Chicano Moratorium, 45th Anniversary

I am currently in Los Angeles to observe the anniversary of the Chicano Moratorium against the Vietnam War, which happened August 29th, 1970. It is observed as a Chicano Memorial Day because of the three martyrs that happened on this day.

Here are some videos about this day:

http://youtu.be/famNeiosTVk

Some raw footage of the August 29th protest and subsequent events afterward:

http://youtu.be/J76X5K4E-fk

BBC interview with Rosalio Munoz: http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-34006603

Donald Trump and Fascism 

  I have predicted here that the rhetoric spewed by the campaign of Donald Trump, like other quasi-fascist movements before it, would lead to more violence against Mexican people. Here is one documented case that is linked to it.(http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/trump-denounces-violence-supporters-beat-mexican-man-article-1.2333353)

Two brothers, Scott and Steve Leader, of Boston, were arrested Wednesday after a 58-year-old Hispanic man was beaten with a metal pole in the Dorchester neighborhood. Police said the attackers urinated in the victim’s face.

“Donald Trump was right — all these illegals need to be deported,” Steve Leader said after his arrest, police told the Boston Globe. 

The consul of Mexico has spoken out about the man being a citizen of Mexico who they would protect, along with taking “the necessary measures to defend the rights and interests of Mexicans.” The Mexican consulate has before in the early 20th century played a role in protecting the rights and interests of Mexican people residing in the borders of the United States. This does not take into ignoring the dirty war waged by the government of Mexico against its own citizens. Absent any independent power by the Chicano and Mexicano people, the role of the consulates will be a contradiction we face in the protracted struggle for national liberation.

Donald Trump’s popularity is built around scapegoating of Mexicans. Because of him, policies like eliminating birthright citizenship guaranteed by the 14th Amendment, mass deportations of undocumented peoples, and calls to build a massive border wall, have entered into the political discourse once again. It continues with his mysogyny and China bashing among his other reactionary agendas. The racism, xenophobia, and nativism, the great country chauvinism of the “Make America Great Again” slogan. Shouts of “White Power” are heard at some of his nearly all-white rallies, and open white supremacists have endorsed him. All give a sense of fascism around the Trump campaign. He is a buffoon, as were Hitler and Mussolino, who came to power on demogoguery. With thuggish supporters beating up the targets of his hate, the Brownshirt component of that checklist is one more.

Many have been talking about this column in Newsweek, coming from a libertarian perspective, that asks outright “Is Donald Trump a Fascist.” It’s too early to use the F word about Trump and his campaign, but it is clear we need to organize to stop it from getting any clearer. A declining empire will have a class that will resort to fascism, especially among the white settler elements of the labor aristocracy. It also is likely that because of the outrageousness of Trump, other candidates, both Republican and Democrat, will advocate those same policies without the theatrics of Trump and be seen as mainstream.

The Chicano/Mexicano people have been on the receiving end of settler hate tendencies of the United States before, many showing the signs of fascism. Most recently this nativist sentiment came up last year in 2014, with the crisis of refugee children. Nearly 60,000 children fleeing violence in Central America to the United States were attached by white racist settler mobs mobilized against them. Before that a decade before, there was the Minutemen vigilantes, before they got subsumed into the Tea Party. Many other attacks have come before that. And many more will come. 

Trump is likely to create a new opening for this sentiment that is at the heart of a settler empire. 
The violence by police and non-state whites waged against the New Afrikan people shows the wave against another internal colony in the U.S. The state and extra-legal settler-based armed militias are used against both of our populations.

It is clear that we need to study up on the nature of fascism, and start organizing against it, especially with an alternative to the liberal/NGO model prevalent in our communities. It is also clear that being an internal colony in a settler state, this violence is nothing new to our people, and does not need a fascist impulse to be a danger. These moments are opportune for education and consciousness raising, for if they are attacking us for who we are, we need a solid understanding of who we are to  defeat these enemies. 

