez: A Call to Remember – A Commitment to Continue.” Pamphlet, distributed by Movimiento de Liberacion Nacional Mexicano. Date unknown.

“Disarm the Police, or Arm the People.” Pamphlet, Colorado Committee Against Repression (El Comite). 1979.

Vialpando, Angelo. “Luis Jr. Martinez.” The Symbols of Resistance: A Beyond Chicanismo Experience. Los Herederos of Change and Esperanza. Metro State College of Denver. 2002.

Photos from 500 Years of Chicano History.  Edited by Elizabeth Martinez.  Published by Southwest Organizing Project, Albuquerque.

The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, and the Future of the Chicano/Mexicano People

February 5th was the anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848. This treaty officially ended what has been known as the Mexican War, and which subsequently ceded over half the territory of the nation of Mexico over to the United States. Many also see it as the beginning of the Chicano people, a colonized nation within U.S. borders. Even though it happened over 166 years ago, its legacy remains today, and the aftermath will have repercussions for the future of the United States and the Chicano and Mexicano people.

This year in 2014 on that date, The Economist, a weekly British mainstream news magazine, posted a blurb about this date, along with a demographic map:


On February 2nd 1848, following a short and one-sided war, Mexico agreed to cede more than half its territory to the United States. An area covering most of present-day Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah, plus parts of several other states, was handed over to gringolandia. The rebellious state of Tejas, which had declared its independence from Mexico in 1836, was recognised as American soil too. But a century and a half later, communities have proved more durable than borders. The counties with the highest concentration of Mexicans (as defined by ethnicity, rather than citizenship) overlap closely with the area that belonged to Mexico before the great gringo land-grab of 1848. Some are recent arrivals; others trace their roots to long before the map was redrawn. They didn’t jump the border—it jumped them.

It is interesting that a mainstream publication like the Economist would characterize this event so truthfully, especially describing it as a “gringo land-grab.” It also nicely summarizes  this history.

The Treaty is seen as the beginning of the Chicano people. The roots of the Chicano people on this land are deep and go back thousands of years before Columbus, as the land was populated by indigenous nations. After the Spanish Conqust the northern lands of what became New Spain were colonized, with the vast majority of those settlers being indigenous and mestizo. In 1810 a war for independence begun against Spain, and was completed in 1821, with New Spain becoming the new independent country of Mexico, named after the Mexica people and their empire commonly known as the Aztecs. It is no surprise that the Chicano people identified with their indigenous heritage.

As Mexico was developing as a new nation, it faced its weak leadership along with the expansion of the United States under its doctrine of Manifest Destiny. A misguided attempt by Mexico to encourage settlement of what is now Texas by Anglos resulted in the encroachment of the Mexican people there by those settlers. The aftermath of the Texas Rebellion in 1836 by these settlers resulted in a short-lived Texas republic, and later annexation in the United States as a state that would allow slavery. Border disputes between these two nations created the pretext that led to the invasion of Mexico by the U.S.

The Mexican War started in 1846, and ended in 1848. Mexico as a new nation was unevely matched with the military might of the United States, and at one Mexico City was militarily occupied by U.S. troops during this war. At the time it was the costliest war the U.S. ever fought, The war finally endee with the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo by American and Mexican representatives on February 5, 1848. For $15 million, the U.S. took authority of all the northern lands of Mexico, 55 percent of its territory then. It was ratified by the Senate some months later, only delayed because of debate about taking more Mexican land, which was nixed because they did not want more Mexican people to become American citizens. Later in 1853 the Gadsden Purchase was done, for the interests of railroad companies, which took more land of what is now southern New Mexico and Arizona. This treaty and subsequent acts afterward established the present-day border of the U.S. and Mexico.

The Treaty gave the Mexican citizens living in the territories taken by the United States the option of becoming U.S. citizens or moving to Mexico. The great majority decided to stay, as they had strong generational ties to the land and considered it their homeland. The treaty said that these new citizens would have all the rights of American citizens, and retain their property rights, language rights, and rights of cultural identity. The key parts of the Treaty were articles VIII and IX:


Mexicans now established in territories previously belonging to Mexico, and which remain for the future within the limits of the United States, as defined by the present treaty, shall be free to continue where they now reside, or to remove at any time to the Mexican Republic, retaining the property which they possess in the said territories, or disposing thereof, and removing the proceeds wherever they please, without their being subjected, on this account, to any contribution, tax, or charge whatever.

