Francisco “Kiko” Martinez has been a revolutionary, political activist and people’s lawyer ever since the early days of the Chicano Movement in the 1960’s. Born in Alamosa, Colorado, he used his legal skills to aid the poor and marginalized, and to further the advancement of the movement, which made him a target of state repression. In 1973 he was wrongfully accused of a series of bombings in the Denver area. Justice in the Amerikan courts not being a reality for Chicano people, and in a time of massive repression against the movement, with many leaders being killed, Martinez fled the country. He remained in exile in Mexico until his return in 1980, where he was arrested and went through a series of trials that lasted through that decade. A defense fund and mobilizations were done on his behalf. Kiko Martinez continues to practice law and organize for social justice today. Siglo De Lucha will hopefully publish more on his story here in the future, and encourage others to study his cases.
Below is a short statement by Kiko Martinez that appeared in a 1987 issue of Forward Motion, a journal of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization. They are a nominal Maoist organization that had roots in New Communist Movement groups that ended up supporting Deng in China when the country went revisionist. They are an organization that I and others have differences on, but to their credit they uphold national liberation in the Maoist tradition.
This particular issue was titled “Both Sides of the Border,” referring to the U.S. – Mexico border. The article this interview was conducted in is titled “Bright Promise: the Chicano and Mexicano Movements,” that had statements by Kiko Martinez and five other activists. The below interview and the graphic above are reprinted here in its entirety from this issue, including the [-ed.] parts, for purposes of furthering debate and discussion.
People in the United States Have to start orienting themselves to greater ideological, cultural and political interactions with the Mexican people. It is time for Mexicanos to grasp our political heritage and what our political prospects and prerogatives are historically in terms of reunification of the Mexicano people. We are a cutting edge within North America as well as within Mexico. Look at the political and cultural imperialism by the U.S. over Mexico. We occupy a very unique niche in terms of our capacity to fight that system. One of the tasks then is to work with the people of Mexico and all of Latin America. We must develop a consciousness of both being a part of the Latino people and being a part of North America.
The “Hispanics” are, in my opinion, a creature of the Democratic Party and the corporations – neither of which has been responsive to the Mexicano people or other working and oppressed people in this empire. The “Hispanics” have middle-class values. They are a product of all the reforms and gains that were made by the revolutionary Chicano movement. The gains that we won have been usurped by this class of people. They are the ones with money and skills to organize on a national level. Consequently, there aren’t resources for grass roots organizers who want to create change for the people at the bottom of our society. We need to formulate ways to get national resources to do that organizing.
Another task is to develop an ideology that will be responsive to the 21st Century. Even without a nuclear cataclysm, we are in for some serious trouble. There are classes within the Chicano nation; we have to look within our own class for our future. We must analyze the different possibilities of what it means to be Mexicano given the class structure of society. Where I am from [the San Luis valley of Southern Colorado and Northern New Mexico – ed.] there has never been much industry. The proletariat is in agriculture, lumber and some mining. Our people work in the most exploited sectors of the working class…or they are forced to leave the valley to work in places like Pueblo or Denver.
You have another dynamic in this part of the Southwest. There are tycoons like Maurice Strong, Malcolm Forbes, Robert Anderson (from ARCO) and others who are getting wealthy by speculating on our land. The common people don’t know what these people are planning for us, but if we look historically at what their class has done the prospects could be very grim. Here in the San Luis valley we have the infamous “Taylor land.” [This huge land grant was once collectively owned by the original Spanish, Indian and Mestizo settlers and has now become “private” property – ed.] Many of the National Forests were built on what were historical land grants, communal properties for use by all our people. Now they are being exploited by big timber, cattle and mining companies. The struggle for the land is a very important issue in this region, but elsewhere there are overriding issues such as fighting the English-only legislation and for immigration rights.
-Interview with Kiko Martinez. “Bright Promise: The Chicano and Mexicano Movements.” Forward Motion (journal of Freedom Road Socialist Organization). November – December 1987. Vol. 6, No. 5. pg. 10