Clippings, 08/23/2015

clipping

Donald Trump’s Anti-Migrant Agenda Continues: The Case of Jamiel Shaw

TrumpandshawProfessional douchebag Donald Trump kicked off his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination recently, making anti-immigrant demagoguery a base of it. Tapping into the inner  racism of Mexicans of much of the right wing of the Republican base, he called Mexican people who came to the United States rapists,criminals, drug dealers, and spreaders of infectious disease, while admitting that there are some good ones. There has been a backlash against his offensive comments, with a number of celebrities speaking out and businesses boycotting his money making enterprises. Yet despite this, Trump has gained dramatically in the polls in the crowded field of Republican presidential nominees. With this it is clear that he has made the issue of so-called illegal immigration the main niche of his campaign. Along with bashing Mexico and China around trade, Trump is tapping into the xenophobia of the white settler population he is appealing to. With one of his latest props in this campaign, the case of Jamiel Shaw Jr., he is also appealing to sentiments with Black/New Afrikan peoples against immigrants and migrants.

The latest of his many plays at bringing back anti-immigrant sentiment was at a press conference on July 10th, and a campaign rally in Arizona on July 11th, 2015. He brought with him as a speaker Jamiel Shaw Sr., whose son Jamiel Shaw Jr., was murdered in a case of gang violence in 2008.

The story repeated by Shaw Sr. and reported uncritically by the media is this. A gang member and undocumented immigrant, Pedro Espinoza, who was brought into the United States when he was 4 years old, murdered Jamiel Shaw Jr. on the false pretenses of being in a rival gang. Shaw Jr. was a star football player in high school and with a promising future, and his mother serving a tour of duty in the Iraq War during that time. Espinoza was released from county jail for a weapons charge the day before, and since Los Angeles is a sanctuary city he was not released to ICE for deportation despite being an undocumented immigrant. This case galvanized the right wing anti-migrant crowd. The facts of the case show more nuance.

The website Streetgangs.com had reported on and exposed many inconsistencies in the Shaw murder case, which other media outlets followed in their reporting. Here is what was revealed.

For one, Shaw Jr. had loose affilations with a gang that was active in his neighborhood. His neighborhood, Arlington Heights, was occupied by the Rolling 20’s Neighborhood Bloods gang. It had a long rivalry with the 18th Street gang, which Espinoza was a member of.

On the night of the murder, Shaw Jr. was reported to be wearing several red colored clothing items, reportedly flamed out in gang style. Media reports that he only had a red Spiderman backpack, but he also wore red sneakers, shirt, and belt, the latter initialed with a gang identifier. It was later revealed that he had postings on his Myspace social media page displaying gang affiliations, and threatening rival Crips and 18th Street members.

Experts emphasize that Shaw, who had no criminal record, was not likely a hardcore gang member but one who affiliated through neighborhood ties, and likely engaged in net-banging. Nevertheless, it was clear that the murder, tragic as it was, was gang related.

As stated at Streetgangs.com:

“Jamiel wasn’t a bad kid, but he did have relationships with gang members in his community that led to Espinoza’s fatal assault on him. Jamiel lived in a community occupied by Bloods that have been at war with 18th Street for 12 years. With witnesses pointing out that a Hispanic was responsible for the murder, the only logical assailant would be a member of 18th Street, a predominately Mexican-American gang with some illegal alien members. Reports that 18th Street gang has a membership that is 80% illegal is false. Of the County’s total gang population approximately five to 10 percent are illegal.”

Despite this, his father Jamiel Shaw Sr used his son’s death to campaign against illegal immigration, and has been embraced by the far right.

During the trial of Espinoza, Shaw Sr. successfully campaigned to have the first prosecutor dismissed from the case. Shaw Sr. went on right wing talk radio falsely saying that the prosecutor would emphasize the case as gang related and did not care about the immigration status of the accused. Shaw and others wanted the case prosecuted as a racially based murder, which even the police said was not a motive. Due to the pressure another prosecutor was appointed. Also, all evidence of Shaw’s own gang affiliations were suppressed by the court. This made the jurors think that the killing was random and racially motivated. In the trial Espinoza was found guilty and given the death penalty, which would have been unlikely if the jurors knew more of the gang related motives of the case, and despite evidence that Espinoza did not act alone.