Those who shall prefer to remain in the said territories may either retain the title and rights of Mexican citizens, or acquire those of citizens of the United States. But they shall be under the obligation to make their election within one year from the date of the exchange of ratifications of this treaty; and those who shall remain in the said territories after the expiration of that year, without having declared their intention to retain the character of Mexicans, shall be considered to have elected to become citizens of the United States.

In the said territories, property of every kind, now belonging to Mexicans not established there, shall be inviolably respected. The present owners, the heirs of these, and all Mexicans who may hereafter acquire said property by contract, shall enjoy with respect to it guarantees equally ample as if the same belonged to citizens of the United States.


The Mexicans who, in the territories aforesaid, shall not preserve the character of citizens of the Mexican Republic, conformably with what is stipulated in the preceding article, shall be incorporated into the Union of the United States. and be admitted at the proper time (to be judged of by the Congress of the United States) to the enjoyment of all the rights of citizens of the United States, according to the principles of the Constitution; and in the mean time, shall be maintained and protected in the free enjoyment of their liberty and property, and secured in the free exercise of their religion without; restriction.

A section respecting the rights of land grants, Article X, was taken out before it was ratified, although other sections stated the property rights would be upheld. Another part of the treaty, Article XI,, showed how both countries dealt with the indigenous nations in these territories, guaranteeing cooperation between the U.S. and Mexico against the raids by “savage” tribes. This last part, along with guarantees of religious freedom, were in fact the only parts of the Treaty that were guaranteed. As with other treaties signed by the U.S. in the 19th century, this one was never worth the paper it was written on.

The U.S. wasted no time in bringing in white settlers to take over their newly acquired land, and encroached on the Mexican people every way they could, from legal means to outright violence. The Mexican people were subject to a wide range of national oppression, and became second class citizens within the U.S. The new citizens were no longer part of Mexico and its nascent development as a nation, and at the same time never fully integrated into American society. They were a colonized people inside the United States occupation. They became Chicanos, an oppressed nationality forged through a common experience of national oppression.

Another thing this land grab did was enable the U.S. to continue to expand its empire. There were up to 100,000 Mexican residents in these territories who chose to stay on their land and become subjects of the U.S. These lands were sparsely populated by 1848 but had a vast amount of natural resources. Gold was discovered in California shortly after the signing of the Treaty. Along with oil in Texas, minerals, agricultural land, and the access to the entirety of the West coast, this all created a major accumulation of wealth for the U.S., This wealth acquisition was also aided by the labor of the Mexican people and other exploited peoples in the region the settlers used. This wealth was used by U.S. imperialism to acquire more land and resources, through either financial or military means, not only in North America but around the world. For military means, it is no mistake that there are a fairly high number of Amerikan military installations in this territory up to today.

The Treaty redefined the border and the border region. These borders, never existing in any natural or political state before, have ever since been fortified. It is no surprise as these borders were imposed by military conquest. Despite this border, migration through Mexico has continued up to today, which has added to the number of Chicano and Mexicano people in the region, as shown in the map above. This is what drives the ongoing nativism by the settler class. Yet if these borders more or less stayed consistent from before 1848, this migration would seem normal, as it would be an internal migration between the same country.  But what has happened is that with the continued migrations of mostly Mexicans in the surrounding regions is reinforcing Mexican culture in the region, from the language and norms to its economic impact. In other words, reinforcing Mexican ties to the land.

The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and its ongoing violations are a constant reminder of the Amerikan occupation. It has been invoked many times, including by Reies Lopez Tijerina and the land grant movement he helped lead in the 1960′s. In the daily struggles for democratic rights it should always be referenced to. Yet the struggle is not a legal one but one of self-determination.