Afterwards Shaw Sr. has campaigned for Jamiel’s Law, the purpose of which was to deny sanctuary city protection to those in gangs. The basis of the argument they put for this resolution was on the erroneous assertion that 80 percent of gang members are illegal aliens, which has been shown to be false.

A wrongful death lawsuit filed by the Shaw family against the city of Los Angeles, claiming the murder was racially motivated, was dismissed in 2010.

Today Shaw Sr. is being used by the Trump campaign, along with other crime victims of alleged illegal immigrants, to forward his narrative about Mexico intentionally sending criminals into the United States. This ignores that immigrants and migrants are less likely to be involved in crime than citizens. Yet this does not matter to the right wing settler crowd who want to say that crime would not happen to good white people if “those people” were deported. Anti-immigrant sentiment also exists among other non-white peoples, and tensions between Blacks and Latinos are real, and right wing forces like Trump will opportunistically exploit this.

One factor coming in is that recently California became the second state in the U.S. where the Latino population surpassed whites. With the changing demographics of the population as a whole in the country, the contradictions of the colonialism of the United States will come into play. It is up to progressive and revolutionary forces to be ready for these.

The issue here is which narrative will be put forward. With the Trump campaign, it is likely that national oppression against Mexicanos and other migrants will increase, and it needs to be countered. As this is on contested land stolen by Amerikan imperialism, this is also a contested narrative. The narrative put forward by the racist settlers needs to be countered by one not liberal in nature, but an anti-colonial one. One that sees the borders as illegitimate, put around stolen land. One that sees the human dignity of migrants who do the dirty work for the settler population without any of the benefits, and continuously used as scapegoats for a fearful settler population. One that organizes our power to defend ourselves as humans, and exert our right to our land.

-Antonio Moreno

The Politics of Opportunism and Capitulation: The Myth of Dolores Huerta

Huerta

Dolores Huerta has been an iconic figure in the Chicano Movement and up to today for her past activism with the struggle for farm workers. She has used her status for political influence, mainly around support for the Democratic Party. Like any images or symbols, the reality and substance often get lost. This election season, as many Latinos have been less than enthused with the party over their lack of action on immigration, Huerta has been put up to get out the vote for that party regardless. Many more have been open to going against Huerta and other traditional power brokers for the Democrats. In response many say that Huerta should still be respected because of her past actions as if they do not inform what she does today. As we will see, her present politics are based on her history, and should be known by those who seek a more independent and liberatory politics today.

The 2014 midterm elections have come and gone, with the Republican Party making many gains over the Democratic Party, including taking back control of the Senate. This despite the millions spent by the party and its affiliated interest groups to get out the vote, and especially the Latino vote. For the last effort, they brought out Dolores Huerta and other loyal Latino power brokers to urge them to continue to vote for Democrats. The problem being that Latinos overall have been angry and indifferent to the Democrats for their inaction on immigration, affecting many families status in the country, and Obama being known as the Deporter in Chief for the record number of deportations that have happened under his administration. Many grassroots migrant activists, including those traditionally loyal to the Democrats, have been more critical of the party and Obama. Yet Huerta and other Latino spokespersons have attempted to bring them back in the Democratic Party fold, especially over Obama’s last action.

Back in September of 2014, in response to grassroots anger at the Obama administration, especially his decision to delay immigration work until after the November midterm elections, Huerta has come out in support of this decision. She stated “We have to look at the big picture and don’t get caught up in saying we want it now,” …“We’ve been waiting—we are a community that can wait.” … “we have to have faith in our president.” (1) Huerta also gave the traditional warning that Republicans will always be worse, and has traveled across the country for get out the vote efforts for the party. This stance has also created a backlash against herself too. One blogger stated correctly that Huerta “…has shown that she’s a Democrat first and foremost. She isn’t necessarily listening to the grassroots immigration community, which was expecting the president to deliver on his promise of acting on deportations at the end of the summer.” (2).

Yet criticism of Huerta remains rare, for her status seems to make her off limits for dissent. But in order to move forward in liberation, we have to put politics in command. That also means looking at what the politics of Dolores Huerta really represent.  While there is no doubt that she has accomplished a lot and inspired many in her decades of organizing, we must look at what her politics really are. And those politics are consistent with her activism she has been known for.

Dolores Huerta’s History

The biography of Dolores Huerta is well known. She was born in 1930 in Dawson, New Mexico. Her father was a miner, farm worker, union organizer and state assemblyman in the state. After her parents divorced she moved with her mother and the rest of her family to Stockton, California, where she was raised through her young adulthood. She experienced the racism and national oppression against Mexican people in high school. Her mother became a businesswoman, and owned a hotel that was often used by migrant farmworkers, where Huerta became intimately exposed to their plights. She became a teacher after earning a teaching certificate, and seeing the plight of migrant children, shifted her life into that of an organizer.

Her beginnings as an organizer shaped her future reformist politics. In 1955 Huerta co-founded the Stockton chapter of the Community Service Organization, founded by organizer Fred Ross. Through there she met Cesar Chavez, and later Saul Alinsky, the advocate of community organizing strategies of non-violence borrowed from the Civil rights movement. Later in 1960 she helped found the Agricultural Workers Association. In 1962 Chavez and she helped found the National Farm Workers Association, which would later become the United Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee, then the United Farm Workers.

The moment that brought the United Farm Workers to prominence happened in 1965, when the workers went out on strike, spurred on by organized Filipino farm workers.  Out of the many tactics they performed, the Boycott Grapes campaign came out of this, appealing to consumers to stop buying grapes in order to exert pressure on growers to accept their union. It became a cause celebre among Chicanos and liberal constituencies. They got support from several people and groups, and from politicians like Robert Kennedy. Chavez, a disciple of non-violence, performed hunger strikes to bring attention to their struggle, appealing to public opinion with moral force. The struggle resulted in their first union contract with grape growers in 1970, and many campaigns after that.

The struggles of the United Farm Workers involved thousands of people, including the farm workers themselves, and many volunteers and organizers who joined the movement. The union struggles through its history included five martyrs from their union movement, and none on the side of the growers. Despite this the main figureheads of the UFW remained Chavez and Huerta, both propelled to iconic statuses. Several books, documentaries, artworks, and ballads were produced about both of them. Many streets and schools have been named after both. In 2014 a feature film, Cesar Chavez, was released, with Rosario Dawson playing Dolores Huerta, that portrays them in the Grape Boycott campaign. The early glorious history is what most people know about both of them.

Lesser known is more critical items of the United Farm Workers. More recent scholarship has brought up the less proud moments of the UFW. A recent Los Angeles Times series and a new book take a different look at the UFW. (3). The UFW had tensions of its identity as both a union and a social movement. The reports show that the UFW shifted its focus to social movement based non-profit and for profit ventures, with many of the money making ventures run by Chavez family members and other insiders. It received millions in donations, grants and public funds for its various projects, and today few of those resources go to union organizing. It has fewer union members than anytime before, and gets a small percentage of its income from union dues. Also, farm workers are still suffering exploitative conditions.

Furthermore, Chavez became more authoritarian in his leadership, wanting absolute loyalty from his staff and control of decisions of the union. Many organizers and members left or were pushed out. The UFW history includes other unsavory political actions such as red baiting, anti-immigration actions, and even support of the Marcos dictatorship in the Philippines.

From the beginnings of the union Chavez, Huerta and the UFW have created and depended on ties with the Democratic Party. They supported Robert Kennedy in his presidential bid in 1968, Huerta later recalled being in the California ballroom when Kennedy was assassinated that year. Their ties to that party were evident in 1972, when Chicanos began organizing La Raza Unida to bring an alternative to the two party system. The UFW leadership and Chavez chose to instead endorse the Democratic candidate George McGovern. That same year Dolores Huerta also became co-chair of the California delegation to the Democratic National Convention.