The inherent contradictions of this imperialist occupation on stolen land, like other occupations in this American empire, will eventually come to a head. It is also a struggle over identity, and our identity will not be settled by being consumed into Americanism. The right wing of settler society sees an invasion of Third World hordes. The liberal sections of settler society sees us as another ethnic group to be assimilated as “Americans.” Even settler based Marxists want to ignore what that tradition has called the National Question to subsume our national struggle to one of a white-led “multinational” working class struggle, or to oppurtunistically use our struggle for their own aims. All of these ignore that our struggle, the struggle of the Chicano and Mexicano people, is a national struggle, and thus a struggle of self-determination. This means that as a nation we have right to not only be on this land but to influence our destiny on this land. The goal to liberation will be one of building our own nation state, whether under our own authority or to reunite with a revolutionary Mexico being options to be determined. It means having political authority over our land. This strategy is based on objective conditions based on the inevitable collapse of the Amerikan empire, which like other empires before it will fall. It will also be aided by  the demographic shifts within this region and the rest of the United States that will bring out these contradictions. This would also be accompanied with the other liberation movements of the other captive nations of the empire. The New Afrikan nation, the indigenous Native nations, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, this empire being  a prison house of nations. This struggle, in going against one of the largest imperial powers in the world, will also aid the international struggles for liberation, freeing other nations under the grip of Amerikan imperialism.


Siglo De Lucha is an online journal the purpose of which is to explore questions of Chicano-Mexican national liberation from a Third Worldist perspective.

First off let me introduce myself. I am Antonio Moreno, and have been an organizer and writer with RAIM, Revolutionary Anti-Imperialist Movement, and its web project After a period of inactivity recently, I have decided one of the best ways I can direct my focus right now is this journal. The purpose of this journal is to explore questions of Chicano-Mexicano national liberation from a Third Worldist perspective.

The development of my current politics is based on my political history. I have been an activist and organizer for many different leftist groups and causes throughout my life as I got politically active. My political development led me toward a radical Left analysis. I did not have an adequate understanding of nationalism at the time, especially Chicano nationalism, and I saw the representations around me as too liberal and reformist. My search for radical politics led me eventually to accept a general version of Marxism. Active in the overwhelmingly White Left, I experienced first hand a lot of the chauvinism of whites on the Left. At the same time I got a better understanding of Chicano history and national liberation, and I subsequently became a revolutionary nationalist. With this I also gravitated toward Maoism. Along with the historical example of the Chinese Revolution, Maoism accepted the importance of struggles for national liberation, exemplified in the saying of Mao Zedong “in wars of national liberation, patriotism is applied internationalism.” In other words, nationalism of oppressed peoples is a primary means of advancing the internationalist struggle for a just world.

The contradictions I have seen on issues of race, racism and white chauvinism were present but still unanswered. I was at the time going off an analysis based on white privilege, but yet many questions were not answered by this. The lingering questions were partly answered when I came into contact with the works of MIM and J. Sakai. Sakai’s book “Settlers: The Mythology of the White Proletariat,” gave a new and more accurate narrative of Amerikan history, showing a materialist analysis of what made up the White oppressor nation. MIM’s work furthered that analysis, especially in terms of the concept of the labor aristocracy in the First World.

When I moved to Denver, I met up with others with similar politics, and together formed the Revolutionary Anti-Imperialist Movement, or RAIM. We did militant anti-imperialist actions and advanced Third World and national liberation politics. This ideology would come to be known as Maoism (Third Worldism). Shortly after RAIM was founded, a web journal called Monkey Smashes Heaven (MSH) was formed. I wrote some articles for this journal under the pen name Siglo. After a few years many Maoist Third Worldist projects including RAIM and MSH came together. It became the Leading Light Communist Organization, or LLCO, with RAIM intended as its mass organization.  Shortly after LLCO founded, RAIM and others, myself included, left the organization over disagreements with their leadership on various issues of strategy and tactics.

Recently RAIM went through a restructuring and reevaluation. Through its history it received many criticisms. Most were petty, infantile and unprincipled, others were sincere. One of these was to clarify the stance on captive nations within the imperialist countries, and for what those in the First World to do.

This journal will be an attempt to fill in the gaps on this knowledge, and to advance theory in it. I will be reposting older articles as well as creating new ones, and welcome any contributions.

There has often been a trend in the radical Left of liquidating what has been called the National Question, or to take opportunist stances on these questions. Especially around Chicano national liberation, many, even on the Left, do not have an understanding on this. Mainly due to lethargy on studying these questions, others because of settler nation chauvinism. Siglo De Lucha will be an attempt to further study on these questions, not only around the Chicano nation but other national liberation movements similar to it, and to build solidarity between them. This is not something with a set dogma from the start. This is a living embodiment, and a journey, and I hope you will all join me on this journey.