Huerta political influence began to expand beyond the farm worker movement itself.She created ties with the white-led liberal feminist movement around Gloria Steimen, and became a spokesperson for many other liberal and progressive causes. She became an honorary chair of the Democratic Socialists of America, which acts in practice as the left wing of the Democratic Party, to get leftists to support the Democrats, and against any independent political movement from them. She sits on many other boards of liberal organizations tied to the Democrats.

She has traded her influence for positions of power. Politicians seek out her endorsement, knowing that her status can bring out votes. Those votes are of course for the Democrats and no one else. Her strategy she advocates to the people is voting and running for office. No discussion on other ways of gaining and holding power. In 2003, she supported Gray Davis for governor in his recall campaign waged against him. Before he left office Davis appointed Huerta to the Board of Regents of the University of California system.

In 1993 Cesar Chavez passed away. A few years later Huerta resigned from her leadership in the United Farm Workers. She later set up the Delores Huerta Foundation in 2002. Today, the foundation website states a quote from her saying “Election Day is the most important day of your life.”(4) It is obvious she encourages voting. What is not said but implied is to vote for the Democrats.

Huerta and the Clintons

Huerta’s ties to the Democrats extend to the Clintons. Back in 1998 she received an Eleanor Roosevelt Human Rights Award from then president Bill Clinton. In 2007 she actively supported Hillary Clinton for president, serving as co-chair of the campaign’s Hispanic Outreach efforts. (5).

In her campaigning for Clinton the next year, in an antagonistic primary campaign for president, Huerta came out strongly for Hillary and went hard in her attacks on Obama.  Early that year she attacked a union for allegations of intimidating Clinton supporters, and argued that Clinton has a “cultural, political and social relationship with the Latino community, which Senator Obama does not have. Salon magazine further quoted her saying “Latinos call Clinton “Hilaria,” …adding derisively that they call Sen. Obama “Como se llama?” (as in “What’s his name?”).” (6). Huerta went after him on a variety of issues, accused Obama of being a “Johnny Come Lately” on immigration issues, and accused him of pandering to the Latino community, while claiming Clinton has been for Latinos for over 35 years when she registered Latinos to vote when Clinton was in her twenties. Attacked him for stealing the Si Se Puede slogan she claims to have created, when he used it in his Yes We Can campaign slogan. And criticized him for his inaction in the case of Elvira Arrellano, a Mexican migrant activist who took sanctuary in a Chicago church, bringing national attention to the plights of undocumented migrants, and was deported in August 2007; Obama was senator of Illinois at the time.(7) Further she called Obama an opportunist.(8)

During the Democratic National Convention in 2008, Huerta once again serving as a delegate, put in the nomination of Hillary Clinton for presidential candidate. (9) Her support and shilling for Hillary was despite Clinton’s opportunistic and even conservative record on immigration. in the primary campaign, Clinton opposed drivers licenses for “those who are here illegally,” called for tougher penalties on companies that employ undocumented immigrants.(10) In the past she has said she is adamantly opposed to illegal immigration, and as Senator voted for funding of a larger border wall. Columnist Ruben Navarette, a conservative who often has insightful analysis of Latino issues, documented Clinton’s changing stances on immigration, and referring to Huerta stated “to cover their tracks, they (the Clintons) trot out prominent Latinos who assure the flock that the Clintons have always fought for them.”(11)

After Obama got the presidential nomination for the Democratic Party, Huerta did a complete turnaround and started campaigning for him. Four years later in 2012 she received the Medal of Freedom from President Obama, and they seemed to reconcile over the stealing of the Si Se Puede slogan. Later that year she appeared in campaign videos for Latinos for Obama. (12) It should be noted that her earlier criticisms of Obama were spot on. These recent events show that Huerta’s loyalty is to the Democratic Party no matter what, and Obama, Clinton and herself are what she called the former back in 2008: opportunists. It would also explain her coming out this year in loyal defense of Obama and his policies.

Conclusion

As the 2016 election comes around, it is easy to predict that Dolores Huerta will come out again for Hillary Clinton, the likely Democratic nominee. This despite Clinton’s immigration views not developing, for she recently came out for the deportation of the refugee kids from Central America that have been coming into the U.S. fleeing the violence caused by U.S. foreign policies. (13). But we cannot expect more from the likes of Dolores Huerta, who has shown through her history where her loyalties lie, and what her role is. Other voices have began to come out to call out this traditional unquestioning loyalty to the Democratic Party,(14) the role of Obama’s Latino defenders, and to advocate a more independent politics.(15)

It is clear that Dolores Huerta is prone to playing the game of politics in the U.S., but that does not mean that we should also. This criticism is not on Huerta’s life and her real sacrifices she has made. It is that her politics are opportunist and take our people in the wrong direction back into the wrong direction of the Democrats. The Chicano and Mexicano people need a political program of liberation, and one step in that direction is to have independence from what Armando Navarro called the Two Party Dictatorship. Another step to get there is to be willing to criticize and go against those capitulators who would sacrifice independence for their own gain.

-Antonio Moreno

Sources:

1. http://voxxi.com/2014/09/17/dolores-huerta-obama-action-immigration/

2. http://www.nbcnews.com/news/latino/even-dolores-huerta-gets-jabbed-latinos-immigration-quarrel-n206541

3. http://www.unionoftheirdreams.com/PDF/latimes_series.pdf

4. http://doloreshuerta.org/

5. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=92674

6. http://www.salon.com/2008/01/19/huerta_obama/

7. http://news.newamericamedia.org/news/view_article.html?article_id=abfb7260110ddf709a9e6a60e7bd16ef

8. http://www.alipac.us/f12/dolores-huerta-obama-can-not-use-yes-we-can-99635/

9. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=92674

10. http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2008/02/hillary-si-obam/

11. Ruben Navarrette. “Clinton’s Problem with Latinos.” http://legacy.utsandiego.com/news/op-ed/navarrette/20080220-9999-lz1e20navarre.html. Navarrette’s column is worth quoting further:

“Then, to cover their tracks, they trot out prominent Latinos who assure the flock that the Clintons have always fought for them. Recently, Dolores Huerta, who co-founded the United Farm Workers union with César Chavez, has been stumping for Hillary Clinton in the Southwest. Painting Barack Obama as someone who only recently discovered Latinos, Huerta assures crowds that Hillary is “not the Johnny Come Lately” in this election and that the former first lady “has been advocating for us for 35 years” dating back to registering Hispanic voters in Texas when Clinton was fresh out of Yale Law School.

That’s laying it on a bit thick, Dolores. Hillary Clinton has been fighting for Latinos for 35 years? That includes those years in Arkansas, which – in the 1970s and 1980s, when the Clintons lived there – was home to very few Latinos. And it includes the eight years while Hillary’s husband was president; Hispanic political activists say they can’t recall a single initiative that came from her office that was focused specifically on Latinos. And it includes her tenure in the Senate where – again – Latinos in New York and around the country can’t cite a single bill, debate or committee meeting involving Latinos where Clinton took a leading role.

Whenever Latino figures vouch for Clinton, no one covering these dog and pony shows asks the obvious question: If the Clintons have really been there for Latinos for all these years, why do they need anyone to step forward and speak for them? Shouldn’t the Latino community know them well enough so they can skip the intermediaries?

Maybe some Latinos know the Clintons too well. And maybe that’s another reason they need assurances. Maybe they remember Bill Clinton as a president who usually saw race relations in black and white even as the country was going Technicolor. Or maybe they haven’t forgiven him for signing a 1996 immigration law that was so anti-foreigner that it barred even legal immigrants from public assistance. Or maybe they’re having trouble keeping track of Hillary’s positions on the immigration issue; one minute, she’s telling a largely Hispanic audience in Nevada that “no woman is illegal” and the next, she’s telling a largely non-Hispanic audience in South Carolina that “anybody who committed a crime in this country or in the country they came from has to be deported immediately, with no legal process.””

12. http://www.hispanicallyspeakingnews.com/latino-daily-news/details/activist-dolores-huerta-latinos-for-obama-promote-voter-registration/18245/

13.http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/18/hillary-clinton-immigration_n_5507630.html

14.http://newamericamedia.org/2014/09/the-latino-political-house-is-divided-which-side-are-you-on—immigrant-families-or-the-democratic-p.php

15. http://progresoweekly.us/latino-voters-declaration-independence-democratic-party-u-s/

An Overview of the History of the Chicano National Question

aztlan

This was inspired by an inquiry on a Reddit forum about information and texts about the “Chicano Question.” Here is a history of the development of this thought from a Marxist perspective.

One of the first ones to look at the Chicano/Mexicano national question from a Marxist-Leninist perspective was Emma Tenayuca. She was a labor organizer in southern Texas in the early 19th century when she was in her teens and twenties. She became chairman of the Texas Communist Party, and her husband was Homer Brooks, the first secretary of the state party. Together they wrote “The Mexican Question in the Southwest.” It’s available here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/101053725/The-Mexican-Question-in-the-Southwest They went by Stalin’s definition of a nation, and saw that the Mexicans in the Southwest (they didn’t use the term Chicano at the time) had all the criteria except an independent economy. Their analysis saw that after independence from Spain in 1821, the northern part of Mexico (now the southwest U.S.) traded heavily with the U.S. with the opening of the Santa Fe Trail, up to the invasion and occupation of 1846-1848. Thus the Mexicans in the Southwest were not a nation but a national minority, to struggle not for an independent nation but for its democratic rights in the U.S. , although they did advocate for open borders because of its historical ties with Mexico. With that, they probably had the best position on this question with the CPUSA, for the party’s positions on Chicanos got worse after that, not surprising since they were a New York based party infected with white chauvinism.

Another group of interest is the Communist Collective of the Chicano Nation, founded around 1973. They were based out of Albuquerque, New Mexico, and may have been affiliated with the Communist Labor Party, an anti-revisionist group founded in the 1970’s. The took Stalin’s nation definition and saw that, yes, Chicanos were a nation, for they had all the criteria including economics, for the northern settlements had a thriving sheepherding economy that was its basis for hundreds of years even when it was part of New Spain. They saw the area of the Chicano nation as New Mexico, Southern Colorado and South Texas, the areas most settled through the Spanish empire and with the strongest Chicano roots. California was not part of it. Some of their documents are here: https://www.marxists.org/history/erol/ncm-1a/index.htm#cccn

The August 29th Movement was founded in 1974, a mostly Chicano ML group that came out of the Chicano Movement, particularly a Labor Committee of La Raza Unida Party and other collectives. They put out a position paper “Fan The Flames,” that argued that Chicanos in the Southwest U.S. were an oppressed nation that had a right to independence, based on the U.S. invasion and acquisition of the northern territory of Mexico in 1848 and its separation from Mexico as it was forming as a nation. Some of their documents are online here: https://www.marxists.org/history/erol/ncm-1a/index.htm#a29m

They involved themselves in many struggles, often antagonistically, up to 1978 when they merged with other non-white ML collectives to form the League of Revolutionary Struggle. They also had antagonistic relations with other groups, especially Chicano mass organizations like MEChA, which led the latter to change their policies about outside groups. They collapsed in 1990 after the fall of communist regimes in Europe and later the Soviet Union, and some of their remnants went on to form Freedom Road Socialist Organization, which itself split in two around 2000, both keeping the name. A reflection by a former member now with FRSO is here:https://www.marxists.org/history/erol/ncm-7/ncm-chicanos.htm

Another group around the time was CASA, the Center for Autonomous Social Action, or Centro de Accion Social Autonomo. Founded by labor organizer Bert Corona in 1968, it operated as an advocacy and mutual aid group for undocumented workers, which is significant in that the Left and Chicano groups didnt really deal with this population at the time. It later merged with the Committee to Free Los Tres, formed to advocate for three activists arrested for targeting drug dealers in their neighborhoods, and this group turned CASA into a Marxist-Leninist pre-party formation. Their line was one of Socialist Reunification of Mexico. They saw no difference between workers in Mexico itself and in the occupied territories of northern Mexico now under U.S. control, and rejected the Chicano identity. One of their slogans was sin fronteras. Here is an academic paper on them from Stanford, where their archives now sit: https://web.stanford.edu/dept/csre/pdfs/WorkingPaperSeriesNo5.pdf. It argues that their turn to a revolutionary party made them pass over their organizing of undocumented workers, which led to their decline.

Other groups in the New Communist Movement in the 1970’s dealt with the National Question, often with the Black Nation, based on the COMINTERN policies of the 30’s, and fewer dealt with the Chicano Nation, and when they did they saw us as only a national minority. The Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism Online of the Marxists Internet Archives has many of their old documents on this site, one can do a search if interested in those positions.

The Socialist Workers Party I believe had a line on the Chicano Nation during the Movimiento, and participated in it directly. Old issues of The Militant are a good news source for items about the Chicano Movement of that time, and Pathfinder had a few books on it too. Their involvement seemed opportunist, like other groups, and I could say a lot more about their politics today, but that is one group that at least looked at the question for a time.

One present Marxist-Leninist based group is Union Del Barrio, active in California through their party and other mass organizations. They also have a Socialist Reunification of Mexico line too. Their website is http://uniondelbarrio.org/main/.

Overall, while I think many of these tendencies writings have helped in understanding the National Question, they are inadequate in many ways. They tend to be dogmatic and have a superficial understanding of the history and culture of the Chicano people. A pamphlet that came out in the late 1970’s, “Mexicans in the United States and the National Question” by Antonio Bustamante gives a good critique of all these groups lines on this question.

Also to note that their have been many theorists have looked at the Chicano National Question through an Internal Colonial analysis. It’s an academic way of saying oppressed nation while keeping it useful for professional community organizers. Nevertheless it is useful in looking at. Rodolfo Acuna’s classic book Occupied America took that analysis in the first edition, although he moved away from it in later editions. Other writers include Mario Barrera and Armando Navarro.

Also look at the Plan of San Diego, presented around the Mexican Revolution. It was reportedly put out by adherents of the Magon Brothers, Mexican anarchists who also operated in the U.S. The right wingers get freaked because it calls for the execution of all whites over 15. But it is a document calling for national liberation. It calls for an independent Mexican nation in the Southwest, with the option of rejoining Mexico. And it also calls for an independent nation for Blacks in the South U.S., and an independent nation for Japanese (likely referring to all Asians in California).

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New Book – Settlers: The Mythology of the White Proletariat from Mayflower to Modern

siglodelucha:

It is exciting news to hear about the (re)release of the seminal book by J. Sakai, Settlers: The Mythology of the White Proletariat. Reprinted by Kersplebedeb press, this book has been a key influence on many national liberation and anti-imperialist forces, giving an eye-opening retelling of Amerikkkan history as that of a settler empire that has always benefited its white settler population at the expense of its captive nations. One of the additions is an interview with J. Sakai with Ernesto Aguilar, likely the Stolen at Gunpoint interview that deals with the Chicano/Mexicano nation that myself and RAIM have distributed. Without saying, I encourage anyone who has not read Setters to do so, and those who have to order a copy and reread it.
-Antonio Moreno

Originally posted on :

Onkwehón:we Rising is pleased to promote the (re)release of Settlers: The Mythology of the White Proletariat by the comrades at Kersplebedeb. Settlers is a uniquely important text that has been critical in shaping the views of many comrades and warriors within the Onkwehón:we, Xikano, Boricua and Afrikan liberation movements regarding what we here call the north amerikan nation.

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